Posts Tagged ‘walking in Virginia Beach’
Friday, January 17th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
This week in The Beach Report, local author and walking guide Katherine Jackson takes us to another Virginia Beach gem – City View Park.
City View Park: A Glimpse of How the Locals Live
Like many travelers, I like to visit sites for which a place is well known. In Virginia Beach, that would include places like the Boardwalk, First Landing State Park and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. However, I also like to find places where the locals hang out, to get a sense of what it’s like to live in the locale I’m visiting. In Virginia Beach, that would mean exploring the city’s parks and natural areas where local residents walk, play sports, and enjoy temperate weather year-round. On a mild, fifty-three degree day in January, I visited City View Park in the Kempsville section of Virginia Beach. It’s one of those hidden gems, a place to which people from adjacent neighborhoods walk or bike to enjoy the amenities. The best thing about the park from my perspective is that it has two trails: a one-mile paved path that circles the park and a quarter-mile pine straw path that loops through a wooded area. On the morning I visited, the park was quiet. A few children played on the swing sets and a few people were on the shared-use trail: a dad teaching his son to ride a tiny bike, a mom walking beside her daughter who was on a scooter, and several people walking their dogs. I walked through the woods alone. In addition to the trails, the park has picnic shelters, ball fields and basketball courts. Various pieces of equipment, such as horseshoes and cornhole boards, can be checked out at the park office.
Most importantly, what the park offers is an endless supply of fresh air in an open space surrounded by trees. According to Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of Landscape Architecture and designer of thousands of parks including Central Park in New York, parks should provide places of harmony and a shared sense of community to all citizens, regardless of their station in life. He believed that a well-designed greensward surrounded by trees could relieve stress by producing a sense of tranquility. Subsequent research supported his assertions. In addition, research has shown that people who walk regularly feel better mentally and physically. According to experts such as Dr. Bob Sallis of the “Every Body Walk!” website, just thirty minutes of walking five times a week is enough to produce significant improvements in health.
Virginia Beach visitors and locals can chose from a plethora of tranquil places to walk, including 265 city parks, two state parks, four natural areas and thirty-five miles of coastline. Exploring a city’s parks is an effective and enjoyable way to relieve stress, improve health and get a glimpse of how the locals live.
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
December is such a busy time of the year, with all the shopping and baking and party-going. It’s easy to let some things slip, such as exercising on a regular basis. With that in mind, I decided to combine two things on my to-do list and headed to Town Center of Virginia Beach for a brisk walk and a shopping trip. Although Town Center is an urban area, it’s easy to find a place to park in one of the free garages or, if your intention is to take a lengthy walk as mine was, in one of the nearby shopping centers. I parked beside the movie theater at Columbus Station and began my walk in the park on the south side of Town Center. Along with neighborhood residents and their dogs, I walked beside the man-made pond where ducks were swimming, camellia bushes were blooming, and tall trees were still shedding their colorful leaves. In addition to enjoying this natural space, I wanted to check out four pieces of public art in the vicinity. On the north side of the park on Columbus Street, a “Peace Pole” commemorates Virginia Beach’s international Sister Cities with the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Resembling a street sign, the monument is comprised of blades with the name and mileage to each Sister City including Miyazaki, Japan: 7,366 miles; Moss, Norway: 3,972 miles; and Olongapo, Philippines: 8,720 miles. Also on Columbus Street, I stopped to examine “The Kiss,” a bronze sculpture by Gary Alsum of a young couple smooching on a bench. Every time I drive through this area, I’m briefly fooled by the reality of the depiction. After walking around the park, I headed toward the main square, which was ablaze with holiday lights, a star-topped Christmas tree and whimsical reindeer topiaries. Here, I passed a bronze sculpture by David H. Turner of three herons entwined atop a fountain.
Monday, October 21st, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
On a recent fall-like Sunday, I wanted to take a walk in the country so I headed for N. Muddy Creek Road in the southern, rural section of Virginia Beach. I scouted this route last fall as a potential place for a walk. I parked just beyond Blue Pete’s Restaurant in a gravel turnout on the side of the road. It’s obviously a popular fishing spot as several fishing lines with bobbers were caught in a power line crossing the creek that flows from here into Muddy Creek and North Bay. Walking west on N. Muddy Creek Road, Back Bay Botanicals soon appeared. On this cut-your-own flower and herb farm, not only could I enjoy walking through a flower field, but I also could select a bouquet of Zinnia, Sweet Pea and Cockscomb in an array of magenta, gold, orange and red. One thing I love about rural Virginia Beach: the honor system is alive and well. I had stopped at an honor-system farm stand earlier in the day, where I purchased tomatoes and zucchini. Here, the flower patch also was unmanned; on a shelf outside a small structure were Mason jars, scissors, and instructions: fill a jar with as many flowers as you want and leave $10 in the box on the porch. Cash or check. It was pleasant to stroll through rows of flowers in the company of butterflies and bees. Muddy Creek Road runs along sun-filled farm fields and curves through cool wooded areas. Noteworthy sights include giant old-growth trees, fat cats, a miniature horse, and several friendly dogs. Purple and yellow wildflowers are in bloom in thickets along the way. Not many cars passed on this Sunday morning, but a number of cyclists zoomed by since this route is part of a popular 50-mile biking loop through rural Virginia Beach. About two miles west of Blue Pete’s, where Muddy Creek intersects Princess Anne Road, a sign promises that a pumpkin patch and corn maze will open soon. When they do, this will be a good place to park for a walk down Muddy Creek Road. Lots of roads crisscross the rural part of Virginia Beach, passing through nearly 30,000 acres of farmland, but not all are conducive for walking. N. Muddy Creek Road, on the other hand, is a place where the sights and smells of the countryside can be enjoyed on foot. With the onset of cooler weather, there’s no better time to get in the habit of walking for pleasure and for health. A stroll down a country road is a good place to start.
