“I can’t do this!”
I remember saying that more times than I can count to my now husband. We grew up together in Richmond and spent many of our high school days exploring sights along the James River.
One time when I declared the above phrase, I had free-climbed halfway up a twenty-foot wall of rock that stood next to the hydro-electric plant at Belle Isle. I was wearing nothing but a bathing suit and backpack that was slung over my shoulders.
“I’ll pull you up when you can reach my hand, but you have to keep climbing!”
My husband encouraged me as he waited at the top of the wall.
I did make it up. And after climbing onto the building, swinging across a closed gate, and finally climbing into the plant, we were able to jump from the windows into the James River.
Another time, we swung across the river on an old rope swing at Brown’s Island and crossed the rapids of the James to reach a beautiful rock in the middle of the river. To this day, that was the scariest moment of my life.
Since becoming a mom, I’m not nearly as daring as I used to be. But I look back on my adventurous childhood in Richmond with such fond memories.
When I wasn’t spending my days on the river, I was venturing downtown to explore the graffiti-covered buildings and places to eat, or I was enjoying the night sky at my friend’s country home in Rockville.
Richmond has grown and become a “cool” place to live.
In the twenty-two years I’ve lived here, I’ve watched our beloved Ukrop’s become Martin’s. I’ve seen Short Pump transform from an almost ghost town to an epicenter of activity. I’m proud of the way my city has progressed over the years. But the thing that I love most about it is the possibility for exploration.
Richmond is more than just a city for art and good food—it’s a playground. The River City is a place that fosters adventure, learning, and excitement. I’m so excited to share the love I have for this city with my daughters. I can’t wait to take them to places like the overlook at Church Hill to see the lights of Richmond illuminated against the night sky or to explore the old pump house at Byrd Park.
I implore you to get out there and embrace our incredible city. Explore Richmond. Go play.