Walking the Pedestrian Bridge at Belle Isle

A 70 degree day in February? Okay, we’ll take it!

After lunch on a sunny February day, we decided to venture out of our suburban bubble and visit this beautiful city. An incredible 70 degree day in February after all!  So we seized the moment and headed outside.

And what better day than today to visit the pedestrian bridge at Belle Isle – which has been on my to-do-list for a while.

We left our house at 12:45pm and arrived by 1:10pm….not as close as the nearby parks we typically visit on sunny days like this, but close enough to make a quick and easy trip to see the city we love from a different perspective. And a different place to explore.

Just like a lot of places around RVA, parking can be somewhat tricky. There are only about 50 spots to park right there on Brown’s Island near the water. We ventured a little near the main roads and found some street parking that was fairly easy.  For the ‘suburb-lovers’ like us (you know, those of us used to quick and easy parking for most things), it wasn’t bad. And it was another way to explore a little more of RVA along our walk.

The T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (TTPMB) connects Brown’s Island to Manchester and creates a unique opportunity to view the James River and the beautiful RVA skyline. It’s easily accessible from Tredegar Street, right across from Tredegar Iron Works on the north shore. The bridge is named after the late T. Tyler Potterfield, a senior planner in the Richmond Department of Planning and Development Review. He was the project manager for the bridge and had a great love for the city and it’s history and architecture.

You can see Tredegar, Hollywood Cemetery, and the RVA skyline beautifully from the bridge.

The bridge itself is very cool. It starts out like any old wooden bridge, but with some historic quotes embedded in the planks. The wooden planks quickly transition into a beautiful steel bridge crossing the river.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts

Beware on sunny days. Don’t forget your sunglasses. It’s very bright on a sunny day like today with the reflection on the steel floor…so be sure to wear sunglasses. One of ‘us’ remembered to bring her sunglasses (ahem…pat myself on the back for that win), while others forgot. Next time, I’ll be sure to pack some extras mainly to get some cute pictures if my crew without the squinty eyes.

Do wear comfortable shoes to enjoy the walk. People from all around RVA and beyond visit the bridge. Families, couples, young and old, singles…dogs walking their owners, kids running, babies in strollers, bikers and rollerbladers…and wheelchairs (the bridge is conveniently wheelchair accessible which is a huge win). It’s about one-third of a mile long and it’s a lovely walk over the river.

Do take advantage of the many activities. On the other side of the bridge is a fun opportunity for rock climbing, exploring the old train track, and lots of stairs and hills to tire out the kids (and the parents for that matter). It’s a great way to get some healthy exercise and enjoy the sites, smells, and sounds of RVA.

Do make it a fun experience. You could most certainly make a day of it with a fun picnic and some more exploring around the river rocks and the trails. Or make a quick visit, walk the bridge, and explore whatever is on your way from where you parked your car to the bridge.

Do enjoy some Gelati Celesti. Everyone seemed to perk up when we mentioned ice cream so on our way back to our ‘west end bubble’ we stopped at the new Gelati Celesti in Scott’s Addition. It’s one of our all time favorite ice cream stops, so not really anything new but it was fun to see their new digs in the up and coming part of RVA. And of course, we knew it wouldn’t disappoint. Gelati is a sure thing. I mean can you really go wrong with Just Ask or Chocolate Decadance?! If you haven’t been to one of Gelati’s RVA locations around town yet, make sure it’s on your summer bucket list. You will not be disappointed.

Move Outside Your ‘Bubble’

We all tend to live in our own little ‘bubble’. You know – that comfortable 3-4 miles surrounding your home. But there’s so much more to explore in RVA and contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to move around RVA and get where you want to go quickly and easily.

It was a fun afternoon seeing the James River from a brand new perspective, enjoying a new outdoor activity in RVA, and indulging in some of our favorite local homemade ice cream – all in the span of a 3-4 hour afternoon.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Any other fun RVA excursion ideas?

Our summer bucket list is all about seeing our city so let us know! Leave us a comment below or email us at info@rvaliving.com. We’d love to hear what you love most about RVA.

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