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March/April 2017

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CONTENTS MARCH / APRIL 2017

70

CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

28

A RADIANT SUMMER YOU

08 West End's Best

33

IN SEARCH OF: COMFORT FOODS

RichmondNavigator.com


First of all

16 Hatt’s Off to HATTheatre 17 Break A Keg

18 Cannes on Cary

16

Business Watch

20 Print-Copy-Smash Cartridge World

21 Sound Advice

Escape Nails & Spa

22 Sound Advice

Aide Hearing Centers

Seniors 23 Have You Had the Right Talk?

Health

44

24 Cost of Organic Foods Worth It?

26 5 Foods for a Beautiful Smile

Flavor

33 In Search Of: Comfort Foods 39 Tastebudz 43 BeerBudz 44 Happy Hour Guide

Home

53

50 Home Trends

What Today's Homebuyers Want

54 Back to Nature

In Your Own Backyard

62 Hallsley

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Travel 68 Historic Mountain Road 70 Cherry Blossom Festival Washington, D.C.

March / April 2017

West End's Best 09


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From the Editor

Contributors

on’t let the photograph fool you. I still identify as an old(er) man. However, I wanted to use this issue’s Editor’s Letter to help both you and me get better acquainted with our new managing editor, Elena Marinaccio, who comes to us via Westchester, New York. I’m always wondering how outsiders view the Richmond area, especially the West End. In future issues, we’ll have an opportunity to get her take on a variety of topics of local interest. For now, however, I’m going to give Elena the rest of this space to tell us a little about herself and to provide a preview of this issue.

Angela Weight

D

Steve Cook, Steve@RichmondNavigator.com The first one is always the hardest, right? Well, let me introduce myself: I just moved to Richmond six months ago with my family. I’ve lived all over the country, and I can say this little love affair I’m having with The River City is a mighty powerful one. The waterfall at Maymont, record shopping on Cary Street, the river! Oh, and the food. I mean, you guys are really into your food. And rightfully so. Richmond is a true food lover’s city, with the creativity and recognition to back it up. You know, it’s a longstanding theory of mine that Italian mothers (obsessively squeezing and tapping produce at the store, an eggplant held up to an ear straining for the ring of ripeness; using our hands as measuring cups, rolling pins and spoons; the growling need to feed others) are the original foodies: “Have you eaten yet? What do you want to eat? Let me tell you what I ate yesterday. Eat! Eat! Eat!” So, I kind of feel like I’m amongst my people. And now to the magazine in your hand. It’s been my pleasure to work with such a cool, welcoming and dedicated team. We all want to deliver pages with eye-catching photos, some fine storytelling, a little humor and a lot of know-how. And I’ll grab this spot right here to personally thank Steve for all his help, guidance and good restaurant recommendations. Speaking of Steve, he hasn’t exactly been twiddling his thumbs. In between helping me put this issue together he’s been writing about some prime real estate. His piece on Hallsley gives you an insider’s glimpse at the homes and amenities (they have a zipline) in the sought-after Midlothian master planned community. Whitney Constance’s Adventures in Aging touches on the awkwardness of end of life conversations. And, sadly, Whitney recently learned from personal experience, it’s the talk you should to have sooner rather than later. If you're like me and new to the area, you may not realize the history—especially Civil War history—in Glen Allen. We take a little ride along Mountain Road and discover some fascinating people who were instrumental in making that history. Branching out (way) further north, Zach Brown reports on the beloved and much-anticipated Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. While closer to home, we explore the latest trends in sustainable landscape and hardscape design, and Jordan Langely provides some interesting insights into what today's homebuyers are looking for both inside the home and out. Enjoy!

Elena Marinaccio,

Elena@RichmondNavigator.com

In Our Next Issue: Don’t go anywhere until you read our special annual DESTINATION METRO RICHMOND Issue coming in May. We’ll offers great ideas for “stay and play” vacations around (Chesterfield/ Hanover/The West End) and the entire Richmond area. PLUS: 5 Great Beaches You May Not Know About; 5 Cool VA Getaways; West End Outdoor Concerts Look for the next issue of West End's Best coming in early May. 12 West End's Best

RichmondNavigator.com

Angela is a native of Georgia’s Middle-of-Nowhere Region who followed her husband (and his job) to Richmond in 2014. An insatiably curious freelance writer, she has covered everything from monster truck racing to the latest embalming techniques (though not in the same article). When Angela isn’t clicking away on her laptop, she can usually be found at a baseball field cheering for one of her sons.

Jordan Langley

Jordan Langley’s insightful essays about parenting and grief have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, Brain, Child and Hello Grief, a website affiliated with Comfort Zone Camp. She is polishing up her debut novel. Jordan is a writer, literacy advocate and sports mom living in Moseley with her husband and two sons. Follow her on Twitter @jordan_langley.

Susan Higgins

Susan Higgins is a Richmond writer whose work appears locally in print and online. After studying painting and printmaking at VCU, she spent her 40-year career in business development and marketing. Now she writes for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, blogging, creating social media content, developing marketing communications and producing promotional video. Her freelance work is published in magazines in the metro Richmond area.

Zach Brown

Zach first moved to Richmond to attend VCU, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing in 2010. Serving as a poster child for obsessive behavior, Zach has never been able to casually enjoy anything as subjects that interest him hit ‘allconsuming’ levels in a matter of days. The greatest example of this defect being his love of writing. When he wraps up his daily word quota, you’ll find him playing drums with his band, reading, or enjoying a craft beer from one of his many favorite local brewers.


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PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER

William J. Davis, Jr. VICE-PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER

Cheryl T. Davis EDITOR

Steve Cook MANAGING EDITOR

Elena Marinaccio ASSISTANT EDITOR

Tammy Wersinger CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Taylor Esteves-Pearce SENIOR DESIGNER

Michael Lay ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES

Jack Smith, Cary Webb DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

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Camille Robinson, Luke Witt

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Zach Brown, Susie Galvez, Tom Gresham, Susan Higgins, Jordan Langley, Angela Weight, Constance Whitney ADVERTISING

West End’s Best magazine is published bimonthly by Advertising Concepts, Inc., 6301 Harbourside Drive, Suite 100 Midlothian, VA 23112 P: 804-639-9994 E: Info@RichmondNavigator.com ONLINE / SOCIAL

RichmondNavigator.com Facebook.com/RichmondNavigator Twitter.com/ RichmondNav All rights reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.

A PUBLICATION OF

ALL ARTICLES AND CONTENTS OF THIS MAGAZINE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE OPINIONS OR THOUGHTS OF WEST END’S BEST MAGAZINE, ADVERTISING CONCEPTS, INC OR THE PUBLISHER.

ABOUT OUR COVER Washington D.C.’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, a popular seasonal daytrip for Richmonders, gets the cover treatment this issue. Also included in this issue is a look into the costeffectiveness of buying organic foods and natural landscape options.

14 West End's Best

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WHAT’S GOING ON? Okay, so we got an early start on spring this year. Who’s complaining? However once spring actually, officially arrives, our thoughts turn to a variety of seasonal activities. Regardless of your activity of choice, I bet you can find something on RichmondNavigator.com to inform, direct or just plain entertain you. Use the website’s Search feature to locate articles on a variety of springtime topics, such as: FIXING UP AROUND THE HOUSE: Last March, we posted a very helpful article, which provided “Five Springtime Improvements.” To locate this article, search Five Improvements. Also, in March, 2013, we had a really cool feature that provided excellent suggestions for spicing up the kitchen. Search Spice Kitchen

GARDENING: Vicki O’Neal had an interesting piece on theme gardens, in which she provided a host of great ideas from an English or Japanese garden to a rock garden or a butterfly garden. ITo find this fascinating article, which appeared online in March, 2014, search Theme Garden

ENJOYING THE GREAT OUTDOORS: In March of last year, Tom Gresham offered a number of great outdoor fun suggestions in his article, “West End Fun” in fact if you search West End Fun, you’ll discover his delightful and informative article.

CELEBRATING THE NATIONAL PASTIME: We’re talking about baseball, of course. As the Squirrels take to the field, locally, you might enjoy a fascinating article on the history of baseball in Richmond. It appeared in March, 2014. To read “Baseball Memories and Hometown Heroes,” search Baseball.

THE DIAMOND EXPERIENCE: That same search will also reveal another story from July of the same year. I’m going to go back and reread “The Diamond Experience: Baseball, Extreme Food & Craft Beer,” It will get me ready to Go Nuts come April 6. TAKE A (SPRING) BREAK: This is a great time of year to hit the road and get to know more about your state. Virginia pretty much has it all, including the amazing Crooked Road country music heritage trail. If you’ve never been, please read Davy Jones’ column from last year, On the Crooked Road. And start packing for an adventure of a lifetime. As you could guess, just search Crooked Road (actually just “crooked” will do).

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West End's Best 15


FIRST OF ALL

Hat’s Off to HATTheatre W

by Steve Cook

ay out west, just before Patterson Avenue crosses into Goochland County, sits a small, rather nondescript storefront in a rather nondescript strip shopping center. There, between a barbecue joint and a dry cleaner, you’ll discover a real treasure. Whether you’re a true-blue theater enthusiast or just want to take in a live stage show on occasion or have a burning desire to learn the art of acting, you will find something to love about HATTheatre (1124 Westbriar Dr.). Vickie Scallion, founding member of the theater as well as its executive and artistic director, has been bringing live theater to the West End for nearly a quarter century. Scallion says her motivation for taking on such an ambitious project was her recognition that there were no venues for professional live stage presentations in that fast-growing part of the Metro area. But there was another driving force. As someone with both a degree (she has a B.A. in Education from Virginia Tech) and a background in education, she realized that there was no theater anywhere in the Richmond region that offered an educational component. “Other cities such as New York and Chicago have many professional theaters that offer classes,” she says, adding that the two components— the theater and the acting classes—complement one another. “People who take classes are theater goers. Our young people are future theater goers.” With that realization, she offers classes for both adults and young people. Scallion explains that not all who take her classes expect to become stars. Although some have, such as former Richmond resident Constance Wu, who stars in the ABC comedy series Fresh Off the Boat, and Kate McDaniel who last spring guest starred on Modern Family. She says there are many reasons that both young and old take acting classes. “Theater is the great equalizer. When you have young ones who are having difficulty in school, the theater gives them valuable skills.” Scallion says the same is true of adults in the workplace. “I had two students who took the class because they felt they were being left behind for promotions at their jobs.” While education is a passion, it’s the theater itself, that Scallion wants West Enders to discover. Unfortunately, for way too many, this West End treasure remains a hidden one. HATTheatre is an intimate, 70-seat theater that offers patrons an opportunity to enjoy a wide range of professional premier performances at very affordable prices. The 2016-17 season wraps up with a musical, Is There Life After High School, in June and the HATTBox Players, the theater’s resident troupe of actors aged 8 to 18, will present a show during the first weekend in May that is a part of the theatre’s family series of shows. Scallion, who also serves as the lead instructor in the theater’s school, wears many hats. That is, in fact, the inspiration for the name HATTheatre. “You have to wear many hats to get it from the page to the stage,” she says. For more information on upcoming performances and on class schedules, visit the website, HatTheatre.org.

16 West End's Best

Jacqueline Jones and Michael Hawke star in HATTheatre’s production of The Quality of Life.

Ken Moretti, Patricia Alli, Katherine S. Wright, Grey Garrett, and Chris Hester appear in the production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

RichmondNavigator.com


Break a Keg by Elena Marinaccio

If you feel the need to break out into a soulful rendition of “Memories” or bring down the house with your version of “Defying Gravity” after downing a few handcrafted brews, well, we’ve found a brewery for you. Intermission Beer Company—started up by two selfproclaimed theater geeks—is slated to open later this spring at 10089 Brook Road, near the newly sold Virginia Center Commons mall. The couple plans to do most of the renovations themselves. Husband-and-wife-team Courtney and Justin White met in the early 2000s in the VCU Theater department, and their love—of theater, beer and each other—has only grown since then. Justin perfected his home-brewing skills. Courtney spent four years searching

for the perfect home for the brewery. Justin, a master carpenter, hand built their pilot system using water heater elements. Courtney earned a certificate in the Business of Craft Brewing from Portland State University. Justin loves a good stout, while Courtney refers to herself as “more of a DD [Designated Driver].” “It just speaks to our relationship,” said Justin. “She’s got strengths that I don’t have. I have strengths she doesn’t have. We complement each other in that regard.” The retail brewery (read: they won’t bottle or distribute) will debut with some light selections

March / April 2017

for spring; think a pilsner, maybe a lawnmower ale, offered in flights and growler fills. The emphasis here—and this coming from a stout lover—is light. “We don’t want it to be where you have one and think ‘Well I can’t do anything for the rest of the day,’” said Justin. “With all this retail shopping around us, we want it to be something you can do in the middle of the day.” With Intermission’s small batch-size, the couple said they’re able to experiment more than the bigger breweries, but like the idea of keeping it mellow: “We want to be where we can experiment with a touch of sanity,” said Justin.

