Local Lore and Lingo in Richmond

Fit in with the locals by getting to know these facts about the city.
By: Jennifer Willis
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Like any grande dame, Richmond has its own peculiarities and slang -- and secrets she doesn’t easily give up. Here’s the inside scoop to help you feel like less of a come-here.

Lingo: A “come-here” is a non-native Richmonder, whether you’ve been living in the city for five minutes or 50 years.

Hideaways: Texas Beach
Texas Beach, also known as North Bank Park, can be found where Texas Avenue dead-ends at the river. A pedestrian bridge takes you across the canal and railroad tracks, right down to the beach at the water’s edge. Lots of rocks in and out of the water make for fun climbing. Texas Beach is an excellent spot for a quiet picnic, secluded fishing or an outdoor date. Trails are not well-maintained, so watch your step.

Lore: Captain Sally Tompkins
During the Civil War, Richmond was overrun with wounded Confederate soldiers. Sally Louisa Tompkins founded a hospital in a private home and kept it operational throughout the war, discharging the last patient on June 13, 1865. For her service, Tompkins received a commission as Captain in the Confederate Army -- becoming the force’s only female officer. After the war, Tompkins founded another hospital with the assistance of members of the St. James Episcopal Church (1205 W. Franklin Street, 804-355-1779). In the 1960s, St. James commemorated the Captain Sally Tompkins Memorial Stained Glass Window in her honor.

Food: Boxed Lunches from Sally Bell's Kitchen (708 W. Grace Street, 804-644-2838)
Established in 1924, Sally Bell’s Kitchen is a mecca of good, down-home cooking, and Richmonders in the know swear by Sally Bell’s boxed lunches. You get a sandwich, side salad, deviled egg, cheese wafer and a cupcake. With sandwich choices from Smithfield ham to pimento cheese and cupcake flavors including lemon, strawberry and crushed almond, your stomach will thank you for this Southern lunchtime treat.

Serenity: The Chrysalis Outdoor Labyrinth (3318 Loxley Road, corner of Westwood Avenue and Loxley)
If you’re in need of quiet time and reflection, this outdoor labyrinth is the perfect place for walking meditation and contemplation. Located in a field in the middle of a fitness trail, the labyrinth is easily accessible from the surrounding neighborhood streets and is one of Richmond’s best-kept secrets: Even in the best weather, there’s never a crowd to crimp your bliss.

Alternative Entertainment: Godfrey’s Drag Brunch (308 E. Grace Street, 804-648-3957)
The Sunday morning drag brunch and show at Godfrey’s is an alternative Richmond favorite. Patrons are mostly gay men, but all are welcome at this spectacular brunch -- menu items include Crab Eggs Benedict -- served by Richmond’s finest drag queens, followed by a drag show you won’t soon forget.

Weird Attractions: The Pyramid in Hollywood Cemetery
A pyramid in Richmond? The 90-foot, granite Confederate Pyramid in Hollywood Cemetery (412 S. Cherry Street) was erected by the Ladies of the Hollywood Memorial Association and Daughters of the Confederacy in 1869 to honor the more than 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery. Hollywood Cemetery makes for an eclectic historical tour, and the pyramid is truly a sight to behold.

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