The Beach Report – November 28, 2014

November 28th, 2014 by Sherry Friel

Today is the  perfect day to feature Sherry Friel’s post ” Treasure Hunting in Virginia Beach” ~ we’d love to see your finds.; SHARE them them with us on Facebook!

VictrolaI close my eyes and visualize myself delicately placing the Victrola needle on my favorite record, listening hypnotically to warped yet crisp sounds coming from the intricately etched vinyl. Yes. I am there. It’s 1921 and….Kerchunck,  Kerchunk, Kerchunk!…“Mom, how does this thing work? Where is the space bar? How do I get it to print?” My brief moment of nostalgia for a layer of life I’ve never truly experienced is interrupted by Nathaniel, my 11-year-old son. He’s just discovered a manual typewriter in one of the shops of Decoration Station, a Virginia Beach antique mall situated at the corner oftypewriter Diamond Springs Rd. and Wesleyan Blvd. I am marveling over a gorgeous Victrola talking machine (or record player as most people would refer to it). Thankfully, the kind owners of the store showed him how to wind in a piece of paper and type. Voila! “Wow, that’s cool,” he said. “We need to get one of those!”

I soon learned Decoration Station is one of many destinations for treasure hunters in Virginia Beach. This particular mall features a large selection of 19th and early 20th century furniture, porcelains, crystal, linens, collectibles, jewelry and home décor. I was especially drawn to the number of vintage books throughout the space, and my son was delighted to discover and purchase a pristine copy of Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

chandelierJeanie Fuertes, the owner of Decoration Station Mall, gave me what I consider a gift-a wonderful brochure and map detailing close to 20 different stores specializing in antiques, consignments, and specialties. Titled, “2014-2015 Treasure Hunting in Virginia Beach,” the brochure can be easily found at the Virginia Beach Visitor Center at 2100 Parks Avenue near the oceanfront.

I cannot wait to visit the other stores in this wonderful compilation. Already, my son and I did some serious shopping this past weekend and brought home treasures we will cherish for a long time. My favorite purchase of the day was an Andrea Sadek porcelain magnolia, which I will display as a nod to one of my ancestors, Minnie Magnolia. I recently discovered Minnie while researching my family tree, and I believe she may be the inspiration for my passionate love of all things floral.

MMMy next hunt will be for a near-perfect vintage manual typewriter. Unlike the circa 1921 Victrola I was admiring, the typewriter truly represents a layer of life I am well acquainted with. I learned on a manual typewriter as a teenager and was happy for this recent reminder of just how beautiful they are. No touch screen, no internet connection, nothing but kerchunk, kerchunk, kerchunk and ding! Time to get shopping. The holidays will soon be upon us and I have a feeling if Santa shops in Virginia Beach he will find everything he needs!

xmas stockingPhoto credits: Sherry Friel

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Fall Euphoria

November 23rd, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
First Landing courtesy of Katherine Jackson

First Landing courtesy of Katherine Jackson

I’ve always enjoyed walking in the woods in any season, but I especially take pleasure in the fall when the sun electrifies the yellow and red and orange leaves. I always assumed the satisfaction that resulted from ambling in the forest was due to the natural beauty, the fresh air, and the musty-dusty smell of pine straw and crushed leaves. I was surprised to read an essay the other day that credited the euphoria I feel among the trees to the blanket of decaying leaves. According to Liza Field, a teacher and writer whose essay appeared in the Virginian-Pilot, “compost-dwelling bacteria…are one big reason that hours spent in a woodland or compost-rich garden profoundly elevates human mood.” She says that studies have linked the humus created by decaying leaves with elevated levels of serotonin, which is associated with emotional states, and “decreased depression, blood pressure, anxiety and stress hormones.” No wonder a few miles of hiking is so rewarding. Crackling down a leaf-strewn path in the woods is as much of a fall tradition for me as Thanksgiving and pumpkins and Winesap apples. It’s something I look forward to every autumn.

