Former D.C. residents Duanecia and Michell Clark moved to Richmond, Virginia when they had their new daughter, Ada, in August.
"We moved down to Richmond to get some more space," Duanencia said. "We wanted to get a little more breathing room and the cost of living is different down in Richmond."
The lifestyle was also different.
"Richmond has a lot of greenery. It's the South, but it's urban enough that we can still have like, a good millennial experience," Duanecia said.
There are now more traveling options for those wanting to experience the Richmond the Clarks enjoy.
In September, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the launch of expanded rail service from Richmond to the Northeast Corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Richmond's Main Street Station to D.C.
Travelers now have three departure times from Virginia's capital: two in the morning and one in the evening.
Additional Amtrak Northeast Regional trains also began serving Main Street Station.
"When Covid came upon us, we canceled a lot of trains partnering with Amtrak, and at the end of September we brought all of those trains back," said Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority DJ Stadtler Jr.
Stadtler said that bringing these trains back will add about 13,000 riders a year.
"But more importantly, it gives us a capital to capital trip, taking us from the
capital of the Commonwealth to the capital of the country," Stadtler said.
Find yourself in Richmond? This is what you can do in a day according to the Clarks' recommendations.
Start off by getting a fresh new look at Taylor's Barbershop, a Black-owned business, off Broad Street—near Virginia Commonwealth University.
"The shop just feels like a home," Michell said. "It's just very comfortable."
The barbershop serves a a diverse clientele base.
Richmond has become even more diverse over the years," Dawayne Taylor, the owner, said. "And we service every walk of life here at Taylor's barbershop."
The shop has women and men barbers.
"That's one of the things that you didn't see back in the older days," Taylor said.
Taylor characterizes his business as an upscale, luxury barbershop.
"We think customer first. And I think everybody who hits the shop enjoys the music, the vibe, the culture," he said.
Ms. Bee's Juice Bar
For a healthy breakfast, the Clarks recommend Ms. Bee's Juice Bar in the Brookland neighborhood.
The business started in 2009.
"I actually started selling juice out of the trunk of my car," Brandi Battle, the owner, said. "I've been very successful in my business, and I love what I'm doing."
Battle set up her brick-and-mortar in a food desert. It opened before the pandemic and never closed.
"We had no healthy food around this area, so that's why I chose this area," she said. "Not only do I provide healthy for the community, but I also educate the community on the lifestyle of eating healthy."
To relax, visit Boketto Wellness. The wellness spot offers acupuncture, cupping, massages, waxing and facials.
"They helped me so much through my pregnancy and now my postpartum period," Duanencia said.
The owner, Jelena Nikolajevic, is a licensed acupuncturist who had been practicing in New York before moving to Richmond.
"I just had this vision of opening up a space that's community oriented and
focusing on holistic wellness practices that I love," Nikolajevic said.
She said that the floodgates opened as soon as she opened for business.
"People were so into it and people were so into the brands that we carried and
especially a lot of the local brands that we support," Nikolajevic said. "As well as just where we stand our ethos on health and wellness.
Common House is where the Clarks, co-owners of a marketing agency called The Creative Summer Company, go as entrepreneurs to work. The place is a membership space that has everything from a pool to restaurants.
"We build community there when we can," Duanacia said.
Michell raves over Common House's antique and old-school vibe and aesthetic. The building was originally a furniture factory.
"It's nice to not always work at home, which has been the norm since early 2020 at this point," Michell said. "So it's refreshing to kind of get out and have somwhere else to go to write, to strategize and take calls."
Boho To Go
Duanecia buys a lot of her vintage furniture from Boho To Go—everything in the store is second-hand.
"We really focus on taking things from the past and using them in our home today, so that we're not having to shop manufactured overseas goods," Jennifer Levine, the owner, said.
The store is open Friday though Sunday. During the week, Levine finds, fixes and photographs the items in her store. She aims to have new items every week.
"I think we have a really unique mix of items, and I think we represent a myriad of different tastes," Levine said.
Boho To Go has bohemian mid-century, art deco and Hollywood Regency items.
"I think there's definitely something for everyone in here and it's always changing," Levine said.
The Quirk Hotel, located in downtown Richmond's arts and design district, is perfect for your Instagram feed.
In addition to room accommodations, the Quirk Hotel has a restaurant and an art gallery.
The hotel features regional and local original artwork in every room to make it "unique and special."
The building, which was once home to the J.B. Mosby department store, still has its original maple and pine hardwood floors and "have been refinished to capture the ease and sophistication of (the) guest rooms."
The beds in the rooms are made from salvaged floor joists of the original building.