Celebrating a birthday on the birthday is pretty much a settled argument, except for when it isn’t. Yesterday, my friend Susan helped me celebrate my July 31 birthday by taking me to Lynchburg for a hike on the inner-city trail to Percival Island and lunch at the Hill City’s lovely city market.
The market area of Lynchburg once trailed Roanoke’s version, but no more. Not by a mile. Lynchburg has more farmers, more vendors, better-prepared food and a heck of a lot more to do downtown when you get there than does Roanoke. Lynchburg’s version of Roanoke’s greenway runs right along the James River, which is about three blocks away from its market area, which is teeming with people, smiling, telling stories, buying veggies, crafts (they love the phrase “Made in Virginia”), window shopping and being surprised at just how much entertainment can be packed into a small area.
My friend and I ate lunch at the well-regarded (just look at the awards on the wall) “Italian-Mediterranean Fusion” restaurant Hot & Cold Cafe, straight across the street from the city market building and its farmers. The cafe’s owner is Uday Mukherjee, one of the most engaging and enthusiastic chef/owners I’ve ever met. You see, hear and feel the love in his preparations as he flits around the room offering suggestions. Eating at H&C Cafe is a delight.