Photo credit: Katherine Jackson
Friday, September 20th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
Editor’s Note: The air is a bit cooler this week and a perfect time to feature a post from local walking guide Katherine Jackson who takes us with her on a fun fall walk in the country. This post makes me put my sneakers on and get out to the county - now! Enjoy!!
Country Road in Virginia Beach
On a recent fall-like Sunday, I wanted to take a walk in the country so I headed for N. Muddy Creek Road in the southern, rural section of Virginia Beach. I scouted this route last fall as a potential place for a walk. I parked just beyond Blue Pete’s Restaurant in a gravel turnout on the side of the road. It’s obviously a popular fishing spot as several fishing lines with bobbers were caught in a power line crossing the creek that flows from here into Muddy Creek and North Bay.
Friday, June 7th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
This week blogger Katherine Jackson writes of discovering things on her latest walk she’d never have a chance to experience by car. Join her as she heads does some “research” on an emerging trend in Virginia Beach, but happens upon so much more!
Shared-use Path Reveals Surprising Sights
When San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company announced in March that it plans to build a brewery in Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach, the city’s craft beer profile went up several notches. However, not far from the Green Flash site and already well loved by Virginia Beach locals is Beach Brewing Company. Located just off Dam Neck Road, it’s about seven miles south of Rudee Inlet. So what does craft brewing have to do with a walking blog? What better reward at the end of a long walk than a chilly pint of Hammerhead IPA, Riptide Amber, or Hoptopus Double IPA? A five-mile shared-use trail adjacent to Dam Neck Road runs from the Farmers Market to a waterfall park at the entrance to Corporate Landing – and right past the Beach Brewing tasting room. Much of this route is in an industrial area, but a significant portion is bordered by thick woods that cast cool shadows on hot mornings. The route passes Taylor Farms, where horses graze and goats do whatever it is that goats do. Walkers can even catch an air show when jets and helicopters take off from Naval Air Station Oceana.
Friday, May 24th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
Adjacent to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, yet seemingly a world apart, is the West Neck Creek Natural Area. Even on a busy afternoon, it’s easy to leave the traffic noise behind by exploring the 217-acre preserve, which features a short, paved path plus two and a half miles of unpaved trails that loop through the woods and crisscross the creek. Although I didn’t see a soul while I was there, I did see hoof prints, footprints, and bicycle treads. For more than an hour, I walked under a canopy of startlingly-green spring leaves, letting go of everyday worries and focusing instead on the symphony of birdsong, and the play of light and shadow among the evergreen and hardwood trees. “Natural Areas,” according to the City of Virginia Beach website, are city-owned tracts of land intended to preserve indigenous vegetation and wildlife, and provide a scenic environment.
Friday, May 10th, 2013 by Katherine Jackson
Editor’s Note: The month of May signals the start of “FREE & FUN” (two of our favorite words!) just about every weekend in Virginia Beach, and this weekend is a prime example! The soothing sounds of steel drums will fill the air beginning tomorrow evening as the PANorama Carribean Music Festival returns for another two-day run at the 24th Street Seaside Palladium. Grab your beach chairs and plan to relax and get into the island groove! Also returning this weekend is a family favorite: monster trucks on the beach! Kalbones Off Road Monsters On The Beach is loud, fast, and exciting. A course is built right on the beach at 6th Street with bleachers overlooking from the boardwalk. Sand dunes and junk cars combine to make the race course fast and fun for drivers and spectators alike. New for 2013…Freestyle Motocross! Thrill to the high-flying action of freestyle motocross as part of this year’s shows! This is a ticketed event, with prices designed to fit the family budget.
For those who prefer things a bit quieter, Local Walking Tour Guide & author Katherine Jackson shares a blog post about a drive in the country and a walk in the park…………..talk about relaxing!
Take your pick* – we’ve definitely got something for everyone in Virginia Beach. Have a blast and see you on the beach, or in the park! (*pun intended……………read on and you’ll get it!)
A Drive in the Country and a Walk in the Park
Sunny and warm, last Sunday was a perfect day for a drive in the country and a walk at Munden Point Park. Virginia Beach has a number of outstanding parks – 265 according to the city’s website – but Munden Point Park in the southern part of the City tops the list. Twenty-two miles from the oceanfront, the park is well worth the drive, and a pleasant drive it was – past horses grazing in pastures filled with buttercups, past farm fields growing green with new crops, past crossroads called Pungo, Back Bay, and Creeds. Situated on the North Landing River, the 100-acre park doesn’t have walking trails per se, but I spent more than an hour exploring the riverfront, walking along the wooded edges of the fields, and wandering through landscaped areas where giant azalea bushes attracted scores of butterflies. The park, once famous as a waterfowl hunting site, is now a naturalist’s playground where birders sight herons, orioles, nuthatches, warblers, goldfinches and other species. As I walked along the edge of Oakum Creek, a pair of geese with their young ’uns paddled away from the shore. Parts of the park have been planted as ornamental gardens, but parts are left as tangled woods where cypress trees line the waterfront with their knees pushing out of the water. The park offers lots of amenities – picnic shelters with grills, a disk golf course, canoe rentals and a boat ramp – but a highlight is the view of the river. Benches provide quiet places to sit and watch the wind ruffle across the river and weave through the marsh grasses on the far shore.