This time of year was called “Taquitock” by the Algonquin people who lived in the area prior to the arrival of the British colonists. “Late fall” was one of five seasons on their calendar, a time for harvesting and feasting, as it still is today. After the hot and languid days of summer, the cooler temperatures and brilliant autumn sun energize me. Although the trails at First Landing State Park were carpeted with leaves on a recent Saturday morning, there’s still a beautiful red-gold canopy aloft. Colors sparkle through the maritime forest like a million jewels. The Algonquin people must have appreciated the fall festival at First Landing as much as I do.

In addition to First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach has a number of other places for walking in the woods. The Lake Smith / Lake Lawson Natural Area is awash in color, and with its new paths, benches and other facilities, is worth a visit. The Nimmo Trail and Greenway is also painted with color right now, as are the wooded areas around Stumpy Lake. Walkers and runners flock to these popular parks year-round, but especially in the fall. For a solitary walk in the woods, False Cape State Park is the best bet. It’s one of my favorite places in Virginia Beach, and no matter how many times I walk or bike there, I always find it to be fresh and fulfilling. Entry to False Cape is limited at this time of the year because Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which provides access to the park, closes its interior trails for the annual waterfowl migration. However, it’s still possible to get the park by walking south on the beach or by boat. I urge you to head for the woods. It’s not too late to get a fix of fall euphoria.First Ldg 8

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The Beach Report – November 21, 2014

November 21st, 2014 by Teresa Diaz

Ice park

Like always, Mother Nature is right on point as she ushers in cooler temps this week. She knows Virginia Beach is welcoming a new attraction in a few days that’s going to offer a winter sport which requires it to be a bit chilly outside. Have you heard?

Early this morning, I drove to the end of the Strip to check on the status of the new Oceanfront Ice Park at Rudee Loop. I was delighted at the progress made in the last few weeks. Work crews were busy at the site and things are shaping up nicely as you can see by my amateur  - but fun –  attempt at Pic Collage.

Look at the kid-size working train – aren’t the little ones going to love it? This is going to be so much fun; we can’t wait. You can even set up your own private, winter wonderland skate party.

Will you be here to join in the fun? Opening day is 11/26. Come on, let’s Live the Life this winter skating at the Beach!

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Much To Be Thankful For

November 15th, 2014 by Mike Halperin

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Striped bass by Duane Raver

Awesome fight.  Delightful taste. Yes, we’re talking fall striped bass fishing in Virginia Beach!  By all reports good numbers of slot-sized rockfish, 18- to 28-inches, are biting in lower Chesapeake Bay.  Fishing has been best at first daylight and at night along bridge and bridge tunnel light-line shadow edges.  Darker baits should draw more strikes at night.  Beach fishermen are also getting in on the bass action from the shores of area inlets.

Anglers are scoring bass by trolling or casting swimming plugs, soft plastics and even flies. Some of the largest early season stripers have been caught by trollers working wire line rigs along edges of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel channel tubes.  Clearly, many bass fishing options exist.

As Thanksgiving approaches, so do migratory bass from the upper Bay and New England regions. With some rockfish as large as 40-inches already caught, stripers should be on a steady increase in numbers and size now through Thanksgiving weekend and beyond.  Many a Virginia Thanksgiving table is shared by a turkey and a striped bass!

Captain’s Tip: Top wire line bass catches can be made using 1/8 ounce white or chartreuse bucktails with similarly colored pork rind split-tail trailers. From a three way swivel tie a 3-foot dropper to a 12-oz. sinker and a 20-foot leader of 60 lb. monofilament to a bucktail bait.  Heavy monofilament is not needed for a solid hookup, but will provide better fish control in the current.

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog by Duane Raver

Tautog are on the upswing with many anglers returning with limit catches. Tautog fishing is steadily improving as water  temperatures fall. Fiddler crabs are THE best bait; however, any crab or clam should coax togs to bite.  Most tog weigh 3 to 5 lbs. with Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament citation fish of 9- to 11- lbs. available.  Fish the CBBT for numbers and offshore wrecks for largest togs.  Tog hot spot: The Concrete Ships.

