In the last decade, Richmond has undergone an art renaissance, blending modern architectural designs and street art with its rich Southern aesthetic. Currently, Richmond boasts more than one-hundred murals by local and international artists—a “living canvas” that’s emblematic of the city’s thriving, contemporary cultural scene.
A former department store built in 1916, the four-star boutique Quirk Hotel was restored to its current glamorous aesthetic in 2015. The lobby features a chevron-patterned wooden floor, a mezzanine, and the original wrought-iron staircase, which was uncovered during the recent renovations. Guests can sip hand-crafted cocktails from the rooftop bar, sample local ingredients from the signature restaurant, Maple & Pine, or browse the art in the adjacent art gallery. Upstairs, the guest rooms also stay true to their historical roots, with five-foot-tall industrial-style windows, original pine-wood flooring, and headboards salvaged from the building’s original walnut floor beams. destinationhotels.com
A new take on the classic fern bar, Laura Lee’s serves up an elevated take on classic Southern favorites, with dishes like seared scallops with sweet potatoes and curry sauce, jumbo crab cakes with creamy polenta, and deep-fried crab cake sandwiches topped with Brussels sprout slaw. Located just a few blocks from Quirk Hotel is Charm School. This ice cream shop boasts handmade cones and flavors like iced latte, ginger lime, and Fruity Pebbles cereal milk—making it the perfect place to end a gastronomic night on the town.
Richmond’s Broad Street is home to an array of eclectic vintage clothing and furniture stores. Shop for chunky knits at Rosewood Clothing Co., hunt for funky T-shirts at Blue Bones, and peruse the bohemian furniture at 68 Home. For a wide selection of coffee, wine, and local craft beer, head one block north to West Marshall Street, where you’ll spot Saison Market, a cozy marketplace and bottle shop that also doubles as a café.
On Friday nights, Richmond’s art galleries throw open their doors to the public and feature live music and free food and wine. Start your tour on Broad Street, the art district’s main road, and view the can’t-miss artwork at Ada Gallery, 1708 Gallery, Candela Books + Gallery, and The Mix Gallery. Nestled on the outskirts of Richmond, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden sits on more than fifty acres of property. It boasts a dozen gardens, including a rose garden with more than 1,300 bushes, a picturesque Asian garden with a bubbling river and broad-leafed evergreens, and a conservatory that hosts a stunning collection of orchids.—Maria Masters
Around every charming corner in Savannah, you’ll encounter the striking balance between the old and the new: cutting-edge art and design influence from students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) against the dramatic backdrops of Victorian Regency, Greek and Gothic Revival, and Italianate architecture.
When you walk into the The Kimpton Brice Hotel’s lobby, you’ll see why they refer to it as the “living room.” It’s as intimate and cozy as an actual living room—just the way founder Bill Kimpton envisioned it. Busta Studio, the firm behind the execution of the hotel’s “traditional reimagined” design concept, overlooked no detail when integrating modern lines and Southern inspiration to create a dramatic mood. The contemporary curve of the bookshelves in the living room gives way to a gallery wall of modern SCAD artwork. In fact, the focus on bookshelves pays homage to the traditional, library-first layout of many historic Savannah homes. bricehotel.com
Make your reservations early at the acclaimed Husk where the interior pays tribute to some original architectural details from the home’s 1898 bones and its Oglethorpe Avenue locale. Design lovers can’t miss The Grey, serving up modern Southern fare from a refurbished 1938 Art Deco Greyhound bus terminal. And what’s a fabulous weekend getaway without brunch? Wake up to the bright and cheery interior at The Collins Quarter, treat yourself to a spiced lavender mocha, and, if you’ve saved room, order their signature Swine Time Beni—French toast topped with pulled pork, tomato, poached egg, hollandaise, and bacon.
Within about a mile of each other, you can hit acclaimed furnishing and antique havens Alex Raskin Antiques, 24e Design Co., The Paris Market, and Brocante. ShopSCAD, on Bull Street, showcases the work of SCAD alumni, students, and faculty. Pop into Folklorico for an eclectic selection of jewelry and folk art, and add Nourish to your list for organic, locally made bath and skincare products.
Those seeking a dose of history will appreciate a visit to the Savannah History Museum, the trio of Telfair Museums, and the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. Avid readers should plan a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery, featured prominently in the bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. If tours inside public sites like the Andrew Low House, Harper Fowlkes House, Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home, and Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace aren’t enough to satiate your design curiosity, try to snag tickets to the 85th Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens, March 26–29. You’ll get an exclusive peek into some of the city’s finest private homes and their special heirloom furnishings.—Cristina Wilson
There are certain stops in Charlottesville that are musts for any first-time visitors. Visiting Thomas Jefferson’s fascinating Monticello home. Lunching at the nearby circa-1784 Michie Tavern. Perusing the University of Virginia’s bustling campus. But these things have all been a part of this vibrant city for decades—or even centuries. Today, its chef-driven restaurants, gorgeous vineyards, and charming shops are drawing fresh attention. And there’s no better time for a getaway to the new Charlottesville.
Named for Virginians Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, The Draftsman opened in the fall of 2018 on
Charlottesville’s Main Street, just a block from UVA’s campus. Its chic lobby features accents of gold and turquoise, with small
modern vignettes perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. Request a room on one of the upper levels, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the town and the Blue Ridge Mountains. And make a reservation at Renewal, where you’ll find locally sourced dishes and drinks, and a convivial happy hour that highlights the local brewing scene. thedraftsmanhotel.com
Just across the street from The Draftsman is Farm Bell Kitchen, the perfect weekend brunch stop. Be sure to try the Biscuit Board, a flight of four homemade biscuits with ham, pork gravy, house mustard, and local preserves. Farther down Main Street, Public Fish & Oyster features a raw bar, local microbrews, and incredibly fresh seafood for central Virginia. Its cozy space and creamy clam chowder are a perfect answer to a chilly night. End your evening at the nearby Alley Light, a beautiful bar with a speakeasy vibe offering creative—and potent—cocktails.
