The Beach Report: July 25, 2014

July 25th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson

Crape Myrtle

This week in The Beach Report, Blogger Katherine Jackson is hot on….

Another New Trail

Hooray to the City of Virginia Beach for adding three more miles to its inventory of multi-use trails, bringing the total to well over 100 miles of bikeways and trails in the city. A new shared-use path was built as part of the widening of Princess Anne Road from the Virginia Beach Municipal Center to the Farmers Market. To access the trail, we unloaded our bikes at the municipal center, an ideal starting point for biking in the southern section of the city. There’s plenty of free parking, especially on the weekends, and this time of year, hundreds of pink crape myrtle trees are impressive in full bloom.

PA BikeThe new asphalt path is separated from the roadway and is wide enough for two bikers to ride comfortably abreast. Along the way, the city’s Meadow Management program is taking hold. Native plants, including wildflowers, are growing literally like weeds: Indian Blanket, Queen Anne’s Lace, Coreopsis, and lots of other yellow and periwinkle flowers. Meadow management areas like this are cropping up in parks, near waterways, and on roadsides all over the city. This landscape design encourages indigenous plants to grow, provides stormwater filtration and wildlife habitat, and reduces manpower costs.

In addition to the riot of wildflowers along Princess Anne Road, there are plenty of sites to see in this vicinity. The Farmers Market bursts in July with tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, corn, watermelon and butter beans. One vendor sells homemade ice cream, a cool Farm Markettreat on a summer ride. Across from the market, Dale Eldred’s Light Garden, a massive sculpture of light sensitive panels enclosed in glass frames atop steel columns, shimmers with prisms of color.

We continued our ride on the Princess Anne Road path until we reached the entrance to Tidewater Community College. Here, we turned right and pedaled east through the campus to pick up another bikeway on South Rosemont Road. When Rosemont ends, a paved path continues along the utility right-of-way. After passing through grassy fields between two neighborhoods, the path intersects Winterberry Lane, where we turned right for a short jaunt through the neighborhood. Returning to Princess Anne Road, we headed south to complete a P-shaped loop, but not before stopping for picnic supplies at a nearby grocery store. Back at the Municipal Center, we ate lunch in the deep and breezy shade of a giant magnolia tree in the Mary Russo Volunteer Recognition Garden. In addition to picnic tables and benches, the garden has a large charcoal grill and several paths through flower-filled beds, a perfect place to wind down after a ride. As described, the route we took was approximately ten miles, an easy cruise for families with older children. Stronger riders can expand the route by touring through the Princess Anne Athletic Complex, the Hampton Roads Soccer complex, and the Farm Bureau Live amphitheater, which lie to the west of Princess Anne Road.Rosemont Bike

According to the City of Virginia Beach’s Bikeways and Trails plan, “the citizens of Virginia Beach have shown and stated consistently over the years that they want to be able to bike and walk around the City, both for recreation and transportation alternatives.” This comprehensive plan, overseen by a citizen advisory committee, establishes a process for considering the feasibility of including multi-use paths whenever new roadway projects are designed and when existing facilities are renovated. In fact, the plan is working, as evidenced by the new Princess Anne trail. Stay tuned to ShoreLines for information on new bikeways and walking trails coming online soon.


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Summer Fishing – A Fish for Every Angler

July 20th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Good riddance to Hurricane Arthur! Virginia Beach anglers may now return to what they love best – catching fish!  While the storm’s passing seems to have momentarily slowed down tuna fishing, post-storm bill fish action has proved worthwhile with returning boats registering several citation  awards with the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. One released white marlin measured 80 inches with most hookups taking place at Norfolk Canyon.  Dolphin (or mahi) remain available with many school-sized fish surpassed by the occasional “Who’s Your Daddy?” dolphin in the mix.

A nice catch of Spanish mackerel!

A nice catch of Spanish mackerel!

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are leaving huge smiles on the faces of fishermen on both private and charter boats fishing inshore. This year is quickly turning into a top year class for numbers as well as size of Spanish mackerel.  A 6 ½ lb. citation mackerel recently caught off Rudee Inlet  highlights the success of our mackerel fishery.  Cape Henry is normally a reliable starting point for Spanish mackerel trolling, especially along tide lines.  King mackerel could also make an appearance anytime now.

