I see them on the streets–parents with their high school-aged children, couples holding hands, retirees–wandering around Shockoe Slip looking a little lost, wishing they could be on a food tour. I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re thinking. Often I see people huddled around an old interpretive sign about Gallego Mills that sits in the middle of the busy road at Canal and 10th St. The interpretation I get is that was a terrible place to place a sign you want people to read. Nothing much in their line of vision is enticing and the cars zooming by are surely not expecting pedestrians there.
I was once a sad Richmond tourist. When we were about to move here in the early ’90’s we met my parents downtown with a couple of hours to kill. We wanted to go for a walk with our young children. We saw some sort of historic marker for Kanawha Canal and walked across Cary St. to the concrete expanse that doesn’t even deserve the term concrete jungle. There was no there there and there was no Canal Walk yet, so it was disconcerting to say the least.
Richmond is too fond of saying what used to be here and not good enough at telling and showing people what is here now. Standing at the foot of the Capitol and hearing about who used to be here resonates, but standing in front of a sign that shows a building that isn’t there where a highway is doesn’t. Hence the Real Richmond: Food Tours effort.
I walk all over Richmond now. No sad tourists on our food tours. So far that’s actually true. We specialize in happy folks walking and eating and seeing the sights and sites. We have opinions–and some of them are even based on facts. Food, facts & fun.