This week I am happy to be the featured Blog Trotter! Bloggers from all over the world have given fun tours of their hometowns on Blog Trotting, so be sure to visit their site for some great local information and photos.
My hometown? Being from a Navy family, I’ve got many. But we are now deeply rooted in the Hampton Roads Community in Virginia. I live in Norfolk, but am surrounded by cities such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Williamsburg and Poquoson.
Just last week I popped my head in to my son’s room and asked him a question. He immediately laughed at me (make that MOCKED me?) and said, “Did you just say Y’all?!” Yes, you will hear “y’all” in my hometown. But y’all don’t mind, right?
As Wikipedia states, Hampton Roads is “one of the world’s biggest natural harbors, and incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth River and James River with several smaller rivers and itself empties into the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth leading to the Atlantic Ocean.”
Bottom line, we are surrounded by water. Tidal waters, the Atlantic ocean, the Chesapeake Bay– all beautiful and full of wildlife. I see red tailed hawks, white egrets, blue herons and even eagles flying over my neighborhood. I’ve learned fish can truly fly – at least in the claws of a hungry osprey!
While visiting Norfolk, be sure to spend a few hours in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The gardens are spectacular, the World of Wonder Children’s Garden can’t be beat and the boat rides are a lot of fun. The gardens are also home to a pair of American Eagles who raise their young in front of an internationally viewed Eagle Cam!
We have the largest Naval Station in the world that supports 75 ships, aircraft, hangars and the largest concentration of Navy forces just about anywhere. Don’t go grocery shopping on military payday if you are in a rush! And don’t be surprised when several Navy jets fly overhead, causing your teeth to rattle.
In Virginia Beach it is completely normal to hold a conversation outside with several pauses as the roar of a jet interrupts you. Personally, “I Love Jet Noise” because these brave pilots are training for that moment when they just might be saving our lives. My father was a Navy pilot and I am deeply proud of every military branch in the United States.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel connects our mainland to the amazing Eastern Shore. At 17.6 miles long, this tunnel is one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. The view is spectacular and worth the $12 toll simply for this unique experience. Notice the aircraft carrier in the picture? Drivers are in the tunnel underneath that floating city!
If you love history, you will certainly enjoy a visit to nearby Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. We have battlefields and history galore in Hampton Roads. There isn’t a single school child that has not taken a field trip to Colonial Williamsburg. And while you are there, be sure to visit Busch Gardens and ride my favorite metal coaster, the Lochness Monster!
The Virginia Beach oceanfront is a popular tourist attraction, with it’s public beaches, hotels and shops.
But the locals know of a quieter beach just down from “the Strip”….. shhhh we won’t tell! In addition to surfers on our beaches you will also find skimmers. Like my son!
Did I mention the blue crabs? You will find crab pots in almost every body of water you drive by. Hard working crabbers run their boats daily from pot to pot looking for their hard earned crustacean catch. There is nothing better than a blue crab from the Chesapeake Bay in my book. Find the biggest Jimmy you can, dip the meat in vinegar, then Old Bay Seasoning and enjoy!
Or even better, ask for directions to Eddie’s Chesapeake Bay Crab House in Chesapeake. This is the only place I know where they dip a whole hard shell crab in batter and deep fry it. As you pick your crab you take pieces of the batter from the outside of the shell. Heaven. Pure heaven, y’all!