Fishermen plying local saltwater inlets (Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee) may expect mostly small to medium spot, croaker, sea mullet, speckled trout (release for now), puppy drum and bluefish. Flounder, while also in the surf and inlets, are trending larger this year with 16-inch keepers not unusual.  Even though the flounder and puppy drum bite has slowed somewhat, it should pick up once waters fully clear from recent storm runoff.

Chesapeake Bay, also recovering from Arthur, continues to offer cobia, sheepshead, spadefish, triggerfish, and flounder along with red and black drum. Cobia in the 30 to 40 lb. range are numerous. Trophy fish exceeding 50 lbs., however, remain a challenge.  For best cobia results, try cut menhaden at locations like buoys 16, 13 and the “Middle Grounds”.

Black drum by Duane Raver

Black drum by Duane Raver

Black drum, sheepshead, triggerfish and spadefish are holding around structure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and certain offshore wrecks. In addition to a great fight, sheepshead weighing up to 11 pounds offer distinct “plate appeal” due to a diet of tasty mollusks.

Red drum still patrol bay shoals and will fall for crab baits. Big reds to 57 inches have been reported for citation awards.  Black drum are in schools around the four rock islands of the CBBT and can be coaxed to swallow bucktail lures.

Croaker by Duane Raver

Croaker by Duane Raver

A mix of gray trout, croaker, sea trout, bluefish, and flounder is waiting for boaters running to Kiptopeke on the northern side of the bay. Flounder are also well established in the “Ditch” running from Fisherman’s Island to Magothy Bay as well as the 4th island area of the CBBT.

Deep drop fishermen working the Continental Shelf should find a wide variety of fish including black seabass, black bellied rosefish, grouper, barrelfish, wreckfish and tilefish. The tilefish have averaged around 15 pounds while all of these species are excellent on the dinner plate.  Long-range comfortable head boats are ready to take you in comfort to this exciting fishing.

A typical Virginia Beach tilefish

A typical Virginia Beach tilefish

Captain’s Tip: When cobia fishing – keep a live eel rigged on a rod and ready to pitch in case a monster cobia shows up.

Captain’s Tip: First Impressions Matter.  Fluorocarbon (invisible) leader is money well spent as it will maximize bites.  This is particularly important for fish with keen eye sight such as mackerel or tuna.

Captain’s Log: Visiting trailer boaters should note that the free Owl’s Creek boat ramp near the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center affords easy access to Rudee Inlet fishing as well as a quick entry to the Atlantic and all the bounty it can offer.  Go to Owl’s Creek for information.

Best Bets:

Spanish mackerel, white marlin, cobia, flounder, and tilefish

Tournament Trail:

Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament:

August 10 and September 14 on Lynnhaven Pier. Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot. For information: 267.994.7423 and

http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier:

Hope to see you on the water. Tight lines and hard strikes to all!

Capt. Mike


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The Beach Report – July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014 by Sherry Friel

Local blogger and mom Sherry Friel is definitely in tune with all the latest outdoor fun in Virginia Beach. She and son Nathaniel took on our newest attraction and her post gives us all the details – enjoy this fun read!


adv park 3 (3)

Virginia Beach gives “adventure” two snaps, a twist and a ZIP!

We did it ! My 11-year-old son Nathaniel and I spent an afternoon and evening at Virginia Beach’s newest attraction-The Adventure Park. There’s been a great deal written in local newspapers and on the city’s tourism web site about this aerial tree park at Virginia Aquarium. I even wrote a column myself in anticipation of what we were about to experience. But truth be told, the park exceeded any expectations I had by such a long shot that I am hesitant to even attempt to describe the fun we had. You just have to go there. I can say that the park was much larger than I expected. It also was more challenging for the mind, body and spirit than I imagined. In addition, experiencing it when the sun was low in the sky until after sunset made the time even more special. The park is open until 11 p.m during the summer so we timed it just right to enjoy the unique appeal of it at night.

When I say The Adventure Park was larger than I expected, I am not only referring to scale, but the varying levels of difficulty it offers to kids and adults. The 170 tree platforms, ziplines, and 13 different color-coded aerial trails were challenging enough for novice as well as advanced climbers. When I first entered the park, I felt a bit overwhelmed as I tried to take in all the options. Fortunately, the staff does a fantastic job at gauging your level and leading you through the courses accordingly.

