Sometimes you need a local perspective.
It's not just that all those articles about why Richmond is so great, or even the "36 Hours in Richmond" variety, always seem to address the same obvious choices, but they also can't take into account weather.
Sure, you can come visit planning to bike or walk the Capitol Trail but if it's pouring, you can forget about it. Or if your plan is to spend the day inside at the VMFA and the weather is ideal, you're gonna recalculate, no?
So yesterday's pitch perfect weather was the deciding factor in how to spend a Monday night date: find a porch and park it. Turns out that wasn't as easy as it could've been.
After eliminating the pricey option, we also excluded the so-new-it-would-be-slammed option and headed for Rockett's to enjoy the views if not the fare at Conch Republic, only to be informed that it was "team meeting and clean-up night."
Given that, you'd think they'd have taken down the specials board just outside the front door, but nope.
That's the short version of how we ended up ensconced on the balcony at a pricey place with a killer view (if you don't count the sewage treatment plant), mine of the James snaking downriver in the dark and his of the glittering city skyline making watery shadows on the river.
But it was the evening air - soft, deep blue, almost temperature-less - that was the defining feature as we sipped Spanish Rose while eating crabcakes and shrimp and grits, outlasting not just everyone on the patio and balcony, but inside the restaurant as well. Amateurs.
And that's exactly my point. If one of those corny articles about how cool Richmond is chose to include the Boathouse - a place where a crabcake sandwich is $18 and the entitled and annoying crowd clearly comes directly from the West End (a woman leaving as we arrived summed up the type, telling her friend with a roll of her eyes, "I already feel guilty for what I just ate") - I would roll my eyes and tell whoever would listen that I'd hate for a visitor to think the Boathouse represented what Richmond has to offer.
Except you know what?
On a Monday night with a minimal crowd and exquisite early Fall weather (my date cajoles, "Come on, admit you like this beautiful less humid weather just a little bit?"), there was no place I'd rather have been and not just because the company was stellar.
Once dessert of mango key lime parfait was history, we briefly considered moving to another location, except neither of us could come up with anywhere to land that would have been half as perfect, so we stayed and sipped more Rose.
Occasionally a staff member would drop by to refill our water glasses or just comment on the weather, but, honestly, we practically had the joint to ourselves as the night settled around us and the James.
Now that's something I could highly recommend to visitors.