Richmond’s “Quirky” Arts District

I can’t belive I have a son who’s old enough to be looking at colleges. We’re getting an early start, admittedly, since he’s just a sophomore in high school, but I want to be leisurely about it and not cram everything into the spring of his junior year. Our spring-break trip last week took us through Richmond, where he looked at the University of Richmond and VCU, and I jumped at the chance to get rooms at the Quirk Hotel.


I made the reservation having no idea that The Quirk is just up the street from the VCU campus. We were only there one night and didn’t have to use our car, because within this relatively small radius, it seems like everywhere you turn there are cool buildings, murals and vignettes to be found.

Let’s start inside the hotel, where we had the best meal of our whole week in the lobby’s restaurant, Maple & Pine:

That’s my younger son, Chal, who’s seated in front of the lobby’s beautifully restored staircase.


Every room has original art in it, and the beds are constructed from floor joists that were reclaimed during the hotel’s renovation. The building was originally a department store that first opened 100 years ago.


The walls in the hotel corridors — and even the public bathrooms — are vivid pink.




The huge plate-glass windows look out to the surrounding district, which is full of old and, well, quirky buildings that house art galleries, vintage and thrift shops, and restaurants.











The best part of my visit to Richmond, though, was my travel entourage! Chal, my husband Jim, and Henry:

I’m hoping we get back there soon, because I didn’t get a chance to see Susan Jamieson’s fab new shop, the Bridget Beari Home Store on Cary Street. The whole vibe is like a mini SoHo, and a lot more laid-back than New York 🙂