Start at the Historic Downtown Mall, a pedestrian mall with brick-paved streets lined by historic buildings. Pop into C’Ville Arts, an impressive co-op gallery featuring arts and crafts from local makers, and stop by Blue Whale Books, a used and rare bookstore where shelves are stacked with thousands of volumes. Just outside of town, you’ll find The Barn Swallow Artisan Gallery featuring beautifully curated works such as pottery, carved wood, and hand-crafted silver.
For a scenic start to your day, head to the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the most rewarding vistas can be found at Humpback Rocks, an outcropping of rocks at the top of a popular (and strenuous) one-mile trail. Reward yourself after
your hike with a stop at the nearby Blue Mountain Brewery, which features live music, mountain views, and tasty fare
alongside its craft brews. Or spend a leisurely afternoon at the fifty-acre Veritas Vineyards & Winery.—Sarah Crosland
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA
A true Southern city, Columbia, South Carolina, may be best known as the state capital and home to the University of South Carolina. But over the last decade, the city has undergone a major resurgence with revitalized neighborhoods, trendy festivals, and new restaurants, turning this college town into a burgeoning metropolis.
The Graduate Columbia opened last August after completely renovating the former Inn at USC. Once a four-bedroom family home, it is now a 119-room boutique hotel with subtle architectural details and aesthetic choices that are a nod to school colors, mascots, and more. In lieu of a massive lobby, the first floor greets guests with a variety of sitting rooms, each designed to make you feel like you’re in your own—albeit funky—living room. Each room is a thoughtful collision of colors and prints and vintage chachkies handpicked from area antique stores. graduatehotels.com/columbia
Before dinner, head to Lula Drake Wine Parlour. Owned by an acclaimed sommelier, this cozy space features a rotating wine selection and a menu of small plates. Caterer-turned-chef Jessica Shillato and her husband, Jake Wendling, opened Southern comfort food spot Spotted Salamander Café and Catering in 2014.
Known for its pulled brisket pimento cheese sandwich, rotating deviled eggs specials, pork belly mac and cheese, and decadent chocolate-cookie butter crack pie, you won’t leave hungry. For outside-thebox bistro fare, head to Terra. Known for its pizzas, Terra also serves up a delicious pork schnitzel and blue crab fettuccine.
Columbia’s Devine Street, less than two miles from the hotel, offers a stretch of shops that are easily walkable. Bohemian Home has been a staple in Columbia since it opened in 1976 and is chock full of an eclectic mix of everything from wall art to ergonomically designed lounge chairs. Just a few steps away is Just the Thing, which features clothing, shoes, and handbags, as well as jewelry and gifts. There’s also Pink Sorbet for the Lilly Pulitzer fan and Half-Moon Outfitters for the outdoorsy type.
If you’re in Columbia this spring or summer, be sure to head to Segra Park and catch a Fireflies game—the team is the minor league affiliate of the New York Mets. But be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Wine Tasting at Riverbanks Botanical Garden (typically in April). Sample wines from all over the world while tasting local fare from dozens of local restaurants, all while walking the grounds of the pristine gardens.—Michelle Boudin
Sure, it’d be easy to dedicate your entire Washington, D.C. visit to historical sites and museums. But from distilleries to designer shops, the capital city has transformed in recent years into a modern cultural destination. Now, a weekend getaway here can be venturing between food halls, rooftop bars, and charming neighborhood streets. And, if you’re able to squeeze in a Smithsonian stop or two along the way, all the better.
Housed in the converted 1839 General Post Office building, Hotel Monaco, a boutique Kimpton Hotel, recently underwent a major design refresh that melded modern style with the building’s classical architecture. The result? Dramatic touches like white medallions of lion heads in each high-ceilinged guest room and elegant European-inspired furniture—all blended with bold modern art and jewel-toned hues. monaco-dc.com
Famed chef Jose Andres’ cadre of always impressive restaurants (make reservations at Minibar), as well as uber-popular spots like Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill have drawn plenty of attention on the national food scene. You’ll want to check out brand new destinations like Dupont Circle’s Residents Café & Bar, a fast favorite for its Mediterranean vibe and flavors, or the modern Italian-inspired Modena, featuring house-made pasta and fresh specialty breads.
Blue Duck Tavern continues to have one of the best brunches in town, and the rooftop views of the White House and Washington Monument mean that the pricey cocktails at POV Rooftop are always worth it.
Mixed-use development City Center DC is within walking distance of Hotel Monaco and features luxury shops like Hermès,
Christofle, Jo Malone London, and a new Tiffany & Co. Other urban shopping options include Union Market, where boutiques
like the charming Salt & Sundry features curated gift and entertaining offerings, and the new Veer & Wander offers a fresh twist on the traditional apothecary. Georgetown’s M Street continues to be a popular stop for shoppers for its trendy brands like Rag & Bone, All Saints, and even a brick-and-mortar version of Rent the Runway.
Catch the Metro to Old Town Alexandria, where you can stroll down cobblestone streets lined with eighteenth-century homes, stop in local boutiques and galleries, and grab a bite at one of the restaurants overlooking the Potomac. The most fun history- meets modern- day-experience in D.C. right now, though, may be the distilleries popping up in Ivy City, just a few blocks north of Union Market. Since Green Hat Gin opened in 2012—the first distillery in D.C. to open since Prohibition—the former warehouse district has become home to five more and counting, making it an easy spot to spend an afternoon sipping and sampling.—SC