March 24th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
There’s a secret spot at the end of Nimmo Parkway where it intersects with Albuquerque Road: the entrance to the Nimmo Trail and Greenway. Okay, maybe it’s not a secret for people who live nearby, but for me, it was a new natural place to explore. I’ve seen people using the paved portion of the trail adjacent to Nimmo Parkway, but at the end of the paved section, an unpaved trail continues to the east for approximately a mile. At first, it runs along a city right-of-way between two neighborhoods. Residents have spruced up the path with daffodils that are in bloom this time of year and other plants that will flower soon. After half a mile, the trail enters Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and passes through a wooded wetland ending at Hell Point Creek, a broad waterway that empties into Back Bay. Even though we went walking on a sunny Saturday with the temperature soaring to seventy-five degrees, we passed only a handful of people on the trail: two girls carrying fishing poles, a couple of boys on bikes, and a pair of walkers. We saw lots of robins, a few squirrels and ducks, a number of turtles slipping down the bank into a stream, and evidence of woodpeckers, though not the birds themselves. In addition to the main trail, smaller trails loop through the woods and along narrow trenches that intersect the creek. By exploring some of the side trails, we extended our walk to three miles. One point of interest is a grave site, where headstones mark the graves of three boys – Peter, Thomas and Simon Stone – who died around 1800.
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March 14th, 2014 by Teresa Diaz
Shamrock On, Virginia Beach!
It’s noon on the Friday before Shamrock (as we locals call it!) in Virginia Beach and you can feel the buzz in the air. The Sports & Fitness Expo which opens the 2014 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in full swing at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Racers are picking up their packets and shopping the more than 100 vendors set up in the Marketplace. If you’re in town and unfamiliar with the race routes, here’s a link to all the course maps. Be patient and prepared for detours and build in some extra travel time. Please be considerate of others.
If you are in Virginia Beach this weekend, as a competitor, spectator or both, you’re in for a glorious time as the weather angels are predicted to be shining on us Saturday to the tune of almost 70 fabulous degrees!!!
Here’s to the first of many fun weekends ahead!
Be sure to follow the event via Facebook and Twitter – @ShamrockOn – for updates and info!
The first event starts tomorrow morning (Sat., 3/15) at 7:45
Here’s the weekend lineup:
- 7:45 a.m. TowneBank Shamrock 8k/ACCESS College Foundation 8k Student Challenge (starting line is at 30th Street)
- 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Murphy’s Finish Line Celebration
- 10:30 a.m. Leprechaun Dash
- 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Packet Pick-up & Registration
- 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sports & Fitness Expo
- 11 a.m. Operation Smile Final Mile
- 7:00 a.m. Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon
- 8:30 a.m. Yuengling Shamrock Marathon
- 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Finish Line Celebration
March 13th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
People come from around the world to Virginia Beach to visit the Association for Research and Enlightenment, a non-profit organization founded in 1931 by physician and psychic Edgar Cayce. They come for spiritual guidance and holistic healing; they come to study dreams, ancient mysteries, massage and reincarnation. I went to the A.R.E. to walk through its labyrinth. Modeled on a labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France and dedicated on the A.R.E.’s 75th anniversary, the labyrinth is constructed on a hilltop with a view of the ocean. Forty feet in diameter, the tan and gray stone labyrinth has eleven circles and eleven circuits with a path that leads to a central medallion where two dolphins entwine in a yin-yang design. Unlike a maze, which includes wrong turns and dead ends, a labyrinth has only one path. And unlike the labyrinth of Greek myth, the A.R.E.’s labyrinth was not built to imprison a Minotaur. Instead, this labyrinth was intended for relaxation, contemplation and problem-solving. Some people use it for meditation. According to Edgar Cayce Reading 281-41, meditation is “not musing, not daydreaming… it is the attuning to the mental body and the physical body to its spiritual source.” Alone on the plaza, with warm winter sun beaming down, I did ease into a peaceful state as I walked the winding path. After I reached the center, I returned by the same route. Then I wandered around the plaza, reading inscriptions on the pavers: “Keep the heart singing with the work that is put before thee” (Cayce 322-1), and “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”
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March 7th, 2014 by Teresa Diaz
King Neptune by Pasquale
Finally springing forward! We thought it would never get here but tomorrow night is the time Americans get to claim another hour of light at the end of each day. What will you do with your extra daylight? Hike? Bike? Fish? Surf? The possibilities are endless in this wonderful city of Virginia Beach. That’s why millions come visit every year! Yes, that was supposed to be millions with an “m”!
From our fantastic beaches and boardwalk to our amazing parks, waterways and attractions, we proudly hosted 5.9 million overnight visitors in 2012. Will you be one of our guests this year? We’d love to have you. Maybe you’re one of our 477,000 residents? Lucky you! You live in a city visitors from across the nation, and around the globe, hope to visit this year.
We Live the Life in Virginia Beach, and others want to live it too. We welcome them all. So when’s the last time you sent a postcard from your hometown? Tell someone today how lucky you are. Happy Spring!
March 1st, 2014 by Mike Halperin
Dr. Ken Neill & his 24.22 lb. state record tautog.