To say the Adventure Park is a challenging experience for the mind and body is an understatement. After observing people of all ages for several hours, I now believe it to be a phenomenal growth experience for anyone. I watched my son and his friend, in the course of just three hours, go from being timid and unsure about navigating their way through the trails to wanting to tackle harder courses. Their words as we exited the park, “We will be back.” As a parent I am always searching for ways my son can grow and build confidence. Our climbing adventure was definitely time well spent and we look forward to returning really soon.

Summer is a crazy busy time for active families, and there never seems to be enough time during the day to do everything. When I started planning this special birthday outing for my son, I had to work around not only his summer schedule, but his friend’s plans as well. When I realized the park was open until 11 p.m., I was so relieved. Yes, I thought, we will be able to proceed with any plans we had during the day and do the Adventure Park too. But I worried that the kids wouldn’t be able to see the trails very well in the dark. I also was concerned they would be too tired. Of course I worried needlessly. They were able to work through the trails just fine at around 7 p.m., and after it got dark, the entire forest is beautifully illuminated with twinkling lights strung through the trees. It took on a truly magical quality after dark, and only enhanced what was already a wonderful experience.  We stayed until 10 p.m. and practically had to drag them out. The boys were just getting started!

I wholeheartedly recommend The Adventure Park for active, outdoors-loving kids and adults. In fact, when a 20-something neighbor asked my advice on an interesting place to take his girlfriend, I told him about this amazing aerial park. After they went, he was excited to tell me it was PERFECT and they had the best time! Do I foresee an Adventure Park wedding theme in their future? Why not!? I can’t think of a more exciting way to start Living the Life together!

Photo credits: Sherry Friel


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The Beach Report – July 11, 2014

July 11th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson

This week in The Beach Report, blogger Katherine Jackson takes us on a serene trip to one of our natural areas for a look at Virginia Beach from yet another angle: the water.

Enjoy!

Virginia Beach’s Scenic Waterway

Turtle LakeKayaking and paddle boarding have skyrocketed in popularity in Virginia Beach, where miles of beaches provide access to the ocean. In addition, the Virginia Beach Scenic Waterway allows paddlers to explore the city’s rivers, creeks and marshlands. Dedicated in 1986, this twenty-eight-mile waterway runs from the north end of the city to the south, and can be entered at nineteen sites, including First Landing State Park and Carolanne Farms Park.

On a recent Saturday morning, we put a canoe into the waterway at the Dozier’s Bridge Canoe Launch on Princess Anne Road, approximately seven miles from the Virginia Beach oceanfront. From that point, the waterway leads south along Patterson Creek to West Neck Creek, the North Landing River and Back Bay. Heading north, the waterway leads into the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay. Given enough time, boaters can paddle from the Chesapeake Bay to the North Carolina state line. We weren’t nearly that ambitious. We spent two and a half hours leisurely cruising three miles of the trail as it traverses lush green woods thick with evergreens, hardwoods and bald cypress trees. We saw wildflowers such as Trumpet Creeper with its brilliant red blossoms laced through branches overhanging the water, and we smelled swamp roses even before we saw their pink blooms. We found a blackberry vine, its fruit ripe and sweet this time of year. Red, blue and gray dragonflies flitted everywhere, touching down on the water and crossing the bow of the canoe. Since this is a part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, we weren’t surprised to see a number of species including a swallow, a cardinal, and a woodpecker (along with evidence of a large population of his relatives nearby). I saw a hawk’s reflection in the water before I saw him soaring in the sky. A Great Blue Heron accompanied us down the waterway, landing on dead branches or the creek bank a hundred feet ahead of us, then taking flight each time we got close. We estimated its wingspan at seven feet. We also saw turtles sunning on a log, schools of tiny fish, and a beaver-downed tree. At one point, we came upon a canoe with two people who were fishing. “Whatcha catching?” I asked. “Anything,” the woman replied. “Got one,” she said, and pulled from the water a keeper line attached to their canoe. “Catfish,” she said. It looked about ten inches long. We also watched a snake swim across the waterway. It was too far away to identify, but a good reminder to be careful of poisonous copperheads and cottonmouth moccasins that live in this area. After we tied the canoe to a log on the bank, we ate sandwiches and watermelon while floating in the shade. An adult beverage might have been consumed. It was a peaceful retreat, another example of how easy it is to get away from it all, even in the middle of Virginia’s most populous city.  If you don’t have a boat but are interested in exploring Virginia Beach’s water resources, local outfitters provide equipment, instruction and guided tours. Oakum Creek at Munden Point Park might be a good place to start. According to naturalist John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” That goes for every paddle as well.