West End's Best 17


FIRST OF ALL

Cannes on Cary by Elena Marinaccio

How do you say “silver anniversary” in French? This year marks the 25th presentation of the French Film Festival in Richmond, and soon Cary Street will be all dressed up in the French Tricolour. The internationally renowned festival—it’s the largest and most prestigious of its kind outside France—runs March 27 to April 2 and features: a three-day symposium; 30 world and North American premiere screenings, presented by their respective filmmakers and actors at the Byrd Theater; and musical performances, including an acoustic set from founding member of The Police, Henry Padovani. This year’s fest is loosely themed around the marriage of music and film, featuring three live performances, several films about music (Padovani will also be screening his new film Rock N’ Roll …of Corse!) plus screen and face time at the symposium from award-winning film composer Bruno Coulais, who’s bringing Pascale Cuenot’s new film In the tracks of Bruno Coulais, followed by a discussion on music in French cinema. The festival plays host to about 60 actors, directors and other renowned film professionals from Paris and beyond, including the technicians who arrange the screening specs at the Cannes Film Festival. “They’ll tweak the sound system and projectors to show these films in the ultimate conditions,” said festival co-founder Dr. Peter Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick founded the event with his wife, Dr. Françoise Kirkpatrick. They’re professors of French literature, culture and film studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond, respectively. So, Rams or Spiders? One thing the couple agrees on: The Byrd Theatre is the ideal venue for the event. “The Byrd Theatre is a magical place,” said Peter. “Symbolically it’s important because geographically it’s the mid-point between our two academic sponsors.” But Peter also notes the opportunity afforded the filmmakers to screen their films in such a historic setting. “Directors who come to Richmond and have 1,400 people watching their film and reacting to their film—that just can’t happen anymore. It’s amazing for them.” Both professors (and self-affirmed French film buffs) echo the idea of community as elemental to the fest’s ethos, “No one’s hiding out in their hotel room,” said Peter. “You can find all the actors, directors out on Cary Street.” The festival has become such a longstanding place to network that it’s spawned a few films of its own. The co-directors of the 2011 Academy Award-nominated The Intouchables told the Kirkpatricks that they met their film’s producer at the festival, and the film took off from there. As Peter tells it, the pair grabbed him and his wife, full of joy, exclaiming, “This film exists because of Richmond!”

The free three-day symposium French Film: Arts, Science & Technology at Work for Humanity will be held at The Ukrop Auditorium on the University of Richmond campus and at the VCU Grace Street Theater March 27 through 29. Screenings for the 25th French Film Festival run March 27 to April 2 at The Byrd Theatre. For more information visit FrenchFilmFestival.us 18 West End's Best

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Check out our je ne sais quoi with ongoing coverage of the festival on our website, RichmondNavigator.com.

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West End's Best 19


BUSINESS WATCH

Print-Copy-Smash Bill Papierniak — former GM of the Flying Squirrels — tells us the real reason we may want to take a baseball bat to our home printers. by Elena Marinaccio You know that $40 printer you bought on sale? Odds are it’s costing you way more money in the long run. Paired with overpriced name-brand ink cartridges purchased at big box stores or even worse—off-brand ink bought at a steep discount from unverified sellers online—can end up costing you more at home. “People end up spending 26 cents per page when it comes to ink cartridges, when in reality printing should cost them a penny and a half a page,” said Bill Papierniak, who owns two Cartridge World stores in the Richmond area. For your average inkjet printer, the printheads are often built into the cartridges, not the printer itself. Use misaligned cartridges filled with substandard ink and your printer is going to, well, freak out. Error messages, ink system failures, basically everything short of stomping its feet, throwing itself on the ground and refusing to work entirely. It’s estimated that those cheaper cartridges bought online have a failure rate of 15 percent or more. “It’s risky…You won’t get the same performance, and you can potentially do major damage,” said Papierniak, who opened his second franchise last July in Midlothian. Cartridge World, billed as a one-stop shop for individual and business printing, offers those same HP and Lexmark cartridges (Cartridge World Brand) for 20 to 40 percent less than the big box stores. Maybe you shouldn’t be buying ink where you buy you groceries after all. They can also refill your old cartridges with their own brand of ink patented to conform to your printer. “We’ve seen numerous occasions where we’ve had people put knock-off ink in their home printer and it’s ruined the machine,” said Papierniak. Up until two years ago Papierniak worked as general manager of Richmond’s minor league baseball team, the Flying Squirrels. After leaving he Squirrels, he bought his first Cartridge World storefront in Glen Allen. The father of three, who switched careers in order to spend more time with his family, refers to his printing business as something of a “throw back.” He says running a baseball team and working as an entrepreneur function on a lot of the same principles. “I’m really focused on treating people the same way you’d treat them at a baseball game—make sure people are happy, take customer service to another level. It’s the same thing we try to do here,” said Papierniak. “That’s the way businesses used to run.”

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20 West End's Best

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BUSINESS WATCH

Enjoy a Relaxing Getaway to Escape Nails and Spa The recent opening of Wegmans and Cabela’s in the West Broad Marketplace has paved the way for even more retailers and other business owners to bring their products and services to the Far West End. One local businessman, Le Luong, has just opened Escape Nails and Spa in the Marketplace at 12224 W. Broad St. With over 22 years of experience, Le Luong and his friendly staff of nail technicians can offer West Enders the professional, quality service they demand. Luong says that his wife as well as his two daughters are among the members of his staff, which offers patrons a full range of nail and spa services, including spa, sport, sugar scrub and hot stone manicures and pedicures. The spa also offers artificial nails and eyebrow waxing. To celebrate their grand opening in mid-February, Escape Nails and Spa is currently offering a ten-percent discount on all services. The spa is open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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BUSINESS WATCH

Sound Advice by Elena Marinaccio Janice Frederick, who worked as a critical care nurse and then as a nurse in the Army Reserves for 18 years, can’t help but care for her customers like they’re patients. “I have hundreds of ‘patients’ that have these hearing aids and I want to be able to support them all,” said Frederick. This concern is what initially led Frederick to rebrand her two stores (she’s got one in Glen Allen and another in Colonial Heights) to the newly named Aide Hearing Centers. With the continual maintenance and care of hearing aids (usually patients need to come in every three months) Frederick felt she could offer much more to the people she serves this way. “This new company is amazing,” she said, “It’s a total turnaround.” Formerly the site of a Zounds franchise, the new store still offers the Zounds brand along with some bigger names, a larger variety of products and state-of the-art diagnostic tools. “I think it’s good to sell different

brands…people were coming in asking for Bluetooth and newer technology,” said Frederick. “Now we can fully support their needs.” To announce the rebranding, the company hosted two open houses in December and January. “It was amazing; we were slammed,” said Frederick. “We did an amazing amount of sales, and it was fun. We got our new name out there.” She added that sales have been steady since then—a good sign considering business usually slows through the winter, with an uptick in the spring. “The prevailing theory seems to be that the birds are chirping, the sounds of spring—people want to hear all that,” she said. With this new name comes bigger community outreach. Aide Hearing Centers has partnered with the Glen Allen Short Pump Lions Club, with both retail locations serving as collection points for old hearing aids (as well as used ink cartridges and off-contract cell phones). The items are refurbished or recycled into new hearing aids and, through the Lions 24B Hearing Aid Foundation, donated to those in need throughout the region. Many people with hearing impairments are unaware of the program, and Frederick said she’s always handing out assistance applications in her stores. She estimates the program helps about 100 local residents each year.

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22 West End's Best

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SENIORS

Adventures in Aging

with Constance Whitney

Have you had the right talk? We’ve all heard about the importance of having “The Talk,” not the birds and the bees one, the other one. The one where we honestly and succinctly let our loved one know what our wishes are in the event of a catastrophic event. My friends and my family and I have had these discussions numerous times. I can tell you exactly what each one of them wants — whether they want the ‘plug pulled’ or whether they want heroic measures to be taken to keep them alive — and they know in no uncertain terms what my wishes are if it ever happens to me. We had The Talk. We just didn’t have the Right Talk.

In early January, my mom broke her hip. She tripped, and fell, and broke. The break in itself was actually not that bad. The sepsis and infection and a host of other complications were bad… really bad. While a gaggle of doctors and flocks of nurses and therapists worked tirelessly to stop her deterioration and get her on the road of recovery, there was a period where hospice and end-of-life planning were on the board. The only problem: mom and I had never had the right talk. What were her wishes in the event of a devastating, but potentially survivable event, where her quality of life might be, but also might not be, severely diminished? I knew exactly to the letter what her wishes were if she ended up on life support – pull the plug. But what if there was no plug? We never ever talked about that! Deb Campbell, RN, is perhaps one of the kindest women in the world. She is a hospice nurse. Her mission is to help families and patients through this stage of life, and she does it very well. While the medical teams kept work-

ing with my mom, she talked to me. Answered my questions. Dawn Saveley, my mom’s CNA, was as close to an angel as I’ve ever witnessed. Everything she did for my mom was truly filled with caring and love. The gentle nature of both these women empowered me to make the decisions that I needed to make. But what would have really empowered me, what was really needed, in that moment was to have had the right conversation when conversation was still an option. As soon as this crisis was over, I began investigating what exactly needed to be covered in the right conversation. The Conversation Project (TheConversationsProject.org) is a fabulous website dedicated to helping people initiate the right conversations. Statistics show that while 90 percent of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important, only 27 percent actually do it. And while 80 percent of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk about their wishes for medical treatment toward the end of life,

March / April 2017

less than 7 percent of people have actually had that conversation! Trust me, one conversation can make all the difference! The Conversation Project’s website features some great ‘starter kits’ to help you prepare for and have these conversations, including some thought-generating questions that will make you think about your true wishes. For instance, if you are seriously ill, do you want to know all the details about your condition and treatment, or would you prefer to know only the basics? Do you want your doctors making decision or do you want to have a say in every decision? Do you want to continue receiving medical care indefinitely, no matter how uncomfortable treatments are or is your quality of life more important than your quantity? The website includes several starter kits addressing various scenarios and all are designed to get your wishes organized before you sit down to have the conversation — so you can have the right conversation! Don’t delay. Please. Give your loved ones the gift of knowing your wishes.

West End's Best 23


HEALTH

Organics Are Organic Foods Worth the Cost? Well, Yes and No

i

By Angela Weight

t’s my ritual Sunday evening adventure — grocery shopping for the week. Not exactly a James Bond movie plot, but someone’s gotta do it. Like most parents, I walk a fine line between buying the healthiest foods (that my kids will eat) and staying within our budget. As I meander through Kroger’s produce department, masses of vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables compete for my attention and checkbook. Just ahead sits the “high end” section. Organics! Costing an average of 35 cents more per item, you’d expect these bigticket fruits and veggies to look the part — larger, more perfectly shaped, with no blotches and an extended shelf-life. But they’re not. In fact, compared to their conventionally grown, preservative injected, wax polished counterparts, organics often look like the runts of the produce litter. Organically grown meats and dairy products are equally unassuming.

According to the Organic Trade Association, organic food sales have shown steady growth over the past decade, jumping 11 percent in 2014 alone! So, if it isn’t aesthetics or better taste, then what is it that compels people to shell out extra cash for these garden-variety eats? To answer this question, I surveyed RVA residents, grocers and farmers. But first, a little background info. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines organic food as: produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ion-

ORGANIC FOOD SALES JUMPED

11

%

IN 2014 ALONE!

