5 Hills to Sled when Snowpocalypse Hits

Winter is coming! Snowy piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVA.com on rvablog.org about great hills to sled in RVA on a snow day.

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Hot Chocolate. Fireplaces. Fuzzy Slippers.  And sledding, of course. Just a few ideas that pop into a snow lover’s head when preparing for the first big snowfall of the winter! Check out these 5 Hills to Sled When Snowpocalypse Hits!

Forest Hill Park

sled forest hill

Ol’ reliable. Forest Hill Park has appealed to sledding enthusiasts for years thanks to its undulating hills and easy accessibility. This South of the James River park is great for adults and kids!

Gambles Hill Park

gambles hill park
Journey downtown and make your way to these enormous snowy hills holding ground behind the Ethyl Corporation building off 4th and Byrd Street. Vast openness and challenging hills equals big fun; just make sure you hit the brakes before you reach the street.

Libby Hill Park

Located at 29th and E Franklin Street in Church Hill, this park got its spotlight turn during the UCI World Championships this past fall with some absolutely stunning photographs of riders cruising up the cobblestone curves. Libby Hill in Church Hill truly lives up to its topographic name with steep hills for a sled-lover’s paradise.  Again, watch out for streets!

Gillies Creek Park

sledding
Home to a BMX course and Disc Golf Course, Gillies Creek Park is nestled between Fulton Hill and Church Hill. This unique park has random hills that lead down to football and softball fields, and is a nice mid-level resource for slower rides and fewer streets.

Maymont Park


This vast outdoor Richmond Region resource has some of the most land as well as some of the best hills for sledding during the winter months. Located just north of the James River at 1700 Hampton Street, this legendary park is perfect for a day with a toboggan.

 

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.

 

 

5 Great Indoor Recreation Activities Spots for Cold Winter Days

Active, fun piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVA.com, on rvablog.org on some great indoor recreation options in the Richmond region!

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With the first snow of the season comes a major conundrum; activities to do on a chilly winter day that doesn’t require fifty layers, scarves, hats, and gloves. Check out these five great indoor recreation spots when mother nature gives you cabin fever!

Sky Zone

You know that dream that you used to have where you could go somewhere and the floors were all trampolines and you bounced everywhere? It’s real. This Midlothian trampoline park offers jumpers various trampoline activities like the Sky Slam court (basketball), dodgeball courts, open jump sessions and a giant foam pit to practice your flips.

Peak Experiences

Miss rock climbing during the bitter cold months? Peak experiences offers top-rope, leading and bouldering at their massive indoor climbing facility in Midlothian with 50-foot climbing walls, training courses, classes, and even a mobile wall for practice. Equipment rental is all on-site, so come ready to climb!

Laser Quest

Got a big group cooped up inside that needs to run around and get out some pent-up energy? Laser Quest, which is a combination of hide-and-seek and tag with high-tech light equipment offers a great alternative to video gaming by providing all the fun of a console in a real-life environment!

SkateNation Plus

ice skating

Enjoy the winter-time indoors! SkateNation Plus, the enormous public ice-skating compound in Short Pump in the West End of the Richmond Region offers affordable public skating sessions as well as ice-skate rentals in a family friendly environment.

Dave & Busters

Adult. Arcade. Two glorious words for someone who is 27 going on 13. This popular chain has supplanted itself in Short Pump’s West Broad Village as a destination for virtual fun. Grab dinner, a drink or two (or three) and shoot some aliens or baskets to your hearts content!

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.

 

5 Spots for Stunning Instagram Photos

Piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVA.com on RVAblog.org on great places for Instagrammers to go in RVA for photography sessions!  Also includes three of my own p

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Whether you’re a DSLR toting Ansel Adams, a smartphone snapper on-the-go, or simply a urban explorer looking for the best views, Downtown Richmond has plenty of locations to get a great prospective of Richmond’s skyline. Check out these 5 spots for stunning Instagram photos!

Oregon Hill Overlook

Rounding out the end of S Pine Street and Oregon Hill Parkway in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of downtown Richmond, this scenic lookout gives views not only of the soaring skyline, but also the mighty James River and the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge. Stand in the gazebo for another vantage point!

Manchester Floodwall Park

Manchester FW

A staggering accomplishment of concrete, steel, and planning, the Manchester Floodwall Park connects the 14th Street Bridge and the Manchester climbing wall, both south of the James River. Explore the over 3 miles of park and soak in the skyline and river views.

Grace Street Park/Church Hill Overlook

CH overlook

Camera’s up! A quiet cul-de-sac at the 22nd and East Grace Street in Churchill provides some of the best city skyline views. Shockoe Valley, Downtown, and the Medical College of Virginia campus and hospital can all be seen from his historic lookout point.

