Five plans to ring in the spring

Illustration by Clare Wislar

Gabriela de Camargo Gonçalves, Spectrum Editor

“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking,” Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly said in “The Devil Wears Prada” as the season approached.

Spring represents a restart, where harsh winds turn to soft breezes and the clouds disperse. After months of avoiding the outdoors because of the cold winter, the season gives all a chance to shine among the blooming trees and the warm sun. 

Richmond has much to offer for those wishing to revel in the nice weather and breakaway from final exams. The privilege of having VCU’s campus in a city means infinite possibilities for things to do, but here are five suggestions to inspire “groundbreaking” outings.

1. Sightseeing in Downtown Richmond 

One bus ride or a 20-minute walk to the heart of Richmond opens the door to many spring opportunities. Springtime blooms in Shockoe Slip with cobblestone-paved streets and trees closing in on historical buildings. The neighborhood offers local businesses, bookstores, restaurants and the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the city. 

Just a couple of blocks away is the Pipeline Trail overlooking the James River. The trail is a hidden gem of scenery with small beaches throughout, as the trail meets the horizon in its length. 

The Riverfront Canal Walk gives the opportunity to follow the James River and Kanawha and Haxall canals by foot, bicycle and boat with restaurants and public art exhibited throughout the trail.

2. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The VMFA in the Museum District is available during any season. It’s possible someone enjoyed it as their first Richmond excursion the fall of their freshman year, or looked at the art one winter while it was snowing outside. Students may have even showcased the museum to their out-of-state parents during the summer. 

The museum may be a favorite for many VCU students to spend their day looking at artwork, but its beauty isn’t limited to the inside of the building. The lawn of the museum glows in a special kind of way on a spring day, with the huge sculptures adorning the landscape. 

The spacious greenery allows for a picnic at the museum with friends or for simply establishing the brand of a mysterious and ethereal person that lounges while reading a good book. 

It is the perfect plan to shake up the traditional outing to an art museum or try to expand from the usual picnics in Monroe Park, which can quickly fill with blankets once the sun comes out.

3. Spring movies

Spring is a favorite season for some, but for others it’s the start of allergy season. For those who want to escape the pollen or the spring rain, movies that will flourish one’s love for spring are the best getaways. 

These films embody spring with their cinematography and stories that puts anyone in the mood of the season. “Notting Hill” (1999) is a love story about a famous actress and a bookstore worker in the picturesque Notting Hill, a West London district, and immerses the audience in British springtime.

“Fever Pitch” (2005) is the perfect romantic comedy about a couple that falls in love during the Red Sox’s off-season, but have to deal with the trials of getting around baseball schedules when spring comes along.

“Palm Springs” (2020) is all a film needs in terms of romance, comedy, mystery and everything in between. The movie is about two people that live the same day, every day, in the beautiful Palm Springs. 

Finally, “Emma” (2020) is the classic retelling of Jane Austen’s novel of the same title that also inspired “Clueless” (1995). The film puts anyone in the spring mood with its beautiful cinematography, and even by just looking at the movie poster.

4. Farmers markets

Farmers markets are the perfect opportunity to break out the tote bags ready to be filled with fresh produce. 

South of the James Farmers Market is open year-round, but definitely dazzles during the blooming season. It features farmer and artisan products in the open air at Forest Hill Park every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and it encourages people to shop local and support small businesses. 

Birdhouse Farmers Market starts in May, but offers an online option all year round. It is within walking distance of the VCU campus. 

5. Maymont’s Butterfly Trail

Marie’s Butterfly Trail at Maymont leads the way through butterfly-attracting plants like yarrow, butterfly weed, cone flowers, butterfly bushes, sunflowers, blue spirea and herbs, according to its website

While Maymont offers multiple specialty gardens for free, the Butterfly Trail will bring to life the heavenly dream of walking through flower beds and their colorful flying friends during the peak of the season.

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