RVA Neighborhoods: Westover Hills (Plus taZa & Chocolates By Kelly GIVEAWAY)


GIVEAWAY!! $15 taza Coffee 'n Cream PLUS... $15 Chocolates by Kelly

I moved to Westover Hills by accident.  Kristen and I had been living in Indonesia, and we were moving back to the States.  We were weary world travelers and we had an 8 month old in tow and another one in the oven (if you ask me what the heck we were thinking, all I can tell you is that I wasn’t thinking with my head ). We had a couple of cities that we were thinking of moving to- Richmond was one.  One long weekend we took a whirlwind tour, found a house (it happened to be in Westover Hills) and decided to lay down some roots.  We didn’t know a thing about the neighborhood- we just liked the house.  A couple years later, it turns out there’s no other neighborhood I love more.  I think that’s the definition of serendipity.

Here are some of the sights of Westover Hills:

One of Kristen's favorite parts of living in W.H. is crossing the River daily. Mine is biking on the Buttermilk

 

There are all different kinds of houses with a huge range of prices in the neighborhood.  There are tons of great capes to find, little ranches, Dutch colonials, bungalows, colonials, and some modern designs too.

You can buy a house in Westover Hills for around $200k all the way up to over a million, and everything in between.  As of this morning, there are 14 houses for sale in the neighborhood and of those, the average list price is $293k.

 

FARMERS MARKETS!!!!

If you are a lover of fresh, local foods and veggies, Westover Hills is a dream.  Our new Saturday family tradition is to head to the South of the James Farmers Market.  It is insane in the best way.  Every Saturday from 8am til noon, Victory Farms, Ault’s Family Farm,  Amy’s Garden, Blanchard’s Coffee, Nate’s Taco truck, live music, and nearly 100 other great vendors fill up the Forest Hill Park with sights, sounds, and smells that my family loves.

Then on Wednesdays from 3 to 7:30, the South(er) of the James Market meets on Forest Hill Ave in a lot next to the Westover Hills Elementary School.  It is smaller than the Saturday market, but you can still find fruits and veggies from local farms, tasty food trucks, and a fun atmosphere.

 

Finally, there’s taZa Coffee ‘n Cream.  I remember in college thinking that if I could find some great, back door sort of coffee shop to become a regular at, it would bring me a huge step closer to being the cool, artsy, beatnik that I was hoping to be.  I’ve found that shop in taZa.  The survey is still out on whether or not it has made me a cooler, artsier, beatnik type of person… I just asked my magic 8 ball and it said all indicators point to no.

Here’s the thing about taZa- they only have the best stuff.  Blanchard’s Coffee roasts beans on location… really- if you come at the right time, you can see them using the big red roaster in the picture above.  It does not get more fresh than that.

Chocolates By Kelly is downstairs as well, and then served by taZa.  Some of Kelly’s amazing creations: cherry pomegranate truffles, chocolate covered caramel topped with sea salt, peanut butter cups,  vodka cranberry cordials, and and white chocolate covered pretzels.  The first time I had one of her chocolate covered s’mores made with homemade marshmallows, I knew Kelly was serious about dessert.

Now I know that store bought marshmallow are not the same as homemade.

Giveaway Prizes:

-1 person will win a $15 gift card to taZa Coffee ‘n Cream.  1 person will win a $15 gift card to Chocolates by Kelly.

Requirements:

-To enter, leave a comment (only one!) answering What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

-Due to the local nature of the giveaway, contestants should have a Richmond mailing address (we will contact you via email if you win, so make sure it’s valid!).

-Contest ends Sunday, July 17 at midnight.

 

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    How can I choose just one favorite thing about woodland heights?! I, like Kristen, also love crossing the river daily, what a treat! I enjoy being so close to the river and to forest hill park. The neighborhood itself is amazing, I like to call it a hidden gem cause not many city dwellers north of the river know exactly where it is. I could go on and on…

  2. mmhmm Westover…a place so magical it rivals Narnia!

  3. the thing i love best about Woodland Heights is our neighbors!! we have the most amazing neighbors i could have ever imagined…. we watch out for each other (and for scuffles in the park!), have block parties, etc. it’s fantastic!!

  4. Gabriel says:

    Best thing about my neighborhood… that’s an easy one. It’s my neighbors. But not everyone is as lucky.

    But if I had meanies living down the street from me instead of super amazing peeps, I’d have to say that Balliceaux is my favorite things about my little corner of the Fan. With lots of live music during the week, it’s the perfect place to pop into just to see what’s happening and have a PBR or two.

  5. The best thing about living in the heart of the Fan are the smells. On a warm and breezy day like today I can sit at my computer with the windows open and breath in the fresh summer air. Then later I will catch a waft of our neighbor’s charcoal grill sizzling with some tasty burgers. If I take an even deeper breath, I will experience the various flavors of Garnett’s on one end of my street and Kuba Kuba on the other. My neighborhood is simply: great.

    • A bbq-ing neighbor is a blessing and a curse. If they didn’t make enough for you it is torture. Temptation thy name is forbidden bbq.

