I grew up in Richmond and if you're looking for a place with good schools, low crime, low taxes, all 4 seasons - mild winter, low unemployment - this is a great place to raise a family. The counties - Chesterfield(southside of the river), Henrico(west side of the river), Goochland(country), Powhatan(country) all have excellent public schools. The city of Richmond is continuing to improve the public schools but they don't compete at all with the county and private schools. There are a few elentary schools in the city that are excellent. Most people I know with children that live in the city limits send their children to private school. But the county public schools are really giving the private schools a run for their money.
Richmond is 2 hours from D.C. and VA Beach, 3.5-5 hrs from NC Outerbanks, 5 hrs to NYC, 2hrs to the mountains and 1.5 hrs to the Chesapeake Bay-many Richmonders have second homes near the bay and on the Rappahanock River. Lots of people invloved in sailing/boating/fishing on the bay. Richmonders refer to it as "going to the River or Rivah" this weekend as going down to the Rappahanock or bay area. So it is centrally located. A lot of NYC people moved here after 9/11. They chose Richmond because it was south of DC where you were out of the traffic congestion of DC/Baltimore/Philly/Newark/NY. Once you hit Richmond, it just opens up and slows down.
Negatives - true Richmonders can be very cold to people who have relocated, but that is slowly changing with the younger genereation. But this has been a complaint from friends/clients I've encountered who've moved here. I also hear a lot you either "love it or hate it" here. Some people complain there's just nothing to do here and it's too quiet, other people that have moved here think it's the best city. everyone is different.
It does carry the nickname "the city stuck in time" because Richmonders hate change. Very conservative but there is a young population of liberals here as well. Not many laws to protect gay people, you can be fired for being gay, but I don't think the law is actually used. Supposedly, 80% of VA's believe this law should be changed but it has yet to be put on the ballet. The young generation is helping to improve this.
I have lived in Boston and St. Louis and miss the activity of a bigger city with a lot to do. We don't have a sports team - unless you count the baseball team the Squirrels. Richmond has a big art scene, great restaurants, the James River runs straight through the city, so lots of boating and kyaking. The city is mainy quiet on the weekends during the summer because people escape to their River houses or Beach houses, so it very slow during the summer months. Plus the college kids are gone - Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) -great school and The University of Richmond - also a wonderful school and gorgeous campus.
Hope this shines some light on my birthplace!