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izing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too. Wow! Those are quite some organic hoops to jump through! Now back to my survey results. Organics shoppers place high priority on the assurance that they’re eating food grown naturally with as few additives as possible. They recognize the dangers of having a strange brew of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs and other unpleasant chemicals churning around in our bodies. Pesticides alone have been linked to many types of cancers such as prostate and bladder, leukemia and lymphoma, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, hormonal imbalances, infertility, depression, chronic allergies, skin conditions and immune disorders, to name a few. Cows and chickens treated with


REDUCE PESTICIDE

growth hormones have long been speculated to cause early puberty in children. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce says that some food items are more prone to contamination from chemicals than others. Apples, celery, bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries and potatoes are referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” because they’re most affected by their growing environment. The EWG estimates that people can reduce their risk of pesticide exposure by a whopping 80 percent if they eat organic versions of these foods. Opposite the Dirty Dozen are the “Clean 15,” avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, sweet peas (frozen), onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, honeydew, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower. These fruits and vegetables have a thick, protective skin, rind or husk which pesticides can’t penetrate well. Therefore, it’s not as important that they’re organically grown. But please, organic or not, always wash all produce before cooking and eating it. For many organics buyers, it’s not necessarily about food safety, but more humane farming practices. Ashley Hall, a mother of two, buys only organic chicken that’s labeled “free range,” as well as cage-free eggs, meaning that they were raised with more room

80

to move around than the average laying hen that doesn’t have enough space to flap her wings. “I can’t in good conscience eat eggs and chicken raised in deplorable conditions,’’ she says. “So, yes, I’m willing to pay more.” Still, though, organics make up a small percentage of U.S. food sales. Most shoppers have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality and, therefore, aren’t willing to spend the extra money. “I haven’t seen enough convincing evidence that organic produce is any better or safer than what I buy at Kroger. Plus, organics go bad sooner than nonorganic produce,” says Katie White of Midlothian.

EXPOSURE BY

%

BY AVOIDING THE

“DIRTY DOZEN”

Certified Organic vs. Locally Grown “A lot of farmers are moving away from organic certification,” says Mark Lilly, founder and owner of Richmond-based Farm to Family aka the Farm Bus — a popular mobile farmers

“From a product standpoint, local is gaining a lot of traction, more so than organics. An apple, for instance, may be certified organic, but might be shipped all the way from Washington State,” Taylor said. “Think of the carbon footprint.” market operating out of a converted school bus. “Getting certified by the USDA is too costly for many of the smaller farms that are already growing foods naturally and organically.” Lilly goes on to say that his customers are more inclined to buy foods that are grown locally by farmers they’re familiar with than large chain supermarket items that were likely shipped hundreds of miles or even internationally from corporate farming operations. “From a product standpoint, local is gaining a lot of traction, more so than March / April 2017

organics. An apple, for instance, may be certified organic, but might be shipped all the way from Washington State. Think of the carbon footprint,’’ says David Taylor, co-owner of Libbie Market. “Our customers would rather buy apples here that come from an orchard in, say, Charlottesville. That orchard might not have the money to go through the certification process, but their apples are still grown safely and naturally. Richmond is a tight-knit, well educated community. Buying local is important to us. We support our own.” As for my own grocery shopping, I’ll be switching to organic versions of the Dirty Dozen for sure. And I’ll make a point to visit more local farmers markets and find out where my family’s foods are coming from, how they’re grown and what additives are included. Because, as the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.”

the Dirty Dozen Fruits and vegetables most affected by their growing environment.

apples • celery bell peppers • peaches strawberries • nectarines grapes • spinach • lettuce cucumbers • blueberries potatoes

the Clean 15 Fruits and vegetables with a thick, protective skin, rind or husk which pesticides can’t penetrate well.

avocados • sweet corn pineapple • cabbage sweet peas (frozen) • onions asparagus • mangoes papayas • kiwi • eggplant honeydew • grapefruit cantaloupe • cauliflower

West End's Best 25


5

Foods

That Are

Surprisingly

Great For Your

Smile! by Louis N. Formica, DDS, MS

March is National Nutrition Month. As we hit the stride of the New Year, here are a few foods to help you smile a little brighter and healthier.

traditional over-the-counter homecare products for turmeric toothpaste, there is certainly a place for this golden spice as an additive to prepared dishes or even in healthy smoothies.

Carrots

Salmon

Often when people think of carrots and health they jump straight to the idea that carrots help your eyesight. Although not as widely known, carrots also help your “eye teeth.” The carrot has crunch and texture, which acts as nature’s toothbrush wiping away plaque that sticks to our teeth and gums. Crunchy vegetables like carrots also help produce significant amounts of saliva which bring in healthy enzymes and minerals to help protect our teeth.

Cheese Researchers have recently shown that among dairy products, cheese may be the best for your choppers. In a study comparing it with milk and yogurt in a control test group, cheese came through as the winner in effectively lowering pH in the mouth after consumption at various time intervals. A lower pH means lower acid content which can be protective of our tooth enamel.

Turmeric While more of a spice than a food, turmeric has been shown to combat dental plaque, gum inflammation and microbial colonies. Several studies have also linked turmeric to reductions in oral cancer cells. While I would not jump to trading in your

If you don’t live in a sunny area, most adults are deficient in vitamin D. Fatty fish, like salmon, contain high amounts of vitamin D without the negative side effects of the sun’s rays. Vitamin D is critical for helping your body absorb calcium from your diet. Vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand to contribute to healthy mineralization of your teeth.

Green tea Want fresh breath — try green tea. Polyphenols found in green tea have been shown to kill bacteria and suppress their byproducts leading to improved breath freshness. One study has shown that green tea had a better effect on breath freshness than mints or gum. Green tea also contains a host of other antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and promote healthy gums. Use fluoridated water to steep your next green tea for an added healthy tooth bonus! Virginia Family Dentistry is a group practice of more than 50 doctors specializing in Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Dental Implants, Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Endodontics, Cosmetic and General Dentistry. With 12 convenient locations in the Richmond Metro Area, we can assist you in creating your youthful smile. For a location near you, visit VAdentist.com.

Our three West End locations: Staples Mill, (804) 672-4900; Short Pump, (804) 364-7010; Patterson/Parham, (804) 364-7090 — VAdentist.com 26 West End's Best

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Dr. Louis Formica earned his Doctoral Degree in Dental Surgery from Virginia Commonwealth University. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Formica completed his undergraduate education at NYU and attended Columbia University to earn a Master’s degree in Nutrition with honors. Our oral and general wellness is largely mediated by nutrition, and Dr. Formica’s background provides a unique lens to assist his patients identify and improve both their oral and systemic health. Dr. Formica has been recognized for his research bridging the fields of nutrition and dentistry by the prestigious Pierre Fauchard Academy and American Dental Association. Dr. Formica is a general dentist at Virginia Family Dentistry’s Tri-Cities location.


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West End's Best 27


A RADIANT SUMMER Beauty insider Susie Galvez’ tips for getting beach ready

B

elieve it or not, summer is around the corner. This might be a wakeup call for those of us who aren’t even close to being ready to bare arms…legs… or more. The good news? We still have time to embrace the challenge and get beach ready. Bathing Suit. (Pause for effect.) Yes, the BS season has arrived in stores in all colors, materials, sizes, and various hidden armor techniques to help flatten, lift, lessen, smooth and basically smoke and mirror all of our wobbly bits, as the Brits say. From padding for the bust, to control panels to hold in tummy and smooth bums, most fabrics contain lycra or spandex to keep the suit’s shape while providing all over body toning. Even the fabric patterns are designed to create the most flattering fit. To find your perfect fit, make an appointment with a bathing suit fit specialist. This service is usually complimentary, but will require an appointment. Plan about an hour. The fit specialist will take measurements, ask about your lifestyle and personal approach to fashion, offer tips for a beautiful fit and show you designs that work best for your body. Nordstrom.com and Everythingbutwater.com offer great resources to find out more about fit and styles. Okay the hard part is over.

28 West End's Best

Now it’s time to jazz up your soon-to-be more exposed parts. Your skin has been under wraps for months, challenged with arid indoor environments and wet, windy and cold outside air. It’s finally time to renew, refresh, and rehydrate your skin. Here’s how to get your glow on:

EXFOLIATE. EXFOLIATE. EXFOLIATE. By removing the old, dry skin cells, your skin, both face and body, is instantly revived. But RichmondNavigator.com

using the proper exfoliating product is a must. Always make sure you’re using a product designed specifically for your face—that skin is much more sensitive than the rest of your body. Once or twice weekly, depending on the product, will keep your facial skin at its beautiful best, your makeup application easy and your look flawless. The body exfoliant, or scrub as it is often called, is designed to remove dead skin, increas-


About Face by Elena Marinaccio

YOU ing circulation and providing a smooth, softer, surface. There are many different types of exfoliating products on the market, from sugar and salt to loofas, brushes and exfoliating pads. Always read the product’s directions before applying. When in doubt, always opt for the gentler option for your skin type to lessen irritation. After your exfoliating treatment, be sure to apply a moisturizer. Now that the dead skin has been removed, re-hydrating the skin is essential to replenish moisture levels and keep that fresh glow.

BODY CONTOURING PRODUCTS Beauty companies have finally created products that really help smooth dimpled, loose skin and help lessen the appearance of cellulite that typically forms on the arms, upper thighs, buttocks and abdomen. While there is no lotion on the market that will obliterate unsightly cellulite or cratered skin for good, body contouring creams are being praised for dramatically reducing the appearance of dimpled skin for up to 24 hours and even longer when used daily. Many contouring products contain natural ingredients such as caffeine, seaweed, herbs, spices and bioflavonoids designed to break down or dehydrate fat cells, making skin appear smoother.

TANNING No sun required or desired! Instead opt for a safe tan. Spray tanning is the perfect way to get some glow without the damage imparted from sun or bed tanning. Of course, you could try this at home, but why would you—if you knew how easy, longer lasting, and fully covering a professional spray tan can be. Tammy Booker, owner of Studio Bronze in Ashland, VA, shared that not all spray tans are created equal. Studio Bronze uses a natural organic vegetable product to tint the skin. She adds that her exclusive formula contains antiaging peptides and vitamins that also nourish the skin, “And the end result is not only a tan that perfectly matches your skin tone, you will look as though you just walked off the beach.” While this article is “itsy, bitsy” like the teeny, yellow bikini song, hopefully it is long enough to make you want to dip your toe in the summer time water. And it will get you thinking and planning for your 2017 summertime beauty regime that is sure to have you smooth, bronze and fabulous! Beach Baby Beach!

Susie Galvez

is an international image consultant, speaker, author, beauty industry expert For more, visit www.susiegalvez.com March / April 2017

“If you come in for a Brazilian, I’m going to tell you it’s going to be uncomfortable,” says Laurie Wells, owner of Sculpture Total Skin Care. She certainly doesn’t mince words. And while Brazilian waxes might be old hat for her, we went to Richmond’s leading corrective med spa to get the scoop on the area’s newest facial treatment: a non-surgical facelift called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP). “First, we draw your blood, then we spin it around to remove the red and white blood cells,” says Wells. Sounds simple enough. The spinning she’s referring to separates out the various components in the blood and supercharges the platelets—in fact, PRP has been around for decades, helping athletes heal from sports-related injuries. When this souped-up plasma is topically applied after a facial treatment with a sterile micro-needle, it jumpstarts the skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin. Clients often immediately notice a natural glow, with the smoothing of fine lines, wrinkles and scars over the following weeks. The procedure is especially popular among people with acne scarring and is a preferred option for those who want the benefits of Botox without injecting synthetic fillers. As with any new procedure introduced at Sculpture, Wells (a Licensed Master Aesthetician), along with her staff of skin and medical professionals, have all personally experienced the PRP treatment. “You won’t have a service here that we haven’t proven on ourselves. We can talk about it in detail, answer questions, tell people what it feels like,” says Wells, who’s owned and managed Sculpture Total Skin Care at 11000 Three Chopt Rd. for over a decade. “We don’t give anyone unrealistic expectations.” She says the downtime after a treatment of PRP is about three days, and you can expect some redness or spotting. Procedures like this (along with many of the other medical-grade spa treatments and minor plastic surgery procedures that Sculpture offers) require follow-up and/or check-ins with the client, a service, Wells says, many other med spas may skimp on. “For any procedure like this there should be a follow-up to make sure you’re healing correctly. That’s our big thing. I want to make you feel better about yourself in a safe and healthy way.” SPONSORED MESSAGE

West End's Best 29


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Bringing You the Best of Local Food Dining & Drinks, Recipes & News

ISO: Comfort Food....39

tastebudz................... 42

Beer Budz.....................45 Happy Hour Guide................48

AZZURRO RESTAURANT TOASTED PEPPERONI PIZZA Brick oven toasted pepperoni, goat cheese, roasted red peppers

Photo: Camille Robinson


Elegant, yet relaxed. Some of the best brick oven pizza in Richmond! Dine inside or revel in the ambience of Fall’s pleasant weather on our inviting patio with repit. From a casual lunch Monday-Friday to celebratory dinners, the awardwinning Azzurro is the ideal choice. www.azzurros.com

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ZOUP! FOR YOUR GROUP

Award-Winning, Creative Catering That Brings People Together

Zoup! Parkside Marketplace 10835 West Broad Street • Glen Allen, VA 804.823.6446 • zoup.com 32 West End's Best

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Comfort Food Joey’s Hot Dogs

4028 COX ROAD; 804-651-4108 JOEYSHOTDOGS.COM The nostalgic atmosphere and fast, friendly service, complemented by a delicious Joey Dog, grilled to perfection and perfectly dressed with mustard, onions, and delicious homemade chili, will have you feeling oh so comfortable. There is something for everyone including Brats, NY Hot Sausage and Veggie Dogs, plus homemade side dishes, desserts and old-fashioned glass bottle drinks. “We even have treats for the kids who use their manners,” says owner Joey Mirabile. So belly up to the counter, order two “all the way” and share some stories with the locals who have been eating at this landmark for years.

