The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and...
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel is a 17 mile bridge across the Chesapeake Bay. It connects the Norfolk area with the Delmarva peninsula. To me, it was like going across the sea. The bridge was very interesting. It certainly made my trip shorter. If you want to see a unique bridge, this is worth the trip. A word of caution, this bridge costs $10 to cross.
Norfolk By the Sea
"The Memories Come Flooding Back"
After an absence of far too many years, recently I was able to return to Norfolk for a visit of several days. Located only a short distance from my hometown, Norfolk is the place where I spent four years in college, where I worked after college graduation, and where I met my husband. For the most part, those years were a happy time for me, and I was happy to have the opportunity to visit Norfolk again and stay there rather than just drive through!
For nearly three full days I was able to explore the downtown area on foot while my husband was busy with work. The location of our hotel was superb, offering not only wonderful views of the Elizabeth River and surroundings, but also the location of the hotel put me within walking distance of many historic sites, museums, shopping, and restaurants. I also took the opportunity to revisit my old college campus, and visit Gray's Pharmacy where I ate the same meal at their lunch counter virtually every day for a year or more! The lunch counter is gone, but the indifferent attitude to customers still remains!
I have always liked Norfolk. Except for the 4 years when as college student, the only negative I can think of was when the Norfolk police often made commuting college students' lives miserable by giving out parking tickets like they were candy. Other than that I always thought Norfolk was a great place, and my favorite place in Norfolk was the neighborhood of Ghent, made up of century-old homes and nearly as old apartments, parks, etc.,. At one time I had the privilege of living and working in Ghent.
I still have family and friends in this area, relatives buried there, and have an enthusiasm for its history, its interesting neighborhoods and landscapes, its military presence, the fact that it is mostly surrounded by water, and much more. I am not only a GRIT (girls raised in the south), but a person who needs to be near water to be happy and Norfolk fits the bill on both accounts.
"Norfolk By the Sea"
rOf late, Norfolk has identified itself using "mermaids" as its symbol, and similarly the moniker, "Norfolk By the Sea." The recent building spree has somewhat dissapated Norfolk's original character, so emphasizing its lifetime historical connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Elizabeth River makes a lot of sense and fits.
All around downtown Norfolk you will find "mermaids" brightly decorated by local organizations---much the same as I have seen bee hives, horses, and other symbols in towns across the USA. I appreciated this public art, and liked the choice of symbol that Norfolk now uses.
"A Brief History of Norfolk"
"The Chesipean Indians occupied the land where Norfolk is located today on the Elizabeth River near Chesapeake Bay. They ceased to exist by the time the first English settlers arrived in 1585 on Roanoke Island in North Carolina (a settlement which also disappeared in 1591). Norfolk was a planned city, laid out in 1682 (and became an independent city from Norfolk County in 1871). In 1776, the British royal governor of Virginia, in an attempt to quell the rebellion of the American colony, shelled the city and destroyed over 800 buildings. He ultimately failed to regain control of Virginia and went back to England. In 1855, a yellow fever epidemic ravaged Norfolk; one out of every three citizens died. The Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad was completed in 1858 which allowed for major connections to points north, west and south. During the Civil War in 1862, the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac ironclad ships fought in the Battle of Hampton Roads off Norfolk. In 1917 the US Naval Base was established in Norfolk because of the area’s strategic location, deep-water bay, and ocean access. In the 1970s, urban renewal brought much-needed visitor and cultural attractions and commercial development, such as Waterside, which transformed a seedy harbor area into a festive marketplace with restaurants and artistic venues."
Norfolk Simple Timeline ~
"9500 B.C. -- Earliest evidence of native people in Virginia.
The Chesipean Indians ruled the area. Their town was called SKICOAK, the site of which is now Norfolk. The Scicoaks were gone by the time the English colonists reached the site of Norfolk, having been wiped out by Chief Powhatan. One of Powhatan’s advisors went to the Chief, telling him of a dream about the Powhatan Confederacy being destroyed by strangers from the east. Powhatan misunderstood this to mean the Scicoaks and so he eliminated this peaceful people before they could turn against him. Later, of course, strangers from the east, across the Atlantic, DID come, and so the soothsayer’s dream was fulfilled.
