24 HOURS IN RICHMOND
Arriving in historic Richmond and turning the corner...
I was delighted to see my favorite stars in a row of five.
After the valet whisked the A5 away, I couldn't wait to make my way through those double doors.
Now you see why. Planned by tobacco baron Lewis Ginter, The Jefferson was designed in the Spanish Baroque-Style by noted national architects Carrère and Hastings.
Construction of The Jefferson Hotel began in 1892 and its grand opening took place in 1895. A marble statue of Thomas Jefferson prominently stands tall under the magnificent Tiffany stained glass of the Palm Court lobby.
The main staircase in The Jefferson's stunning two-story lobby is rumored to have inspired the one in Scarlett Ohara's mansion in the 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind—as the author was staying at the hotel during the time she wrote the famous novel.
Famous overnight guests have included the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and twelve U.S. presidents: Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush—to name a few. Are you next?
I made my way to the elevator, in anticipation of relaxing in my completely renovated grand premier guest room on the top floor.
Opening the door, I was instantly head over heels in love with the black and white marble foyer. Don't you love it?
The perfect afternoon pick me up as relief from the epic heat wave I drifted in on—sat right in front of me.
The Jefferson Hotel is a longstanding member of Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
That champagne sure helped. I was ready to explore the cobblestone streets of Richmond.
Historic architecture was abundant everywhere I turned.
These were some of my favorite shots!
Built in 1785 by Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, and at 229 years old, the Virginia State Capitol is actually the 8th one built due to fires during Colonial times. It houses the oldest legislative body in North America, dating back to 1619! It was Jefferson's architectural Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and the neoclassical design has influenced public buildings in America since 1788.
What a great taste of Richmond architecture! Time to head back to the hotel for an early dinner at Lemaire.
Imagine five-star accoladed dining in the height of historic architecture, within the heart of Virginia's Capital: Welcome to Lemaire, the signature dining experience at The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond. The epitome of high-end Southern cuisine and hospitality with a global twist.
It was an easy choice starting off with a crisp and oh so refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc. You might as well have two, as you scantily peruse the magnificent historic architecture surrounding you.
From the detailed columns, to the hand-blown chandeliers, please do let me know what part of the ambiance you enjoyed most.
A lover of (almost) all things raw, I began dinner with Marinated Ahi Tuna Tartare. This decadent dish was prepared with Castelvetrano olive tapenade, cured egg yolk, drizzled with tomato viniagrette and finished with lavash crisps.
A tartare buff by nature, this was my first time having "marinated" tuna tartare and wow, I can say that the flavors popped like none I've ever had before. From now on, I want my tartare marinated!
Next, I was totally in the mood for the Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cake. Fresh from Maryland of course! Plated with broccolini, roasted cauliflower, piquillo peppers, benne (sesame) and finished with spring onion cream, every single flavorful bite left me craving the next.
I mean, when aren't you in the mood for crab cakes? Always delicious and satisfying, these did not disappoint and I appreciated the broccolini and cauliflower added into the mix.
I love sea scallops, so the Cast Iron Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops were obviously calling my name.
The sea scallops, seared to perfection, sat atop succulent shellfish broth-marinated Italian fregola pasta, blended with Eastern shore clams, Kite’s country ham (a local specialty) and Swiss chard. So good.
Dining at Lemaire is simply not complete without dessert. As you can see by the plating, this is a fact.
The Meyer Lemon Tart, filled with freshly juiced Meyer lemons, was topped with torched meringue. When I took the last bite, I was sad indeed.
Perhaps the best part is knowing that they have an outdoor terrace, whether for cocktails or dinner—complete with oscillating fans for that Southern Virginia heat.
**Guests of Lemaire are invited to valet park using the Franklin Street entrance of the hotel or to self-park in either the Main Street or Franklin Street parking lot at no charge.