Norfolk is the center of the largest metropolitan area in Virginia, with about 1,670,000 inhabitants in the Greater Norfolk area. Other major cities that are part of the metropolitan area include Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
Newport is strategically located on a peninsula where the James and Elizabeth rivers flow into Chesapeake Bay. According to legend, the site where Norfolk was established was once a Chesipean American Indian village called Skicoak. However, in reality Skicoak was probably located across the river in what is today Newport News, and what is now Norfolk was probably either corn fields or woodland.
In 1607, English colonists established the Jamestown Colony about 45 miles (72 kilometers) upriver from what is now Norfolk. Between 1680 and 1681, the townsite of Norfolk was laid out by John Ferebee, the surveyor of Lower Norfolk County, on land that had previously been owned by six settlers and a mercantile group. Norfolk was incorporated in 1845.
Due to its strategic location and an economy based on tobacco, Norfolk prospered during colonial times. However, during the American Revolutionary War, it was shelled by the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, and about two-thirds of the city was destroyed. Colonists then burned much of the remaining city in a scorched earth policy.
Norfolk was eventually rebuilt, but was surpassed in importance by such regional cities as Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. However, the city's economy improved in 1917 when the Norfolk Naval Base was established. Nowadays, it is the largest naval base in the world, and Norfolk is very much a navy town.
There is a lot to see and do in Richmond for the civil war and the period after. Having Richmond as a base is great and most other sites are about a hour away by car. I just had a guest in my house that did day trips to monticello and the other three presidents that lived in Virginia. He stayed about a week and covered them all. Most of Richmond is safe unless you cross the river and in the city late night. Where I live in the West End is always safe. City transportation is a hit or miss and it is best to have a rental car for the journey to the plantations, historic sites and Presidents houses. They are spread out withing 50 miles of Richmond.. I know that Enterprise Car rental in town always have a weekend special where you rent a car Fri, Sat, Sun and return monday is 9.99 a day. That is 27.97 for three days. I rent them myself and has always been a bargin with unlimited miles. just figurge the day in Richmond with the Civil war musuems, walk the streets of the Fan and the weekends drive outside of Richmond. Williamsburge is just fifty miles away also, (1 hour drive)
If you need any help, let me know. I am retired and can point you in the right direction.
cheers tommy x
Fondest memory: How much green it is. Trees everywhere and nice folks in the street
Some of my favorite Chesapeake Bay lighthouses are in Virginia.
Old and New Point Comfort - Old Point Comfort was one of the first Virginia lighthouses that I saw and it is still an active lighthouse. It was a good long time before I got to see New Point Comfort which is a considerable distance away from Old Point Comfort and has been inactive.
Old and New Cape Henry on the other hand are quite close together, and the lighthouse currently in use is the new one.
Wolf Trap is red and has a concert facility in Virginia named for it. (The shoal itself was named for the Wolfe, a 350-ton vessel of the Royal British Navy that ran aground here in 1691)
Smith Point on the Virginia side of the Potomac which is one we pass every time we leave the Potomac to go south on the Chesapeake.
We even made a special trip in 2011 to see Asseteague Lighthouse.
Fondest memory: Some I have made paintings of some of my favorites, such as Old Point Comfort and Smith Point
Nestled between two of the three mountains that make up the Peaks of Otter, is the PEAKS OF OTTER LODGE AND RESTAURANT located at Milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Bedford, Virginia.
Open year round, the Lodge, completed in 1964, is the flagship of a chain of visitor concessions strung along the Virginia portion of the Parkway.
A beautiful and rustic resort, it offers stunning vistas of both Peaks of Otter - Sharp Top and Flat Top. Miles of hiking trails and an excellent restaurant are just two of the highlights of the "Peaks". the Lake Trail around Abbott Lake is especially photogenic and there is a good chance of seeing some wildlife.
The day we stopped here, the Lodge was very busy as it was lunch time and many were there to dine in the restaurant. We strolled through the Lodge and found the back where there was a lovely walkway around the Lake.
Favorite thing: Well, I don't know that 'YOU Absoluterly Must' as the VT caption states, but, My favorite things about Virginia are my daughter and little boy And since they ARE my all time favorite things on this planet, I'm taking the liberty of including them on my page! My apologies to all of you. I know that seeing my family photos is NOT exactly what you had in mind coming to this travel site. But........
When we get to Smith Point on our boat, we know we have rounded the corner into Virginia. The Potomac River, up to the Virginia shore actually belongs to Maryland.
Under Things To Do in Virginia, I've made a separate tip for my pages in the Hampton Roads area (Norfolk)
These are the less traveled, scattered locations in Virginia when I have pages.
