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June 19-20

Richmond Getaway

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You don't have to fly to the Caribbean or drive to Nags Head for a weekend away. Believe it or not, there are actually tourists who visit Richmond every day. For a change, why not live like one of them? Take those vacation bucks and spend them at home, pausing to enjoy the Richmond most of us zoom past while on our way to work or picking up the kids from soccer practice.

Check in at Mr. Patrick Henry's Inn & Restaurant at 2300-2302 E. Broad St., a quaint 1850s merchant's home, and capture the flavor of old Southern hospitality. Double occupancy rates run from $105 to $135, so treat yourself to a little something extra, like a bottle of champagne and a chocolate pté with raspberry couli from room service.

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If you're in a formal mood, try the elegant double-parlor dining room, or for something more relaxed, choose the downstairs tavern, or just stroll and enjoy the deck and garden with shaded gingko trees and dogwoods. Remember to try the crab cakes and peanut soup.

What to do next? Remember, you're saving money on airfare and gas. Forgo the malls you frequent and visit the shops in Carytown, Shockoe Slip or River Road Shopping Center. Dress up and pretend you're a rich tourista and buy yourself ridiculously expensive trinkets.

Or, if you really want to splurge and live the high life, go to Austin's salon and spa, at the corner of Auburn and Cary streets. For $135 get the two-hour spa sampler, trying either a facial, full body massage or customized body treatment, and also getting a spa manicure, shampoo and style, and a makeup application. Remember to go on Saturday, though. They're closed Sundays.

For dinner, live it up. Dine at the fanciest Richmond has to offer — Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel on the corner of Franklin and Adams.

Take a relaxing Father's Day on Sunday and go to the historical sites we take for granted like St. John's Episcopal Church (2401 E. Broad St.), where for $3 you can catch the 2 p.m. reenactment of Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. Later, stroll through Hollywood Cemetery, admiring the rich mix of funereal symbols and historic figures resting within its wrought-iron gates. Or simply walk down Monument Avenue, taking a look at the statues in person, instead of peering dimly through exhaust fumes and a car window.

If you want to pump up the excitement in the evening, check out the Broadway Under the Stars production of "Bring in 'Da Noise/Bring in 'Da Funk" at the Landmark Theater. (Call 780-4213 for info.)

Finally, we're going to cheat. You're at home, after all, and you're saving money. Take two extra days. Call in sick and make it a loooong weekend. Sit on the sidewalk at Coffee & Co., 2928 W. Cary St., leisurely sipping your mocha and watching the suckers commute. Go to Maymont and pet a goat. Get some sun. It's your time.

Cap off your vacation at home in swinging style with a concert by Harry Connick Jr. and his Big Band at the Landmark Theatre on Tuesday, June 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $28.50 to $39.50.

Then it's back to the grind, but at least you'll be looking at Richmond with new eyes and new

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