Returning to Richmond

“Something that I love about Richmond is that it looks stuck in the 90’s,” my sister Brynn said as we were driving over the bridge crossing the James River. The Richmond skyline – square and compact – was centered in the car window. It would have been a perfect moment to take a photo, but I didn’t. It was one of the first times that I had seen the Richmond city outline in years, and now that I was getting an apartment here, I wanted to simply observe.

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It was true – the taller buildings were older without being too dated, but still a stark contrast to the sleek, ultra-modern skyscrapers of Miami. But the buildings that I loved the most were the quaint, vintage ones. My sister lived in a repurposed hospital that had been used during the Civil War, and the apartment that I had recently signed a lease on was located inside an old jewelry warehouse that had closed in the 1940’s.

Here, you found buildings with mysterious doors, classical columns, and sweeping front porches gracing the entrances to Colonial houses. I could imagine a Southern belle sitting out there in a rocking chair, sipping homemade iced tea from a mason jar.

When you walked into shops, the distressed wood floors, some of them up to a century old, creaked and cracked. So did the floors in my apartment. I thought it was charming.

I came to Richmond just in time for autumn, and the leaves were still turning when I arrived. Having lived in Florida for so long, and having tended to avoid going north except in warmer months, I hadn’t seen fall colors in awhile. Now, the bright trees, the crisply dry air, and the smell of fallen leaves reminded me of raking paths through our yard as children.

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