Two Days in VA Beach

We’ve had some lazy leisure since arriving to our campsite in Virginia Beach on Sunday evening. Our schedule has included linking up with some of Jack’s fraternity and rugby buddies from long ago: Monday night was dinner with Jim and Nell in Norfolk; Tuesday was lunch with Chip and Becky in Williamsburg.

 

Our campsite is on the Chesapeake Bay side of the road, with a dune between us and the water for a bit of windbreak. We get good shade in the AM under the awning, but the sun comes over Roomba and the shade is gone during the afternoon. We’ve set up the screen house to the left side of this photo, but the bugs have not been at all noticeable so far, while the fresh wind keeps up at about 15 mph. The trees surrounding are mostly live oaks full of “blooms” that are falling everywhere, and of great interest to little birds and insects.
 
So for most of Monday, we just lazed about. Jack had a nice shady snooze in the gravity chair, Kerry and Gloria took a looping bike ride around the campsites, and I walked down the road and over the dunes via boardwalk to the beach, and took some photos of this and that. One critter of note that I was unable to capture or really to identify is the species of dragonfly that is everywhere. They are huge, appear to be a blue or green, and keep whapping into the screen house, the awning, the car, the camper. They’re simply everywhere. Also I captured by my camera, I saw lots of osprey, one of which dove into the water but came up empty-taloned; a dolphin; a group of pelicans fishing low over the water; and a black snake back at camp, racing under Roomba and into the trees before we could get a camera on it. 

Here’s a little gallery of my sightings that I was able to capture.
 

People enjoying the Chesapeake Bay surf
  
Crab shell on the beach
  
Exercise for dog and man
  
Dune-protecting boardwalk from campground to beach
  
Butterfly on honeysuckle
  
Random feather caught on beach debris
  
Boardwalk
  
Apparent ship aground (sailing around the peninsula)
  
Scrubby, low-growing greenery along the shoreline
  
Some sort of lizard hanging out at the campground bathhouse, just before darting back into the shadow on the right
  
Pelican condominium
  
This black snake guards the boardwalk that guards the dunes
  
Not my photo, but rather a pic from my bird ID book showing the prairie warblers that are browsing throughout the live oaks around the campsite
  
Dipping my toes into the Chesapeak Bay
  
This lovely bit of poison oak greets folks heading to the women’s side of the bath house
 
Jim phoned at about 4PM and shortly thereafter, we headed up the road to a roadhouse/bar on the water that Jim calls his local. They were having a happy hour discount on bad beer and excellent shrimp. Jim said he often takes some advantage of these happy discounts. Jack and I chose some better beer offerings, but the shrimp by the pound were quite good, as were the dipping sauce choices, including straight horseradish that would ream-and-rebush a body’s sinuses if you got too much. We sat on the deck and watched the aircraft carriers come into port (we saw one arrive, but there were 5 due, and we saw all of them docked the next day); and the sun set, and the seagulls head to roost. It was quite a good evening catching up with old friends.

 

Strangers near us on the deck enjoying drinks and conversation
  
Seagull headed to roost
  
Sunset #1
  
The pier across the way from our deck
  
On the beach just off the deck where we had our shrimp
  
Sunset #2
 
Tuesday, April 26, 2016: The next day, which just happened to be Jack’s 66th birthday, we headed out early, having first taken down the awning, because the winds were scheduled to rise with the temperatures. Our plan with Kerry and Gloria was to meet them at the Jamestown Settlement historic site after our lunch, and then we four would have Jack’s birthday dinner in Williamsburg.

Chip and Becky live in Kingsmill, and we didn’t want to arrive too early, but were unsure how the traffic might be on our route up the shore, and inland, thus the early start. As it happened, we were really too early, so we took a detour to see Jack’s old home in Hampton, plus a few others of his childhood haunts. Everything was quite different, after 25 or so years, as might be imagined.

 

Jack’s old home in Hampton
 
We then took a quick tour of things that had changed on the William and Mary campus since our last visit to the ‘Burgh, and got to Chip and Becky’s right on time. Had a lovely chin-wag with them for about an hour in their lovely home, then headed over to one of the Kingsmill amenities: The Eagle, a casual restaurant and watering hole on the golf course. Chip treated us to an excellent lunch and we spent another couple of hours eating and telling stories and catching up on everyone these guys know/knew in common. It was an excellent experience, and I had a grand time meeting them both for the first time and getting to know them a little. I look forward to seeing them both again in the future.

Linking up with Kerry and Gloria at Jamestown, we wandered through the outdoor exhibits and, although it was oppressively hot in the sun, the breeze from the river kept up and offered excellent respite whenever we could find a place in the shade to sit for a bit.

 

Path headed to the waterfront and the old ship replicas
  
Map
  
Eagle hainging out and preening feathers near the Old Fort exhibit, with his/her nest nearby (couldn’t get a decent photo of the nest)
  
We saw two of the 3 ships (replicas) that sailed to VA in 1607 to establish America’s first permanent English colony
  
Structure exhibit in the Old Fort area, just below the eagle’s perch
  
Discovery Tower at Jamestown Settlement
   
After seeing the eagle, we headed back to the ‘Burgh to give Kerry and Glo a car-tour of the W&M Campus before we went to Berret’s Seafood restaurant for an early dinner. We saw some women practicing rugby on one of the athletic fields, and just wondered if we might see an old teammate of mine, who is known to be coaching the W&M Women’s team these days. Sure enough, Beth was there, and we had a nice quick chat before she had to go back to doing what she needed to do to shape up the team for participation in a National Sevens tournament coming up this weekend. It was great to see her again, after all these years! Go W&M Women’s Rugby!

Arriving at Berret’s, we were able to walk in and sit outside. The temps by this time had dropped 10 or more degrees, and again, in the shade with the breeze, we were quite comfortable and ate more than we should have. 

Stopped for provisions on the way back, where Gloria bought a little cheesecake for us to enjoy as a birthday treat, and we sat at their campsite, where the breeze had stilled considerably, and I was battling chewing insects (they always like me best), until about 10 when I headed Roomba-ward. 

Hoping to get back on the bikes tomorrow if the weather holds, and enjoy our final day at First Landing by seeing more of the sights and maybe the actual ocean.

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