On the list of romantic getaways two harried parents could sign up for, Richmond is probably pretty far down. But it worked for us.
Start with the fact that it is within driving distance; even with Memorial Day traffic, we made it in less than five hours, which is doable for a four day weekend. Given the uncertainty of our schedule, not having to factor in plane tickets was a necessity.
Our accommodations were, by themselves, worth the price of the vacation. The Jefferson Hotel has some eye-popping fanciness to it. Even if we felt way too low-brow to partake in the restaurants or the high tea, it was fun to enjoy the lobby and the room as well as to play paparazzi to countless high-end functions.
As it is the capital of Virginia, Richmond also has a surprising number of really good sights, especially since we are fans of gardens and museums. Without keeping too ambitious a schedule (since we've learned that vacation is for chilling), we were still able to walk through three great green spaces (Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Hollywood Cemetery, and Maymont Nature Center) and take in four museums (Virginia Fine Arts Museum, Civil War Museum, Museum of the Confederacy, and Virginia Holocaust Museum). Four of those seven places were totally free, too. Just to give you a sense of how close together everything was, on one very short (~3.5 miles) morning run, I was able to see the Virginia State Capitol, Canal Walk, Historic Tredegar, and the Virginia War Memorial.
I will admit that our first evening there was a bit dicey. It was Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, and our part of town was more abandoned than a ghost town. It didn't bode well that two of the restaurants I had scoped out ahead of time were both closed by 5 and not to open again until Tuesday. But we didn't give up, and were rewarded with a nice stroll through Carytown and excellent brunch spots in Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom.
Of course, the best part about a kid-free vacation is catching up on sleep and exercise. Sleep was helped by our room's thick curtains, which made midday naps divine. And exercise couldn't have been more convenient, since the hotel fitness center was open 24 hours and a YMCA was literally right across the street from our hotel.
We missed a few things but four days was as much as we can spare. Glad to have gone.