Posts Tagged ‘walking in Virginia Beach’
Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Katherine Jackson
Local walking enthusiast and blogger Katherine Jackson has a perfect post for this glorious time of year!
The Sweet of the Year
Red-breasted robins are back from their winter vacations, and with them come the warm and sunny days of spring. Virginia Beach has plenty to offer in every season, but the city is at its most brilliant and beautiful at this time of the year. It seems something new is blooming every day. I lived in Florida for five years when I was growing up, and I missed the excitement and sense of renewed energy that I get every year in the spring. Right now, thousands of daffodils are dancing around town. Forsythia bushes are flaming yellow, pale pink cherry blossoms are fluttering in the breeze, and Bradford pear trees are filled with white flowers. Red and pink tulips are starting to make their graceful appearance, and an explosion of azaleas will happen any day. It’s a great time to walk and witness the reawakening of nature. I spent a recent Sunday afternoon doing just that at Williams Farm Park off of Newtown Road. Opened in 2012, this 36-acre community park attracted me because it has a multi-use trail that surrounds a large open space and the Williams Farm Recreation Center. The trail also connects to the Lynbrook Landing Park, a quiet neighborhood park with a swing set and picnic tables under trees. People were enjoying the fine weather in all kinds of ways: flying a model airplane, hitting the rails at the skate park, tossing a football, playing baseball, practicing a golf swing, heading into the rec center for a swim, walking the dog, biking with a friend, hunting for Easter Eggs, breathing in the fresh air. According to my walking app, I logged three miles among the buds and blossoms. Shakespeare called spring “the sweet of the year” and wrote that “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” Indeed, springtime is a great time to revive youthful energy and watch as nature bursts into bloom along a hundred miles of trails in Virginia Beach.
Photo credit: Katherine Jackson
Thursday, 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.”
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.