Photo credits: Katherine JacksonHeron


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So Many Fish, So Many Choices!

July 3rd, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Capt. Mike Halperin is featured this week in The Beach Report – his timely post offers the very latest happenings in the Virginia Beach fishing scene. Happy Independence Day & Happy Fishing!!

Inlets and Beaches:  With so many species to choose from, Virginia Beach fishermen will need to select a target fish. Inshore anglers can pick from a nice mix of sea mullet, Norfolk spot, croaker, speckled trout (release only), puppy drum, bluefish and flounder.  Bloodworms, Fishbites and squid will all fire up the action.

Spanish mackerel & bluefish catch - typical day's work in VB!

Spanish mackerel & bluefish catch - typical day's work in VB!

Mack Attack: Looking for some July 4th aquatic fireworks? Try trolling for Spanish mackerel off Virginia Beach. These speedy, torpedo-shaped gamefish provide drag-screaming runs only to top that performance by handily gracing the dinner plate. Best spots for an encounter include the 30-foot Cape Henry ledge, tide lines, channels of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and the entrances to Little Creek and Rudee Inlets.  Mackerel will grow in size and number as summer continues.

Captain’s Tip: If catching bluefish rather than mackerel, simply increase trolling speed. Moreover, no leader is too long (30 to 40 feet is optimal)  with fluorocarbon leader maximizing catches.

Citation-size red drum are patrolling shoal waters along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel as well as the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Night fishing has been hot, but these channel bass can be lured in the daytime as well.   In addition to chumming, try slow trolling a large silver spoon such as a Hopkins 550 over the shoals. A recent citation release measured 49 inches.

Local IGFA representative Dr. Julie Ball with her 74 lb. women's 20 lb. line class World Record cobia -

Dr. Julie Ball with her 74 lb. women's 20 lb. line class World Record cobia

Cobia are here in numbers off Hampton (Bluefish Rock area) and in the lower bay with more and bigger fish arriving daily. Many fish have been  in the 30 lb. range, however, some behemoths over 80 lbs. have been landed.  For a “reel” challenge, toss a bucktail/plastic swimming lure combination to a surface cruising cobia and hope your tackle is up to the task.   It will be tested!

Flounder are enjoying a banner year. Good numbers of flatfish are inside Little Creek, Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets.  Keeper fish of 16 inches have not been uncommon, with fish up to 23 inches being landed with increasing frequency. With citation flatfish up to 8 pounds already landed, it looks to be a great flounder season.  Flounder are also available around the four rock islands of the CBBT, along channel edges and at offshore wrecks.

va marine res commiss

Captain’s Tip: Best flounder baits include live minnows, strip baits, and Gulp Alive white swimming minnows. Landing a tagged flounder at Rudee Inlet prompted me to remind readers to check all “shorts” for tags before release.  Tagged fish should be reported at Virginia Marine Resource Commission or call 757.491.5160.   Anyone turning in tag data receives a reward choice of a pin, hat, T-shirt or tackle pack.   Do participate as the data is invaluable for managing the resource.

Spadefish by Duane Raver

Spadefish by Duane Raver

Structure Swimmers: Structure dwelling spadefish, triggerfish and sheepshead offer yet another exciting local fishery. Clam strips attract spadefish and triggerfish while crab is best for drawing sheepshead to the hook.   Work baits as close to structure such as bridge pilings and wrecks as you can.  A sheepshead of 11 pounds is already on record. Chesapeake Light Tower remains a premier spot for spadefish.  By live baiting, you may also experience the thrill of fighting a feisty amberjack at the wrecks. 

Deep Drop: Anglers bottom fishing the Continental Shelf can expect bites from blueline and golden tilefish, jumbo sea bass, grouper, wreckfish and black bellied rosefish. Most catches are made on large, comfortable long-range head boats leaving from Virginia Beach docks.

