Maymont and Carytown Walking Tour (Self Guided), Richmond

Maymont's gardens are a spacious Victorian estate which, apart from being a popular outdoor attraction, is also home to a historic house museum. The neighboring bohemian district of Carytown is replete with hundreds of shops, cool cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars, as well as cultural venues, such as the Byrd Theater operational since 1928. Take this self-guided walk to explore the two areas of Richmond, VA bustling with urban fun and entertainment!
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Maymont and Carytown Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Maymont and Carytown Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Richmond (See other walking tours in Richmond)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: damon
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Maymont
  • New Pump-House
  • Byrd Park
  • Byrd Theatre
  • Cary Street
1
Maymont

1) Maymont (must see)

Maymont is to Richmond what Central Park is to New York. It includes a historic mansion, petting zoo, gardens, and wildlife, all near Carytown. The park is built on the property of a 19th-century Victorian estate. It covers over 100 acres down to the James River.

The house at Maymont was built in 1893 for James H. Dooley and his wife. Dooley was a local lawyer and philanthropist, and they willed their estate to the people of Richmond. The property includes more than 25 original buildings and structures. Most notable are the Carriage House, the Stone Barn, and the Water Tower. Smaller structures include the Dooley's mausoleum, bridges, gates, and various gazebos throughout the gardens. Styles range from Italian Neoclassical, rustic, and Victorian.

The grounds surrounding the estate have opulent themed gardens. There is also the Maymont Farm, with horse and cow pastures, and a petting zoo. There are also several habitats for native wildlife. The Robins Nature Center features exhibits on the ecology of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay, with over 30,000 gallons of aquariums.

Why You Should Visit

Maymont was named as one of the top ten public spaces by the American Planning Association.

The grounds at Maymont are beautiful. The Japanese Garden, in particular, contains a koi pond and waterfall. There are numerous rock gardens and red maples. The Italian Garden has a pergola, fountains, and urns in the style of 16th-century classical gardens. More than 200 species of trees are included in the arboretum. In all, there are ten specialty gardens to explore. These spots are popular outdoor wedding venues.

Inside the Carriage House, you will find a collection of horse-drawn vehicles typical of a Virginia country estate from the turn of the last century. There are more than 20 vehicles that have been collected or donated.

The 12,000 square-foot mansion has never been occupied or altered since it was the Dooley's home. It's one of the best-preserved mansions in the country from the Gilded Age.

Tips

There is a lot to see and do at Maymont, so you might want to plan several trips if you can. Tours of buildings are subject to availability, so check the Maymont website for updates.
2
New Pump-House

2) New Pump-House

New Pump-House, also known as the Byrd Park Pump House, is a historic pumping station building located in Byrd Park, Richmond, Virginia. It was built in 1881–1883, and is a three-part, "I" plan, Gothic Revival style granite building. A one-story, L-shaped annex was built in 1905.

The building features a steeply pitched roof, projecting gables, Gothic arches, and lancet windows. Also on the property are the contributing Beaux Arts style 1924 Hydro Electric Pumping Station constructed of brick, concrete, and stucco and the 1881 Worthington Steam Pump Building, a one-story Italianate style pump house built of brick coated with stucco. The complex was built as the waterworks for the city of Richmond.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Byrd Park

3) Byrd Park

Just southeast of Carytown, you'll find the 300-acre Byrd Park. This beautiful wide-open space features everything from walking trails to tennis courts. There's an amphitheater for live shows and lots of green space to stretch your legs and reconnect with nature.

One of the most prominent features of Byrd Park is the Virginia War Memorial Carillon. The tower is the Commonwealth's official memorial to the 3,700 men and women from the state who died in World War I. The monument was dedicated in 1932. It is a 240-foot tall Georgian-revival tower complete with 53 bronze bells. The carillonneur plays the instrument with a pedal keyboard located just below the bell chamber.

Along the river at Byrd Park, you'll find remains of the first canal system in the United States. Pump House Park contains trails and several historic sites related to the canal system, including two stone locks for canal boats and the Byrd Park Pump House. The pump house is an enormous and distinctive Victorian Gothic-style building was built in 1882. Check the James River Park website for more details about the canal and the pump house.
4
Byrd Theatre

4) Byrd Theatre

Built in 1928, the Byrd Theater is Richmond's original movie palace. It's been in constant use since its opening. You can catch classic and family movies, as well as attend local film festivals held annually here. Each month the theater chooses five big-screen classics to show. The movies are picked based on a central theme, sometimes because they're good, sometimes because they're cult favorites, and sometimes just because they're best seen on the big screen in a 1920's movie palace like the Byrd. Family movies are played on Saturday mornings for fans young and old.

Saturday showings begin with a playing of their Mighty Wurlitzer organ. The organ is original to the building, one of the few left in existence. The organ console is raised out of the orchestra pit, and it's connected by a massive cabling system to the organ pipes in a room above the screen. Everything about the organ is custom-built for this location, with the spacing and sizing of all elements key to its acoustic mastery.
5
Cary Street

5) Cary Street

Richmond's Carytown is a revitalized art and entertainment district. You'll find dining, shopping, and nightlife options for every budget and style here. Southern Living named Carytown the Best Shopping Neighborhood in Virginia because there is just about every type of boutique shop imaginable here. You'll also find lots of local artists.

The area was opened in 1938 as Richmond's first strip shopping center. In about a one-mile stretch, there are over 230 shops and restaurants. Its central location near the Museum District and downtown means that this hip-spot is one of the most famous streets in town. The tiny shops and one-off restaurants and galleries give the area a small town village vibe—a challenging feat to pull off in a city as big as Richmond.

Significant attractions in Carytown include the Byrd Theater, Richmond's movie palace from the 1920s. Byrd Park and Maymont, outdoor parks with a variety of attractions, are nearby. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is also only a few blocks away.

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