Individual locations- in alphabetical order: [1st number is tips, 2nd is photos and 3rd is travelogue/narratives]
Ashland 3 11 0
Bloxoms Corner 2 5 0 which is about the Salt Ponds area near Hampton.
Bowling Green 0 2 0
Chantilly 1 4 0
Charlottesville 2 32 1
Coles Point 4 11 0 across the Potomac.
Culpepper 0 1 0
Dahlgren 0 1 0
Deltaville 20 49 4 We've come here twice by boat
Fairport 4 19 1
Fleeton 3 34 2
Fredericksburg 5 16 0
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park 5 28 0
Goucester 5 9 0 (on the way to Yorktown)
Gloucester Point 4 6 0 via Sarah Creek off the York River (opposite Yorktown)
Fondest memory: Gwynn Island 5 9 0 between the Piankatank and the Chesapeake.
Hayes 2 11 1 (by boat)
Kilmarnock 8 45 3 First stop on the trip south in 2001 and last stop in 2004 on the way home.
Lexington 3 26 1
Lexington 2 11 incorrect for most tips)
Mabry Mill 1 1 0
Onancock 22 74 1
Orange 1 6 0
Perrin 1 4 0 We took refuge here from a bad storm in 2001
Poquoson Shores 1 4 0 - we anchored in the Poquoson River.
Port Royal 3 12 0
Reedville 51 178 5 Anchored in the Great Wicomico River three times and visited the town twice by boat.
Richmond 9 25 0 1997 business trip
Smithfield 20 35 1
Stingray Point 0 3 0
Tangier Island 57 142 5
Tappahannock 4 15 0
West Point 5 8 0
White Stone 6 10 1 (Windmill Point Resort)
Wilderness 4 24 0
Winchester 0 2 0
and Yorktown 7 56 5
Since this restaurant closed down in late 1999 (I ought to know because I was part of the crew responsible for liquidating the fixtures & equipment), it would not be right to put it under "Restaurants" in the main part of the page. It was an island of country living and cooking in the middle of an increasingly urban area. The restaurant looked like a farm house. There were green, rolling hills and a petting zoo. The "no parking" signs said, "Thou Shalt Not Park". The food was an upscale version of the country cooking on which I grew up. Their spoon bread was great. I bought the cookbook myself at the auction. Here's the recipe:
EVANS FARM INN SPOON BREAD
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs separated
Scald milk and add corn meal. Add egg yolks, butter and salt. Continue to cook until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg whites. Bake in a well-greased casserole 45 minutes at 350°F (185°C). Makes 6-8 servings.
Many people in the Washington, D.C. area would not only dine here at regular meals, but they would also take Sunday brunch after church and use it as a venue for wedding receptions. Evans Farm Inn was so popular among locals that when the owners retired and sold the land, that they started a petition drive to quash the sale. The land was sold in favour of a condominium development.
Virginia is chopped up into 95 counties, each with their own government and political goals. Besides that, there are another 40 cities that are independent of each other and independent from the counties. So that makes over 130 jurisdictions vying for state dollars and tourist income. No wonder there are so many tourist sights and welcome centers in this state.
To make things even more confusing, Bedford, Fairfax, Franklin, Richmond, and Roanoke are both counties and cities and the places with the same name do not necessarily work together very well.