Vic Gaspeny (l) with Capt. Justin Wilson and the pending record 311 lb. bigeye tuna

Vic Gaspeny (l) with Capt. Justin Wilson w/ a 311 lb. bigeye tuna caught last year on a charter fishing expedition

Bluewater Trolling: Bigeye and yellowfin tuna along with dolphin, also known as “mahi”, dominate the trolling menu. Some bigeye have exceeded 100 pounds with the average yellowfin weighing 45 to 50 pounds.  Similarly, a 40 lb. dolphin is one of the larger mahi caught so far. Moreover, the opportunity to hook a marlin along with a chance for a handsome release citation plaque or certificate from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament is ever-present during one of these deep water adventures.

As you can see, Virginia Beach offers numerous world class summer angling adventures. So if you’re already here or just planning your visit, there is plenty of reason to join us to wet a line to enjoy some fishing fun!

Captain’s Log: Lynnhaven Inlet beach on the western side of the inlet is closed. The beach is closed for 3 years while being used to stage construction of a new inlet bridge.    Boating anglers may continue to launch boats and park trailers.

Best Bets: Flounder, croaker and spot (inlets), cobia and flounder(Chesapeake Bay), yellowfin tuna (offshore)

Tournament Trail:

Military Tournament: A free fishing tournament open to all active-duty military and dependents is set for May 15 through July 20. Participants in this Tidewater Anglers Club sponsored tournament only need a Virginia saltwater fishing license.  Prizes include cash awards, youth trophies, and a one-year club membership for each winner.   For information: 757.499.1834 or: www.tidewateranglersclub.org

Virginia Beach Anglers Club Summer Fishing Tournament:

July 13, August 10 and September 14 on Lynnhaven Pier. Open to all with awards for croaker, roundhead, bluefish and spot. For information: 267.994.7423 and

http://lynnhavenpier.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LynnhavenFishingPier:

Hope to see you on the water.  Tight lines and hard strikes to all!

Capt. Mike


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The Beach Report – June 27, 2014

June 27th, 2014 by Sherry Friel

We shoot, we score! Yesterday, reporter Jillian Beck of the The Virginian-Pilot wrote an article that included the following information:  “The Natural Resources Defense Council’s report, “Testing the Waters 2014: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches,” named Virginia Beach’s Little Island Beach North and Back Bay Beach, and the areas around testing sites at 28th and 45th streets in the resort area, in the nation’s top 35 beaches, based on the seashores meeting water-quality standards for the past five years. The Natural Resources Defense Council is an international nonprofit environmental organization.”  So it’s very fitting that today in The Beach Report, blogger Sherry Friel shares a post about our three different beaches and their unique vibes. Thank you, Natural Resource Defense Council and great timing, Sherry!  Have a great weekend, everyone.

SandbridgeLiving the balanced life in Virginia Beach, where families enjoy three different beaches, each with a unique vibe

I consider myself an avid listener. Whether talking intimately with a friend at a restaurant, or gleaning fragments of others’ conversations around me at the beach, I enjoy hearing what people care about, what they worry about, and what makes them happy. I spend a lot of time around families with small children, and one refrain I hear from parents over and over is the fact that everyone seems to worry-a lot-about scheduling just the right mixture and intensity of summertime activities for their children. How much time at the beach is too much? And which beach is best? Should we skip the beach and head for the pool or Ocean Breeze Water Park?

Answers to those questions most certainly vary, as every child is different, but some of the best decisions I’ve made regarding my 11-year-old son Nathaniel have come from intuition rather than the advice of friends. My better decisions come when I actively listen to my son and get a feel for what he wants rather than what I would have wanted to do at his age. This seems like such an easy thing, but for me it’s not, because often what I enjoy is so different from my son’s ideas about which activities and destinations are fun and rewarding.

I’m getting better at anticipating what Nathaniel enjoys though. After reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, I realized that while my son is a true extravert, I am his polar opposite: an introvert. He thrives on the energy of crowds, people, and conversation. I, on the other hand, feel drained by the buzz of too much stimulation and activity. I crave quiet conversation with a friend, solitude, and pastimes such as reading. The sort of dizzying pace he seeks out drains me. Our differences, now that I understand them better, complement rather than conflict with one another. Nathaniel’s influence has me getting out and socializing more, and my influence encourages him to settle down and focus on calming activities. It’s a good balance.