Libby Hill Park

The little park that could! Libby Hill Park showcases multiple incredible views of Rocketts Landing, newly renovated downtown lofts, and the steel and glass skyscrapers of Richmond. Hills and paths and stairs lead to numerous different viewing points to take in.

Legend Brewing Company

Grab a brew, dine on a burger, and eat up the skyline view from the famous Legend Brewing Company deck and beer garden that sits south of the James River. Get a table close to the rail so you can have primary position to take a snap!

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.

 

5 Richmond Holiday Hangover Cures

Holiday season means partying, and partying means hangovers.  Fun piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVa.com on RVAblog.org on 5 great places to go for a hangover cure in Richmond!

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Work holiday parties. Christmas “spirits”. New Years Eve. Tis the season for boozing; and when there’s beer, wine, and liquor involved, the chance of a hangover is not far behind. Check out these five great places to eat or drink to cure the hangover blues this holiday season!

The Pit and Peel

Everybody’s doing it! Juicing is all the craze, and this new juice bar and bistro at the top of The Fan near VCU and Altria Theater is a perfect pit stop for parties looking to replenish nutrients with fresh fruits and vegetables in liquid form after a night of no-so-healthy decisions. With juices like the Just Beet It (apple, beet, carrot, ginger) and the Perfectly Pure (pineapple, celery, grapefruit, ginger) The Pit and Peel can silence those loud noises.

Burger Bach

A popular New Zealand inspired gastropub and burger joint, with locations in Carytown and Short Pump, offers grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, and veggie burgers; but, let’s be real: we are all here for one thing: The Hangover Cure. Yes, that’s the actual name of the burger – a concoction adorned with green chile sauce, bacon, hot sauce, american cheese, caramelized onions, and a fried egg. No false advertising here: indulge and repair!

Galaxy Diner

This interstellar Carytown staple has what we all want when dealing with a hangover: grease. With menu items like Trailer Park Pancakes, and the Callahan Breakfast Platter, a heaping portion of hashbrowns, toast, country fried steak, eggs over easy, and a river of gravy, Galaxy Diner drowns out the beer taste with salt and butter and joy.

Bellytimber Tavern

Hip, happening brunch for those of us looking for a bite to eat at 11:00 am Sunday morning and trying to solve that hangover with a little hair of the dog. Bellytimber overs a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with a multitude of choices of hot sauces, bloody mixes, and veggie accents like pickles, celery and olives, and yes, you can add as much or as little as you want!

McLeans

Bacon, eggs, coffee, repeat. This classic Richmond restaurant on West Broad Street just west of the Boulevard delivers friendly service, fast breakfast, and a big a la carte breakfast menu for the indecisive diners who’s
headache makes the decision process a big foggy.

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.

5 Great Places to Watch Football this Fall

Are you ready for some football?! Sports piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVA.com on the RVAblog.org about great places to watch a football game and have a few cold one’s at the same time.

View article here.

5 Great Places to Watch Football This Fall

Leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting colder, and our Saturdays are taken up with college games and Sundays are dominated by fantasy football updates. Fall is here, and for many, fall means football. Put on your favorite jersey and come thirsty and hungry to these five great restaurants and bars to appease your gridiron obsession.

GUS’S BAR & GRILL

Located right across from the Science Museum of Virginia near the Diamond in downtown Richmond, Gus’ is a sports bar through and through.  A big bar welcomes patrons with pitcher after pitcher of light beer, greasy fried food and tons of televisions everywhere broadcasting numerous games (not just the Redskins!). This is a type of sports bar full of Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills fans; if you are one of these, you’ll know what this means.

GLORY DAYS GRILL

Now with two locations in Midlothian and Short Pump, Glory Days Grill offers a nice atmosphere for the serious football freak, as well as easily accessible restaurant with a big menu for families to eat a quick lunch while watching the game. Glory Days even has free wi-fi at it’s restaurants so the fantasy football fan can keep track of their teams and players at all times!

SEDONA TAPHOUSE

This craft beer mecca in Midlothian at Westchester Commons may seem a little bit too classy for an afternoon of football and wings, but don’t let the refined insides scare you off. Sedona Taphouse serves up over 500 craft beers and sports a huge menu for pigskin fans to choose from while catching the game on the huge flat screen televisions that line the back of the bar.