Rudee Inlet speckled trout for dinner anyone?

Rudee Inlet speckled trout for dinner anyone?

Speckled trout are now feeding inside area inlets and in Chesapeake Bay. Fish a moving tide with the lightest jig and plastic lure that will get to the bottom.  Catch one trout and you’ve typically found a school.  While chartreuse is the color of choice, MirrOlures are preferred for large “gator” trout.  While most trout are below 14-inch keeper size, a 5 lb. speckled trout earns a free state-sponsored citation award.   Expect more fish, more keepers and bigger trout with every passing weather front.

Puppy drum continue to be inshore targets as winter approaches. This bite has slowed considerably, but shrimp or cut bait will get you in the game.  Soft plastics and jigs work, but nothing tops fresh bait.  These mini-red drum must be in the 18- to 28- inch slot size.  Puppy drum should still be in all three Southside inlets.

Inshore bottom fishermen using bloodworms may still encounter late-leaving spot, particularly in Rudee Inlet. Flounder present a possibility on inshore channel edges but offer a better bet at wrecks in deeper water.

Captain’s Tip: Give the ledge around Chesapeake Light Tower a try around Thanksgiving weekend. You may be pleasantly surprised by flounder and/or bluefish.

Deep-drop fishing on the Continental Shelf offers some of the very best fishing this time of year. Typical species caught include tilefish, barrelfish, black bellied rosefish, grouper and large sea bass.  Each of these fish makes for excellent table fare.

Braving the high seas has its rewards - like this tuna!Bluewater trollers have enjoyed strong success with wahoo and yellowfin tuna. Wahoo have averaged 40 to 50 lbs. while yellowfin have mostly been in the 30 lb. class-size.   Wire leaders coupled with big Islander lures and big ballyhoo have tricked wahoo.   The Cigar Seamount has been the go-to spot for both species.  Add large bluefish and codfish  as potential “wildcards” on offshore wrecks.  Triggerfish in the 2 to 4 lb. class are also biting on many wrecks.

An outstanding catch of tilefish & black sea bass

An outstanding catch of tilefish & black sea bass

Best Bites

Inlets & Surf: Speckled trout

Chesapeake Bay: Striped bass and tautog 

Offshore: Wahoo and yellowfin tuna

Offshore Wrecks: Blueline tilefish

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

Capt. Mike

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The Beach Report – November 14, 2014

November 14th, 2014 by Sherry Friel

This week in The Beach Report, local mom Sherry Friel shares a preview of the winter excitement for those lucky enough to be in Virginia Beach this holiday season!

Virginia Beach kicks off its most popular seasonal events in November and introduces a new one for December: Ice Skating!

The skating rink at Rudee Loop is new this season!

The skating rink at Rudee Loop is new this season!

We are so excited! My 11-year-old son and I are making big plans for the holidays here in Virginia Beach. I got a glimpse of the calendar for the season and realized that it all starts happening this month! Here’s a rundown of the events and activities we plan to participate in:

Ice Skating. The brand new Oceanfront Ice Park at Rudee Loop is slated to kick off the winter season Dec. 1, and we are certainly looking forward to it. Located at Rudee Loop (3rd & Atlantic), the Ice Park will boast 7,200 square feet of ice skating surface. A perfect family plan might include a relaxing drive through the Holiday Lights at the Beach afterward. This night is going to be a special one!

100 miles of lights!

100 miles of lights!

McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach. (presented by Liberty Tax) kicks off Nov. 21 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 5:30-11 p.m. Fri-Sat. Driving through this popular light show has become an annual holiday tradition for many Virginia Beach families, which features ongoing as well as new displays of light all along the boardwalk. If you’d rather walk through the lights, you can do so Wednesday, Nov. 19 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Simply bring a donation to the entrance at 2nd Street and enjoy the show by foot before cars are allowed through.