Read the rest of this entry »


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The Beach Report – June 20, 2014

June 20th, 2014 by Sherry Friel

Editor’s Note; This week in The Beach Report, blogger Sherry Friel shares her take on just one of the joys of being a local. Don’t forget that Sandstock – A Tribute to Rock and Roll – begins tonight at the Oceanfront and the bi-weekly firework shows start next weekend (weather permitting). After a long, hard winter, summer’s here, people………woooooooo hooooooooo!!


Catch patioRecently I’ve found myself dining in new places, meeting new people, and enjoying more time at the Oceanfront than ever before. The weather in Virginia Beach has been glorious, and this precious time out and about has given me new energy. I am excited about what’s to come in the summer months ahead, and if the past couple weeks are any indication, Living the Life in this unique oceanfront city keeps getting better each season.

If you haven’t visited the resort area lately, one thing you’ll notice is more and more restaurants along Laskin Road now offer patio dining. This makes perfect sense in a beach town such as ours, where no one really wants to go indoors, not even to eat. My family always seeks out restaurants with patios and lately I’ve found myself falling a little in love with more than a few. While I am not a food or restaurant critic by any means, I’d like to offer the top destinations where my family has enjoyed the service, food and atmosphere in equal measures. It was so hard to pick just four because honestly, there are so many wonderful restaurants in our city. You really can’t go wrong, but we’ve found the following offer something special:

Catch 31 Fish House & Bar - Located adjacent to our incredible Boardwalk, my family thinks Catch 31 is the place to enjoy the very best of the beach. Situated on a gorgeous, expansive terrace, the restaurant specializes in offering guests panoramic views of the Boardwalk, the Atlantic Ocean and evening entertainment at Neptune’s Park. My 10-year-old son and I ate lunch there after enjoying the recent Boardwalk Art Show and it was pure bliss. Service was fast and we ate a simple meal of burgers and fries that was tasty and cooked to perfection. Entertainment starts daily at 7 p.m. Check out the 31st Street Stage Schedule and plan a trip soon to this very special restaurant. The highlight for me was the gentleman passing by on bicycle with a small, white terrier in the basket. The dog sported a pair of sunglasses and appeared to be smiling as he breezed by. I attempted to snap a photo of the bicycling duo, but by the time I got the camera out, they were long gone.

Chops - This patio is a people-watcher’s paradise. I took my Dad, a friend, and my son here for dinner and we were delighted at every turn. Chops offers a fabulous bar and patio menu with selections such as burgers, crab cakes, and fish tacos. We enjoyed light acoustic guitar music while marveling at the number of vintage cars passing by. It was the perfect spot to watch visitors and locals enjoying the shops along the newly-developed 31 Ocean complex.  And, as a side note, the gentleman with the sunglass-sporting dog in his bike basket made an appearance here too! This time, I had the camera ready and snapped this pretty neat photo. pup ride

El Taco Loco - If you’re looking for a quieter patio dining experience, right off the bat I’d recommend El Taco Loco. This Mexican restaurant is just two miles from the resort area and nestled among the Shops at Hilltop-Hilltop East to be precise. My family has eaten here a number of times and the food, service, and atmosphere have been consistently good.

Aldo’s Ristorante - Gorgeous, gorgeous fine Italian dining at Aldo’s Ristorante is a sweet indulgence we reserve for special occasions. This is one restaurant where we are just as happy eating indoors as out on the patio because it is just so beautiful! Just a few miles from the resort area, this local’s favorite is in La Promenade Shoppes at 1860 Laskin Rd.

I could honestly write pages regarding my favorite patio restaurants in Virginia Beach. They are becoming more commonplace and that is a good thing. I have yet to try them all, but next on my growing list of restaurants offering waterfront/patio dining is Buoy 44. I recently saw an article about it that described a laid back, casual atmosphere catering to families and many locals.  I can’t wait to give it a try. Its precise location is 4536 Ocean View Ave. That’s just off of Shore Drive, where the beach on the gorgeous Chesapeake Bay also has a laid back vibe. Sounds like the perfect place for our family, or one of them anyway! It’s going to be a long summer but I suspect we will not run out of fun places to eat, especially outdoors or along the water.

Photo credits:  Sherry Friel


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