John Marshall – Richmond, VA

The city of Richmond identifies its neighborhoods by direction, namely the West End, Northside, the East End and Southside. John Marshall's relatively small footprint combines with a half dozen other neighborhoods to make up the Northside. Loosely bounded by Forest Hill Cemetery to the east and Pine Camp park and cultural center to the west, lush greenery surrounds the neighborhood and belies its close proximity to city conveniences. Just five miles north of downtown Richmond, John Marshall encompasses an area that includes John Marshall High School and many single-family and multi-family rentals.

Schools in John Marshall

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

The John Marshall neighborhood itself contains no restaurant options, so residents head to neighboring Bellevue for eats. A handful of eateries cluster along MacArthur Road in two strip malls. Despite few venues and homogeneous fare options, locals rave about the food and prices. Fans of the '50s enjoy Dots Back Inn 's retro decor and diner theme. Dots specializes in burgers, such as the One-Eyed Burger, topped with a fried egg and jalapeños, or the Rajun Cajun Burger, complete with spices, swiss, onion and bacon. Tuna melts made with fresh tuna top the list of local favorites, and no one leaves without a creative comfort dessert, like the blueberry muffin ice cream sandwich or Elvis pie, a peanut butter, banana and bacon concoction with a creamy tastiness that defies description. Every day brings a different special at the Mill at Macarthur. From Tuesday's family-style pasta special to Sunday's burger night with a bargain $7 pitcher, cooking at home during the week becomes completely unnecessary. Meatless Monday showcases the Mill's vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu, which includes rich meatless-sausage gravy on gluten-free biscuits. Be sure and reserve a table for weekend nights, as the place's popularity makes it hard to just walk in for dinner. Many locals stop at the Mill for drinks with friends and take advantage of the $2 off appetizers special during weekday happy hours. A quality selection of craft ales on tap and creative house highballs make The Mill a great place to unwind in the evening. For nightlife, most residents frequent the local restaurant pubs, including the Mill and Enoteca Sogno, an Italian wine bar that also serves great Italian food. Hardcore party-goers drive into downtown for a more traditional club night out.

History & Culture

As Richmond expanded its streetcar network northward, John Marshall and other Northside neighborhoods grew up around the lines. Old trolley car poles still stand along city streets, although the city retired the trolley system decades ago. When Interstates 95 and 64 were constructed, some Northside neighborhoods were bisected, their community identity disrupted. John Marshall and other areas remained intact, in part due to resident protests against the original proposed sites. Cultural venues and annual events take place outside of residential John Marshall. Residents drive five miles to downtown's lush riverfront for the popular and free Richmond Folk Festival held annually in October. Museums such as the Valentine Richmond History Center Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts charge no admission fee and ask only for donations. Closer to home, Pine Camp Cultural Arts Theatre offers residents opportunities to participate in or view home-grown theater productions.

Transportation

Due to its small size, residents easily get around on foot or bicycle in John Marshall. Many cyclists choose to bike into downtown despite average bike infrastructure, as the city continually improves its bike-friendly image via more sharrows and dedicated bike lanes. Bus commuters hop the 32, a direct link to downtown, for an easy work commute. Shoppers travel the 91 along Laburnam Avenue to visit the varied Shops at White Oak Village to the east and bargain shopping at The Shops at Willow Lawn in the West End. The 93, or Azalea connector, hits two major apartment complexes by John Marshall and connects them with groceries, the post office and other shopping. Environmentally conscious residents stow the car and enjoy easy bus service for every errand and destination within Richmond City limits. Taxis abound in this area, and Uber serves Northside as well. For longer trips, buy an Amtrak ticket to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City or Raleigh, Durham, Savanna, Newport News, Williamsburg and Florida. While residential parking is plentiful, parking at local restaurants and downtown destinations causes headaches and costs money. Savvy residence avoid these ills by taking public transportation or a trusty two-wheeled vehicle.

Cost

Locals love the lower cost of living in John Marshall. Average rental rates in this area weigh in at $587 per month, significantly less than the average Richmond rate. Gas prices rank among the lowest in the nation at 15 percent less than the U.S. average and 8 percent less than the Richmond average. Toss back a pint of craft beer for about $4, and order a five-ounce glass beer flight for as low as $2.

Shopping

Locals shop for groceries at Food Lion in Brookhill Azalea Shopping Center just northwest of the neighborhood. Many local food enthusiasts also patronize Little House Green Grocery in neighboring Bellevue. Offering fresh local produce, dairy and meat as well as specialty items, this cute corner grocery also hosts classes and tastings. For more local produce options and the great community feel of a farmer's market, residents head to Bryan Park just west of the neighborhood. The Market Emporium opens Tuesday afternoons during the summer and fall months for local produce and specialty foods. Neither malls nor boutique shops inhabit John Marshall neighborhood itself, but locals take a quick bus trip or car ride to The Shops at Willow Lawn for cost-conscious options, such as Ross, Old Navy and Dollar Tree. The Shops at White Oak Village sits 8 miles away farther east on Laburnam Avenue. More an enormous strip mall than a traditional inside mall, White Oak Village creates a one-stop errand shopping experience, with Sam's Club, Target, Bath & Body Works and Lowe's. Several banks, boutiques and chain restaurants that run the gamut on taste preferences complete the convenience of the shopping center. Higher end shopping beckons from Carytown, just west of the downtown area. Locate a turquoise storefront with a big orange dot and enter Clementine for upscale thrift bargains from trendy shoes to the perfect funky accessory. Exposed brick and carefully stocked small rooms add to the charm of the boutique. Just across the way, Need Supply Company sells new and high-end clothing and accessories, the perfect place to pick up a new blouse or chic handbag.

Parks

To the north of John Marshall sits the Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center. Learn West African Dance moves at the cultural center, or enroll in beginning jewelry making, all for a reasonable fee. Enroll the 9-year-old in a hip-hop class and the preschooler in the peewee karate class that has been calling her name. This urban gem of a resource includes outside amenities like three outside basketball courts, a large playground, a senior fitness trail and sports fields. The site of a planned slavery insurrection in 1800 called Gabriel's Rebellion, Bryan Park provides John Marshall residents with a wilderness haven. Free monthly Audobon bird walks start just after sunrise. Disc golf enthusiasts enjoy 18 holes in a beautiful open course with many large trees to add difficulty. Bring a volleyball and throw down on the sand volleyball court. Dogs are prohibited at both of these Northside Parks.
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