Posts Tagged ‘False Cape State Park’
Friday, November 8th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
This week, Shorelines features blogger Katherine Jackson and a perfect “Beach Report.” Enjoy!
Get Away to Sandbridge
People sometimes ask: “Why do you take beach vacations when you live at the beach?” But living at the beach isn’t the same as vacationing at the beach. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when a group of friends asked if I wanted to join them for a weekend getaway at a house on the oceanfront at Sandbridge – Virginia Beach’s southernmost neighborhood. The timing was ideal because fall is such a beautiful season at the beach. The summer crowds are gone, the sun is still warm, and the air is crisp. Perched on the deck of a house called San Se Air II, we watched dolphins swim past and an orange moon rise. We walked on the deserted beach, and biked on Sandfiddler Road, which parallels the ocean for five miles. On Sunday, we rode bikes into False Cape State Park, where I discover something new every time I visit. This time, we explored the mile-long Maple Leaf Trail, which begins at Back Bay. Over the dunes and through the woods, to the Atlantic Ocean we went. Leaves on the trees in the maritime forest had turned yellow and orange, and pine needles carpeted the fragrant trail. I didn’t see any maple trees, so back home and curious, I researched the trail on the know-it-all machine. The name commemorates The Maple Leaf Incident in which Confederate prisoners, who were being taken up the James River for imprisonment at Fort Delaware, commandeered the Army’s steamship USS Maple Leaf and headed south instead. Off the coast of what’s now False Cape State Park, they rowed ashore in the steamer’s small boats and escaped into the marshes of Back Bay. It’s easy to imagine disappearing into the maritime forest preserved by the park today. Several websites describe the four-thousand-acre park as “one of the few remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic Coast.” The Virginia Outdoors website provides maps of the trails, videos, and additional resources for exploring False Cape. At this time of year, access to the park is limited because the easiest way to get there is on the gravel roads that run through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is closed until April 1 to protect migrating birds. However, visitors can still access False Cape by walking south on the Refuge’s beach or by paddling a boat into the park via Back Bay. On weekends, visitors can catch a ride on the Terra Gator, a beach transporter that departs from Little Island Park at the south end of Sandbridge. The refuge was still open last Sunday when we visited, but we saw only a handful of people on the trails, and we had the entire beach to ourselves while we walked along the shore. That’s what makes False Cape such a special place. It’s not far from “civilization,” but it feels so remote. On the way home from Sandbridge, we stopped for lunch at Margie and Ray’s, a classic, down-home seafood restaurant. I ordered a supersized basket of hushpuppies, which came out just the way I like ‘em: hot, crusty and sweet. What a perfect way to end a weekend getaway to Virginia Beach.
Friday, January 11th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
This week in The Beach Report, local walking tour guide Katherine Jackson shares her experience walking in a very unique beach community, Sandbridge.
Solitude at Sandbridge
In an introduction to the book From the Beach to the Bay: An Illustrated History of Sandbridge, Virginia Beach City Councilwoman Barbara Henley wrote, “Sandbridge is a very special place. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were the trips to Sandbridge, which then was simply the expanse of sand, dunes, and ocean where the road abruptly ended by the old fish house. The car would be parked just at the side of the road – not far off enough to get stuck – and the family would walk over the dunes to the ocean. There might be another group or two on the beach, but chances would be good that not another soul would be around.” Nowadays, things have changed, and Sandbridge is a thriving resort community with many year-round residents and viable restaurants and businesses. Grand vacation homes and quaint beach cottages line the fifteen-mile beach that extends from Dam Neck Naval Air Station at the north to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge at the south. In the summer, Sandbridge is a lively family beach, a place to go for water sports and people watching. However, in the winter, the pace slows down, there’s an off-season feel to the place, and it’s still possible to find deserted stretches of beach.
Photo courtesy of Katherine Jackson
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by admin
Enjoy this post courtesy of ShoreLines guest blogger Joe Laing, Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals.
Photo courtesy of El Monte RV
Fishing, paddling, hiking, biking or simply enjoying magnificent views — that’s what RV travelers to Virginia Beach can experience on their camping vacation. Mix in a visitor-friendly atmosphere and you’ve got the perfect place to park your RV.
An unforgettable Virginia Beach RV excursion begins with a remarkable coastal setting and expands to include nearly any kind of outdoor adventure. Come along as we describe just a few of the ways RV camping in Virginia Beach can become your favorite memory.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by Sherry Friel
Photo courtesy of Krissy Anderson
Lately, I’ve been on a mad hunt for evidence to substantiate what I’ve long believed to be true: That Virginia Beach is a magical place—a virtual hotbed of creative energy and happiness. That once people move here, they magically and inexplicably unleash surges of previously unrealized talent and creativity. Some paint, others write gorgeous poetry and delve into photography or any number of creative arts. Local musicians are happily churning out some of the best songwriting and instrumentation anywhere. Case in point: I simply cannot get the song from a locally-produced and filmed music video out of my head. It’s called “Chillin’ in the Summer” by Tina Micula. Go ahead, I dare you to listen, but be warned: you will be humming it from now until summer! Whether you’re into jazz, folk, rock, or classical to name a few genres, chances are you’ll be in good company at the oceanfront.
Nathaniel takes 1st place in music creativity contest - Photo by Sherry Friel
Friday, March 18th, 2011 by Katherine Jackson
ShoreLines welcomes Katherine Jackson, author of Walking Virginia Beach, a guidebook that details 20 walks throughout Virginia Beach and surrounding cities. Katherine “lives the beach life” by taking full advantage of what the resort city offers every season of the year and by finding anyway possible to get outdoors. She’ll share her experiences with us on ShoreLines, and here’s her first post – enjoy!
Back Bay Beach
Warm, spring-like weather in March lured me to the southern end of Virginia Beach, where walking opportunities abound at two remote natural areas: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. What a perfect subject for my first post about walking in Virginia Beach. On a sunny Saturday morning, we walked a four-mile stretch of the beach – from the parking lot at the refuge to the northern edge of the state park — practically by ourselves. The hard-packed beach made for a perfect walking surface. Wind from the west-southwest pushed up the faces of the waves and caused rooster-tails to spray off the crests. Pelicans glided over the ocean looking for fish, hawks soared overhead and shorebirds skittered along the sand. It was beautiful. We stuck to the beach that day, but numerous trails for walking, biking, and wildlife-watching traverse the dunes, wind through the maritime forest, and stretch along the shore of Back Bay. Having such a solitary and peaceful place so close by is indeed a natural treasure.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 by Tina Fries
Once you go, you understand why False Cape State Park has been called the “OBX of Virginia.” Situated below Sandbridge at the most southern end of Virginia Beach, it’s in a remote location, undeveloped and with limited access. No cars allowed. You either hike, bike or boat in, or take public transportation provided by the park.
My first visit to False Cape came back in 1999 before kids when my husband and I biked the 6+ miles into the park. It was easy to see why some people call it a “natural zoo.” On the path in we passed dozens of snapping turtles sunbathing on logs, and were greeted by numerous colorful birds. We were just a few miles into the park when we were surprised by a wild horse — gone astray from N.C., we guessed. It rounded the bend near the Visitor Center and galloped off down a trail. We even spotted a wild boar. Once out on the pristine beach, a perfectly formed sand dollar was our reward.
The experience left a huge impression and we vowed to go back.