Zoup

10835 W. BROAD ST. 804-823-6446; ZOUP.COM Regardless of the weather, some days a hot bowl of delicious soup is just what you’re craving. At Zoup!, you’ll always find 12 rotating daily varieties, including soups that are low-fat, vegetarian, dairy-free, spicy or made with gluten-free ingredients and served with a hunk of freshly baked bread. The Lobster Bisque is one of our favorites. Ahh, just imagine, mellow, real-cream soup with lobster, crawfish, butter and a hint of sherry. Now, that’s comforting.

March / April 2017

West End's Best 33


Comfort Food Capital Ale House

4024 COX ROAD (INNSBROOK) 804-780-2537; CAPITALALEHOUSE.COM The amazing selection of exceptional beers is what brings folks in to Capital Ale House, but the friendly service and delicious food bring them back. There’s a lot of comfort on the menu, from appetizing small plates and shareables to tasty burgers, steaks and seafood. One of our favorites is the Chicken, Shrimp & Andouille Pasta, served with a creamy Creole Alfredo sauce, fresh baby spinach and cavatappi pasta.

Azzurro Restaurant

6221 RIVER ROAD (RIVER ROAD SHOPPING CENTER); 804-282-1509; AZZURROS.COM Whether seated on their softly-lit patio or inside near the crackling fireplace, there’s something very comforting about dining at Azzurro. This award-winning restaurant embodies an elegant, yet warm, intimate ambience. The extensive menu offers a wide selection of tasty antipasti dishes, fresh salads, delicious Italian entrees and pastas. The brick oven pizzas are a special delight. The Brick Oven Toasted Pepperoni Pizza is topped with goat cheese and roasted red pepper.

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Comfort Food Julep's

420 E. GRACE ST.; 804-377-3968; JULEPS.NET With its friendly, professional staff, its warm atmosphere enhanced by the historical building in which the restaurant is located, and the amazing culinary creations coming from chef Brandon Bundy’s kitchen, Julep’s combines elegance and comfort. Pictured here is Bundy’s Pan Seared Scallops, created with Woodson Mill polenta, tomato, oyster mushrooms, drawn paprika butter, buttermilk and bleu cheese. To many, there’s added comfort in knowing it’s totally gluten-free.

Carytown Burgers & Fries

CARYTOWN: 3500-1/2 W. CARY ST.; 804-358-5225 SHORT PUMP: 200 TOWNE CENTER W. BLVD.; 804-447-9443 LAKESIDE: 5404 LAKESIDE AVE.; 804-266-5333 CARYTOWNBURGERS.COM Since 2001, Owner Mike Barber has been delighting and comforting Richmonders with his fantastic burgers and fries. Come, discover why Carytown Burger & Fries is regularly voted #1 year after year. The Kojak Burger features bacon, a fried egg and American cheese on top of a 1/3-pound Schweid and Sons fresh (never frozen!) beef burger, topped with “The Works” (mayo, mustard, pickles, onions, lettuce and tomato).

March / April 2017

West End's Best 35


Comfort Food Cupertino’s NY Bagels and Deli

3621 COX ROAD; 804-747-4005; CUPERTINOSBAGELS.COM There’s something special about starting your day with friends and with a hearty morning meal. That’s what you get when you visit this family-run place providing from-scratch, kettle-boiled bagels, plus sandwiches & baked goods.The Lumberjack Bagelwich offers double Smithfield sausage, double cheese, double egg on a kettleboiled, hearth-fired everything bagel.

Patina Restaurant and Bar

3416 LAUDERDALE DR.; 804-360-8500; PATINARVA.COM Chef Mike Crowley prepares each dish using sustainable, organic, local and ethical products whenever possible. The menu changes every season, and daily specials are constantly rotated out to reflect local and seasonal availability. When you dine at Patina, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re enjoying the best possible food and service. Patina’s Shrimp and Grits feature sautéed Gulf shrimp served over Byrd Mill yellowstone grits, with redeye gravy, radishes and scallions.

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tastebudz with Elena Marinaccio and Steve Cook

First, I want to welcome a brand-new Taste Bud, our new Managing Editor here at West End’s Best Magazine, Elena Marinaccio. If you’re wondering where Whitney Kiatsuranon is, we’ll tell you more about her at the end of this column. As for Elena, I’m guessing that she probably didn’t know when she signed up for the job that she’d be required to eat her way around the Metro area. But she’s a trooper. So, let’s take a look at what’s new on the food and beverage scene.

WHO WAS THAT MARSCARPONED MAN: There’s a mystery dessert chef among us. I stopped by Chianti the other night to sample their new wine list and instead came face-to-face with several new selections of cheesecake. “Here’s the thing—it’s a totally different taste,” Marta Bussa, coowner of Chianti, told me one night before dinner service. “None of them are overly sweet.” While most of the desserts at Chianti, like their jumbo-sized cannoli and delicate grilled pear panna cotta, are housemade, Marta says they outsourced the newest addition to their dessert menu—and for good reason. “We always try to do too much: cooking, managing,” she told me at the family-run restaurant in Gayton Crossing. “We have this friend, and he makes these cheesecakes and he just kept saying ‘try it, try it’ and we’re so glad we did.” This anonymous pasticciere—a certain local Sicilian baker and personal friend of the Bussas, who for the time being shall remain nameless—whips up a variety of cheesecakes, each with a crumbly salty-sweet graham cracker crust. He’s certainly bucking the ricotta-based traditions of Sicily with his creations—Marta says he opts for a mix of cream cheese and mascarpone. Flavors range from intense pistachio to sky-high vanilla topped with strawberry mousse. (EM) March / April 2017

CRAFTY PAIR: There are two delicious sounding craft beer dinners happening this spring at Mosaic Restaurant (6229 River Road). First up: on March 24, a five-course wild game menu paired with some Blue Mountain Brewery favorites: BMB standbys, Full Nelson VPA and Kolsch 151, as well as a special edition, smallreserve Maibock and a pair of bourbon barrel aged brews, Local Species (an experimental Belgo-American ale) and Dark Hollow imperial stout. At press time Shane Rogan, the assistant GM, told me they were still experimenting with the menu to include elk, rabbit and alligator. “We’re still playing with dessert—that’s the fun one. We’re working on something chocolate, maybe working rendered game fat into the dish,” Shane said. The River Road restaurant and Richmond mainstay will also host an Ardent Beer and Oyster pairing menu later this April. Shane says specifics are still in the works, but the multi-course menu will include all local oysters, highlighting different preparations and flavor profiles. (EM)

MUCH MORE THAN SAND-WICHES: I’m talking about the most amazing food festival that I’ve ever attended — the annual OBX Taste of the Beach, which takes place from March 23 to 26. I went a few years ago and if you call yourself a true foodie (I’m just a person who loves to eat), you absolutely need to go. There are nearly 100 events at local restaurants and other venues throughout the entire region over a four-day period. The schedule includes everything from a Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2016 tasting to a BBQ and Wing Showdown to Oyster and Seafood events. For full details,check out the website (OBXTasteOfTheBeach.com). I don’t think you’ll be able to resist this one. (SC) West End's Best 39


tastebudz SPREAD ‘EM: “This is the first thing we’ve ever done like this,” Nino Palazzotto tells me as regulars stream in to Cupertino’s New York Bagels and Deli through the late morning. Nino makes everything inhouse here, and starting in late April, the deli will offer what he calls a “garden selection” of gourmet spreads, using their housemade cream cheese and locally sourced produce. First up: Sundried Tomato Basil, Herbes de Provence and Raspberry Vinaigrette—the latter contains fresh raspberries as well as a raspberry-balsamic reduction. Now, when I say that there are regulars in the deli, what I mean is that Nino seems to know everyone who walks through that door. While chatting in one of the window booths over a Nova Lox Bagelwich, we are politely interrupted by a woman carrying out a togo bag. “You know you have the best cream cheese—you do!” She’s like a proud, doting grandmother. She practically pinches his cheeks. This seems to be the norm here at Cupertino’s. “It’s been my life since I can remember,” Nino tells me. He grew up in his parent’s restaurant, Angela’s in the Tuckahoe Shopping Plaza, and then worked at Cupertino’s for five years before purchasing the deli, tucked away off Cox Rd. in Twin Oaks Commons, in 2015. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.” If you’re not out near Innsbrook, you can grab Cupertino’s kettleboiled, hearth-baked bagels throughout the city, at Lamplighter’s Coffee Roasters, Ellwood Thompson and Whole Foods. (EM)

LEADER OF THE PACK: When it comes to gourmet burgers, which have, in the past couple of years, become a big deal to Richmond foodies, Mike Barber, owner of Carytown Burgers & Fries (CarytownBurgers.com), would have to be considered the leader of the pack. I had the privilege of meeting Mike a couple of week ago and I can certainly understand why Carytown Burgers keeps being selected as the best hamburger joint around these parts year in and year out. He’s been studying the business since he was, literally, about five years old. While I do love to exaggerate, I’m telling the truth about this. When you see Mike ask him to explain and to tell you about his recipe collection. Did you know that there are now three Carytown Burgers & Fries locations around town — ­ Carytown, Short Pump and Lakeside. And did you know that you can order online (see website above) and that they deliver? Okay, maybe you did know all that. But did you know that Mike and his fantastic staff are tweaking the menu and are about to unveil some new items. One of those items is the Pork BBQ Fries, which is a whole “boatload” of their Famous Fries topped with pork carnitas, BBQ sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. These fries are a meal in themselves! But I’m betting you can’t go in without having a burger.(SC) 40 West End's Best

GOING NUTS OVER THE FOOD: The Richmond Flying Squirrels have proven since just about day one that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy heading out to the Diamond. In fact, you might want to go just for the food. Whitney and I had the chance to meet with Josh Barban, the team’s head chef and director of food and beverage, recently. Josh had prepared a few of the delicacies that fans will be enjoying this year. My favorite was the West Coast Dog. This ain’t your average hot dog. It’s topped with jalapeno-mango barbecue sauce, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and chipotle mayonnaise. Much like a Hunter Strickland fastball, this dog has a little heat to it. The thing that Josh is most excited about is a spin (maybe I should say a “curve”) on your everyday mac and cheese. This baseball-shaped dish features battered, deep-fried macaroni and cheese, with smoked beef brisket mixed in and topped with a moonshine sauce. Josh says that it’s a “complete Southern meal all in one.” (SC)

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK: It seems like everything in Jack Brown’s has a story. The place is known for their burgers, beer and garage sale chic, and, as Alex Kontos, who’s the GM over there, will tell you, “We want you to feel like you’re hanging out with friends in their basement bar.” The Grove and Libbie watering hole (5810 Grove Ave.) is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this month, and in the spirit of all things I love (mainly bitter romances, vintage anything, and staying off Facebook), I present to you Alex’s story behind those cool little lockers that decorate the front of the bar. “The owners [Aaron Ludwig and Mike Sabinare], collect get everything and come in personally to decorate each restaurant. When they installed the lockers one of them found two names written inside the locker…etched into the metal.” You know how it looks—a boy’s and girl’s names encircled by a heart—signifying their undying teenage love. So, the owners got curious. They exercised their Google-fu, using the names and school where they’d picked up the lockers, and tried to hunt down these high school sweethearts. “They found the girl,” Alex tells me. “They contacted her on Facebook. And…you’ll never guess. She said she didn’t even remember who the boy was.” I guess not all anniversaries are worth celebrating… (EM)

HAVE YOU HEARD? You can now hear Whitney on the air with TasteBudz Minutes. These tidbits offering the latest restaurant, food and brewery news can be heard throughout the day on Wednesdays through Fridays on The Wolf - 98.9; Hank FM - 98.3 and BBT 107.3. That means there are now more avenues to share your restauirant news with our readers and listeners Even if you just want to tell us about a great dining experience, email us at TasteBudz@ RichmondNavigator.com

RichmondNavigator.com


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Kona Grill has options for every party size and appetite, so you can please your guests with all the flavors they love. Not to mention the included clean up. Call today to discuss your next event! WEST BROAD STREET VILLAGE 11221 West Broad Street Glen Allen, VA 23060 804-364-5660 • www.konagrill.com

March / April 2017

West End's Best 41


AIDE Hearing Centers

SHO AN RT P D O UM NLY P’S BRE FIRS WE T RY

• Brand names you know and trust • Extensive selection of products and the latest technologies (including Bluetooth)

Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant

• State-of-the-art diagnostic testing tools • Visual ear exams and hearing evaluations Visit us at our Glen Allen location:

11800 West Broad St.

Located inside Short Pump Town Center (804) 237-1684 • RockBottom.com

10831 West Broad St.

(804) 716-6731

Celebrating Great Food + Service for 20 years! Nourish Body & Soul while preserving the highest level of quality, service and value.

