RVA Neighborhood Guide – Very Near West End
I moved to Richmond, Virginia five years ago after coming south from Connecticut to go to college at James Madison University. After living in the Fan for three years with several different roommates, I wanted to live alone. I scoured the area for a reasonably priced one-bedroom home and realized that buying a place would be more cost effective than renting (especially since I didn’t see myself leaving Richmond any time soon). During my home search I toured many pockets of Richmond, from Church Hill to Jackson Ward, the Museum District to the West End and everything in between. On the first day of searching, I toured the Mount Vernon complex, which are 200 plus two-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom two-story townhomes. And after three months of searching, another Mount Vernon townhome went on the market and the rest is history.
Mount Vernon is nestled across the street from the Museum District in the Malvern neighborhood, also considered the very near West End. I was drawn to the location because it was within walking distance to several other vibrant neighborhoods like the Museum District, the Fan and Carytown.
I’ve written a bit about the process of first time homebuying on As Told Over Brunch, which I co-run with Cazey Williams. As Told Over Brunch is a forum for intelligent discourse to be had over mimosas, with topics ranging from relationships and work to food and drinks around the city. As Told Over Brunch’s flagship event is Richmond Brunch Weekend, which has raised over $50,000 for VCU Massey Cancer Center. You can follow the blog on Instagram at @AsToldOverBrunch and our Richmond Brunch specific account @RichmondBrunch. You can find me on my personal Instagram @SaraWoznicki.
Local watering holes and restaurants
The Near West End is so close to many of Richmond’s most popular destinations. It is a short walk to many nearby neighborhoods, as well as its own amenities.
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA): One of my favorite activities is to walk over to the VMFA for Friday happy hour, where bottles of wine are half off. It’s a great place to buy a bottle, grab a seat on the hill overlooking the terrace and catch up with friends. The VMFA is also a great spot to spend a few hours on a rainy afternoon, featuring rotating art exhibits and staple exhibits like the Egyptian room.
- Jack Brown’s: Just a mile down the road from my house, a bit deeper into the West End, is Jack Brown’s, my favorite burger joint. Every day of the week there is a special burger (Sara’s pick is Thursday’s El Chancho, which is a chorizo-mixed burger topped with queso and black beans), plus it has a huge tap list, so it’s an awesome spot to grab a casual bite to eat.
- Stella’s: For a fancier dinner, I’m privileged to live 0.3 miles away from one of the always-rated best restaurants in Richmond, Stella’s. Greek food is one of my favorite food genres, and I love to split a bunch of their appetizers like the spanakopita and the grilled halloumi. Plus, right across the street is a grocery where you can buy takeout.
- Weezie’s Kitchen: The best part of living in Mount Vernon is the accessibility to other parts of Richmond. Carytown is less than a mile away, so I love to walk down there and to visit my favorite dive bar, Weezie’s and then grab a fancy cocktail at Jasper.
- Scott’s Addition: In the opposite direction of Carytown, Scott’s Addition is half a mile away, notable activities include grabbing drinks at The Veil or Three Notch’d and then head to Lunch | Supper for dinner.
About the Neighborhood / Unique characteristics
- What makes your neighborhood unique? The Very Near West End is unique because of how central it is to everything. You can walk to Willow Lawn, Scott’s Addition, Carytown, the Museum District and the near Fan. Plus, you live literally on the highway, so the commute to anywhere in the area is really easy. My community, Mount Vernon, also features great parking, a pool and beautiful landscaping.
- Who should live here? Young families, millennials, retirees, mix? Mount Vernon is mostly a mix of first-time homebuyers and nearly retired or retired people. But in the general Very Near West end neighborhood surrounding Mount Vernon, are a lot of standalone homes, which have more families and couples.
- What do you love about living here? I love the layout of the house, with two bedrooms upstairs and a giant room downstairs. Plus, I love having a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) that takes care of all the exterior maintenance. Mount Vernon is an affordable place to live among some really nice houses, which helps to make our complex a good investment. I love the accessibility of the city with the neighborhood feel. For example, my neighbor pulls in my packages when it rains. And of course, like I’ve mentioned already, it is in close proximity to several things to do!
|William Fox Elementary School
Albert Hill Middle School
Thomas Jefferson High School
Walkability according to Walk Score: 88
Average Days of Home on Market: 45 days
Average Price of Home: $409,444
***In the DADO app you’ll be able to view neighborhood vitals like school performance as well as walk and transit scores, property tax assessment and more. Download the app to keep your home search organized.
The Greek Festival one of the best festivals in the near West End. With live music and dancing, wine and all the gyros you can eat, there’s everything you could want in a prime food festival. Plus, there’s even a drive-through for those people who don’t want to get out of the car for Greek food. The festival is hosted by and at the Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral and serves as their primary fundraiser.
Another great festival in the West End is Party on the Avenues on Libby and Grove, which is hosted by the Westhampton Merchants Association. Last year they had a Bloody Mary truck, pizza truck, live music and lots of vendors. The best part about the festival is it’s on the smaller side in comparison to other Richmond festivals, so it’s easier to get food and drinks. Plus, they host it during September, so it’s much cooler.
I also love St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest, which features beer, bratwursts, stein-holding contests and so much more. It can be a really crowded event, but it’s also a great one to show up to early and hold down a table for an evening of live music, chicken dancing and dining.
Favorite sites or neighborhood activities:
We’re surrounded by gym options! Gold’s Gym is located in Willow Lawn, and Crunch is located on Broad right in front of Scott’s Addition. They are both affordable options with classes to help you stay motivated.
Personally, I love running (realistically: walking) outside among the grids of beautiful houses in the Near West End. One of my favorite neighborhoods to explore is Windsor Farms, which is a beautifully manicured suburbia full of aspirational houses. A gem within Windsor Farms is Agecroft Hall, which is a Tudor-style house with a huge lawn. It’s great for picnicking or watching a play during the Shakespeare Festival.
Another great place to walk is up and down Monument Ave, checking out all of the houses and monuments. My favorite time to go is during Christmas so that I can view all the Christmas decorations that people put up.
Staying organized when you are house hunting in the Very Near West End….
Buying a new home can be equally as exciting as it is overwhelming – that’s why DADO is here to help. Our goal is to make your home buying journey enjoyable while providing the data needed for making smarter decisions. With DADO, users can keep their home search organized and share their notes and photos with all of the people in their lives that need to be in the know. No more scrolling through your camera roll, struggling to remember the details of the four houses you visited last week. The DADO app allows you to save all of the important information you need to keep straight in one place. Invite your significant other, friends or even your mom to stay connected with you during the exciting search for your first home.
Users can also use the app to crowdsource, collaborate and compare real photos and information about homes on the market, connect and share information with friends and family and help keep information organized when it’s time to narrow down which homes you choose to buy (click here to learn more about DADO). The house itself is just a piece of the puzzle when searching for a new home, so DADO partnered with a few local influencers in Richmond, Va. (RVA) to create neighborhood guides that curate the best things to do, eat and see locally.