DISTRICT 5

The new kid in town! Settled in what was formerly the old Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar off Main Street in the heart of the Fan in Downtown Richmond, District 5 offers a flashy new space with an uptown vibe but a casual feel for football fans to spend their Sunday’s brunching and choosing from over 40 different beers on their impressive tap while watching on any of the number of tv’s above the bar. A big bar with lots of seats and tons of seating inside and out make this destination a great place for big groups.

THE GRILL

The Grille at Libbie and Patterson Avenue functions as a trusted, reliable, beer and food spot for football fans in a cozy bar environment.  Small but serviceable, the bar and high top tables make for a comfortable watching environment and the bartenders keep the pints flowing!  Settle in and watch on any of the five televisions throughout the restaurant.

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.

Fire Flour & Four: Annual Culinary Expo Delivers Again

My favorite piece that I’ve written for VisitRichmondVA.com’s RVAblog.  My co-writer Liana Mensh and I were privileged to attend the final dinner of Fire Flour & Fork 2015 and enjoy the food spectacle of the year!

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Fire Flour & Fork: Annual Culinary Expo Delivers Again

All images in this post by Betty Clicker via Fire, Flour and Fork

This year’s Fire Flour & Fork event showcased various exhibitions ranging from tasting tents, to themed dinners, chef demonstrations, teaching classes, mixology courses, an Urban State Fair, and even a costumed ball and a culinary spelling bee, was a celebration of food, first, but also an expression of the Richmond Region’s sense of community.

Sunday marked the last event of Fire Flour & Fork, an intimate, candle-lit, communal dinner in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Robins Tea House that highlighted the best of Richmond’s festival of the fork, ending simply and deliciously, by gathering people around a table to eat, drink and talk.

fire flour fork lewis ginter

Chefs Steven Satterfield, of Miller Union, and Patrick Phelan, of Longoven, delighted the room with a colorful and diverse mix of dishes that incorporated more mushrooms and root vegetables than many people even knew existed, all brought together because of their love of food.

Tasters got to experience the full gamut of cooking techniques and ingredients, from blanched to seared; julienne to shaved; root to leaf. The final Fire Flour & Fork dinner was an event to celebrate food, and the food community in every sense.

fire flour fork richmond

But, fear not. The end of Fire Flour Fork does not mean the end of great food events in the Richmond Region.

Graze on Grace, the second celebration of 25 local, seasonal and sustainable restaurants in the Richmond Region, welcomes diners Downtown with food samples and live music, with donations going to FeedMore and Slow Food on November 8.
fire flour and fork

Michael Hippchen and co-writer Liana Mensh delightfully devoured their way through the incredible savory and sweet seven-course masterclass of flavor at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Robins Tea House on November 1. They are still full.

5 Great Places to See Fall Foliage

Colorful piece I wrote for VisitRichmondVA.com on RVAblog.org about 5 Great Places to see Fall Foliage in Richmond!

View original article here.

5 Great Places to see Fall Foliage

Instagrammers, Snapchatters, and Facebookers have been on high alert for the last few weeks not to miss an opportunity that only comes around once a year: the explosion of colors on display from beautiful Virginia fall foliage. Check out these five great places in the Richmond Region to take in the crisp natural phenomenon we like to all autumn!

MONUMENT AVENUE

Designated as a National Historic Landmark, this famous road that cuts through the Museum District and Fan region of downtown Richmond is Exhibit A for anyone looking for a walking tour of the Richmond Region, especially during the Fall months. This cobblestoned street is lined with trees along the sidewalks as well as the grassy medians, which are perfect for a weekend walk with family, friends, or Fido.

MAYMONT

Take in the Fall foliage on the grounds of Maymont. You can even take a twilight tree tour Oct. 29.

WINDSOR FARMS

The historic neighborhood just West of Carytown, chock full of incredible homes and manicured yards, offers a perfect setting for finding fall foliage. Old, unlined streets are canopied by drooping trees that seem to be catching fire; there’s also a bricked-lined sidewalk slicing through the grass median at the beginning of the subdivision. Stop by the historic Agecroft Hall and Virginia House, which are both nestled in the back of the neighborhood, after you’re done leaf-watching.

WOODLAKE

This south Midlothian neighborhood that surrounds the Swift Creek Reservoir offers miles of serpentine sidewalks circling the water and is surrounded by soaring trees. The perfect path for a dog walk!

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND

Feel young (or maybe old) all over again and take a jaunt around the unbelievably gorgeous campus that bears the name of Virginia’s capital city. Explore Lakeview Lane and do a lap of Westhampton Lake and take a break in the gazebo that overlooks the water and trees.

Michael J. Hippchen is a freelance writer based out of Richmond, VA.  Michael has a passion for good bourbon, a firm cigar, live music, and copious amounts of black coffee.