Chances are you know Cat, or you’ve at least seen her around town. A force of nature and explorer who is always looking for her next adventure, Cat is a Richmond native who finds meaning in making positive changes in the local community with her trademark positivity and contagious spirit. A great lover of the outdoors and Richmond, she’s probably best known for being the Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation.
Her passion for Richmond transcends from her personal life into her work as she navigates 52 miles of a multi-use trail that saw one million visitors in the last year alone and starts right in the heart of downtown. The job may be a hefty one, but Cat’s love for Richmond (and an ice-cold beer from time to time) keep her going and growing, quickly becoming a thought leader and one to watch as she continues leaving her mark on the city.
So, what does a perfect day downtown look like for Cat? Find out below, and you can bet there were bikes, brews, food, and fun to be had!
Some of Cat’s favorite places to stay when she’s traveling solo (or on a budget) are hostels! The fun and social environment makes a great choice for cyclists and travelers who want to meet other people or get an authentic, local experience.
The HI Richmond Hostel, located right on 2nd Street, offers private rooms starting at $82/night and 6-bed dorm-style rooms starting at $29/night with amenities like free Wi-Fi, breakfast & weekly tours and activities to enjoy during your stay.
Some of their most popular programming includes game nights, “Cooking as a Second Language” classes and bar crawls. Another element you won’t find at a hotel or an Airbnb is HI Richmond’s offer of FREE overnight stays in exchange for volunteer work!
Next on the list to check out was Journeyman's Adventure Co., a specialty store designed for the most outdoors-y of people. Located on 18th Street, this one-of-a-kind, one-stop shop made Cat’s list for the shop’s exclusive selection of curated long-distance cycling products and quality cycling accessories. The store, and its owner, Glenn Amey, care deeply about cycling and making sure people have everything they need on any and all of their outdoor adventures.
Even if you're new to cycling or daydreaming about taking a cross-country trip, the whimsical interiors of Journeyman's is enough to make anyone come inside and take a look around. Glenn is always happy to answer your questions and his passion for cycling shines through in every customer interaction.
As we were making our way through downtown, it was only fitting to make a pit stop at the Virginia Capital Trail. “If you haven’t been on the Capital Trail, you are missing out,” says Cat. The multi-use, 52-mile trail is meant for everyone: walkers, runners, and cyclists.
Downtown Richmond acts as the great connector between the city and the Capital Trail, linking the two via the Canal Walk, a 1.25 mile, urban pathway featuring historic sites, street art, interpretive signage, and beautiful views. Cat also recommends that as you make your way along the trail to make stops at Great Shiplock Park, the Low Line Gardens, and Rocketts Landing. The Virginia Capital Trail just celebrated its 4th birthday and has quickly become a beloved part of Richmond.
After a long bike ride, Cat’s go-to beer is Triple Crossing’s Falcon Smash or Hoppy Table. Triple Crossing’s Fulton location is a tucked away oasis with an impressive outdoor space fit for kids and dogs, complete with string lights and murals that bring an inviting and attractive aesthetic to the space. Not to mention the best part: a pizza kitchen!
After a full Saturday spent exploring and enjoying downtown, the only thing left to do was eat. Hot Chick, recently named the “Best Chicken Sandwich in Richmond” by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, sits right along the 17th Street Market. Hot Chick specializes in Nashville hot chicken, great happy hour deals, and making sure “The Office” is always on in the background. Cat’s meal of choice when we ordered was the Hot Chicken Sandwich with waffle fries. You can always tell how good the food is when the table falls dead silent; and when the food came to our table, the only sounds heard were loud chewing and satisfied mmm’s.
“Downtown has such a great vibe! It’s full of life, energy, art, and awesome restaurants.”
Whether it’s the First Fridays Art Walk or a new restaurant opening, Cat says there is always something going on, “it’s an ever-changing neighborhood in RVA.”
Cat is currently in Turkmenistan as part of a delegation led by local non-profit organization, Sportable, for a program called ENVEST, Empowering New Voices through Education and Sport Training, an effort to jump start adaptive sport programming, but will be back on the trail in time for the first Rocketts Landing Cap Trail 5K on October 26th.
Photos by Dave Parrish Photography / Special Thanks to Cat Anthony, Virginia Capital Trail, Hot Chick, Triple Crossing, Journeyman's & HI Richmond Hostel!