The Fan District is full of richly detailed turn-of-the-century townhomes. Each is unusual with architectural features ... More
The Fan District is full of richly detailed turn-of-the-century townhomes. Each is unusual with architectural features including spellbinding stained glass, grimacing gargoyles and intricately carved columns. Most are surrounded by fragrant flowers, carefully tended by the buildings' owners. The area is named for its fan-shaped layout, designed during Richmond's streetcar era. The Strawberry Street Cafe is just one of many favorite Richmond restaurants that nestle along the Fan's folds.
The Fan is the best thing about Richmond! From where we were staying visiting friends, there were over 40 restaurants in walking distance, so no worries about driving after a glass of wine. I was able to drink coffee on a front porch and gaze at the beautiful fall maple trees, and that was heaven! I watched runners, couples and families with babies walk by and enjoy the beautiful day. The architecture is truly amazing, and since my visit included a Sunday, I was able to go in a few open houses to see inside. I saw beautiful stained glass windows and the molding and details in the houses were equisite. Some houses had ample yards and garages while others had street parking and a small patio. There is something for everyone. Even the condos were ideal for a young professional who likes to get out and socialize.
Within walking distance was the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Children's Museum and the Science Museum. There were charming gourmet and grocery shops we explored. The amazing thing was this could all be done on foot. Unlike those planned "walking communities" that try to imitate this lifestyle, we weren't stuck in a parking lot off of a busy street, the whole city was ours if we wanted to walk! In the Fan there are art galleries galore and we also walked to a wonderful charming shopping area called Carytown. Restaurants nearby we especially enjoyed were Verbena, Can Can, Three Monkeys, Acacia Midtown, Weezies and Mom's Siam. There is absolutely no reason to cook when in the fan- though some of the kitchens we saw at the open houses were truly awesome. But back to the restaurants, there were outdoor patios galore, with wonderful views- no suburban parking lots here! However, a very short drive took us to Maymont Park- not to be missed! We also drove to Belle Isle, an island in the middle of the James River (you have to walk across a bridge to get there) and had a wonderful time hiking and sunning ourselves on the rocks there.
My husband and I are hoping to move to Richmond someday, and it will definitely be to the Fan!
The fan is full of charm. The houses are built at the turn of the century, the streets are lined with trees, each house has character... no cookie cutter houses here!
There are excellent resaurants, coffee shops and music venues. It's elegant yet artistic. It's a haven for artists and musicians alike. I can't wait to move there!!!
The Fan was built around 19th century trolley lines in the city, and the streets that comprise the district literally lay like a fan, splayed out in all directions. Many of the houses feature a historical plaque that displays the year in which it was built, ranging from the 1890s to the 1930s for most. Although many have undergone restoration, most have retained the original woodwork, which includes ornate carvings and pillars. Just to walk through the neighborhood is an activity. People are friendly and residents are usually VCU students or established community members. Within The Fan there are several great restaurants, such as 8 1/2 and Strawberry Street Cafe on Strawberry Street. Tourists with children might want to stop at the gated playground on Park Avenue. Anyone interested in Richmond should visit this area!
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