I've long said that you can't count yourself a real Richmonder if you haven't had a picnic on top of city hall.
The observation deck situated on the 18th floor offers, hands down, the best view of our city in every direction.
So on this beautiful sunny afternoon with a picnic lunch in hand, I took the elevator to the top.
But which direction to face for enjoying my meal? I finally settled on east although given the views, there's really no bad choice.
At the beginning, it was just me and the birds.
And while I never actually saw them, they never stopped cheeping, so I guessed they were just under the eaves - and a lot of them.
And as good as my lunch was, the visual treats began with my walk around the deck afterwards.
Cumulus clouds were stacked up along the horizon in every direction.
Looking south, the river was viewable in small segments only, but looking east, I got the same bend in the river view that had given Richmond its name.
A guy joined me on the deck, eagerly snapping photos from all sides as we wound our way around again and again.
He told me he'd been at the credit union downstairs and made a crack about the view only to be informed about the observation deck, which he'd never even heard of.
Looking out with me, we marveled at our vantage point for admiring old city hall and the state capital, both magnificent from above.
He told me he'd once lunched on the top floor of the Federal Reserve building, but that the view wasn't nearly as impressive.
We watched a crane in action just north of the Altria building.
A couple of worker bees joined us for a cigarette break, undoubtedly the most scenic smoking lounge anywhere.
I could see west on Broad Street all the way to the WTVR tower, but no further, which is fine considering that Broad goes all the way to god-forsaken Short Pump.
We laughed at the Coliseum, deciding that it resembled a rusty 1950s-era notion of a space ship.
I tried to point out my beloved Clay Street, but it was barely visible given our location two blocks south and eighteen floors up.
By the time I was ready to go, he must have taken twenty or more pictures and was still crowing about having finally discovered the deck.
For the record, I did not welcome him to the real Richmonder club.
But I did make him promise that next time he comes up there, he has to bring lunch.