Neely has been producing national editorial and advertising projects on a freelance basis since moving from New York to Virginia in 1999. Before her move, she was on the masthead at Elle Decor as an Assistant Editor and later Architectural Digest as a Contributing Editor.
Eat: Restaurants + Bars in Richmond
Totally adorable Main Street bakery that offers eclairs and choux, tarts, macarons, croissants, and cookies (including their scalloped spin on a black-and-white cookie called the Whisker). Whisk features a mix of traditional French baking and treats with a twist like a Nutella macaron tinted Tiffany blue. Sandwiches are also great so this can double as a lunch option and happy hour spot. Could even pinch hit for early light supper!
2100 E. Main Street
Two words: Eggplant Parmesan. 8 ½ is the take-out storefront for Mamma Zu, the longtime (and long line for dinner seating) eatery in Oregon Hill named for a Fellini film. The menu has everything from arugula salad and white pizza to zuppa di pesce—you name it, it is all good. At least until it sells out which (understandably) happens daily.
2709 E. Marshall Street
401 Strawberry Street
Stay: Richmond Hotels
Linden Row Inn
It is insanely amazing that this exists—it’s a hotel formed from almost a block of Greek Revival townhomes. The guestrooms are scattered from brick outbuildings in the courtyard to suites and rooms grouped around the existing original interior stairs. It’s like staying in a mid-19th century house museum. The buildings were saved by precocious Richmond preservationist Mary Wingfield Scott whose Converse sneaker-clad-feet trod the way for organizations like Historic Richmond Foundation and saved broad swaths of important structures and cast iron in 1950s Richmond. The suite named for her is on the parlor floor with a bedroom bay window overlooking the Kent Valentine house—headquarters for the Garden Club of Virginia. A petite restaurant, Parterre, is tucked into the street side of the building with craft cocktails and Southern comfort food—19th century living but better.
100 E. Franklin Street
Shop: Local Gifts + Specialty Shops
When I moved to the Church Hill neighborhood in the late 1990s, I could not buy a copy of W magazine in a 10-mile radius. Now one of the hippest boutiques in town is four blocks from me. The store has gifts the likes of a quilted baby blanket that folds origami-like into a swan and a cheetah bikini worthy of the chicest beach in the world. While there you might have to turn the corner and get something from Sub Rosa, the wood fired bakery on 25th.
2415 Jefferson Avenue
Elizabeth Few Studio’s Leizu Collection
Elizabeth Few’s silk pillowcases, dyed with botanicals in her workshop in Richmond’s Fan District, have received acclaim coast to coast. Equally dreamy are her sumptuous sleep masks, gorgeous kimonos, and pieced duvets. Though her workshop is not technically a storefront, you can shop her line at Boketta Wellness (also in the Fan) and save yourself the trip to ABC Carpet and Home.
106 N. Vine Street
Chop Suey Books
Not only will they order anything with zero attitude and dynamite personal customer service, their shelves teem with the most beautifully curated mix of well-priced vintage books. My husband has the best luck there with finds like an illustrated Swan Lake storybook for my daughter and a Maurice Sendak title I had never even heard of.
2913 W. Cary Street
Play: Things to Do in Richmond
An indoor mini golf course set in the (fictional) dregs of an elegant “19teens” eastern European hotel inside the old tea room of the grand (but since converted to apartments) John Marshall Hotel. Are you confused yet? Then it’s working. The whole experience is like being caught in a movie—and that’s a good thing. Check the peepholes discreetly placed throughout the course. They are the work of Seattle artist and Guggenheim fellow Rick Araluce. The whole concept and execution are genius, and it is actually really fun to play!
508 E. Franklin Street
Named one of the South’s Best Hotels on the 2018 Southern Living list, Quirk offers an energetic, creatively inspired space for any escape, from getaways and private events to corporate meetings. Their restaurant and bar, Maple & Pine, features distinct cuisine with ingredients sourced from local farms and artisans. And don’t miss the breathtaking views from Q Rooftop Bar.
201 W. Broad Street