Many of you know my plans to meet up with friends in Myrtle Beach was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew and the destruction in the area our resort was in. Very sad all the loss of life and so much destruction in Matthews path. It’s left a burden on communities like those in Myrtle Beach and even worse in Haiti and parts of the Caribbean where there were many fatalities and some areas were completely destroyed. Relief still accessing damages, giving aide and starting to clean up and re-build.
Thankful we were ok. We were not in harms way. We needed to celebrate the fact that we were unharmed while remembering many were harmed and lives destroyed.
My friends ended up just coming here for vacation and we spent a week just enjoying each others company and taking in whatever small stuff was happening here in Virginia Beach. We were somber at the reason why we ended up vacationing my backyard. But so thankful we could. We had thought about just doing nothing and then meeting up when our Myrtle Beach trip was rescheduled but decided we really wanted to celebrate life, friendship and family BECAUSE of all that happened to cancel our plans.
Day one we took in the beachfront (Boardwalk Beach). Just enjoying the waves, the sun, the sand and the warmth of the day. Autumn does come to our area slowly but surely. Most of our autumn and winter months is spent lingering between autumn temps and that cold that resides just before snow should be starting. It seldom snows here near the beach and when it does, it lasts a day then the remaining warmth of the sun melts the fluffy white away leaving us with a chill in the air.
But for now the sun was still shining brightly and we still had 80 degree temps! The ocean was beautiful today, very blue and just a little choppy. Some nice waves for beginning surfers. And swimmers who like their swim a little wild.
Naval Aviation Monument Park
“The monument represents the culmination of an eight-year undertaking by NAF’s Hampton Roads Squadron, supported by the City of Virginia Beach. View the six larger-than-life bronze sculptures with action-oriented presentations depicting three historic eras in naval aviation. The Monument graces a plaza encompassing 16,000 square feet at the intersection of 25th Street and Atlantic Avenue, adjacent to the Norwegian Lady monument, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.”
Day two we spent the day just visiting and relaxing. My friends did a 9 hour drive here from Ohio and they needed a sleep in day. Plus being at the beach, playing in the waves and all that sun makes for great sleep!! Later in the day we went to the Virginia Museum Of Contemporary Art for MOCA Nights. It’s a easy going evening filled with cocktails, food trucks, open mic night and free admission to the museum. It’s a beautiful introduction for newcomers into art museums. So we listened to a little poetry, some music filled the air and then took in the sights of the museum. It was a beautiful evening with all the time in the world to explore the art within the museum!!
Day three was back to the beach but this time we went to Sandbridge (my favorite beach in the area)!!! The ocean, the waves, the sand, the sunshine and the mist off the ocean is meditative to me. Whenever I am near the ocean I feel a sense of “home”. It’s always so peaceful yet invigorating. After a day at the beach I feel renewed. The waves were calmer but the suns reflection on the water and sand made for breathtaking views!!
And the wildlife came near to play with us….
Day 4 we decided to take in some more seasonal type entertainment. Halloween was, is right around the corner and most of the scarier haunted type venues were not open yet. But we found something to do that was a fun family scare! Ghost Train at Northwest River Park is where we started the night’s hauntings!
A wagon ride through a dark forest with a few howls, bumps in the night and eerie lighting. With some stops with story telling and a bit of haunted history of the area.
It was family friendly for the most part during the wagon ride. Smaller kids would get a scare I’m sure simply because, well, it’s a wagon ride in the darkly lit forest with some scary sounds and a few noises to catch you off guard. But I would say 13 and up would be ok with this. It was a cool night so it was actually a nice ride through the forest!
After the wagon ride they had a haunted house you could go through. I’m not good with small spaces so i opted out lol. But my friends braved the walk through the “house” and were scared by “the people behind the walls” and bat wielding, chainsaw carrying creepy people in masks. Good scary fun if you like being scared!
After the haunted ghost ride we decided the night was still early and we still had not had dinner. Here in Virginia Beach we have a dinner and a movie type theater, well a couple of them. But we opted for Cinema Cafe and the opening night of Tyler Perry’s, BOO, A Madea Halloween. I LOVE Cinema Cafe! You sit in cozy chairs and can eat dinner, snacks, desert and watch your movie!! It’s kind of the new “drive-in theater” type experience.
It was typical Tyler Perry. It was funny with a lesson attached for the kids to all learn about being good human beings.
And dinner was of course delicious, if not necessarily good for you. Not the type of food you should eat often!
Day 5 we just decided to have an easy going family type day with a little early holiday shopping and venturing to the farmers markets for some tasty fresh local foods. We picked up some produce and a few other items for cooking a healthy dinner since we ate junky the night before. The sun was yet again shining bright and there was a crispness starting in the air telling me that autumn was upon us here in Virginia Beach.
Something special was planned for Day 6. I wanted to go somewhere I had yet to go in the 8 years we’ve lived here in Virginia Beach. Already so much of the area has been explored and enjoyed. And after all, I was the one in the bunch who actually was not going away for vacation. So, across the water we went, over to Hampton Virginia, well actually it’s known as Fort Monroe,Virginia. Fort Monroe was designed by the French military engineer Brigadier General Simon Bernard, Fort Monroe (sometimes called Fortress Monroe) was conceived as an element of the Third System of coastal defenses outlined by Congress in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The old Army fortress is filled with history and rich in storytelling because it’s been around for so long. And to top it off we were going for their annual Ghost Walk Tour!
Fort Monroe’s grounds are gorgeous! Surrounded on three sides by either ocean or bay and the structures made of brick and stone set surrounded by green trees and blue skies made for a picturesque walk in crisp autumn breezes.
They converted the structures into rental units. There is a long waiting list because they are museum quality structures in a beautiful setting. But we are now looking into it!
The grounds are lush and green and well maintained. You can tell that since the military left this site, it’s been well loved by the community and taken care of as a landmark but also as a place of beauty despite also being a place of war.
The actual Ghost Walk was rich with the history of the Fort along with actual ghost stories from past residents and those who lived and worked within the walls of this old place. It was a little spooky, but not really scary. But that was ok because the storytelling was superb and the tour and stories were being told by actual residents and former residents which just added to the experience. We could tell the love these people had for the history of this gorgeous place. They hold it near and dear to them. We will venture back to this area again one day when we have more daylight hours and more time to walk through the Casemat and museum. It is a gem and a huge part of the military heritage of this area.
We ended this day with dinner at T.G.I. Fridays and some great conversation. We knew the trip was winding down and that Day 7 would be spent mostly with packing, a good breakfast and my friends getting on the road back to Ohio with dreams of our next adventure and readying for the reschedule of our Myrtle Beach trip. As always I will miss these crazy loves. But more adventures will be had and for now we had had to say farewell. Now to recover from vacation