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To sum up  and flesh out my RVA holiday gift guide from Twitter for the first 12 days of December:

Holiday RVA gift idea #:1 Rusty’s Cream Puffs from Aziza’s on Main St. Too big to be stocking stuffers; they’re stomach stuffers instead!

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #2 Dollop Desserts Nicole Lang’s treats will have recipients shouting whoopie!


Holiday RVA Gift Guide #3 Chef Bundy +3 regional chefs do 5-course James Beard Foundation Dinner at Lemaire 1/14. SOLD OUT as of 12/12.

Holiday RVA gift #4 Andy Bality James River/Huguenot Bridge print. $20 at Riverside Outfitters and Once Upon A Vine/South in Stratford Hills wine/south.

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #5 Real Richmond  gift certificates. Food tour fun for all. Fairly obvious. Awfully easy. Doesn’t expire!

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #6 Steve Hedberg holiday cards of his gorgeous wintry paintings– available at TaZa in Westover Hills.

in case you forgot what snow is like

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #7 Clean up your act! Not the sexiest present, but if you hate Lexus commercials, see my previous blog post. A recycling cart to love.

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #8 Anything from Virginia St. Gallery in Shockoe Slip. Open 11-8 Thursday -Sat. Til 5 on Sun. Art, food etc. Great photos, small paintings, sweet and savory items.

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #9 Any number of cool Richmond books and ephemera at Black Swan Books on W. Main. St. I can’t say what I bought!

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #10 Handmade items, including Terrarium ornaments, at Bizarre Mkt upstairs at Chop Suey Books in Carytown.

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #11 Ben Campbell’s new book, Richmond’s Unhealed History.  Book-signing at Fountain Bookstore Dec. 21st.

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #12 Lovely and local cards of Jackson Ward scenes and spots. Available at Box Brown, 518 N. 2nd St. in Jackson Ward, right near The Hippodrome.

You have seen the signs for Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site for years on I-95. If you live in Richmond, you might think you know the basics about her, so you don’t think there’s anything to learn: African American, female bank president. High school named after her.  Ok, good for you, but forgive me for telling you– you don’t know half of what’s amazing about this woman.

GO to the National Park Service site! It’s her home with her library, her furnishings, and most impressive of all, her story, and it’s all free!  How she did what she did when she did is fascinating and inspirational. Not enough people know the impact she had in Richmond and throughout the country in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Some day I will prove that she and I are related. She and my grandmother look like twins–and they both had Irish fathers. Perhaps that’s my next book. Nevertheless, get thee to Jackson Ward! The Park Rangers are so cute and knowledgeable–tell them Maureen said hi. And grab lunch at Ettamae’s Cafe on 2nd St. or Mama J’s on 1st St. to make it quite the outing.

Maggie L. Walker's home is on Leigh St., but the entrance to the site is on 2nd St.

After lunch, head to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center where the Pride over Prejudice exhibit about the Maggie Walker/Armstrong rivalry is ongoing.

At 00 Clay St. Admission is charged but see below about a great deal

It also has worthwhile permanent exhibits that put Maggie Walker’s life story into a larger context and introduce you to other lesser-known Richmonders whose stories deserve to be known. Don’t balk at paying admission–get the Court End Passport for $10 that gets you admission to the Black History Museum, Valentine Richmond History Center, and John Marshall House for a full year!

 There’s a new way to get to know Richmond, and you’re welcome to come along on Real Richmond\’s next food tour which will meander by Maggie Walker’s house and the Black History Museum, among other notable spots.  On Saturday, Nov. 20th at 2 p.m.   The Wards: The Art & Soul of Richmond spans both sides of Broad Street to take in the art, architecture, and history of Monroe and Jackson wards while we walk the neighborhoods and sample food from Comfort, Ettamae’s, Mama J’s, Chez Foushee and Lemaire at The Jefferson. Taste and see!

I’m back!