Hunt Club Farm’s Annual Country Christmas. If you’re looking for a very special family night out complete with bonfires, s’mores and hot apple cider, this is the best deal in town. Christmas at Hunt Club Farm is truly a local holiday tradition-one that features 5,000 square feet of animated holiday displays, a full Christmas tree market, and petting farm. Take the kids to see Santa and visit the new Peddler’s Village featuring local vendors with a variety of goods for sale. The fun begins Friday, Nov. 28.

Hunt Club fun!

Hunt Club fun!

So what are your plans for the holidays? I hope they include many warm memories and lots of special time with family and friends. I know mine will, and I plan to share my experiences with you in future blogs as we try oceanfront ice skating for the first time, drive through our fabulous boardwalk light show, and take in the warmth and tradition of Hunt Club Farm.

Tis the season to live the life!

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Upcoming Tournaments & Family Fishing Opportunities

November 13th, 2014 by Mike Halperin


Rockfish Tournament
December 5 & 6, 2014

Toys for underprivileged children will be donated to the

Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
(757) 587-8000

catchin for kids rockfish tourney 2014


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City Planners Ensure Virginia Beach is a Network of Outdoor Trails for Maximizing Fitness Options

November 3rd, 2014 by Katherine Jackson

Nimmo Pky 3Virginia Beach just keeps on getting better for walkers and bicycle riders. According to the 2014 Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Annual Report, citizens and visitors enjoy 254 miles of bikeways, trails and wide sidewalks in the city. Recently, two more miles were added to that total, due to the opening of an eight-foot wide asphalt path that parallels a new section of Nimmo Parkway. I recently walked the route, having parked at the Princess Anne Recreation Center near General Booth Boulevard and turning around at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on the corner of Nimmo Parkway and Princess Anne Road. It’s a good place to walk, flat and freshly paved. It’s flanked in some areas by woods filled with fragrant pine and hardwood trees. In other areas, it runs adjacent to neighborhoods. Pastureland abuts one stretch, and on the day I walked it, several horses grazed peacefully in the autumn sun. The path traverses a long bridge over the slow-moving West Neck Creek and the wetlands adjacent to it. A shorter bridge crosses Hunt Club Tributary. With the leaves on the trees changing colors and the fall wildflowers in bloom, it was a satisfying walk. I wasn’t the only walker who thought so.

Nimmo Pky 2In addition to being an easy place to take a stroll, this new section connects several bikeways, significantly increasing the number of miles that can be covered on two wheels. For example, the Nimmo segment makes it possible to bike from the Princess Anne Recreation Center to the Farmers Market. After completing the two miles on the Nimmo path, turn right on the bikepath adjacent to Princess Anne Road and it’s a straight shot to the Farmers Market. I described this route in a post last summer. The new Nimmo segment also connects with the Nimmo Trail and Greenway, which I wrote about last spring. The distance from the Nimmo Trail and Greenway to the Farmers Market is approximately eight miles, a challenging sixteen-mile workout on a safe and pleasant route.

Along with the multi-use path that is separated from the main road by a grassy strip, this part of Nimmo Parkway has what Virginia Beach Senior Planner Wayne Wilcox describes as “wide outside lanes…a type of bike facility for on-road riders. Cars can pass the bikes more safely and easily without changing lanes.” Facilities like this one are making it easier to walk and pedal as alternate means of transportation in Virginia Beach. In fact, more and more people are biking to work at the Municipal Center via pathways on Nimmo Parkway and Princess Anne Road. The Parks and Recreation annual report outlines a number of priorities, and I’m happy to report that trail development is at the top of the list. Walking and biking are year-round activities in Virginia Beach, thanks to our temperate climate and our ever-increasing inventory of trails.

Nimmo Pky 4Photo credits: Katherine Jackson

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