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Archive for May, 2015

I recently did a “food tour” of Virginia Beach, Virginia. But before we arrived we made a couple of other stops. If you visit you will find a lot of history in this area. We had so little time, we were not able to see much of the historic places. However if you visit plan to stop at the Jamestown Settlement and Williamsburg while you are there.
On Day Two we did a 3 hour whirlwind tour of DC. Since it was late Sunday afternoon the roads seemed to magically open for us. We walked by the White House, Capitol, and into the WWII monument. We then drove the tidal basin & even had time to walk into the Lincoln & Korean Memorials. On the way out of town we zipped by Arlington National Cemetery & the Iwo Jima Memorial. If you ever do the Iwo Jima Monument make sure you drive the whole circle. It’s an optical illusion but it looks like the flag is raising and lowering as you drive around.
The next morning we had 3 hours to kill so I contacted the Convention Visitor Bureau in Hampton, Virginia. The man who helped me there awesome! They have the most wonderful History Museum in that town. It covers 400 years of history in several galleries. He organized guides for us and split the group in threes for our tour. We also saw St. John’s Church before “Bruce” jumped on our coach and did a little city tour on our way to lunch and shopping. For those of you interested there is a big Bass Pro Shop on a little lake with restaurants and a Coldstone Creamery behind the store. I haven’t even touched on all the neat things to do in this town, including some great shopping areas and restaurants.
Then we headed to Virginia Beach. The population is approximately440,000 and it is the most populous city in the state. However the area is very spread out so it is not a city with big skyscraper type buildings. As we drove in we saw many hotels several stories tall facing the ocean, with the required tourist souvenir shops nearby. The way they were built most rooms had ocean views. Our hotel had every room with balconies facing the boardwalk and ocean.
The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.
Naturally due to the location it is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, condos and restaurants along the oceanfront. The boardwalk is also neat. There is a separate paved bike path so you don’t run into pedestrians and the famed King Neptune Statue is a must stop.
The city is home to many state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, International headquarters and site of the television broadcast studios for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and Edgar Cayce’s Hospital for Research and Enlightenment which was established in 1928 with 60 beds.
Cayce was a very famous psychic in his time who claimed healing abilities and made prophesies. He is known as the father of the “New Age” movement of the 1960s. He lived in Virginia Beach until he died on January 3, 1945. His followers are still very active in the area and many people all over the world still study his prophesies.
An interesting historic fact is near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists, who eventually settled in Jamestown in1607.
One of our dinners was at the Chesapeake Grill, the only restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We had wonderful Barbeque there as we gazed at the beautiful water views. I just wished we had time to stay long enough to see the sunset. I am sure it would have been spectacular. But even if you don’t stop you need to drive over the bridge. It is four lanes and has two tunnels. The entire bridge and tunnels span twenty miles!
┬áNaturally seafood was the highlight of our tour. We had She Crab soup, fish sandwiches, crab cake, BBQ shrimp, grilled shrimp, oysters Rockafellar, clams provencal, and fish tacos. And homemade desserts–little chocolate cookies, key lime pie, piled high strawberry shortcake and famous Bundt cakes from Rowena’s in Norfolk. Did I mention cheese and sausage at our wine tasting?

And I have to tell you as I tell my travelers–when you are on vacation there is no calories in the food you eat!

The third day of our stay was a lot about peanuts and ham. We went to Smithville and had Brunswick stew, a ham sandwich on a sweet potato roll, and a Virginian reuben, which is actually made of turkey. After all this food we visited a famous Ham Country Store where we learned about curing and how hams are stored and preserved. The only problem we had was when everyone got off the bus at the end of the day they smelled like they had been in a fire!

There was a little time late that afternoon and evening to enjoy the beach and our hotel. The next day sadly we left for our overnight stay in Pittsburgh before heading back to Chicago.

There are so many great towns in the area like Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth and Hampton that when you think about your next vacation, put the Eastern shore of Virginia high on your list. I know you won’t be sorry. However if you want to escape the hoards of beachgoers I would suggest a visit in the spring or fall.

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