Our ever-changing menus feature healthy, eclectic, world cuisine combined with local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes appealing to any palate. Full-service bar, al fresco dining and room for groups of all sizes. 14 craft beers and wine on tap.

Sunday 10am-9pm Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm Happy Hour with NEW bar bites menu Monday to Friday 3pm-7pm 6229-A River Road, River Road Shopping Center, Richmond, VA 23229 • 804-288-7482 • mosaicedibles.com/restaurant/richmond

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r e e B udz B Beer Budz is our brand new feature where we’ll be highlighting some of Richmond’s most anticipated beer releases from the region’s 30-plus breweries. With five new brewpubs slated to open in 2017 alone, our beer scene is growing like mad and we’ll be there to cover it.

Legend Brewery 321 W. 7th St.; LegendBrewing.com Utebier Ale – 5.8% ABV Medium body, golden-orange color Available now through April “Utepils” literally means “outside beer” and in Norway it’s the beer you have when it’s finally nice enough to sit outside for a drink. Celebrate spring—and Richmond’s oldest standing brewery—at Legend’s annual anniversary party on April 15. “A medium bodied ale balanced with honey malts and Amarillo hops for a tropical aroma and a very crisp mouthfeel. The perfect first beer to have on a sunny day.” — Jason Valez, hospitality manager

Extra Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewery

Strangeways Brewing

1110 Alverser Dr., Midlothian; ExtraBillys.com Vinny the Chin Vienna lager – 5% ABV

2277 Dabney Rd.; StrangewaysBrewing.com

Medium-light to medium body, light reddish to copper color

O.T.I.S. Cucumber Melon Sour – 5% ABV

Available starting late March or early April

Available April 15, with Gin and Tequila Variants out April 22

Back by popular demand, Vinny the Chin is making its second round at the brewery since its original release last spring. Jason Harr, co-owner at the longstanding BBQ restaurant, says the lager pairs best with smoked sausage. “There’s an aroma of German malt and light toasted malt, with a clean lager character and low noble hop aroma. There’s a subtle sweetness balanced with hops for a fairly dry finish.” — Dylan Brooks, brewmaster

Named for the Beer Den’s honorary bulldog mascot, this wild sour ale represents a truly collaborative effort in experimentation between brewers and local beer enthusiasts. Brewer Mike Hiller says both variants give the beer “a bit of a cocktail edge.” “We wanted to create a light, tart beer with some unique combination of flavors, and we settled on honeydew melons and cucumbers which combine for an ethereal taste.” — Mike Hiller, head brewer

Post your own tasting notes for these releases on Facebook with the hashtag #RVABeerBudz for a chance to win prizes, such as dining certificates, Flying Squirrel tickets and more. March / April 2017

West End's Best 43


Kona Grill

Café Caturra

Become a Konavore at this hip West End eatery offering sushi, steak, salads great appetizers and more Monday through Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Sunday, all day Reverse happy hour (at the end of the evening): Monday through Thursday, 9 to 11 p.m.; Friday/Saturday, 10 p.m. to midnight. Mules (Moscow, London, Kentucky) – $7 Ultimate Martini – $7.75 Sake sangria (red, white and sparkling) – $6.75 Draft beer: Bud Light – $3.75; Sam Adams seasonal – $4.25 Select Wines – $5.75 Margarita – $5.25 Select sushi rolls, includes Atlantic, Philly, tuna – half off Flatbread pizzas – $6.50 Twin cheeseburger slider, two four-ounce cheeseburgers with fries & homemade pickles – $6.50

Enjoy a wide variety of café delights from coffee, lunch, brunch or a light dinner with wine by the fireplace. Monday through Friday 3 to 6 p.m. Selected wines by the glass – $5 Beer (draft or bottle) – $1 off Breads and spreads – $4 Crostinis – $5 Spinach Artichoke Dip – $1 off

11221 W. Broad St.; 804-364-5660; KonaGrill.com

5811 Grove Ave.; 804-285-0690; CafeCaturra.com

One more thing: Kona Grill offers several other appetizer specials, mostly around $6.50 per plate. During the early happy hours, all wines by the glass are $2 off.

Maya Modern Mexican

4348 Pouncey Tract Road; 804-360-0092; MayaRVA.com Fine Mexican food in a white table cloth setting offering small plates and craft cocktails in the heart of Short Pump. Sunday through Thursday 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Don Enrique – $8 Margaritas Classica – $6 Grande Margarita – $10 Spanish Chardonnay – $6.95 V. No Malbec – $6.95 Draft Pints – $3 Bocaditos – $6.95 (Bar Nibbles): Conchinitos Nachos, Chicken Quesadillas, Queso Fundido, Tacos (2 chicken or 2 carnitas).

One more thing: This is not just a wine and beer spot. Join them for Martini Tuesday’s. featuring Lemon and basil, Espresso, Very berry and Blood orange – $5

Osaka Sushi River Road

5023 Huguenot Road; 804-288-8801; OsakaSushiVa.com Chill eatery serving sushi, steaks & other Japanese fare plus wines by the glass. Daily from 5 to 7 p.m. at the bar only. Bottled Beer (Estralla Damm “Daura” (Gluten-Free), Asahi Super Dry – $3 Sho Chiku Bai Hot Sake (180ml) – $4 Red or White wine by the glass – $5 Highballs – $5 Fuego Roll – $5 Minion Roll – $5 Beef spring roll – $5 Lump crabcake – $6 One more thing: Purchase a $50 gift certificate and receive a $10 certificate for yourself.

One more thing: Serving brunch from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Brunch features 3 different types of guacamole or try all three for the great price of $15 dollars. If you’re not super hungry then you can try a small plate or two or order off their ceviche or taco bar.

Burger Bach Short Pump

2225 Old Brick Road; 804-716-6748; TheBurgerBach.com This popular family-friendly burger spot features a great variety of burgers for both carnivores and vegetarians alike. Monday through Friday 4 to 6 p.m. Drafts – $1 off Burger Bach lemonade or limeade – $5 Red or white pours – $5 Oysters – $1

For a more extensive guide visit

RichmondNavigator.com/flavor/happy-hour-guide 44 West End's Best

RichmondNavigator.com


RichmondNavigator

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Daily Specials Gluten-Free Pizza and Pasta Dine-In or Take-Out See Our Catering Menu

CUPERTINO'S NEW YORK BAGELS 3621 Cox Road Suite A, Henrico 804-747-4005

Catering for All Your Special Occasions

CupertinosBagels.com

740-5050

Gayton Crossing Shopping Center 1304 Gaskins Rd.

Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 4-9pm

www.ChiantiRichmond.com March / April 2017

West End's Best 45


RICHMOND FLYING SQUIRRELS HOME OPENER PROUD DOUBLE-A AFFILIATE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS APRIL

April 6th at 7:05PM Dueling fireworks following the game!

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EXHIBITORS FROM ACROSS THE MID-ATLANTIC

Arts • Enrichment • Sports day & overnight camps DETAILS AT: RFMonline.com 46 West End's Best

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Events Calendar by West End’s Best staff

Calendar Highlights MAR 17, MAR 31, APR 28

Arena Racing

Exciting, family-oriented entertainment which features ARENACARS®, real half-scale stock cars racing around a half-million dollar, high-banked race track. Richmond Coliseum / ArenaRacingUSA.com

APR 25 - 30 , 2017

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

APR 23

Steve Martin & Martin Short Expect nonstop laughs as the hilarious duo of Steve Martin and Martin Short recall their iconic careers, creative influences and memorable encounters, uniquely presented through banter, singing and banjo playing. Steve Martin began his career on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which he earned his first Emmy Award for writing in 1969. During the mid-‘70s he shone as a stand-up on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and appeared on HBO’s On Location and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Martin’s widely popular films include The Jerk, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Roxanne, Parenthood and Father of the Bride. Martin Short, a celebrated comedian and actor, has won fans and accolades in TV, film and theater since his breakout season on Saturday Night Live almost 30 years ago. He became a fan favorite for his portrayal of characters such as Ed Grimley, lawyer Nathan Thurm and “legendary songwriter” Irving Cohen. He made his debut in Three Amigos, followed by roles in Inner Space, Three Fugitives, Father of the Bride, Clifford, Mars Attacks!, Madagascar 3 and Frankenweenie. 7:30 p.m. / Altria Theatre / AltriaTheater.com TICKETS: Tickets available October 14 at the Altria Theater and Dominion Arts Center Box Offices, online at etix.com, and charge by phone 1-800-514-3849. TICKET PRICES:$69.50-$250

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, Beautiful has a book by Tony® Award-nominee and Academy® Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince and took home two 2014 Tony® Awards and the 2015 Grammy® for Best Musical Theater Album. Beautiful is currently playing to sold out crowds at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway. Recommended for ages 10 and up. See Altria Theatre website for show times / Altria Theatre / AltriaTheatre.com TICKETS: Purchase Beautiful as part of a 5-show Broadway In Richmond package! Visit broadwayinrichmond.com for details or call 804-592-3401. Individual show tickets available at Altria Theater and Dominion Arts Center Box Offices, online at etix.com, and charge by phone 1-800-514-3849. TICKET PRICES:$43+

March / April 2017

West End's Best 47


Events Calendar by West End’s Best staff

EVERY SUNDAY

MARCH 24 – 26

Bottoms Up Pizza BottomsUpPizza.com

This premier event for horse owners, riders and enthusiasts offers three days of shopping, seminars, demos and clinics. Special guest and international horseman and entertainer Guy McLean will showcase his skills on all three days. New this year: Secretariat’s Birthday Celebration on March 24 from 7 – 10 p.m., including celebrity appearances and autograph signings by the Secretariat Racing Team, and a showing of the Secretariat movie with commentary by the Secretariat Team.

Butterbean Jazz Quartet

Virginia Horse Show

MARCH 10

The Harlem Globetrotters

A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages.

7 p.m. / For ticket info visit RichmondColiseum.net / Richmond Coliseum, 601 E. Leigh St.

MAR 19, APR 9

Kayak Pool/Roll Clinic Learn the various techniques for rolling a kayak in a calm environment. We also work on hand rolls and combat rolls (in current) with intermediate paddlers. Tuckahoe YMCA RVApaddlesports.com/package/kayak-roll-clinics/

MARCH 23- 26

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Out of This World Farewell Tour After 146 years, the tents come down. But for one more time, moms and dads and kids of all ages will be on the edge of their seats as they enjoy heart- pounding spectacles of gravity-defying feats, magnificent animals, and unforgettable thrills. For show times and ticket info visit Richmond Coliseum.net / Richmond Coliseum, 601 E. Leigh St.

