A Sunflower Festival Is the Right Way To Start a Weekend in Richmond
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
After seeing so many pictures of sunflower farms last summer, I decided that this year I was going to make it a priority to try to see one. In the back of my mind as an activity I should look into throughout June, I came upon an Instagram post about the Sunflower Festival at Alvis Farms. Fortunately for us, Alvis Farms was only 30 minutes from Richmond (another great place to explore), so Justin and I decided to make a weekend out of it.
We woke up early Saturday morning and started the approximately three hour drive to Alvis Farms from Baltimore. Because of COVID-19 regulations, if you planned on cutting sunflowers to bring home, you had to bring your own scissors, which we did. Alvis Farms is a dairy and grain family farm dating back to 1965. This past summer, Alvis Farms opened up its farm's sunflower fields to the public for two weekends. The event was not too crowded and it was easy to socially distance.
We arrived at the farm and met another friend there who was just as excited to explore. We frolicked through the fields, took a million photos, saw cows, shopped at the arts and crafts stands, and enjoyed corn dogs from one of the food venders. This event was great for every age group. I also learned that if you plan ahead, the actual farm offers private tours where you can see all of the animals. We'll definitely plan on doing that next time.
After several hours at the farm, we headed to our hotel in downtown Richmond (the Residence Inn Richmond Downtown) to check in and get ready for dinner. For dinner, we chose Metzger Bar & Butchery. The chef at Metzger, which serves German-inspired food, was previously named as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef Mid Atlantic award. It was definitely a gem of a find.
All of the food was picture-perfect and delicious. We started with the charcuterie board. It consisted of pâté, jam, a piece of cheese, blueberries, an egg (beautifully dyed pink), pickled vegetables, a piece of meat, a spread, and lightly salted homemade pita strips of sorts. The board was absolutely gorgeous. The flavors were equally as wonderful. After the charcuterie board, we ordered the beef tartar, the chicken schnitzel, and a light shrimp dish that was the special of the day. Everything was extremely tasty, but I think my favorite was the schnitzel. Metzger's cocktails also looked wonderful, but we stuck to wine. You won't regret partaking in the great wine deals.
After dinner, following the recommendation of our waitress from Metzger, we made our way to Kahlos Taqueria & Bar for margaritas. We heard Kahlos also has great Mexican food, but we were still too full to try it out.
There are also some other great bars nestled in the various neighborhoods that make the nighttime scene very unique. One we particularly enjoyed was Grisette. Definitely try the cocktails. The place also has an extensive wine list (and beers). Because of COVID-19 though, everything of course closed very early, so we headed back to our hotel for a night cap. Our hotel had a nice little patio area, so we got to enjoy our night cap outside.
The next morning, we decided to head to brunch at Heritage. Sadly, I have since learned that it has temporarily closed due to COVID-19. This is very upsetting news, as I would highly recommend the food and the service. We ordered a benedict with potatoes, and a dish called the "Big Hot Vegan Mess." The "Big Hot Vegan Mess" was obviously vegan, which I am not, so I added a side of bacon and an egg. Our waitress was extremely nice and even brought out another employee to give us a list of the best wineries nearby for our future trips. I hope the owners are able to re-open soon.
After brunch, we strolled around the Fan District and the Museum District. We then drove to the Hollywood Cemetery, which has been operational since the 19th Century. One of the most famous monuments in the Cemetery is a cast-iron Newfoundland dog, which guards over the grave of a little girl. Many presidents, generals, authors, and other notable people are also buried there. The cemetery offers many styles of tours, but we just drove around in our car.
After the Cemetery, we headed to Carytown, which is referred to as the "Mile of Style." This bohemian district is home to boutiques, murals, cafes, and cocktail bars. The most famous sight there is the Byrd Theatre, which has been in operation since 1928.
Following several hours of exploring, we decided to head to one of the many breweries in Richmond. Bingo Beer Co. was a hit because not only did it have a great outdoor space to hang out, but it also had an arcade inside where we could get a little competitive while we enjoyed the beers.
After the brewery, we decided to start driving back to Baltimore, and make a pit stop on the way in Fredericksburg for dinner. We found a great spot overlooking the water, Brock's Riverside Grille, and enjoyed some staples -- ribs and egg rolls.
After dinner, we drove around the adorable downtown area, and then headed back home.
If you are looking for a great weekend of food and adventure, look no further than Richmond.
Most importantly, don't forget to see the world, and eat the food.