Beach Mode

I had been wanting to go to the beach for quite a while, but there weren’t any close by that interested me.  Ocean City didn’t really appeal, I didn’t want to go back to Delaware, and Virginia Beach had left a bad taste in my mouth when I was last there in high school (which wasn’t entirely its fault–the weather was bad and it was offseason).

But I was persuaded to give Virginia Beach another chance.  Doing some research, I found that there were lots of interesting things to do in and around the beach–breweries, botanical gardens, museums, a zoo.

So I made my hotel reservation just a few days before the trip, checking that the weather would be good while I was there, and officially made a plan to go.  I could not have picked a better time–the weather was perfect, and I was staying at an oceanfront hotel with a balcony.  Plus, I wanted to go to the beach before Memorial Day and school got out.  On this trip, I barely hit any traffic at all!

It was mid-afternoon when I got to the beach, so I decided to take a walk and get dinner nearby before figuring out a plan for the next day.  I picked up some touristy magazines and found out about the burgeoning local beer scene and decided my plans for the next day would include the Norfolk Botanical Garden (a place I hadn’t even known about prior) and Wasserhund Brewing.

The next day, I slathered on my sunscreen, picked up my giant sun hat, and wandered around the garden.  I was excited to find a Japanese garden with bonsai trees!  (I’ve been interested in bonsai since I first saw an exhibit of them at the North Carolina Arboretum a few years back.)  I enjoyed the rose garden and was glad to sit in a swing in the shade of a gazebo as well.  As much wandering as I did, I still managed to miss a huge part of the garden, never quite making it all the way to the other end (the garden could benefit from better signage).

I lunched at the German-inspired Wasserhund Brewing, which featured one of the better coffee beers I’ve had recently, the Haywire Husky Coffee Lager, and some fantastic pizza. They have fun events like bingo night too.

I went back to my hotel room long enough to change and apply more sunscreen before taking a long walk on the beach.  The weather was so good, I had to get out and enjoy it.

On my walk, I accidentally discovered that Home Republic Brewing was just a couple blocks from my hotel, so I decided to have dinner there.  The burger and lava cake were delicious, but I wish I had enjoyed the beer more.

I had hoped to get to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk on Thursday, but time didn’t allow since I had to be back home for a class that night.  I took one last walk on the beach before departing for Pierce’s, the storied yellow-and-orange barbecue joint visible from
I-64 near Williamsburg.  It’s a place I have visited many times, but not in about eight years.  Mom and I used to drive to Williamsburg just for Pierce’s, occasionally making a trip to the outlet malls.

It was a short but sweet trip to the beach.  Next time I’ll have to stay longer so I can do more of the things I’d hoped to.

Have any of you got plans for the summer?

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