APRIL 7

An Evening With Delbert McClinton Multi-Grammy Award winner Delbert McClinton appears on stage at the historic Beacon Theatre. Doors open 6:30 p.m. / $35–$105 / The Beacon Theatre, 401 N. Main St., Hopewell / TheBeaconTheatreVA.com

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$10–15 Adult 1-Day Ticket; $8–$10 Child (ages 5–12) 1-Day Ticket; children 4 and younger admitted free with a paid adult admission; $20–25 Three-Day Pass; $80 Secretariat Birthday Celebration Ticket / The Meadow Event Park / 13048 Dawn Blvd. | Doswell, VA | (804) 994-2800 / VirginiaHorseFestival.com

MARCH 31

Hotel California Hotel California faithfully and accurately reproduces the sound of the Eagles’ studio recordings while recreating a classic sound which undeniably transcends the boundaries of Rock, R&B, and Country while delivering a modern, action-packed performance


that brings this timeless music into the new millennium. 6:30 p.m. / $20 - $75 / The Beacon Theatre, 401 N. Main St., Hopewell / TheBeaconTheatreVA.com

MARCH 25

RVA Brews & Blues Fest Steam Bell Beer Works’ first annual RVA Brews & Blues. The brewery will be releasing a small batch beer, Old Salt Gose, and will have Intergalactic Tacos  and Eastern Star food trucks out all day. Bands include: Albert Castiglia Band; Anthony Rosano and The Conqueroos; Andrew Alli and The Mainline; Band of Brothers; Mike Lucci Band. 1 p.m. until ? / Steam Bell Beer Works, 1717 Oak Lane Blvd. West, Midlothian / SteamBell.beer

grounds. Children’s brochures and picnic area available. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. / $12 adult | $7 child (ages 6-16) / Berkley Plantation, 12602 Harrison Landing Rd., Charles City, VA (804) 829-6018 / BerkleyPlantation.com

APRIL 14

Dining on Dirt

MAY 6

Food Truck Rally 5K The Food Truck Rally 5K blends the best of both worlds! After the run, join us for an amazing food truck rally featuring 10-15+ local food trucks. Richmond International Raceway FoodTruckRally5k.com/richmond-va

Onions have layers, ogres have layers, cakes have layers, and so does our soil. Stop by the nature center to learn how we decode the different layers of soils, while getting a little dirty and satisfying our sweet tooth at the same time. 3–4 p.m. / Pocahontas State Park Nature Center / 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield / dcr.virginia. gov/state-parks/pocahontas

APRIL 6

Flying Squirrels Baseball Opening Night Celebration & Dueling Fireworks presented by Chick-fil-A, Fas Mart and Virginia Putative Father Registry. The Diamond, 3001 N. Boulevard, Richmond / For schedule and info on ticket prices and special promotions, visit SquirrelsBaseball.com.

MAY 6

Relay for Life Cancer has touched many of us in some way, so we decided to fight back by raising funds and walking in our local American Cancer Society Relay For Life event. Pocahontas Middle School RelayForLife.org

MAY 7

Pedal through Petals A Guided Cycling Tour of Richmond’s Gardens and most beautiful architecture on your bike! The Valentine / Eventbrite.com

MAY 13

APRIL 8

Richmond Roughriders Arena Football Arena Football returns as the Richmond Roughriders open the season at home in the Coliseum against the Birmingham Outlawz.

7 p.m. / Tickets & schedules, visit RichmondRoughriders.com / Richmond Coliseum, 601 E. Leigh St.

APRIL 23, 24, 25

James River Plantations Historic Garden Week Tour Berkeley, Shirley and Westover Plantations celebrate Historic Garden Week. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of gardens throughout the state. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. / $45 Berkley Plantation, 12602 Harrison Landing Rd., Charles City, VA (804) 829-6018 / VAGardenWeek.org

MAY 6–21

Richmond’s Homearama 2017

APRIL 8 – 16

Children’s Nature Hunt Free with a regular-priced admission ticket. Bring the family to Berkeley and learn its amazing history while searching for treasures along the river shore, gardens and

The Jimmy Dean Music Fest With Special Guest Star Loretta Lynn

The Home Building Association of Richmond presents Richmond’s Homearama 2017, New Market Estates at RoundTrey. This exciting show will feature 10 new homes. Each home is furnished, decorated and filled with the latest building and design trends.

Country music legend Loretta Lynn will headline Jimmy Dean Music Festival to be held at the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell. The stars of the Old Dominion Barn Dance — Donna Meade, Tony Jackson, Lynne Carnes, Lee Blasingame, the Peanut City Cloggers and Danny Menzies and the Barn Burners — will also perform in the show. Door, 6 p.m. / $70–$155 / Beacon Theatre, 401 N. Main St., Hopewell / TheBeaconTheatreVA.com

New Market Estates, 2307 Farham Lane, Midlothian / For more info visit, HBAR.org

March / April 2017

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Home Buyers’ Desires HOME

A LOOK AT TODAY’S TRENDS by Jordan Langley

T

he American dream, to some, includes home ownership — a place of one’s own, or at least the bank’s for a while, then completely our own. Home ownership gives us more reasons to decorate the way we wish, to raise our kids, form relationships with neighbors or live free-range on acreage, break bread with friends and family around our table and make memories. The suburbs of Richmond are no exception to the dream.

50 West End's Best

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Stalling out after the turbulent 2008, the real estate market struggled to rebuild itself and, today, enjoys steadily increasing sales. Today, real estate agents and builders are swamped. Future homebuyers are enthusiastic and discerning, armed with their own research. What are the current home trends in the Richmond suburban markets as far as location, exterior style and interior options? I spoke with Kevin Currie, principal, and Jessica Coaker, real estate agent of Kevin Currie Group (KevinCurrieGroup.com). They offer a full-service agency to aid new or moving

“Buyers are looking for move-in

ready. Older homes are competing against new construction. Buyers want updated. No one has time for D.I.Y.” – Jessica Coaker, Realtor, Kevin Currie Group

homebuyers in finding their forever home. Tapping into their combined years of experience and resources, the pair give insight into Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover housing trends. “Buyers are looking for move-in ready across all areas,” Coaker tells me. “Older homes are competing against new construction. Buyers want updated. No one has time for D.I.Y.” Currie adds, “Buyers want to ride bikes with their kids, not paint cabinets.” The inventory availability is equal in Chesterfield and Henrico, the counties with the highest sales in the Richmond market. Homebuyers are watching how many days a house sits on the market to determine a final sale price, Currie says. Location is ever important

The farmhouse look, with its vertical siding and dormers, is trending. Maintenance free yards and exteriors and access to a community pool are also now on many homebuyers’ short lists.

in the home-buying process. Some may even cross county lines to get more house for their money. In Henrico and Chesterfield, Currie says, “Most are looking for front-yard living, a community pool and association, maintenancefree and curb appeal, nice landscaping, regardless of trees or not.” However, Hanover buyers want more acreage “to live off the land with chickens and horses,’’ he says. Buyers are also looking for easy access to highways and good schools, Coaker says, adding “They ask for lots of light, character, an open floor plan but also want a closed off home office or living/playroom space on the first floor; loft space on the second floor, also.” Perhaps due to the influx of Northern transplants in Richmond, Currie says, basements

are on the rise because they are used more than a finished third-floor space. The appeal of building your own home involves picking the best area, neighborhood and lot for your family’s needs. The interior and exterior design selection, crafting a home to your personal specifications, is a favorite step in the process. Janet Hart, Design Studio Manager at Richmond-based Main Street Homes (GoMSH. com) scouts design and retail shows and conducts research to provide the latest home offerings to her clients. Custom building a home requires choosing a dizzying array of products and finishes with attention to space and lay

“They ask for lots of light,

character, an open floor plan but also want a closed off home office or living/playroom space on the first floor and loft space on the second floor.” – Jessica Coaker, Realtor, Kevin Currie Group

March / April 2017

West End's Best 51


out. “Craftsman style is going to a farmhouse look, less shake, more vertical siding with metal roofs accented with dormers and shutters, Hart says, adding that windows have darker window panes and frames, not white. For interiors, “the first-floor master is still popular with everyone,’’ Hart explains. “Buyers are planning for somewhere they can stay long-term. The master suite is a haven.”

“A black faucet on a quartz

island with outdoor-style lantern pendants looks clean and sleek. “Islands are getting bigger,’’ she adds. “They are a gathering place.”

Mud rooms have joined the “must have” list for active families with multiple children and pets. The rooms, with their shelves, cabinets and durable floors, provide a place to drop bags, sports equipment, muddy shoes, gardening tools and more, helping the rest of the house remain clutter-free.

– Janet Hart, Design Studio Manager, Main Street Homes

“Open-concept is still popular with even a decline in formal dining spaces,” Hart says. White kitchen cabinets with white subway tile, gray or navy island colors are big. Granite and quartz countertops, which are less porous and more hygienic, and stainless steel, black or slate-colored kitchen appliances, are sought after. A black faucet on a quartz island with outdoorstyle lantern pendants looks clean and sleek. “Islands are getting bigger,’’ she adds. “They are a gathering place.” Hardwood floors remain a staple in the modern home. Hart shows me a sample of a newly engineered wide-plank hardwood that is made of compressed vinyl. One might raise an eyebrow and think of ‘70s mustard-yellow kitchen tiles, but in touching the sample, it has the feel, look and durability of real hardwood. The technology of quality home goods is ever-evolving. The most popular hardwood floor finishes are, she says, “any color from rustic hickory to a light blonde. Buyers are getting away from cherry or dark red tones.” The updated master bathroom, a luxurious retreat after a long day, can showcase granite countertops over a Well-appointed bathrooms contribute to improved resale values while providing homeowners with a luxurious relaxing retreat gray vanity fitted with stainfrom the pressures of the workaday world. less steel faucets and a framed 52 West End's Best

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mirror. “Bathroom floors and shower stalls are being fitted with 12-inch by 24-inch elongated tiles. In showers, there is more simplicity, less mosaic,” Hart says. Like kitchens, bathrooms are a recommended area to spend a good portion of the budget for resale. Often overlooked is the mud room, but active families require a place to drop bags, sports equipment and shoes so as not to clutter up the rest of the house. Custom cabinetry, benches and easily-cleaned flooring for this room is a must. To complement a sidewalk community, buyers want outdoor spaces to kick their feet up, entertain guests or commune with neighbors. “Outdoor kitchens or living spaces, big decks, a concrete patio with fire pit or big front porches are desirable,” says Coaker. “Homebuyers are waiting until they’re older to buy, so the budget can be, say $350,000, where it would have been less before,” Currie adds. If your budget doesn’t stretch as far as you’d like, real estate experts and builders will work within your means to find the perfect abode. While a homeowner may have to compromise on a few items from their dream list in the beginning, knowing what is essential now can keep options open for the future. Highend finishes, additions and improvements can always be added later. In all, potential homebuyers in the Richmond area have many possibilities to choose from, whether it be to purchase an existing home with history and mature landscaping or to dive into a new build. Location is a personal preference, and one can’t go wrong with the hustle and bustle of Henrico, the traditions of Chesterfield or the sprawling country of Hanover. Wherever you choose to live, make that house your home.


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HOME

Back to Nature In Your Own Backyard Native plants are key to a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly landscape. Succulents provide a way to insert color and texture into your surroundings. Fruits and vegetable planting are an under-utilized way to bring color to your yard while also providing delicious additions to your dining table.

R

by Susan Higgins

Photo: EP Henry

esidential influences, native plants are relatively selftrees into ornamental beds landscaping sufficient ­— they are often drought tolerant as where they are both decorais returning well as insect and disease resistant. And native and delicious, we give to its roots. tives help support local wildlife and beneficial new meaning to the term locaHomeowners are no longer insects by providing food and habitat. vore. And, we’re feeding our famimanicuring our backyards into Homeowners are also cultivating a suburlies with the home-grown produce of submission. Instead, we are relinquishban version of farm to table. By introducing our own back yards. ing our responsibilities and acknowledgedibles like vegetables, herbs and even fruit Even hardscaping is part of the trend. Sean ing with some relief that nature is Larkin, natural stone and hardscapa better gardener than we are. She ing manager for Pete Rose, Inc., sees can take care of herself – if we let more and more customers building her. patios, walkways and driveways The trend is called sustainable out of permeable pavers, which are landscaping and it is characterized installed with porous joints and a by low-maintenance garden degravel underlay. “Rainwater seeps signs that have minimal environthrough the joints into a collecmental impact. It plays out when tion system below, where it slowly we choose to plant native species, permeates the earth” he explains. when we trade turf grass for “greenIn addition to reducing rainwater er” surfaces or when we replace runoff, the systems trap suspended decks with patios constructed of solids and help to filter pollutants. permeable pavers. “Permeable pavers are so effective As you can see from the three yardscape photos accompanying this Plant species which have adapted when used consistently,” Larkin article, permeable pavers come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes to local soil and climate conditions adds. “Municipalities in the waand styles, making them design-friendly and essential to environare called native plants. Because tershed are beginning to require mentally responsible outdoor living spaces. they adapt in response to regional them.” 54 West End's Best

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Photo: EP Henry

Raingardens are a more elaborate application of the same principle. Rainwater from a downspout, driveway or sump pump is collected in a shallow depression that has been planted with deep rooted, native species, where it is filtered, absorbed by the plants or diverted into the water table. Capturing runoff before it reaches the sewer system prevents local flooding, protects the watershed and recharges local groundwater systems. Raingardens

also help control mosquito populations by minimizing the standing water where the pests breed. Gardeners are enjoying the fruits of their newfound freedom on paved courtyards that open onto several rooms of the house. These are permanent living spaces that function as extensions of our indoor space. Furnished with outdoor fabrics for yearround comfort, they often feature fully furnished kitch-

ens, fireplaces or fire pits and water features, all illuminated with specialized lighting. Want to get in on the trend? Beautiful RVA, a coalition of public and private agencies dedicated to urban greening in and around Richmond, provides a list of 122 native or naturalized plant species on its website, BeautifulRVA.org. The site also offers four simple, environmentally friendly residential landscape designs for incorporating raingardens, permeable pavers and native plants into your own backyard.

