Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Hampton Roads Bucket List

It is almost September and I feel like I am going to blink and open my eyes surrounded by boxes and maps pointing us toward the Midwest.  Johnny and I have lived in the Hampton Roads area for total of seven years now.  From 2003 until 2008 we experienced the area as newlyweds.  From early 2011 until now we experienced it as parents.  I like to think that we are active and always on the lookout for new things to do, interesting places to eat, and local gems.

I am a huge (HUGE) Norfolk cheerleader.  Don't even begin the typical "ohmygosh, Norfolk is so ghetto and the only place any self respecting yuppy can live is in Virginia Beach or Chesapeake" around me.  I'll cut you.  Shoot, does that make me sound like I'm from Norfolk?  I kid.  But really, I absolutely adore Norfolk and all of the charm and character this small city has to offer. 

But this isn't a post about where to live or who has the best community pool or local elementary school.  This post is my wish list for the activities I want to do before I leave.  Some are new to me, others are things that I love and want to experience at least once before we go.

My HR Bucket List:

1.  Visit Jockey's Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks.  We are less than two hours from OBX and this park is supposed to be beautiful.  It is also supposed to be an amazing way for toddlers to burn energy.  Win win.

2.  Go on a hay ride at Hunt Club this October.  Cute little Hunt Club has come a long way in the past 10 years.  We have visited a few times since moving back, but I really want to go on the hay ride with Kate and Connor.  I also want to see Connor in their gigantic hay pile.  I might lose him. 

3.  Go for a long run at First Landing State ParkThis will likely be a solo activity but as the weather cools I really want to drive here and enjoy their miles of trails and bridges one last time.  Cool fall air and crunchy leaves under my feet sounds divine.

4.  Take Kate and Connor to a Norfolk Tides game.  Norfolk has great minor league sports and I think that the smaller atmosphere makes for great family evenings. 

5.  Go on a date night and experience an evening of cheesy Virginia Beach Boardwalk fun.  Did you know that Virginia Beach is technically the "world's largest resort city"?  And the "boardwalk" (said in quotes because it is concrete - not wood) is over three miles long? It is a mecca of spoon-fed-fun and traditional beach kitsch.  Snow cones, huge beach-wear stores, street side magicians, seafood restaurants, over the top mini golf, and great people watching are all easily found in VA Beach.

6.  Rent a surrey and cruise down the beach.  These are hugely popular and hugely annoying.  But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

7.  Eat at my favorite restaurants one more time.  These include Norfolk classics like Fellini's, Baker's Crust, and No Frill Bar and Grill.  I'd also like to hit up Luna Maya, Chick's Oyster Bar, Zia Marie's, and One Fish Two Fish one more time before we head to the land of red meat and BBQ.  

8.  Explore the last few nooks and crannies of Norfolk.  I consider myself a connoisseur of Norfolk in general.  I love the old neighborhoods, classic homes, big trees, and charming shops.  Everyone is familiar with Ghent, West Ghent, and Larchmont.  But there are areas like The Freemason District, with its cobblestone streets and sweet corner shops, that I have yet to experience.  Hopefully I can go for a walk on the cobblestone streets and grab a cup of coffee at Cure before we move.

9.  Go to a football game at Old Dominion UniversityWe live less than a mile from this University and the football team is only a few years old.  One day this fall I would like to strap the kids in the stroller and walk to a game.   I would prefer to go to the game where they play Villanova (10/13), but I won't be picky.

10.  Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.  If all goes as we hope, we won't be back on the east coast for several years.  I am going to miss this view. 


Whew! Those are my top 10 and I am exhausted just thinking about it.  Hopefully we can make the most of the next three and a half months. 

If you have any recommendations for "must sees" in the Hampton Roads area, sound off in the comments section!


Angie said...

I don't have suggestions, but thank you for this list! If everything goes as planned for my husband, we will be in Norfolk by next fall and I love to hear about the things to do. It is nice to hear that Norfolk itself is a great place to live. We can't afford Virginia Beach right now, so I have been looking at places within Norfolk to live.

LocalvoreFarmGirl said...

Well now that made me depressed. :-( I too am one of Norfolk's biggest cheerleaders and miss it everyday.
We are taking our romantic 4 year anniversary trip back and I may use your list of our list!! :-)
Love and honor to Norfolk 4EVer? Should we get tattoos?

Sarah said...

You should do the 8k Run Like A Girl for ovarian cancer at First Landing!! It's October 21st! You can join my team "The Whoo Girls" if you'd like :)
Also, the sunset is on my list as well! I did a sunset paddle board lesson a month ago and it was amazing! I want to do another one just for fun!
I live in VB, but really really close to the Norfolk line. Norfolk is cute and definitely has a cool vibe at times.
You have a good list going!

Kellee said...

Sounds like a fun list! I just moved to HR two weeks ago, but live up on the peninsula (hubby is at Langley). I'll have to venture south to check out some of your must-sees. When you're in Kansas, try to make it up to Omaha, NE for a weekend - AWESOME zoo and children's museum.

Anne Marie said...

I highly recommend checking our Baja Cantina on 23rd street in Virginia Beach. An Admirals hockey game if you have time. Skinny Dip frozen yogurt, because it really is the best. Check out some of the Plantation homes in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach (the ones in Williamsburg are a bit better in my opinion). If you like history, there is so much history all over Hampton Roads, and the homes are beautiful.
Also, the Beere Garden (spelling might be off) in Portsmouth is very good, they have amazing fries and over 300 beers! Their is also the Childrens Museum in Portsmouth that is worth a trip to as well as the Aquarium in Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach is home for me, and I miss being stationed there. Good Luck on your new adventure!

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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