  6. I love that when I look out into my backyard, I feel like I could be on a retreat. The old trees and hills of Stratford Hills are really quite beautiful!

    • Plus you’re right by target and benny’s bbq if you’re into that. Their onion rings and jalepeno strips are the best.

  7. Danger McStud says:

    I would say that I really like Shockoe Bottom because of the food culture! As if Alamo isn’t enough, there’s Juleps, Sumosan, Lulu’s, a spectacular wine shop, The Hill Cafe/Cap’n Buzzy’s (Churchill), etc.
    I’m not necessarily a foodie, but that’s a pretty big deal to me.

    • I agree. I like Church Hill/ Shockoe Bottom more every time I go there. A lot of interesting things happening there. Lots of great local businesses. I like the cut of your gib, McStud.

  8. hm. I don’t really like much about my neighborhood except that my house is in it. And it’s really close to tons of stuff…

  9. Neighborhood is a funny thing now that it changes every few days.

    I liked brewing beer with my next door neighbor and dirt biking right out of my driveway when used to live in our house. Our friends with all their kids were pretty awesome too!

    • You guys have an interesting situation. I like your website and I love the crazy stuff you’re doing.

  10. The best thing about Jackson Ward is that I get bowls of water at Etta-mae’s, doggie treats and belly scratchings at Lift coffee and the area had a high canine density resulting in all sorts of informative smells. Some days my humans take me to the dog fountain near Bojangles statue and every now and then, when my masters are not looking, I find chicken bones near the GRTC stops on Broad. I give Jackson Ward 5 woofs

  11. I live in Ginter Park and my favorite thing is being able to walk to some awesome restaurants such as Tastebuds American Bistro and Enoteca Sogno. If I lived on the Southside, my favorite thing would be the SOJ market. I go every week. Love the vendors, the food, the atmosphere.

    • You have a great food blog going too! I will be trying some of your recipes. Glad I found you. SOJ market is great, isn’t it?

  12. My favorite thing about my Northside Richmond neighborhood is it’s proximity to everywhere else in town! ~Sandi

  13. Gwyneth says:

    The thing I love most about our neighborhood is the quaint sense of community! The neighbors know (and actually like!) each other, passerby’s actually say “Hi” and there are always outside as you wind through the streets. The neighborhood restaurants, shops and weekly outdoor movie really boost the Bellevue spirit as they draw the locals together on a regular basis.

    • Yes. There’s neighbors, and then there’s neighbors you actually like. I have both (I’m looking at you, Mr. I turn my bass up in my car and wake Jay’s kids up when they’re sleeping neighbor).

  14. I’d like to say that it’s the great sharing on information through sites like this and Hills and Heights, or the awesome neighbors that have become true friends, or the SOJ Market in the summers, or how my house has character and was built by craftsmen instead of the lowest bidder. I’d really like to say it’s the care local businesses like taZa take when I come in (did you know that there’s a different grind for cone vs. flatbottom filters? Me neither until they asked me), and it kind of goes along those lines.
    But I’d be lying if I said it was one of the above, because I know in my heart it’s Cielito Lindo’s proximity to my house because after happy hour margaritas I can just walk home.

    • I agree. There is a world of difference between a true craftsman and a “git ‘er done” house builder. I love it when people can tell the difference.

  15. I think the best best part of our neighborhood (Forest Hill)/surrounding neighborhoods is that almost everything is within walking distance. If you want to play on the river, run/ride the trails, stop for coffee, eat dinner, get groceries at the farmer’s market, or just enjoy life, it’s all right here. The people in the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods appreciate what we have and treat each other with respect. We have an unspoken bond for all the little things that make living here amazing.

  16. April Kennedy says:

    We live in Byrd Park and my favorite thing about my neighborhood is being within walking distance of so much. We love walking into the park, to Maymont and to Carytown. My husband even walks to work downtown.

    • Byrd Park is another favorite of mine. That is great that your husband walks to work. One of the few people who can make a Prius owner feel enviro-shame.

  17. I love that Byrd Park is home to such a diverse array of people. I also love that we can walk to parks, Carytown, and the Fan. My husband can bike to school too! ps. love this giveaway, Jay!

  18. Another great thing about W.H., maybe my favorite thing, is that it also has a kick-ass neighborhood association – the spring picnic, the 4th of July parade, yearly clean-ups, public meetings about traffic circles (love-‘em-or-not), welcome bags for new neighbors, etc. In a time when civic life is kind of dying, it’s really neat to see a group of people who care about their community. (Full disclosure: I’m involved in the WHNA myself, but that’s kind of the point.)

    • Thanks for your comment, Rich. I have never seen the words “kick-ass” and “neighborhood association” together in the same sentence before… except for when Jesse “The Body” Ventura became governor of Minnesota. Seriously though- thanks for being part of the association. People like you are a huge part of what makes an neighborhood great.