Virginia Beach is a premier vacation destination where world-class saltwater fishing is readily available. I’d even bet my favorite rod and reel on it! If you don’t believe me, just check out the catch and release data in today’s blog from the recently concluded 2013 Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
Anyone fishing in Virginia Beach is able to participate in the state sponsored Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. The Tournament is free and open to anglers of all ages without regard to location of residence. Anglers earning citation awards have a choice of a handsome wall plaque or colorful award certificate to commemorate their catch. A Junior Anglers Program is also offered including special awards for youth anglers.
One of the author's fishing citations
The past year accounted for many outstanding catches and species runs, all of which are summarized in the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament end of year summary report. Fishing trends are easy to see as well as species likely to optimize an angler’s chances for success this year.
Red Drum by Duane Raver
Nice speckled trout!
To borrow a phrase from ice hockey, last year’s fishing “hat trick” consisted of white marlin, speckled trout and red drum. White marlin releases led all other citations with 1337 awards, followed by speckled trout in second place with 1249 citations including 555 weight awards and 694 releases. Red drum, also known as “channel bass,” anchored 3rd place with 993 releases. Together, accounting for approximately half of all 2013 citation awards, white marlin, speckled trout and red drum provide a perfect target for anyone seeking a Tournament citation award this season.
Cary Wolfe & his record 74 lb. striped bass
Striped bass had the fourth highest total with 111 weighed fish and 83 releases. The largest bass of the year was 57 pounds. Tautog, frequently referred to as blackfish or “tog”, accounted for 117 weight and 61 release citations. The largest “tog” was a whopping 21 pounds, 6 ounces! Blueline tilefish and black sea bass were close behind with 177 and 95 weight citations respectively.
If those fish don’t get you excited, tarpon, sailfish, swordfish, tuna, sheepshead, Spanish and king mackerel, flounder and Norfolk spot are just some of a wide variety of fish available seasonally to challenge any angler’s skills.
In 2013 there were a total of 5264 citations, including 1670 weighed fish and 3594 releases.* Kudos to the anglers who released their prize to fight another day!
How does Virginia Beach provide this type of outstanding fishing? When a resort city is ideally situated adjacent to Chesapeake Bay, faces the Atlantic Ocean, and has three saltwater inlets with ocean and backwater access, saltwater fishing opportunities abound.
Virginia Beach also offers an ideal venue for every fisherman and every budget – piers, surf, head boats or charter boats as well as three boat ramps for those who want to be their own captain.
Come as you are to enjoy the sun, sand and surf and be as relaxed or determined as you desire in pursuing the wide seasonal variety of world-class fish in Virginia Beach waters. There is no better value-added getaway than a fishing vacation at the Beach! Hope to see you on the water.
Wishing you tight lines and hard strikes,
* Captain’s Log: Citation numbers remain subject to upward change should any weigh stations submit late reports.
February 28th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
The last post for February – and soon we’ll be welcoming Spring and then, at last, Summer!!! It’s been a particularly harsh winter for many people so we are fully expecting that Virginia Beach is going to hit record visitor numbers this year. Will you be in our company? We hope so. Our 2014 Travel Planner is available for download right here
This week we have a special treat from blogger Katherine Jackson. She discovered and has written about a little sea treasure she recently happened upon on a beach walk. Her photos of this discovery are amazing so sit back and enjoy!!!
Patience and Persistence Bring Gifts from the Sea
Inspired by walks on the beach, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shared her insights on topics ranging from love and marriage to the benefits of seeking a simpler life in her beloved book titled Gift from the Sea. In one passage she writes, “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
A few weeks ago, walking on the beach at low tide, I got a special gift from the sea. At first it looked like a tangle of grass, but as we approached, we saw a handsome seahorse wriggling on the damp sand where a receding wave had stranded him. He was about six inches long and close to the color of the sand. I later learned that seahorses can change color to hide from predators. This is only the third seahorse I have seen in more than thirty years of walking on Virginia Beach.
The first one I found was long-dead, at rest near the foot of a dune. I gave him a prominent place on my shell mirror. The second seahorse I saw was alive and also stranded, so after we admired him, we released him back to the ocean. In writing this post, I learned that seahorses are classified as fish even though they swim upright, propelling and steering themselves with tiny fins – one on their back, one on their belly, and one behind each cheek. They rapidly flutter their fins, but they’re notoriously slow swimmers. They wrap their prehensile tail around a piece of seaweed and hang out for days, eating constantly, sometimes as many as three thousand tiny creatures a day. Seahorses typically mate for life, and they’re one of the few species in which the male bears the offspring. The female places eggs in his roomy front pouch. One source I read described how seahorses dance each day with their partner, entwining their tails and twirling like ice skaters across the ocean floor. Collecting a live seahorse just wouldn’t be right, so we returned this little guy to the ocean. I was happy as I imagined him swimming slowly but eagerly in search of his companion. We were lucky – and he was lucky – that we came upon him before a sea gull gulped down a delicacy. As Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh and an aviator herself, advises, “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few.” In Virginia Beach, two low tides each day provide opportunities to look for new gifts from the sea. I agree with Lindbergh that patience and faith reward the persistent beachcomber.
Here is a photo of Katherine’s fabulous shell mirror; the seahorse on this mirror is NOT the seahorse Katherine recently found – he was happily returned to the sea!
Photos courtesy of Katherine Jackson