The Armpit of Virginia – Richmond Trip Report

I was always under the impression the city of Richmond was wonderfully well kept. I suppose this was because the University of Richmond was an expensive college and Virginia is home of lots of cash. This was not the case. At one stop on my trip a dealer referred to Richmond as the title of this post, he added, “well, maybe Petersburg”.

City of Richmond

The National Slate Association held it’s annual meeting in Richmond, Va which consisted of a tour of a quarry, a beautiful mansion with slate roofs, and a few other destinations. It was held on 10/24-10/25 and because we sell slate tools and are members, it is a good opportunity for networking. I woke up early on Wednesday and hit 95 with a car full of tool samples and notes for the trip. I got to Baltimore at about 8am and hit my normal distributors. I spent the day traveling South and wound up in Richmond in the afternoon. I checked into the Doubletree (where they give you a delicious chocolate chip cookie upon arrival) and I went for my usual run around an unfamiliar city to get acclimated. Richmond is home of VCU which is found within striking distance of Downtown. I started walking around a bit after the run to see capitol building and a few other landmarks but was somewhat unimpressed. There wasn’t much action downtown and Broad St is pretty dicey. Certainly not the clean atmosphere I was expecting.

I woke early on Thursday and saw a couple more distributors before meeting with the slate association. We piled into a few vans and took off to view some historic slate roofs. Without going into every detail I’ll hit the cool spots. Here is picture of Dover Hall which is a 38,000 square foot mansion which blew me away. Every room is immaculate and the amount of rooms is incredible. Click on each picture for a closer look.

The day completed back at the hotel and we had a few drinks at the bar and I was pretty beat from the day. I fell asleep during the baseball game and woke up at 6am because I had another stop scheduled for my trip. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical because I still can’t run properly and it’s starting to bother me. I’m eating more and working out less and it’s not a good look. I headed down to Petersburg to visit a nice customer and they showed me around their facility which was awesome. I then drove to the slate quarry where we spent the day going over the various processes of extracting slate from the ground and getting it ready for sale. Next we headed to someone’s “farm” which was 1,500 acres of land near Charlottesville, which is bumblefuck VA. It was unbelievable though because he had his own lake and tons of land for hunting. These guys are big into hunting game and their back yard is as far as they have to travel to partake. They even had a pet deer which I’ve never seen before.

This little guy was friendly.

This little guy was friendly.

The entire association had dinner and shared drinks before the night came to an end. The night sky at this farm was crystal clear that it makes you appreciate getting out of the city for a while. It’s a foreign idea thinking of living out in the country compared to city life. There is nothing around these guys and you have all the land to yourself without anyone stopping you from doing anything. Truly awesome.

I drove back from Richmond at 8pm to arrive back in Philly at 12:30. I was beat from the day but the trip was great because I made a lot of worthwhile contacts who get to know you and want to do business with you because they like you. You can’t spend time any better and I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position that allows me to travel and make decisions for the company. I couldn’t ask for anything more.