Monday, July 16, 2007

Organic, Vegetarian, Vegan Foods in Richmond

From a Richmond homeschooler involved with the conference, some tips for out-of-towners:

If you will be arriving from out-of-town to attend the VaHomeschoolers Conference and Resource Fair in Richmond this weekend, please know that the folks in the Richmond area are looking forward to welcoming you! Note: This is a long post, but if you prefer organic food or vegan food, it will be worth your time to scan this message.

The following tips also include valuable hints for those interested in a 24-hour drive-thru Krispy Kreme just a block from the host hotel...I have had the privilege of making lodging arrangements for the conference this year. This year's host hotel, Holiday Inn-Crossroads, has an excellent staff and they are eager to please, hoping VaHomeschoolers will make Holiday Inn-Crossroads the host hotel for years to come.

If by chance you have not yet made reservations, you may be happy to know that the deadline for receiving the discount rate has been extended to the end of July 18th. The number to call for reservations is 1-804-359-6061. Ask for the VaHomeschoolers discount rate ($75 plus tax). Ask for the reservations manager, Shana Maitland, if you need any special assistance. Note that group rates do not include the "Kids Eat Free Program" or priority club points and perks.

Tips for hotel guests: The hotel restaurant has a breakfast buffet ($8.95 plus tax) with a wide variety of items (menu available as well). The hotel staff have agreed to open the restaurant early (6:30 a.m.), to make sure conference volunteers have time to eat before heading for the Science Museum of Virginia. When my family had breakfast there this morning, the waitress offered to let my son eat free from the buffet as long as we ordered something for him from the kids menu (cheaper than paying full buffet price for him). She explained that the kids menu didn't have as many items as the buffet, so that's why they offer to let the parents supplement the child's meal from the buffet.

Krispy Kreme lovers: From the hotel's rear parking lot, head straight down Bishop Street (Bishop dead ends at the hotel lot) for half a block. Krispy Kreme is on the left (table seating opens at 5:30 a.m. but drive-thru is open 24 hours). The doughnut production line is fully visible behind glass -- sounds like a field trip to me. [Directions from SMV are here.]

For those who prefer organic food and/or vegan food, please consider exploring a local organic heaven, Ellwood Thompson's, ( at 4 N. Thompson Street, phone 359-7525, open daily 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. As well as a full line of groceries, the store has tables for eating at the deli or buffet. This morning I stopped by there and noticed the buffet included scrambled tofu, vegan sausage, scrambled eggs made from organic free-range eggs and organic milk, real bacon and sausage for the meat-lover, cinnamon oatmeal, and more. There were also vegan breakfast burritos for those in a hurry to attend a conference. Ellwood Thompson's happens to be located near Cary Street, what I consider to be the heart of Richmond. Lots of interesting small shops and the famous Byrd Theatre always make this neighborhood fun to explore, even for someone like me who has lived here for 30 years.

Directions from the host hotel to Ellwood Thompson's: This is about a 5-minute drive. From the hotel's rear parking lot, turn left onto W. Marshall Street. Turn right onto Staples Mill Road, and immediately left at the light onto W. Broad Street (US250). After you get on Broad, go straight through 3 traffic lights and watch for the long line of brightly blooming crepe myrtles along the left side of Broad. Turn right at the 4th light onto Hamilton (you should see a sign for 195 South). Immediately after getting onto Hamilton, look for an entrance ramp on the LEFT side of Hamilton to get onto 195 South (also known as Downtown Expressway). After getting onto 195 South, take the first exit (marked 147 Cary St, Grove). The exit ramp forks (right takes you to Grove), so take the left fork to reach Cary Street. At the traffic light, turn left onto Cary. Turn left at the next light onto Thompson. Turn left at the next light to enter the Ellwood Thompson parking lot.

To get back to the hotel from Ellwood Thompson's, turn left onto Thompson from the parking lot. You could take the expressway back, but this post is already so long, that I will just describe the simplest way. Take Thompson all the way to Broad St. Turn left on Broad to get back to Staples Mill Road (back to the hotel), or turn right on Broad to get to the Science Museum of Virginia (about a mile after you turn onto Broad).

Stumble Upon Toolbar