Richmond Neighborhood Guide: Museum District

You may recognize this fine couple from various debuts in Ledbury’s correspondence throughout the years. Reid Collier is one of our Art Directors here at Ledbury, and his super rad wife, Heather, is a Senior Producer at The Martin Agency. They live together in a fantastic home in the Museum District with their hound dog, Henry, and cat, Mini June. Reid and Heather’s home is within walking distance of great food, wine, art, green spaces and shopping in Carytown. We shared a glass of rosé and an evening porch hang with Reid and Heather to get some insight on what it’s like living in Richmond’s Museum District.

Why did you decide to move to Museum District? How long have you lived there?

We’ve been here for about 4 years now. Before we moved here we were in a nice little apartment on Park Avenue in the fan. We loved our place but wanted to invest in a house with a bit more room. We liked that the museum district had a fan-like vibe with its own personality. The houses here are a little more spread out, and you seem to get a bit more square footage for the price. My folks, who are in real estate, found this lovely home for us over on Floyd, and we went for it.

The Museum District is great. We’ve got some green space to work with but it still has a walkable, urban feeling. Also, Heather comes from a long line of gardeners, and it’s been really nice to work together to build up the landscape around our house.

How has your neighborhood changed in the last 5 years?

The neighborhood has grown quite a bit actually. We noticed that there are younger folks moving in on our block. When we moved in a few years ago, there was actually an empty lot across the street from us, which is pretty rare. It turns out that a friend of mine from school built on it, which was funny because I didn’t know that he was the owner. One day he came to the site as I was leaving, and I hadn’t seen him in years. It was a nice serendipitous run-in. Those interactions seem to happen more frequently in urban neighborhoods.

But the Museum District is cool because there’s a nice mix of old and new. The neighborhood isn’t on this super fast rising trajectory, but it’s definitely evolving for the better.

Commercially, the tenants on Belmont Ave alone have really changed. Belmont Food Shop went in not too long ago and has been awesome to have around the corner. Heather and I will stop down there pretty regularly for a meal or just a cocktail. Nine Roses is a great new addition. They really did a nice job with the renovation of their space. And then there are some seriously awesome, standby spots. Belmont Butchery might be one of the greatest institutions in the world, may it live FOREVER! We love shopping there. Almost every Saturday we roll out of their shop with an arm full of bacon, rosé, and flank steak. Having Need Supply anchoring the end of the block is awesome (and dangerous). We tend to stop there any time we head into Carytown. Then of course, we’re regulars at Can Can. We love to stop in for brunch or oysters on Sunday.

Any green spaces or parks off the beaten path?

There are! Actually, I joke with Paul Watson about how I like to run down the alleys because of all of the small tucked away parks. We have one great spot right across the street that’s sort of a quarter alley. The road is grass, and it creates this vignette that feels like some sort of coastal roadway from a different time. Heather likes to go back there and poach flowers that have crossed into no-man’s land. Seriously, I think that Richmond has some of the best alleys in the country.

And the VMFA is pretty much a giant park. There’s nothing secret about it, but for such an open public space, there are plenty of great tucked away spots.

How do you guys bring in a “super moon?”

We were down on the Florida gulf coast for the most recent full moon. We made some Moscow Mules and parked ourselves on the beach for the show. For the last super moon in Richmond, we found a high spot. The deck at the VMFA is pretty perfect for moon rises. We brought some music, wine and a couple of solo cups to keep the whole thing casual. You don’t want to go and get too serious about a super moon.

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Describe a perfect Museum District Sunday.

We love hanging at home, so any Sunday where we can just kick it around the crib is great. We tend to sleep in, then read the Sunday paper with some coffee on the back porch. Usually “This American Life” is on the radio or maybe some Sunday records. Our dog Henry rolls out to find a warm, sunny spot on the porch. We cook up some of that Belmont bacon and Heather’s famous cheddar biscuits. We might get after a cocktail later and a little bit of light work out in the yard. That is a great day!

What’s the best thing going on in Richmond right now?

I (Reid) grew up here, so it’s great to see Richmond’s potential start to materialize. All of the neighborhoods are finding their voice and really interesting, creative people are moving here and loving it. The culinary, art and music scenes are exploding. It’s just a great place to be now and for the long haul.

What are you most excited about for Richmond’s future?

We‘d really love to see Richmond hit that next gear and emerge nationally as one of those cities that people admire and romanticize. They’ll say, “Oh Richmond, I hear that it’s lovely in the fall. Is it true that people actually drink the river water? That’s amazing!”

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In addition to Reid and Heather’s great recommendations, these Museum District spots are musts:

For a quintessential dive bar experience and one of the biggest and best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, pop by the basement deli Chiocca’s.

Black Hand Coffee keeps the Museum District caffeinated. Grab a quick coffee and stroll through the neighborhood.

If you have a taste for sushi, Akida is not to be missed. Get the Richmond roll and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

Stroll over to Carytown for great food, wine and shopping. Curry Craft serves delicious contemporary Indian food. Secco Wine Bar has one of the most extensive wine lists in the city – and the charcuterie and cheese plates are just as wonderful. To do as the locals do, stop by Chop Suey Books and pick up a used title. If you’re lucky, you may also catch an art show while you’re there. And of course, no trip to Carytown is complete without catching a $2 film at The Byrd Theatre, followed by an ice cream cone from Bev’s.

Photography by Jeffrey Ocampo. Follow Jeff on Instagram @jocampophoto. Illustration by Will Godwin. See more of Will’s work on Instagram @buffallowill.

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