Posts Tagged ‘walking in Virginia Beach’
Friday, January 16th, 2015 by Katherine Jackson
This week in The Beach Report, blogger and local walking guide Katherine Jackson shares two out-of-the-box ideas for walking Virginia Beach. Don’t forget: this weekend is the Coastal Virginia Wine Fest – see link below for details. Live the Life!
Two Walks at the Virginia Beach Convention Center
Photo credit: Stephen Proffitt
I’ve attended a number of trade conferences and worked in exhibit booths at a variety of expos, and although both types of events are rewarding, they’re also hard work because they require long hours of sitting or standing. Taking a break, stretching my legs, and seeing a change of scenery are imperative to making it through the event. The folks at the Virginia Beach Convention Center have made it easy for people who attend events in the facility – as well as visitors and people who live in the neighborhood – to take a walking break. Maps available at the concierge desk depict two short walks – one is half a mile, the other is a mile – both of which can be completed without leaving the Center grounds. The routes are flat, easy and accessible for people with disabilities. And a number of sights are worth seeing along the way.
½ Mile Walk
Both walks begin at the same place: Exit the Convention Center’s west end, cross 19th Street and walk south along Jefferson Avenue. One of the most beautiful and moving sights on this route is the Tidewater Veterans Memorial, an architectural sculpture dedicated to all veterans in the Hampton Roads Area. The memorial was a community affair: the design incorporates ideas submitted by three high school students who won a city-wide contest. A second competition among twenty-five local artists and architects resulted in the memorial’s dynamic, spherical form. At the front of the memorial, a flag square includes the U.S. and Virginia flags as well as flags representing the five military services. The memorial carries the message: “They Shall Not Be Forgotten.”
After passing the Tidewater Veterans Memorial Park, the route continues south to 17th Street, turns west for a block, turns north and passes two fountains, and then returns to the Convention Center. Another noteworthy feature of the Center’s grounds is the display of native plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcovers and grasses. Bald cypress trees line many of the walkways, and even though they’re bare during the winter, their scent still fills the air. Some plants along the way are sleeping right now, while some have donned their winter colors. I’ll come back to take this walk again in the spring when everything starts to wake up.
One Mile Walk
Photo credit: Katherine Jackson
The half-mile course ends with the return to 19th Street, and another half mile can be added by walking along 19th Street to the east end of the Convention Center where a Pop Up Art Park lies at the corner of 19th and Parks Avenue. Titled Project LifeguART, the exhibit includes authentic lifeguard stands and gear boxes decorated with vibrant and original art. I had heard about this project over the summer when the painted stands and gear boxes were placed on the beach, and I was impressed when I saw them in one place. Some have bold nautical designs and some are covered by sea creatures. Two are painted like VW vans, one with a surfboard on top, and one with daisies and peace signs. Designed by local artists and sponsored by local businesses, the pop up art alone is worth the walk. Plan a trip before spring when they’ll be returned to active duty on the beach.
Photo credit: Katherine Jackson
The one-mile course is completed by turning around at Parks Avenue and returning to the west end of the Convention Center. However, the walk can be extended by heading for the scenic Virginia Beach Boardwalk just a little more than half of a mile from the Convention Center, or by continuing north a few blocks on Parks Avenue to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art where a number of sculptures are installed on the grounds.
Of course, the Convention Center itself is a work of art, reminiscent of both a lighthouse and the prow of a tremendous ship. It’s perfectly located as a starting point for walking in the resort area, and there’s typically free parking available. While you’re in the neighborhood for a walk, you also can take advantage of some of the events on the Virginia Beach Convention Center calendar in the next few months.
Here’s a taste:
Coastal Virginia Winefest and MOCA Art Show, Jan 17 & 18: 40 wineries, a craft beer garden and a host of vendors showcasing food, arts and crafts.
Tidewater Recreational Vehicle Show, Jan. 23 – 25 featuring everything necessary for an outdoor lifestyle.
Virginia Flower and Garden Expo, Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 promoting horticultural education for professionals and weekend gardeners
Shamrock Marathon Sports and Fitness Expo, March 20 – 22 featuring equipment, apparel and shoes, along with a speaker series
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.