Virginia Beach – March 2022

Due to the pandemic, it had been over 2 years since Wayne and I stayed in a motel or hotel. With a rare free weekend, however, we made a (slow) run for Virginia Beach, traveling on Rt. 5 between Richmond and Jamestown.

One of the fun things about taking this route is crossing the James River on a ferry.

The forecast had originally called for strong storms on Saturday morning, but instead it was breezy, with bright sunshine and warm temperatures. Glorious! We went to Nick’s on Laskin Road for breakfast, and it was comfortable enough to eat outside.

Our next stop was one of our favorite places: First Landing State Park on 64th Street.

We’ve made many, many trips to this state park, but this time we saw something we’d never seen before–a Bald Eagle! And it was being pursued by two Ospreys!! I wish I could have gotten a picture as they flew overhead, but they were all moving way too fast!

A couple of hours later, we drove to another favorite place: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. About 20 miles south of Virginia Beach, this narrow strip of land lies between between a bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

When we got there, the skies had become overcast and it was very windy. We parked facing Back Bay, opened the windows, reclined the seats, and just relaxed (and dozed) for 20-30 minutes.

In that short amount of time, the clouds moved off, the wind died down a little, and warm sunshine returned. We took the Seaside Trail over the dunes to the ocean, and marveled at the beauty all around us.

Atlantic Ocean at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Spending a day like this provided a much-needed opportunity to relax, reflect, and recharge.

I’m still very cautious about getting into situations involving crowds, but that evening the appeal of going to our favorite seafood buffet restaurant in Virginia Beach led us to take the risk. We wore masks except when we were seated at our table (many other people were doing the same thing), and we enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal.

There was a large and very loud group of people at one end of the room in which we were seated, and when they started singing “Happy Birthday” to someone at their table, everyone in the large dining room joined in! When the song ended–and after the clapping and cheering subsided–someone in the room started singing: “How Old Are You? How Old Are You?” to the same tune, and again everyone sang!

A gentleman at the end of the large table called out, “101 years old!” and there was even more cheering and clapping! Someone, somewhere in the room started singing, “May God Bless You, May God Bless You!” and one more time everyone joined together in song.

I’ll admit that part of me was still concerned at the thought of being in a room with a whole lot of people who were singing, but at the same time it was one of the sweetest and most moving things I’ve experienced in the last couple of years. Indeed, Sir – may God bless you, your family, and everyone else who shared a few moments of spontaneous kindness and humanity in this crazy, stressful world….

When we left the restaurant, we drove back to First Landing just before the park closed. I was delighted to see a Great Blue Heron fly towards us as we were parking. It was really too dark to get a good picture, but I’m always happy to see these big birds.

The next morning we started for home but detoured onto Rt. 17 North towards Yorktown and Gloucester Point. Someday we hope to explore the museums, shops, and restaurants in this area, but on this trip we just wanted to enjoy Gloucester Point Beach Park on the York River for a little while.

George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge
Weathervane on a gazebo at the park
Looking across the York River towards the Yorktown Waterfront
Ring-billed Gulls
Blessings to the York River and to the Chesapeake Bay
View from the fishing pier
Looking for dolphins…. None spotted this time, but we’ve seen them here before!

We crossed back over the bridge, took the scenic Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg, then continued towards home. What a beautiful and restful weekend getaway!

Until next time,

Sharon & Wayne

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