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by Steve Cook

What Makes

hallsley So Special? The master-planned community, located in Midlothian near the intersection of Routes 60 and 288, has definitely proven popular with area homebuyers. In fact, Hallsley led all other Richmond-area communities in home sales (137) from Sept. 30, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016.* And in 2015, the Home Builders Association of Richmond named Hallsley the “Best Community in Richmond.” Since 2014, Hallsley has been selected by multiple media outlets as Richmond’s best community.

58 Chesterfield Living

RichmondNavigator.com


But when the National Association of Home Builders awarded members of East West Communities, the developers of Hallsley, the Best in American Living platinum award, I decided it was time to find out just what these folks at East West Communities are doing that has captured the attention of both area homebuyers as well as builders throughout the entire continent. After all, this award, given at the International Builders Show in Orlando, in January, designated Hallsley as “Best Community in America.” I asked Connie Pollard, Senior Vice President of Marketing for East West Communities, what makes Hallsley so special. “We have researched Hallsley residents over the last three years and asked why did you decide to make Hallsley your home,” Pollard said. “What we found is that the architecture was number one, with amenities a close second.” Daniel Jones, senior vice president of Development at East West, added that the community has a resident architect who is responsible for ensuring that the architectural development of all homes in Hallsley fit into a pattern book that is consistent with what Jones terms, “critical regionalism.” He elaborated, “You may have a home style such as Arts and Crafts, Victorian or Colonial. But the overarching category is based on the fact that each region, such as Richmond, Roanoke, Pittsburgh or wherever has its own unique take on that specific style.” In other words, a Richmond-area Victorianstyle home would be different from a similar style that had been built in any other locale. It’s that “very Richmond” feel to the homes being built in Hallsley that is attracting local buyers. Pollard said that 80 percent of their home

“We asked residents ‘Why did you decide to make Hallsley your home?’ What we found is that the architecture was number one. The reason buyers are coming from all over Richmond, the reason we’re winning national awards, is that Hallsley is so authentic to the history of Richmond.” — Connie Pollard

buyers come from within the Metro Richmond area and many of these are coming from the Fan, the Hermitage Road area, and other city neighborhoods that are well known for their distinctive architecture. “The reason buyers are coming from all over Richmond, the reason we’re winning national awards for the best master planned community, is that Hallsley is so authentic to the history of Richmond.” Jones said that buyers want the feel of such Richmond neighborhoods as Windsor Farms, Church Hill and Ginter Park, but with the amenities that only a suburban community can offer. “You can only find that in Hallsley,’’ he added. As soon as a buyer drives into Hallsley for the first time, they know this is where they want to live.” And even though Hallsley is “out in the county,” with its proximity to Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway, you’re still only 15 to 20 minutes (or less) to Short Pump, Stony Point and Downtown Richmond. While the amenities may come in as the second most important factor that is driving buyers to Hallsley, there is certainly nothing second-rate about those amenities, which include a country-club style clubhouse and a waterpark-style pool that offers a mushroom fountain, outdoor seating, a fire pit, perfect for roasting marshmallows, and an outdoor grill. Hallsley also has one of the most amazing playhouse villages for kids that one could imagine. “You can’t come in and not be enamored with the playhouse village and the babbling brook set in trees adjacent to the club house,” Pollard told me. That village includes playhouses, a fireman’s pole, a pirate’s bridge, a tree house and a zipline.

*According to Integra Realty Resource – Richmond, a real estate advisory firm in Henrico County.

March / April 2017

Chesterfield Living 59


And if you still can’t find enough to do, Hallsley even has its own Director of Fun, who plans a variety of year-round events, many for the kids and families, but plenty of activities for the active adult as well. My guess is that if you live in Hallsley, you’re probably never going to want to leave the community, with its fantastic array of amenities. But just in case, residents also have access to the Hallsley Hopper, a chauffeured limousinestyle bus that’s available for group outings. The hopper holds up to 14 people and can be used by residents for a night on the town or a visit to a local brewery or winery. “Recently a group of mothers and daughters used it to go to Disney on Ice,” Pollard said. While on another evening, the van took some sports fans to a Virginia Tech versus University of Virginia basketball game in Charlottesville.” Just as there are a variety of amenities to suit your lifestyle, Hallsley also offers several unique neighborhoods, including low maintenance homes in The Parks that are especially designed for (though not limited to) retirees

60 Chesterfield Living

or those who are approaching that time in life when they are ready to enjoy life to the fullest. One of the other very important factors that attracts families with kids is the Chesterfield Public School system, which has been recognized as being one of the best in the nation. And the public schools near Hallsley — Watkins Elementary, Midlothian Middle and Midlothian High — are all rated among the best in the county.

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With unsurpassed architecture, amazing amenities, an excellent school system and a convenient location, is there anything more that the folks at Hallsley can do? Why, yes there is. They’re making it possible to select your style and builder more easily than ever before with their first-ever Model Court, which has its grand opening on April 22 and 23. Previously, model homes have been scattered throughout the community, but the Model Court offers eight furnished designer models that represent the unique styles of eight different custom home builders. “It’s somewhat like a mini-Homearama,” said Pollard. “It’s the first time one street in Hallsley has showcased this many custom homes.” Some of the models are already open. Now is the very best time to visit this truly unique community and find out for yourself just what makes Hallsley so special. For more information, visit Hallsley.com or call 804-794-9119.


Builder Spotlight Property Brothers At Lancaster Custom Builder, two brothers are building on family tradition. “He’s 19 months older than me, so we’re pretty close,” said Robert Lancaster. His brother, Thomas, who built custom homes with their father Leitch Lancaster for 14 years, works on the construction end, while Robert handles the business side. Leitch is co-founder of Parker Lancaster, one of the Richmond area’s biggest home builders of the 1980s. He later left that company to work exclusively on custom homes. Now with dad in retirement, the boys are carrying the torch with a focus on collaborative style and personal touch. Founded in 2015, Lancaster Custom Builder has made a name for itself quickly. In addition to its homes in The Woodlands at Hallsley, the brothers are working their way into more neighborhoods through the region, including Greywalls

in Powhatan and Tuckahoe Creek in Goochland. Lancaster said they’ve sold two specs in the past year, with a third currently going up. “We’ve also put a new focus on additions and renovations, which keeps us busy,” he said, with most of that work coming from the city. “Our reputation has been built on uncompromising quality,” Lancaster said. “And we believe that our standards are higher than everyone else’s, including our clients.” The brothers work with a small, dedicated team, which includes design firm, Gates Interiors. “It’s always a collaborative process,” said Lancaster, emphasizing the personal touch a small company with big dreams can bring. “We like to think that we build long-lasting relationships,’’ he added. “We’re on the job. We’re not sending other people out. Our clients get us when they call.”

Southern Charm Bryan Smith of Creative Home Concepts will be the first to tell you that he’s big on building to his customer’s needs, wants and desires. While some people live in a “builder’s home,” he prefers to build a “customer’s home,” Smith says. “They want to take their pets, children, parents and grandchildren into consideration,” and that’s just what he strives to do. Creative Homes Concepts built the 2014 Southern Living Custom Builder Program Showcase home right in Hallsley. One of the top 12 best-selling Southern Living house plans, Elberton Way (a 4,700-square-foot English-style cottage) was sold shortly after construction was completed in June of 2014 and was later featured in Southern Living magazine. “We still get calls about that one,” says Smith. “It was a very inspirational project.” Smith and his business partner and sister, Shannon Horan, have been building across the Richmond market for over 20 years. Their homes can be found throughout Hallsley (including Saville Park, Hallsley’s maintenance-provided neighborhood) as well as in five other planned communities. They’ve created everything, from brick mansions at St. Mary’s in Powhatan to hip suburban homes at Raleigh Manor in Henrico’s West End. “From starter homes to big mansions,” says Smith, “every time, the enjoyment is in working with the customer.”

March / April 2017

West End's Best 61


Builder Spotlight Make Your Home Uniquely Yours “Today’s prospective homebuyers are pretty informed, pretty savvy,” says Joe Hill, president of Bell Arbor Builders. Thanks to the internet, Hill says that those who contact Bell Arbor Builders, “often know more about us than we know about them.” However, that disadvantage is short-lived. With virtually a lifetime in the business, Hill has learned how important it is to thoroughly know the home buyer. From the initial contact, his staff seeks to understand exactly what each prospective customer desires. “We listen to what they need; what they want,” he says. And then we custom design a home for each specific family.” In his twenty years as head of Bell Arbor, Hill says he’s never built the same home twice. Perhaps, it’s that determination to build unique, custom-designed homes that makes Bell Arbor a perfect fit for Hallsley. “One of the things that makes Hallsley so great is that they so strictly uphold their architectural standards,” he says. “They don’t want cookie-cutter homes.” While each home is truly unique, there are three distinct types of neighborhoods, in which Bell Arbor specializes. The company is responsible for some of the most beautiful estate homes found in Hallsley, as well as in other upscale communities throughout the Richmond area, including Raleigh, Sleepy Hollow and Kimloch in the West End. Hill says he’ll also be building in a new neighborhood, Tuckahoe Creek, which is located near Kimloch. In addition to estate homes, Bell Arbor offers villa-style homes designed primarily for empty nesters and baby boomers. Many of these homes are built in maintenance-provided neighborhoods. The Parks at Hallsley features Bell Arbor’s villa-style homes and, says Hill, he’ll be building 26 villastyle homes in a new section of Hallsley, known as Ascot Park. Such homes are also popular in Brickshire, in New Kent, where 65 Bell Arbor homes are being built around the golf course. And in the West End, pre-sales have begun for villa-style single family homes in Burleigh at Manor House, a new age-restricted community Recently, Bell Arbor has added a new category to its repertoire —

a series of more affordable family homes, with prices starting in the mid-600s, which are being built for Hallsley. Hill says that there are specific things that today’s homebuyer wants. While budget and home size necessitate some constraints, buyers seek larger, more open spaces as well as luxurious master bedroom/bathroom suites. It seems, however, that buyers are opting for luxurious over large. “Size is coming down,” he says. Sitting rooms in the master suite are out as homeowners are finding they rarely use that space. And as for the master bath, he notes that buyers want them to be smaller, but more spa-like. While sitting rooms are out, outdoor living rooms are in. “Outdoor living is huge, says Hill. “We do a lot of covered terraces, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. Big kitchens, with plenty of space for seating and for entertaining guests, continue to be very popular, he says. Regardless of what you desire in your new home, Bell Arbor offers the services of professional designers who can build exactly what you seek. In fact, the firm offers its customers complimentary interior design services, whether they’re building a 3,500-square foot estate home, a villa-style home, or anything in between. Just as each Bell Arbor home is unique, so is each buyer. Hill says some come with iPad in hand, saying, “I don’t know what that is, but it’s what I want.” He says his team can design a home based on their ideas. “Others have their own plans. “We can accommodate them, as well.” And still others have no idea what they want, he says. Chances are good that Bell Arbor can design your home. They’re one of the few who are building true European-style homes. Or perhaps you seek the urban farmhouse look. “That’s a hot button right now,” he says, describing the style as offering simplified exteriors and big front porches. Regardless of the style, Arts and Craft, Traditional, virtually whatever you might desire, Bell Arbor can work with you and your family in designing a home that’s uniquely yours. Joe Hill sums up the keys to Bell Arbors’ success: “It’s our attention to detail and the personalization of the building process that we give each customer.”

Bell Arbor Builders – 804-751-9050; BellArborBuilders.com 62 West End's Best

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MIRACLE METHOD SURFACE REFINISHING Offering Exceptional Quality, Value and Customer Service WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN, IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, YOUR COMPANY GOES OUT OF BUSINESS, LEAVING YOU OUT OF A JOB?

