Martin’s All-American Road Trip; Stop #3 – Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA
Road trips are about the journey – not just the destinations. As you travel this summer, make your trip flexible, allowing for short stops along the way to see famous landmarks and cities as you pass through. This week, we’re continuing down south through Virginia, but wanted to give you a few travel options.
If you’re enjoying the historical route we’ve been taking the past two weeks, then as we head south through Virginia, feel free to stop at cities like Alexandria and Richmond for a deeper look into our country’s past. While we are passing through these two cities, they aren’t our main focus, so take a chance to research them on your own and discover something new!
If you’d prefer a different route, you could take a longer, scenic trip by heading east from D.C. toward the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As you travel down the Delmarva Peninsula, you can stop at Ocean City and Salisbury, MD or visit Assateague and Chincoteague islands to see the wild horses. Then, continue on toward the bridge tunnel to arrive at our destination: Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia.
Both routes would make for an exciting adventure, but we’ll focus on the first option here.
The southeastern, coastal region of Virginia is known as Hampton Roads. This region is also occasionally called “Tidewater, Virginia” and consists of 5 counties and 9 cities in VA as well as 2 counties in NC. “Hampton Roads” is also the name of the channel where the James, Elizabeth, and Nansemond rivers meet with the Chesapeake Bay. Some major cities of this region include Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.
Hampton Roads is a very historical region, dating back to the beginning of Colonial America in 1607. Its prime location near the rivers and harbor made it an attractive area for the early settlers. Like many areas in this time which were named after the English, the word “Hampton” likely comes from the 3rd Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley. The term “Roads” is short for “roadstead” which is used to describe a stretch of water that is safe for vessels.
The “Historic Triangle”
The three corners which make up “America’s Historic Triangle” are Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. These three areas are integral parts in our nation’s story. From the first successful English settlement at Jamestown, to the revolution battle in Yorktown where America won its independence from England, this “triangle” holds some important American history.
Make sure to visit Colonial Williamsburg, the Revolutionary City, and experience the “world’s largest living history museum,” with hundreds of restored, historic buildings and costumed reenactors. You’ll feel like you’re back in Colonial America in the 18th century! (If you’re not into history, you can visit Busch Gardens or Water Country USA while here in Williamsburg).
Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval station, and is well-surrounded by ports, rivers, and beaches, so there are plenty of water-related activities to take part in! While here, you can take a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base to see the aircraft carriers and ships, or take a trip down to the harbor or one of the marinas and hop on a ship for a sightseeing lunch or dinner cruise!
For even more fun, you can go kayaking, fishing, golfing, visit the nearby parks, or even participate in one of several culinary tours for a taste of the tidewater region.
For more fun on the water, head to Virginia Beach and try exciting activities like paddleboarding, parasailing, surfing, or dolphin tours; or just relax on the beach and soak up some sun! For more ideas, visit http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/. The outdoor experiences are endless, from the beach, to the parks, to the bay and waterways; there’s something for everyone!
This 34-foot, bronze statue of Neptune welcomes visitors to Virginia Beach. Its purpose is to “[honor] the maritime legacy of Virginia Beach while also standing as a vivid reminder of the community’s duty to respect and protect our natural blessings” (http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/visitors/articles/king_neptune_statue.aspx).
With all of the creeks, rivers, and bays surrounding the Hampton Roads area of coastal Virginia, and such a rich agriculture, its fresh flavors are a must-try! Whether it’s blue crabs, oysters, or scallops from the Bay, or authentic Virginia Ham from Smithfield, make sure to get a taste of the great cuisine!
For a taste of the Chesapeake, check out the below recipe for a Bay Scallop Sandwich. (Feel free to add some Old Bay if you’d like!)
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