Archive for January, 2012

Ripple Effects

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by Sherry Friel

If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty.    Maria Ranier Rilke

leaf for 1I’ve always loved poetry. As an undergraduate at Old Dominion University, I tried my hand at writing a few poems, but the results were pretty embarrassing. Eventually I gave up trying to write in stanzas and focused instead on courses in journalism and technical writing. Such training served me well, but I can’t seem to shake that longing to write in the vein of Emily Dickinson or Mary Oliver. Over the years I have read poetry that caused the hair on my neck to stand on end and my ears to tingle. If it’s a particularly good read, my whole body goes completely cold! For me, good poetry taps something deep and inexpressible and I am grateful to have encountered such moving works.





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The Beach Report – January 20, 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012 by Teresa Diaz

LtL BugIt’s no secret Virginia Beach is a great vacation destination.  The sun, sand, and surf are obvious draws but once you’re here, it’s clear we have a lot more to offer.  Fabulous restaurants, tons of open space, diverse shopping, great fishing, cool attractions like our world-class aquarium, golfing, the list goes on.  It’s an easy city to fall in love with and many visitors end up becoming residents.  Clearly I’m biased, as that is I came to “Live the Life” in 1976.  My parents decided they’d had enough of city life and wanted to raise their family “in the country.” (You had to know VB in 1976 to get that last part.) One vacation later, the moving van was packed before we could say “Virginia is for Lovers!”  Yes, life is good here.  We’ve known that for a while but this week, the financial news website 24/7 Wall Street named Virginia Beach the second best city in the nation for raising a family.  Kudos to first place holder, Madison, WI.  The news website said, “Virginia Beach is extremely prosperous, due in large part to the presence of several military bases in the area. It has the eighth-lowest rate of violent crime among major cities and the fifth-lowest unemployment rate. It also has the second-largest acreage of parkland per capita, behind only New Orleans, which has suffered huge population losses in recent years. Virginia Beach also has one of the highest numbers of playgrounds per capita in the country.”  Nice!

Earlier this month , 24/7 Wall Street ranked Virginia Beach as the best run city in America. Women’s Health magazine ranked our fair city as the seventh healthiest city in America.  Yes, Virginia Beach is a great place to visit and a great place to live. Come see for yourself………we’d love to have you!



vacation_guide_largeNow is the perfect time to start planning a trip to Virginia Beach. 






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A Solitary Stroll at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Katherine Jackson

Treasures found on Back Bay Beach courtesy of Katherine Jackson

For a solitary stroll in nature, check out Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge at the south end of Virginia Beach. You won’t encounter many people, but during the winter months, approximately ten thousand migratory waterfowl, such as ducks, snow geese and tundra swans, fly into the area. It’s a sight to see. Add more than three hundred species of avian residents, including endangered species such as piping plover, peregrine falcon, and bald eagle, and the refuge becomes a bird watchers’ paradise. Through management of dikes and water impoundments, the refuge provides sustenance for the traveling flocks. To accommodate the wintering waterfowl, the trails along the dikes are closed to pedestrians from the first of November until the end of March. However, adjacent to the Visitor Contact Center, three short trails remain open throughout the year.


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The Beach Report – January 13, 2011

Friday, January 13th, 2012 by Teresa Diaz



Hmm, Friday the 13th……..are you superstitious?  According to Wikipedia, the fear of Friday the 13th is called  friggatriskaidekaphobia……..say that three times really fast!  Or even once  - correctly! 

Either way, whatever your feeling about the date is, it’s Friday so how bad can the day really be?  We’re headed into the weekend and another very cool week in Virginia Beach.  Why?  It’s the beginning of Virginia Beach Restaurant Week, a perfect time to experience some of the fabulous restaurants we have across the city. 



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Bluefins Bash Bass Baits!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 by Mike Halperin
Photo credit:  Ginny Cohen

Photo credit: Ginny Cohen

Bait, bass and bluefins are the story off Cape Henry. 

