You would not believe the fretting I did to try to get hotels, restaurants and neighborhoods in the right geographical location while writing Insiders\’ Guide to Richmond. It’s not that these  entities moved around faster than I, but they sure were hard to pin down. We are such a quirky, secret society in these parts that no one really knows where one is at any given moment.  I live in Richmond–in the city–but my zip code indicates to some that I live in Chesterfield County.  Nope, never have, unless you count the fact that my house was built in Chesterfield County but moved to Richmond (in a manner of speaking) during the 1970’s annexation.  If I run up onto the Huguenot Bridge from Riverside Drive I am greeted by a Henrico County sign on the bridge sidewalk when anyone driving on Riverside Drive beneath the sign should be ticketed in the city of Richmond for going too fast…cause they most assuredly are. 

If I drop a can from the bridge–and I would never do that or advise it–am I littering in Henrico County and Richmond at the same time? Regionalization might have a chance if the localities could figure out a way to ticket people in more than one jurisdiction at the same time. Of course, plenty of people have Richmond addresses and don’t live within the city at all. Virginia’s stupid independent city set-up is not the guidebook writer’s friend–or our region’s.

Glen Allen is a mystery wrapped in barbecue and office parks. It’s mostly in Henrico County but has a Hanover section, too. Its vibe says Staples Mill Rd. and Mountain Rd area, yet the reality is that Innsbrook and even much of what we consider Short Pump, including Twin Hickory, have Glen Allen mailing addresses.

Realtors fudge things all the time, as do hotels. My favorites are the ones that try to claim they are Holiday Inn Express Richmond-Mechanicsville or Something something Richmond-Short Pump.  Make up your mind. So much of the marketing is geared toward getting folks who want to go to Richmond stay way the hell outside Richmond. That isn’t very hospitable; it’s downright mean to trick people into thinking the So and So Hotel Richmond is in Richmond when it’s in an outlying county.  And when the web sites say the Fan and UR are right outside their door when they’re completely across town in another jurisdiction–I get annoyed. (Also annoys me that the Richmond Marriott which actually is in downtown Richmond says on its web site that the Union burned Richmond.  Not so. Oy.)

Restaurants cheat, too. Mediterraneo and Wild Ginger, two popular restaurants off Robious Road give their addresses as Midlothian VA. Not true. They are in fact in Powhatan County, but I can only assume that sounds too far out in the country for their tastes. Bon Air straddles the city/county line, haphazardly,  and I could go on and on about the muddled lines of the West End, Near West End and Far West End. Suffice it to say that the Far, Far West End is too far, and Henrico VA is nowhere. The cranky travel writer has had her say.