1560s - Spanish arrive and settle briefly along the York River
1585 -- English settlers reach Roanoke Island.
1591 -- Roanoke Colony found with no survivors."
April 14, ICW north through Virginia Cut 2001
"April 14, 2001 Leaving Coinjock"
We left about 7. We got to the North Landing Bridge in time for the noon opening. A power boat called DOUBLE DIPPER went through ahead of us. The next bridge (Centerville Turnpike) was supposed to be 5 miles, but was really only 3 and a bit. We could not make 5 miles in half an hour, but we could have done 3. However, all the charts said 5 miles, and so we didn't try and went through on the 1:00 pm opening.
Our next obstacle was the Great Bridge Bridge and Great Bridge Lock. The lock did one locking an hour and the GBB coordinates with it. We went under the bridge and locked through the lock. This Corps of Engineers' lock which separates the salt water of the river from the fresh water of the canal.
There is a park near the lock (named after it) which is the site for the annual re-enactment of the historic Battle of Great Bridge . In 1775, American troops defeated British forces in the first battle of the Revoluntionary War fought on Virginia soil. the route through Great Bridge was the only route by which Norfolk could be approached by land. William Woodford's Virginia rifleman defended the passage. When Lord Dunmore's British regulars attempted to cross the swamp, on December 9, 1775, they were cut to pieces by the fire of the riflemen. This defeat forced Lord Dunmore to evacuate Norfolk.
The other pictures of this are under Coinjock
"After Great Bridge"
We saw these boats stacked along the river on the way to Norfolk.
Now we had only 3 more bridges - Steel Bridge, Gilmerton Bridge and the Jordon Lift bridge. All 3 of us sailboats went through the Steel bridge with no problem.
"End of the Virginia Cut"
CADENZA didn't want to go first, and Bob decided that since we were all going to wait for whoever was slowest (i.e. SEA BONDS) that we should stay behind him. So Bob took up station beside him and was his wing man. We went by the turnoff for the Dismal Swamp.
"Coming into Norfolk"
The bridge just after the turnoff to the Dismal Swamp Route is high enough that most boats don't need to have it raised. We don't need to have it opened though. If you need to have it opened you have to give 24 hours notice. I've always considered it to be a fixed bridge.
Because it was Sat. there were no restricted opening schedules for rush hour, so we didn't expect any problems with the rest of the bridges.
However, when we got to the Gilmerton bridge, the tender said they were having problems with the bridge, and there was a barge coming our way. So we circled for about a half an hour. I think the problem was the traffic gates, which were down and traffic was being held. Then the gates went up and traffic went. He didn't open the bridge until the barge was ready for it. In addition to us, SEA BONDS, and CADENZA, there was a boat with a green hull that had been tied to a dock near the bridge and some power boats. We all went through with the barge.
There was another barge coming up behind us, which I saw, but Bob didn't. Someone called us on the radio, and I heard it and Bob didn't - so I yelled at him to move over. I had called Waterside for a reservation, and after we went through the Jordon Lift Bridge, they said to come into the first port slip. I had figured incorrectly where the marina was, but we did find it and get tied up.
SEA BONDS was one slip over with a power boat between us. Waterside is a big mall type place and they have Hooters, and a food court etc. I took Waterside rather than Tidewater Yacht across the way because I thought TY was too big and too far to walk. Waterside is more compact, and a little cheaper too. We came in about 4:30 after 49.3 miles at 5.6 mph (maximum 7.5 mph) for a total of 991 nautical miles. It was pretty hectic. Lots of power boaters partying on the docks behind their boats. Drinking and loud music. The cable didn't work. They gave us ice for free because the bags had melted the cubes together - or maybe he just didn't want to bother collecting change. They let me download email in the office.
The next morning we left for a short trip to Southall Marina in
Bloxom's Corner which is a suburb of Hampton