  19. Julia Hembree says:

    On a whirlwind adventure to Richmond to find a home with a baby in arms, we finally settled on a wonderful older one in the Forest Hill Heights area. Priced just out of Westover Hills, we are still able to enjoy the wonderful eclectic mix and scenery of Westover Hills, and just a short drive down Jahnke and Boroughbridge gets you to our home. My favorite things are the neighbors, the access to the Forest Hill area restaurants and Farmer’s Market, and the quiet seclusion and comfort even though you are only minutes away from hot spots like Carytown and downtown Richmond. I am loving the tAzA coffee and Chocolates By Kelly, which we first discovered by accident and now have enlisted as a favorite for a box of chocolates for an anniversary gift, a coffee pick me up for a tired mommy, (me), and a scoop of ice cream for my now almost 2 year old on a hot summer day. It is our first home, where my baby took his first steps and can play in the yard, where the neighbors pet sit for free when we go on vacation because they are just wonderful people, where another neighbor blows the leaves out of the driveway for you if you just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. Where it’s just a “stroller walk” away from taza, the park, and the library, and a new family tradition has been born out of a Farmer’s Market. My favorite part of my neighborhood? It’s HOME.

    • Julia… Our experience was so similar to yours! And now I, too, frequent taZa for the much needed pick-me-up and treat for my two year old (and the way the temps look this week, we might be there A LOT!). It’s a good place to live!!!

  20. I also love crossing the river every to work. The (seven) Nickle Bridge is the calm before and after work. I also love biking down to pony pasture and wandering the trails, watching the river.

    • Yeah, I love the monument that the Nickel Bridge becomes, especially at the end of the day. Keep your worries north of the James.

  21. Kathleen says:

    My favorite thing about my neighborhood, which is near Stony Point School, is the quiet in the tall trees. Groceries within walking distance. And a welcome at Westover Hills Library, even if we are fairly far from Westover Hills.

    • One of my 2-year-old’s favorite things is the W.H. library. They did a great job on the remodel and I’m excited to see Belmont. We are lucky to be within walking distance.

  22. We moved to Westover Hills because our best friend lives here and she kept telling us about all of the great neighborhood activities. My favorite thing about the neighborhood is the friendliness of the people. (I would include the Forest Hill and Woodland Heights neighborhood people I’ve met, too.) It is difficult to walk the dog for all the stopping and chatting we do. It is great to have the proximity of the river, Byrd Park (over the 7 nickel bridge!), and great local places to visit like taZa, Cielito Lindo, OTooles, Maldinis, etc. And I LOVE South of The James Market. (In my household, we call it “festival.”)
    My only problem is: What do we call ourselves? Westover Hillites, Westoverians?
    See you at taZa!

    • I love the idea of moving to a neighborhood because you have good friends there. If we can move for work, why not for people?

  23. My favorite thing about the Museum district is the diversity, not just of people bit of places in walking distance. Despite the fact that we lack the racial diversity of places like Church Hill (which is a bummer and pitfall of living west of Boulevard) I’ve actually found that there’s this great mix of young and old, single and married, babies and no-babies ad well as an unending mix of people from different places. We’ve got Yankee transplants, old richmonders, and even some South Africans! There’s the tattooed set, the white bread set, and a great element of the in between (our neighbor is this 70 year old yoga enthusiaste who worships Jon Stuart!)

    But it’s also diverse in location. You can just as easily walk to the art museum to get some culture as you can to One Eyed Jacks to battle cave trolls while hopped up on energy drinks. Not your scene? It’s only about a 20 minute walk to Lamplighters to just chill with your favorite coffee and a vegan treat.

    I can’t say it’s the best neighborhood, because I love RVA as a whole. But those are my favorite features for sure.

    • Plenty of typos, typing on phone.

    • I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that just a few miles away from me, there is a 70 year old yoga enthusiast who worships Jon Stewart. BTW, I am on an unending search to find the best hot apple cider and so far nobody does it better than Lamplighters.

  24. In Woodland Heights since 1984. Love my view into part of Forest Hill Park and Riverside Drive. Seeing Bald Eagles flying next to the Nickel Bridge. Proximity to so many other great neighborhoods. The farmers’ markets, of course.

    • Woodland Heights since ’84. That is great. I’d love to hear how the neighborhood has changed/evolved over the past 25 years.

  25. HATHAWAY TOWER IS A VERTICAL NEIGHBORHOOD! WE CAN WALK TO PONY PASTURE, SHOPPING CENTERS, BANKS, AND A DOZEN RESTAURANTS
    A SHORT DRIVE BRINGS US TO FOREST HILL PARK.

  26. My favorite thing about Churchill is walking my dog through the neighborhood. It’s such a great mix of houses and there are three parks in walking distance. Plus there is even someone in the neighborhood with pet geese!

  27. One of the best things about Woodland Heights is the babysitting co-op! A great way to meet good people with kids and get free babysitting. It’s about community, man!!

  28. The part about how you weren’t using your head to think made me laugh out loud. ;)

    Also – I love that family photo. We miss you guys and will always treasure our memories of those few days that we spent in Richmond w/ you.

    My favorite things about our neighborhood in Vail were…our next-door neighbors, the sunsets, and hiking in Cienega Creek.

  29. Wow, Jay. After reading this and all of the responses, I’m definitely feeling like I need to move to your area. I miss you guys terribly. Love your blog. :)

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