That’s the situation one Goochland resident found himself in back in 2009, when his employer, Circuit City, closed their doors for good. “You decide to go into business for yourself,” explains David Dowdy. Although his wife Elizabeth continued in her career as a consultant in customer service training, David says the two of them decided that they wanted to control their own destiny. “If we ever found ourselves out of work again, it would be because of decisions we had made,” he says. So the Dowdys began searching for a franchise that they could believe in. Their search led them to Miracle Method, the largest bath and kitchen refinishing company in the country. “The owners were such good, Christian people, with an outstanding product,” Elizabeth Dowdy says, explaining why they chose this particular business. The Dowdys recognized the value that the company brings to the consumer. Instead of homeowners spending $20,000 or more on a complete kitchen remodel, they could invest a small fraction of that and have a beautiful “new” kitchen. As a wife and a mother of three daughters, Elizabeth also recognized the benefit of being able to offer countertop refinishing with much less disruption to the family. The typical kitchen refinishing, she says, can be done in a day and a half.

The two most attractive features, as she explains, involve the great value in price and quality as well as the quick turnaround time. But, chances are you may want to know more. Such as: How does it work? The Miracle Method process, whether it be for countertops, bathtubs or flooring, involves the application of a nine-layer non porous coating which bonds to the existing surface. What will my countertop look like? “It looks like natural stone, “David says. “We have over 60 options of different stone finishes with lots of colors to choose from.” For bathtubs, the finish resembles that of your typical porcelain tub. She recommends visiting the showroom (see contact info below) to take a look at the textures and colors on display. The showroom is open from 9 a.m. ‘til 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment. Is it durable? Definitely. The Dowdys have many commercial customers and the process works well for high-use areas. For added peace of mind, your refinishing comes with a five-year adhesion warranty, although David says that through normal use, a homeowner should be able to enjoy 15 to 20 years of their new surface. What about mold and mildew? If there is an existing mold or mildew issue, Miracle Method will handle the abatement of such. Once the coating has bonded to the original surface, the likelihood of mold and mildew growth is eliminated. Are there any other services I might want to know about? Yes. Miracle Method can also make bathing safer with their Easy Step®. “We cut an opening in your existing tub which allows easier entry and exit for seniors and the mobility impaired,” David explains. More important than even the quality and value, Elizabeth says, is the customer service. “We strive to exceed our customer’s expectations on a regular basis.” But Elizabeth and David Dowdy’s commitment to service goes beyond their careers. As residents of the county for the past 11 years, they are both active in community service as well. He is a volunteer firefighter and EMT with Goochland County Fire & Rescue and she serves on the Board of Directors for the Goochland Chamber of Commerce.

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To Think That I Saw It On

Historic Mountain Road by Steve Cook

W

ith all the emphasis that we put on dazzling shopping centers, amazing restaurants and beautiful new home communities, we often overlook the fact that the Glen Allen/Short Pump area is also very rich in history. There’s a lot that’s of historical interest right along Mountain Road. Just to put things in some geographic perspective, I thought it might be interesting to take a little drive down Mountain Road and check out some of the historic sites along the way. Since I grew up just off Staples Mill Road, I decided to begin my journey at Mountain and Staples Mill roads. In those thrilling days of yore, before anyone had ever heard the term GPS, many trips would begin with a visit to the local filling station. Not only were they the best place to find a good road map, but there was always someone who’d be more than willing to give directions. Just east of Staples Mill at Mountain and Courtney Roads, you’ll find the old Courtney Road Service Station. The service station was constructed in the early to mid-1920s and was designed in the style of a 1916 Standard Oil Prototype. In 1940, the phone book listed the site as the "Friendly Service Station.” You prob-

The old Courtney Road Service Station

ably won’t find any road maps in this nostalgic little gas station, which has been restored by the county, but since our little trip doesn’t 68 West End's Best

Meadow Farm, one of the last remaining 19th-century farms in Henrico County, Virginia, is now an 1860 living history farm focusing on middle-class rural life just before the upheaval of the Civil War.

the corner of Mountain Road and Old Washstray off Mountain Road, I don’t think you ington Highway. need to worry about getting lost. Cussons was a fascinating Englishman who Just across the street from the service station, in appearance and his derring-do, bore a strong you’ll find one of the most popular attractions in resemblance to Buffalo all of Western Henrico — Bill. Forest Lodge was Crump Park at Meadow designed by Cussons to Farm Museum. The park serve as a luxurious retreat is a popular gathering spot for hunters. It was known for visitors, with picnic as the “House of Onepavilions, playgrounds, Hundred Rooms” because hiking trails and a fishof its size and grandeur. ing pond. One might visit Cussons invested the park and never even quite a bit of money into realize that the complex developing the thousandalso houses the museum, acre site. He built lakes, which presents programs gardens and a boathouse. and exhibits on the culHe even established an ture of the rural South. On amphitheater. Cussons, selected weekends, you who died in 1912, never can enjoy demonstrations realized the financial sucof seasonal activities in cess in Forest Lodge, for the farmhouse, barn, docJohn Cussons which he had hoped. tor’s office, blacksmith Traveling just a bit further east, you’ll enforge, kitchen, fields and pastures. counter one of the most beautiful and bucolic Those who have lived in these parts for sites along Mountain Road — Virginia Cliffe about 25 years or so may recall the old Forest Inn. “During the Civil War,” says Janice Clifton, Lodge located just west of the railroad tracks. owner of the inn, “Ten thousand Union Troops The lodge, which was built by John Cussons* in were stationed on this property while trying the late 1800s, was demolished in 1989. All that to capture the Capital of the Confederacy in remains today, besides the memories, is one Richmond.” Today, this elegant and stately of the buildings cupolas, which now stands on RichmondNavigator.com


History comes alive at Meadow Farm Museum as costumed interpreters provide insight into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, the owner of Meadow Farm, and his family. On selected weekends, they demonstrate seasonal activities at the farm. Once the home economics cottage for the Virginia Randolph Training Center, the Virginia Randolph Museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of the renowned Henrico County educator. Crump Park at Meadow Farm Museum offers picnic pavilions, playgrounds, hiking trails and a fishing pond. The Courtney Road Service station, the social hub for the Glen Allen community in the 30s and 40s, still stands as a reminder of a time gone by. Meadow Farms is one of Henrico County’s last remaining19th century farms. John Cussons (1838-1912) the man behind Mountain Road’s Forest Lodge has been called the Glen Allen version of Buffalo Bill. March / April 2017

manor in the heart of Old Glen Allen serves as Western Henrico’s only bed and breakfast inn. Moving on, you’ll come to Walkerton Tavern. This restored 1825 historic tavern serves as an excellent locale for special events. The building, gazebo and garden area are available for private rental. Just beyond the tavern, sits what was once the old Glen Allen School. Today, the facility has been renovated and expanded to become the 50,300-square-foot multi-use facility known as The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. The center houses an art gallery and a theater, which offers a variety of programs from concerts to live stage performances. As we near the intersection with Brook Road (U.S. Route 1), we arrive at the Virginia Randolph Museum. This brick structure, built in 1937, was once the home economics cottage for the Virginia Randolph Education Center. Virginia Randolph, an innovative African-American educator in vocational training, kept an office in the building during the latter part of her life. She died in 1958 and is buried on the grounds. In 1970, this structure was dedicated as a museum and is a National Register Landmark. There’s certainly more to enjoy and discover along Mountain Road. If we traveled just a bit farther, we’d come to the site where famed Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded in the Battle of Yellow Tavern. We’ve only hit the highlights on this little jaunt. There is, indeed, much more Civil War history that took place along Mountain Road. But, we’ll save that for you to discover at your own pace. *John Cussons was one of Henrico’s most interesting characters. Learn more about him at RichmondNavigator.com: Search “Cussons” West End's Best 69


TRAVEL

THE ANNUAL

Cherry Blossom

Festival An Enduring Celebration of Transient Beauty by Zach Brown

eginning on March 20 and running through April 16, the 2017 Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival will herald the return of spring in the nation’s capital. For more than 100 years, Washington D.C. has been home to a grove of Japanese cherry trees that is the catalyst for a grand, four-week festival that includes food, entertainment and art, which expands across the culture of America and Japan. The history of the celebration of the cherry blossoms, however, extends beyond the Capital or even the founding of America. Since the 8th century, the cherry blossom has encapsulated an allure and appreciation of life that has echoed in the millennia since. There exists a feudal Japanese proverb that states “among blossoms, the cherry blossom; among men, the warrior.” At the time of the proverb’s origin, Japan was controlled by the revered samurai. As such, the cherry blossoms’ beauty was considered unmatched in the same way a samurai’s abilities, authority and honor were unrivaled. Throughout the country’s history woodblock prints, haiku and currency would often laud the beauty of the cherry blossom.

It is not simply the blossom’s appearance that gives the tree such weight through the history of Japan, but rather the symbolic nature the trees carry with them. The Japanese concept of mono no aware or the “pathos of things” — a Japanese  term for the awareness of impermanence — takes root in the symbolism of the cherry blossom through its graceful, but wholly volatile, beauty. To this end, mono no aware, and by extension the cherry tree, serve as reminders of the beauty and fragility of life even beyond our own. It was with this concept that Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted Washington D.C. 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. It wasn’t until 1927 that the first “proper” Cherry Blossom Festival took place on our nation’s capital when a group of school children reenacted the initial planting that had taken place 15 years prior. Since that time, the festival has continued to grow. A century later, the spirit of Ozaki’s initial gesture of friendship and empathy holds true. What once was a single day of watching the blossoms has become a four-week celebration of culture, art and unity. A near month of events, parades and celebration surround the symbolism of the cherry blossom as visitors from across the globe migrate to

“In the cherry blossom’s shade, there is no such thing as a stranger.” — Kobayashi Issa

70 Chesterfield Living

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Photo: Ron Engle

Photo: Ron Engle

our nation’s capitol. “Each year, we welcome more than 1.5 million atas the area around the cherry blossoms is filled with events, performtendees to Washington, D.C. and 2017 marks the 90th anniversary since ers and art pieces celebrating the end of winter and the return of spring. the first Festival,” says Nora Strumpf, a spokesperson with the National One such event, the Blossom Kite Festival, will take place on the grounds Cherry Blossom Festival. One of last year’s most popular events was the of the Washington Monument on April 1. Starting at 10 a.m., kite makSakura Matsuri, a Japanese Street Festival, which will return this year on ers and fliers from across the globe will gather for competitions such as Saturday, April 8. In 2016, some 25,000 took advantage of the opportuthe Hot Tricks Showdown as well as non-competitive flying exhibitions. nity to explore Japanese-inspired cuisine, vendors and Both professional and amateur kite fliers are welcome to To the Japanese, artists, and Strumpf suggests that this year will be no difthe Blossom Kite Festival, as a make-your-own-kite staferent. “We’re excited for the return of the Sakura Matsuri, tion will be featured for children and budding kite artists. the cherry tree which will be produced by the Japan-American Society of On April 8, the National Cherry Blossom Parade roars and it’s blossoms Washington, D.C., as it is one of our premiere events.” to life along Constitution Avenue. The parade will begin Another highlight of the festival is the Pink Tie Party on have traditionally at 10 a.m. at the National Archives, and then proceed 10 March 16. This precursor to the blossoms includes food, blocks towards the Washington Monument. The mobile drinks and a silent auction to benefit the non-profit Na- served as symbolic festivities are sure to delight, as parade goers are wowed tional Cherry Blossom, Inc. General admission is $200, by lively music from marching bands, grand helium balreminders of the with those “budding” attendees, age 21 to 30, getting in loons, beautifully crafted floats, and both foreign and dobeauty and fragil- mestic celebrities. for less than half the price. If the Pink Tie Party is not your scene, don’t worry. The Finally, on April 16, the Festival’s finale weekend will ity of life. very next weekend, on March 25, will see the Cherry Blospresent the Southwest Waterfront Firework Festival, which som Festival’s Opening Ceremony descend on the Warner Theatre. The ceris sure to dazzle, delight and ring in spring in extraordinary fashion. emony will offer both traditional and contemporary performance pieces Beyond the festivities and fun of the festival, the bloom of the cherry from American and Japanese performers alike. In addition to the Opening blossoms is rooted in a universal understanding. Kobayashi Issa, the Ceremony, the Festival Directors are introducing a new event — the SAAM famed 19th century poet, once wrote: “In the cherry blossom’s shade, Cherry Blossom Celebration, produced by the Smithsonian American Art there is no such thing as a stranger.” And in these trees that have fasciMuseum. Though details are still forthcoming, the celebration promises to nated people for over a millennium and inspired art, poetry, songs and entertain. philosophy, maybe we too can find a gentle appreciation of life in this Following the Opening Ceremony, the Festival goes into full bloom timeless celebration.

March / April 2017

Chesterfield Living 71

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