Just 15 minutes outside of Richmond and a mere 2 hours south of Washington, D.C. is the lovely town of Mechanicsville, VA. Mechanicsville is located near the southwest border of Hanover County, which is located in the Tidewater region of Virginia. A predominately suburban area, Mechanicsville boasts a population of just under 40,000 residents and a wide variety of subdivisions – ranging from the grand homes of Greywood to the new construction, maintenance-free homes of Cherry Grove. The majority of the homes found within these diverse subdivisions are single family, ranging from two to four bedrooms in size. Lot sizes throughout the neighborhoods vary greatly, as do the amenities that residents have at their disposal. One thing that all of the subdivisions within Mechanicsville benefit from, though, is access to the Hanover County public schools, which are renowned as some of the best in Central Virginia.
Featuring modern amenities, playgrounds, walking trails, a dog park and an artistic interpretation of a historic site, Pole Green Park has a little bit of everything. Try out your skills at the skatepark, or cheer on one of the teams playing on the fields. The silhouette of the Hanover Meeting House offers a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for photography, and the shelters are a picture-perfect place for a picnic.
A members-only club, the Mechanicsville Recreation Association is the place to be when the temperatures begin to rise. There is a large pool at the Recreation Association, along with a kiddie play area and sand volleyball courts. Swimming lessons are taught onsite, and members ages 5-18 also have the opportunity to join the center’s swim team.
A place for the whole family, AMF Hanover Lanes is one of the best places to visit in Mechanicsville. The facility offers bowling and an onsite arcade. Pool sharks can try their hand at the billiards tables. There is an onsite sports bar, as well, where visitors can can enjoy local and craft beers, delicious mixed drinks and fantastic food. Wings, burgers and comfort foods galore are all at your fingertips at Hanover Lanes.
Living in Mechanicsville, VA offers a true essence of Americana. The town is steeped in history, with historic properties, Civil War sites and landmarks that can be found on the National Register of Historic Places around every corner. There is Rural Plains, a charming farmhouse that was built in the early years of the 1700s and remained in the Shelton family for over 275 years. Polegreen Church, also known as the Hanover Meeting House, was built in 1747 and was destroyed in the Civil War. Because the original foundation remained, an artistic silhouette was erected that beautifully combines history and art. Other historic homes on the registry include Spring Green, Oak Forest, Clover Lea, Selwyn, Oak Forest, Locust Hill, Cool Well and Laurel Meadow.
The Civil War history tied to Mechanicsville is absolutely incredible. There were several battles fought right within the city limits, and others just outside town. Some of the most significant were the Battle of Mechanicsville, also known as the Battle of Beaver Creek Dam, and the Battle of Cold Harbor, which was fought along the banks of the Chickahominy River. Although these battles were many years ago, visitors of Mechanicsville can immerse themselves in the trials and tribulations of the Civil War with a visit to Cold Harbor Battlefield. Here, visitors will find a visitors center with information and the Confederate and Union Turnouts and an open battlefield that looks much the same as it did in 1864. The Cold Harbor National Cemetery is also located on the premises and includes over 2,000 graves of Union Soldiers – over half of which are unknown. The final stop at this fascinating locale, offering yet another perspective of this gruesome battle, is the Garthright House, which was set up as a field hospital during this battle.
While the history of Mechanicsville runs deep, there are plenty of modern amenities throughout the town, as well. The dining scene in Mechanicsville is extremely diverse, with restaurants pulling influence from traditional American, Thai, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and Greek cuisine, amongst others. There are barbecue joints scattered throughout the city and plenty of fast food options to round out the offerings. When it comes time for shopping, there is a wonderful mixture of locally owned businesses and chain stores throughout Mechanicsville. Staples such as Hobby Lobby and Kohl’s can be found in Hanover Square; Hanover Square South offers even more retailers, with PetSmart, Dress Barn, Best Buy and more; Hanover Village boasts stores such as Aldi, Harbor Freight and Tuesday Morning; and Hanover Commons is anchored by Food Lion and features an array of locally owned shops and restaurants. As for entertainment, there is bowling at AMF Hanover Lanes and indoor bounce houses at Kidz Zoom. A 12-screen movie theater has also been proposed.
The natural side of Mechanicsville, VA is also appealing, with beautiful mature trees breaking up the landscape and plenty of parks to choose from. There is Ruritan Park, which offers 10 acres of wide-open space and an abundance of picnic tables for visitors to choose from. Pole Green Park contains so much more than just one of Hanover County’s most interesting historical sites. Visitors can find walking trails of varying difficulty, sports courts, playgrounds, a skate park, a dog park and even an equestrian ring with stables. Cold Harbor Battlefield Park also features walking trails and a picnic area to complement is the vast history of the site.
One of Hanover County’s biggest and most beloved annual festivals is held right in Mechanicsville: the Hanover Tomato Festival. This festival has been a tradition since 1978 and features all thing tomato. Visitors can shop at local vendors and sample unique tomato cuisine. There is a pizza race, in which competitors must eat slices of pizza at designated stops throughout the 4-kilometer course, with two grand prices of free Papa John’s pizza for a year. A kid’s zone keeps young visitors entertained, and the unique tomato art is almost worth the trip alone.
Whether you crave proximity to the city without the big-city hustle and bustle, incredible history or just a welcoming place to live, Mechanicsville offers a little bit of everything. Welcome to Mechanicsville – welcome home.