Friday, July 15, 2011

How to be a Tourist With Your Dog Series: Richmond, Virginia

 We have always loved handsome pittie brothers Ernie and Dexter, so we were so excited to have them as our hosts on an 'armchair tour' around Richmond, Virginia. And while I'm ashamed to admit my only knowledge pre-dates my high school history classes, I loved this view seeing all Richmond has to offer: from hiking to city strolling to baseball to historical cemeteries and even a vegetarian festival, which all include dogs. Here's their advice on how to be a tourist with your dog in Richmond, Virginia:

I live in Richmond, VA with my two pit bulls, Ernie and Dexter. I recently moved to Richmond from Wilmington, NC, to take a great job as a blogger for RichmondPetLovers.com. Since moving to Richmond in February of this year, we have made it our mission to discover just how dog-friendly the city actually is!
Texas Beach
Ernie is a pit bull, and still relatively young, so he’s got a lot of energy to burn. My first priority when we moved to Richmond was finding places where we could run and expend some of his bully energy! The James River bisects Richmond, and there is an extensive system of trails that are very popular with joggers, bikers, walkers, and dogs. One of our favorite trails runs along the north bank of the James, in a spot called Texas Beach. Depending on the level of the river, there are rocks to navigate, sticks and trees to chew, pools in which to swim, ducks and geese to chase, and miles and miles of woody trails to explore.
Dex has a bum knee, so he only comes with us on the rare occasion. Ernie’s cousin Sally comes with us about once a week, and the two have a blast chasing squirrels and playing “mountain goat” on the river rocks.

Carytown

Richmond hosts several colleges (notably VCU and the University of Richmond), and there are several college neighborhoods in downtown Richmond that are dog- and pedestrian-friendly. Our favorite is Carytown, a small neighborhood just north of downtown Richmond with lots of shops, restaurants, and the historic Byrd Theater. Ernie loves stopping at Weezie’s Kitchen for lunch (the restaurant is named for the owner’s pug, Weezie, who passed away just months before the restaurant opened), then heading down to Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream to split a vanilla cone.
Carytown also boast one of the nation’s first low-cost for-profit veterinary surgery & dental care facilies, Helping Hands. Opened just over a year ago by Dr. Lori Pasternak, the clinic strives to offer affordable surgeries and dental care to all pets in the Richmond area, regardless of their owner’s ability to pay (you can read more about the clinic here).

Baseball
Richmond’s minor league baseball team, the Flying Squirrels, hosts dog-friendly baseball games. These “Bark in the Park” games are some of the most heavily attended games of the season. At the last game, there were demonstration by the city K9 units, games and prizes for dog owners, and free custard for all of the dogs in attendance!

Hollywood Cemetery
Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and there are a lot of historic reminders of the city’s role in our nation’s history. One way to get a sense of the city’s history is to take a tour of Hollywood Cemetery. Twenty five Confederate generals are buried on the grounds (including Generals Pickett and Jeb Stuart), more than any other cemetery in the country. Even if you aren’t a Civil War buff, the winding and shady paths overlooking the James River make for a nice walk, and leashed dogs are allowed to visit with their owners.
Some highlights of the cemetery include the tombs of two presidents (5th president James Monroe, and 10th president John Tyler), a memorial pyramid, and the grave of Pulitzer prize-winning American novelist Ellen Glasgow. One site that all dog-owners should visit is the iron statue of a Newfoundland dog, who is said to stand watch over the grave of his young master who died as a child.

Festivals
With the return of warm weather comes a plethora of festivals in Richmond! Most recently, we attended the Vegetarian Festival in Bryan Park. We had a great time sampling all of the delicious vegetarian offerings (including some dairy-free gelato), listening to live music, and touring the “Farm Bus.” Other events we’ve enjoyed include: the Dominion Riverrock Festival, which had lots of competitions including a rock climbing event for humans and a dock-diving competition for dogs (we didn’t enter either one); Woofstock, a fund-raising festival for the Richmond Animal League which featured live music and tons of pet-friendly vendors and rescue organizations; and the Richmond SPCA’s Dog Jog, an annual 5k run and vendor fair.
We loved this insider's tour of Richmond, and if you're interested in learning more about Richmond's pet community you can read more here. It's so great getting ideas of things we can do with our dogs and seeing everyone's insider view of their own city. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs and boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull. We do love hearing insider's tips, and if you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.

