A Holly Jolly Saturday
Blast off for breakfast all day long at Galaxy Diner. The constellation of choices includes pancakes, seafood omelets, French toast, and fried Oreos for dessert.
Spend the rest of the day at the James River Plantations, just a 30-minute drive from I-64. Shirley Plantation, Virginia's oldest plantation, has been operated by the same family since 1638. Browse its gift shop, and take the tour. Guests stroll inside nearby Berkeley Plantation to glimpse colonial Christmas decor. Walk its pristine lawns, and explore the terraced gardens that lead to the James River. Westover Plantation allows self-guided tours of its grounds filled with 150-year-old tulip poplars. History hounds love the gorgeous early Georgian architecture.
For dinner head back downtown to The Croaker's Spot. This cozy place serves "seafood cooked with soul." Lake trout, shrimp, and crab cakes all come with their famous sweet cornbread.
'Tis the Season for Sunday Shopping
Carytown, a district along Cary Street, promises cool buys and stores with character. Nine blocks of window-shopping make this the snazziest street in the city.
Pop inside Can Can Brasserie for French bagels and steamy cups of cafe au lait. Then get ready to grab a few last-minute gifts. Funky printed T-shirts win over the pickiest of teens at Bang-On. The shop imprints wicked and wonderful sayings, band memorabilia such as KISS designs, and political statements on trendy tees ($25). Flirty, feminine skirts, scarves, and striped stockings outfit ladies at The Phoenix. Scent-driven shoppers love the goods at Soak. Custom-mixed fragrances for the home and body come in more than 100 scents.
Hungry? Coppola's Deli, modeled after an authentic Italian sandwich shop, makes a monstrous meatball sub and is a good place to eat, drink, and be merry.
When You Go
• The Berkeley Hotel: 1200 East Cary Street; www.berkeleyhotel.com or 1-888-780-4422.
• Crowne Plaza Richmond Downtown: 555 East Canal Street; richmondhotels.crowneplaza.com or  788-0900.
• The Jefferson Hotel: 101 West Franklin Street; www.jeffersonhotel.com or 1-800-424-8014.
• North Bend Plantation: 12200 Weyanoke Road; www.northbendplantation.com or  829-5176.
• For information on the James River Plantations, visit www.jamesriverplantations.org.
"Festive City" is from the December 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.