Welcome to Richmond
I am delighted to welcome you all to Virginia, my adopted home for more than twenty years. Coming from Europe, America seems such a young country, but much of the history of America has taken place right here in Virginia. One of the first European settlements in America was in Jamestown, Virginia more than 400 years ago. Richmond was the Capital of the Confederate government during the civil war that ravaged America almost exactly 150 years ago. But today, Richmond is a bustling city where businesses, history, museums and the outdoors intermingle.
The companion program has been designed to allow you to discover all these different aspects of life in Virginia. We will start with a companion breakfast on Monday morning in Marriott Salons G-J with an introduction to Richmond by a local guide.
We have arranged for buses to circle through some of the principal places of interest in Richmond, allowing you the freedom to plan your visit at your own pace. Carytown, a popular shopping and dining area is is well worth a visit. I particularly like the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, which are beautiful at this time of the year. There is no charge for using the buses, so make the most of this opportunity to enjoy the different atmospheres of Richmond. Just make sure you bring good shoes, Richmond has hills!
If you are looking for a morning jog or a leisurely stroll, you can take 5th street from the Convention Center to the James River. You will find the canal walk on your left, a favorite of locals. On the right, you will find the footbridge to Belle Island, a wonderful park in the center of the rapids where you can watch kayaks playing in the rushing water on the north side, or go rock hopping on the south side.
On Saturday, there will be a tour to Jefferson Lab, followed by a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, the restored historic area of the city, where people come from all over the world to experience life in eighteenth century America.
I hope you will have a wonderful time while you are here and take home warm memories of your visit. I look forward to seeing you all at the Companion Breakfast on Monday morning.