22 comments:

brenda gentry said...

Awesome blog post. Our dogs love Richmond and we spend lots of time at Texas Beach especially!

Three A Day said...

Having Sarah Clinton in town makes life in Richmond so AWESOME! Ernie and Dex and Sarah are so good for pit bulls!! And three cheers for Odessa!

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Great post! I have family in Richmond so I've been down there a bunch. I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about what to do in Richmond without mentioning Carytown!

doll clothes lady said...

Loved reading about these adventures for dogs... wish things were as welcoming in Prince William County!

Froggy said...

These posts are so much fun! I've ever been to Richmond but it looks beautiful. Ernie and Dexter are adorable.

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

We are now in love with Richmond! Great post & pics.

Xan said...

My pit bull and I miss richmond and all of it's dog friendly fun! But I'm glad to see other people discovering what a wonderful city it is! Great blog Sarah!

Benny and Lily said...

There lots of places to visit in Richmond
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

Richmond definitely seems like a very dog friendly town! We'll have to put it on our lists of places to visit!

garthriley said...

Really enjoyed your post. We LOVE hiking Texas Beach, Hollywood Cemetery and all over the James River park system. Richmond is indeed a great place to be a dog!

Mr. Pip said...

Wow, we have never been to Richmond, but it sure seems like a great place!

Your pal, Pip

houndstooth said...

The problem with this series is that I want to travel to all of these places! lol What a cool city with so much to do!

Kari in WeHo said...

A bark in the park at the Flying Squirrels team? Could be chaos....

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com

Laura and Hans said...

I love the Bark in the Park concept of dogs being allowed at a minor league ball game. What a brilliant idea! Other cities need to realize that if you cater to the many dog lovers that live in your area, you're going to have a hit on your hands (and money in your pockets)!!
Ernie and Dexter are adorable, I love seeing other red pitties.

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

Outrageous! We haven't been to Richmond in years, I love this recap!

www.twogradstudentsandapittie.blogspot.com

road-dog-tales said...

Ernie and Dexter are so handsome!
We lived in Northern VA for a couple of years and found it to be very pet friendly - LOTS of places to hike! Didn't go to Richmond but this great post about all the great pet-friendly places just reinforces our opinion of pet-friendly VA!

The Road Dogs

Two Pitties in the City said...

I like how there is so much to do from every angle. And that photo of Ernie with his little face in the corn cutout at vegetarian festival just makes me laugh. They are both so handsome.

Mary said...

Thanks to Ernie and Dexter for showing us around their beautiful city! This contest was the best idea! I keep waiting for a day that is not a billion degrees to take our boys to a special place to enter the contest, but it's just been too hot.

I particularly loved the dogs at the baseball game. They do one game a year at Busch Stadium like that, but tickets are really expensive. My brother took his great dane mix one year and one of the players commented on her!

Daisy Dog said...

We love your travel series! So cool!

Roo said...

What a great town! Not knowing much about life there, this was a real eye opener. Nice place :) A walk through the cemetery was a new twist. I definitely wouldn't want to take that walk past sunset ;)

Waggin at ya,
Roo

loveandaleash said...

I LOVE the photo collages. Richmond is close, I'm thinking we need to take a little trip down there with the dogs from DC!

Elizabeth said...

A long-time Richmonder (and dog owner) myself, I will vouch for all of Sarah's well-written recommendations! We also happen to have a rare dog-friendly shopping mall called Stony Point Fashion Park (too many things to fit in one post, I'm sure).

Also, Dex and Ernie are just as adorable in person!

Good luck, Sarah!

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