Norfolk Naval Station is the largest military installation on the East Coast and we arrived eager to explore the area. We checked into the Navy Lodge and were given a large room complete with kitchenette to include a large refrigerator and stovetop. By now, we have practiced our routine enough to get unpacked and tucked away fairly quickly. It was rather late, so we made a quick run to the commissary on base, picked up some light food items and ate in our very comfortable room.
Our first stop the next morning was nearby Fort Story and the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse. The Cape Henry Lighthouse was completed in 1792 and was the first federally funded lighthouse. The lighthouse was built to guide commerce up the Chesapeake Bay and authorized by George Washington. Helen and I walked the 192 steps up a steep and winding staircase to the top of the lighthouse and took in a wonderful view of the Chesapeake Bay.
After nearly a century of service, the original lighthouse was beginning to show signs of settling, and a second lighthouse was authorized and put into service in 1881. The new lighthouse is lit with a bulb that only three inches tall and because of the powerful lens in front of it, the lighthouse can be seen from over 15 miles away. That lens is the original lens from 1881. Despite all previous concerns, the original lighthouse remains in place to this day.
Near the two lighthouses is the site of the first landing of English settlers which occurred on April 29, 1607. That event is commemorated by the creation of a state park around the site and naming it First Landing Park.
After our visit to the Park, we walked to the shore for a quick view and then decided to check out the boardwalk at Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach, VA is one of the largest cities in the state. The beach itself is lined with large hotels and other tourist attractions as well as a wide concrete “boardwalk”. We strolled along the boardwalk, did some people watching, but decided that while this is a very popular area…it wasn’t our thing. Too commercial, and very crowded, even for a weekday. I only took one picture–a thirty foot statue of King Neptune which stands at the beach side of the boardwalk.
Sandbridge Island, VA
We checked through the AAA Guidebook for Virginia we brought with us and picked out a beach that was probably more to our liking. We left for Sandbridge Island Beach and Little Island State Park about ten miles away. This turned out to be a good decision. The further we drove from Virginia Beach, the the more the cars and the crowds diminished.
We arrived at a parking lot at Sandbridge Island and paid the fee for non-state residents of five dollars. There was a bathhouse for changing which we took advantage of, grabbed our beach chairs and cooler and picked a spot just to the south of the pier to work on our tans. It was a gloriously sunny day for beaching it! We had a great time watching some young children a few feet away from us building a drip castle. The beach was busy, but hardly crowded, and, because the surf was a little heavy, the life guards were watching pretty closely.
After a couple of hours of good beach therapy, we ventured in to one of the few restaurants, The Sandbridge Island Cafe. I had a delicious Fried Flounder sandwich and Helen ordered a lobster salad wrap. The food was great and service even better. The beer was cold!
I love it when we “discover” a new place. Please ride with us as we make new discoveries while Easin’ Along.