Along with the season’s hot striper bite, there has been an amazing inshore bluefin tuna bite as close as the green can buoy right off Cape Henry. Bass and bluefin tuna are feeding on large schools of menhaden and have been joined by four humpback whales. This feeding frenzy has turned into “shock and awe” as tuna in the 100- to 300-pound class have rapidly emptied the reels of numerous striper fishermen leaving them totally speechless other than for some unprintable language. Rock fishermen should bring their “A” game and stoutest gear to avoid this problem and hopefully land a bluefin if it pounces on a striper lure.

One tuna landed during the Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout weighed 265 pounds and will be worth many thousands of dollars to the tournament angler who captured it. The Shootout tournament paid out $145,750 to the seven boats with best rockfish catches. One even larger tuna of 297 pounds has also been landed. Bluefin tuna landed by anglers using 50- and 80- pound class tackle have measured up to 80 inches. Effective tuna lures have included Ilanders and Sea Witches while tuna have also been caught around Chesapeake Light Tower.

Reminder: special federal permits are required for catching and possessing bluefin tuna.



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Dolphin Walk

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by Katherine Jackson

lgTmb_dolphinLeapingBottlenose dolphins are plentiful along the Virginia coast, and dolphin watching cruises sponsored by the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center are among the most popular excursions in Virginia Beach. You don’t have to be on a boat, however, to see these beautiful, warm-blooded mammals. The other day while walking on the beach south of Rudee Inlet, I was so preoccupied with the features on my new iPod that I almost missed a feature of nature: a large group of bottlenose dolphins swimming and jumping a few hundred feet offshore. I think of dolphins as summertime sights since they migrate as the ocean temperature changes, but as I now can attest, they sometimes hang around the waters off Virginia Beach for the holidays.

 Weighing 400-800 pounds, and measuring ten to twelve feet in length, bottlenose dolphins are incredible creatures, and incredibly graceful, considering their girth. They work their way up and down the coast in groups, their dorsal fin rising above the water as they surface for air. It’s no wonder people love dolphins. In addition to being beautiful, they’re playful. Sometimes they jump out of the water and slap back down on their side. If the waves are just right and if you’re really lucky, you might see one catching a wave then launching its entire body out through the face of the swell as it curls toward the shore. I didn’t see any dolphins surfing the other day, but I did see them coming up for air and diving back in to get what must have been a tasty meal. Along with a photographer who had a camera with a long lens, I watched the dolphins for a while, but I had to keep moving, and by the time I got back from my two-mile walk, the pod had moved on. Research tells me that feeding times usually peak in the early morning and late afternoon. I suggest that you check a tide chart to find out when low tide will correlate with a feeding time, and plan to take a dolphin watching walk. I read on one website that spotting a dolphin is good luck!

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The Beach Report – January 6, 2012

Friday, January 6th, 2012 by Teresa Diaz
Humpback whales off Cape Henry, Virginia Beach, VA

A Humpback whale playing off Cape Henry, Virginia Beach, VA

Happy New Year!  2012 is definitely off to a exciting start in Virginia Beach.  The weather took a little dip mid-week but we’re expecting 63 degrees and sunny skies for the next few days – the perfect time for an outing to the Oceanfront, a hike in one of our parks or a peaceful bike ride out in the county.  However, if you’re looking for a truly unique Virginia Beach experience, look no further than right off our coast.  This week, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team confirmed that there are four humpback whales in the waters off the Cape Henry Lighthouse!   

Note:  The photos appearing with this blog were taken this week and are courtesy of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

One of the larger species of baleen whales, adult humpback whales range in length from 39 to 52 ft. and weigh approximately 79,000 lbs.  Although they can seem imposing, whales are often referred to as “gentle giants.” To give you a better idea of their immense size, look at this Wiki sketch comparing this mammal to an adult human:



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