the 95 counties are:
Accomack,Albemarle,Alleghany,Amelia,Amherst,Appomattox,Arlington,Augusta | Bath,Bedford,Bland,Botetourt,Brunswick,Buchanan,Buckingham | Campbell,Caroline,Carroll,Charles City,Charlotte ,Chesterfield, Clarke,Craig,Culpeper,Cumberland | Dickenson,Dinwiddie
Essex,Fairfax,Fauquier,Floyd,Fluvanna,Franklin,Frederick | Giles,Gloucester,Goochland,Grayson,Greene,Greensville | Halifax,Hanover,Henrico,Henry,Highland | Isle of Wight | James City | King and Queen,King George,King William | Lancaster,Lee,Loudoun,Louisa,Lunenburg | Madison,Mathews,Mecklenburg,Middlesex,Montgomery | Nelson,New Kent,Northampton,Northumberland,Nottoway | Orange,Page,Patrick,Pittsylvania,Powhatan,Prince Edward | Prince George,Prince William,Pulaski | Rappahannock,Richmond,Roanoke,Rockbridge,Rockingham,Russell | Scott,Shenandoah,Smyth,Southampton,Spotsylvania,Stafford | Surry | Sussex | Tazewell | Warren,Washington,Westmoreland,Wise | Wythe | York
presently, the independent cities are:
Alexandria | Bedford,Bristol,Buena Vista | Charlottesville,Chesapeake,Colonial Heights,Covington | Danville | Emporia | Fairfax,Falls Church,Franklin,Fredericksburg | Galax | Hampton,Harrisonburg,Hopewell | Lexington,Lynchburg | Manassas,Manassas Park,Martinsville | Newport News,Norfolk,Norton | Petersburg,Poquoson,Portsmouth | Radford,Richmond,Roanoke | Salem,Staunton,Suffolk | Virginia Beach | Waynesboro,Williamsburg,Winchester
Not only did I show Christian around Richmond and other parts of Virginia, but Lee gipper84 helped me. I guess this could be classified as a mini-VT meeting, but it was fun just the three of us. Lee first met us at Main Street Station on Christian's second full day in central Virginia. We toured that and St. John's Church (where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech). Then, we toured some lesser known places: the vantage point from the old WRVA station in Church Hill and Lee showed us the unusual architecture of bank street downtown. After completing the food ministry for church, we were off to the Cold Harbor National Battlefield. We ate supper at Sugar & Spice, one of our favourite restaurants. Christian liked it as much as Lee and I do. After Lee's night class, we went to the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Broad Street. Christian saw the doughnuts being made and displayed in the case. The most memorable excellent adventure with Lee was the following Sunday when we met up with Lee at Jessi's church in Callao for a day-long tour through the towns of Reedville, Kilmarnock, Lancaster, Warsaw, Montross, and Tappahannock. After all that travel, we still got the whole group together to play mini golf for Christian's last night.
en español, em português
In case there was any doubt that Virginia is good at preserving history, you need look no further than the small Northern Neck town of White Stone. There, they preserve an old-time petrol station complete with 1940s style pumps. It harkens back to an era when full-service meant just that...and with a smile.
en español, em português
Reedville presents historic Victorian mansions built by factory owners and fishing boat captains. Main Street was known as "Millionaire's Row," home to wealthy fishermen who made their fortunes from the menhaden that was common in the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay. I am told the Reedville Museum, which was closed at the time Lee, Christian, and I walked through here, offers self-guided walking tours.
en español, em português
My first exposure to fast-food chicken was not Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC, but Golden Skillet, a Virginia business that went national and international (though I never saw any in the foreign countries I visited). In my opinion, Golden Skillet was much better than its more well-known competitor. I didn't know at the time that the first Golden Skillet was sold at Richmond's Thalhimer's (now defunct) flagship store downtown. They had several slogans such as "Tender as Quail! Tasty as Pheasant!" and "Virginia's Answer to Colonel Sanders", but my favourite one was "Chicken Like Chicken From Home" as sung by Roy Clark from Meherrin. The first location outside a Thalhimer's department store was on West Broad Street. The design of all the freestanding restaurants often included a yellow roof and a giant pan shaped sign. There was even one here in Mechanicsville on Mechanicsville Turnpike just east of downtown across from my church. Once the owner of the Golden Skillet franchises died, the family sold it to national conglomerates. After that happened, the chicken never tasted the same- it was more like its rival Kentucky Fried Chicken- leave it to corporate tinkering to make a good thing mediocre. I put it under "fondest memory" even though there are still a few locations still open like one south of the city on Jefferson Davis Highway. Along the roadside, there is evidence of old Golden Skillet locations as the giant pan-shape signs remain (advertising a tax preparation service, a Chinese restaurant, or anything else far removed from fried chicken).
en español, em português
Now, i'm not sure if this is true or not, but it has been said if you find all 50 or so mermaids like the one pictured here, and you either bring the pictures and/or locations to the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, they will give you a check for $50. I never had time to do it, but it does sound fun...something to look into anyway.....!
This one is located at the front entrance of the Virginia Zoo.
Fondest memory: Charles II of England quartered the arms of Virginia on his shield in 1663, thus adding Virginia to his dominions of France, Ireland and Scotland. Called the “Mother State” because it was the first state to be colonized.
Fondest memory: The flag of Virginia consists of the state seal on a background of blue. The current version of the flag was adopted at the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861. The Latin motto, "Sic semper tyrannis", at the bottom of the state seal means "Thus Always to Tyrants". This quote is attributed to Brutus during the assassination of Julius Caesar in Rome. The woman is "Virtus the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed as an Amazon" (Code of Virginia § 7.1-26) and represents Virginia. The prostrate man represents tyranny, note the fallen crown to the right. The Tyrant is holding both a chain and a whip.
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