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Attractions Attractions the Peninsula

July 16, 2008

virginia beach

The Oceanfront …

Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront offers visitors 12 miles of public beach stretching from Fort Story south to Sandbridge. Visitors can surf, swim, bask in the sun and stroll the three-mile Boardwalk. Entertainment includes concerts at the 17th and 24th Street stages, a summer-long series of festivals and celebrations, and fireworks shows through July and August. The main resort area, from First to 40th streets, has lifeguards in season, with surfing allowed between Third and Fifth streets. The Oceanfront also has public restrooms, public and private parking, and wooden walkways to the beach. The Atlantic Avenue Trolley runs between Second and 41st streets, May through September. (Convention and Visitors Center: 800-VA-BEACH, www.vbfun.com) The beaches north of the resort area, in a residential area, are quieter, but parking is scarce and public facilities are limited.

… And beyond

South of the resort area are Croatan Beach, Sandbridge Public Beach, and Little Island Park, all with lifeguards during season. Croatan has a popular, and sometimes crowded, surfing area. Little Island Park, near the edge of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, has a fishing pier, concessions, picnic shelters and playground. The beach on one side of its pier is dedicated to surfing; on the other is a 2,000-foot beach for swimmers.

On the wilder side

Virginia Beach’s refuges and state parks offer some beach access, plus the chance to spy on birds, dolphins, turtles and other creatures.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, south of Sandbridge, allows visitors to hike the freshwater marsh trails, bike on the dike roads or take a tram ride to nearby False Cape State Par k.

First Landing State Park is perfect for those who want to combine sunbathing and swimming with their walk on the wild side. Located on Shore Drive, the park has a swimming beach.

norfolk

The Ocean View beaches, along the Chesapeake Bay, are local favorites where the waves are gentle and the crowds manageable. The city maintains three beach parks, staffed by lifeguards in season, along the 71/2 miles of beaches off Ocean View Avenue. Ocean View Park, 100 W. Ocean View Ave., is home to a boardwalk and hosts a series of special events, including concerts, festivals and fireworks. There’s also Sarah Constant Beach Park, at the intersection of Tidewater Drive and virginia beach

The Oceanfront …

Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront offers visitors 12 miles of public beach stretching from Fort Story south to Sandbridge. Visitors can surf, swim, bask in the sun and stroll the three-mile Boardwalk. Entertainment includes concerts at the 17th and 24th Street stages, a summer-long series of festivals and celebrations, and fireworks shows through July and August. The main resort area, from First to 40th streets, has lifeguards in season, with surfing allowed between Third and Fifth streets. The Oceanfront also has public restrooms, public and private parking, and wooden walkways to the beach. The Atlantic Avenue Trolley runs between Second and 41st streets, May through September. (Convention and Visitors Center: 800-VA-BEACH, www.vbfun.com) The beaches north of the resort area, in a residential area, are quieter, but parking is scarce and public facilities are limited.

… And beyond

South of the resort area are Croatan Beach, Sandbridge Public Beach, and Little Island Park, all with lifeguards during season. Croatan has a popular, and sometimes crowded, surfing area. Little Island Park, near the edge of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, has a fishing pier, concessions, picnic shelters and playground. The beach on one side of its pier is dedicated to surfing; on the other is a 2,000-foot beach for swimmers.

On the wilder side

Virginia Beach’s refuges and state parks offer some beach access, plus the chance to spy on birds, dolphins, turtles and other creatures.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, south of Sandbridge, allows visitors to hike the freshwater marsh trails, bike on the dike roads or take a tram ride to nearby False Cape State Par k.

First Landing State Park is perfect for those who want to combine sunbathing and swimming with their walk on the wild side. Located on Shore Drive, the park has a swimming beach.

norfolk

The Ocean View beaches, along the Chesapeake Bay, are local favorites where the waves are gentle and the crowds manageable. The city maintains three beach parks, staffed by lifeguards in season, along the 71/2 miles of beaches off Ocean View Avenue. Ocean View Park, 100 W. Ocean View Ave., is home to a boardwalk and hosts a series of special events, including concerts, festivals and fireworks. There’s also Sarah Constant Beach Park, at the intersection of Tidewater Drive and attractions

Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum

57 N. Mary Peake Blvd., Hampton, (757) 826-8231, www.hfag.org. Open by appointment.

This museum is housed in a 1930s home in a historic neighborhood built by and for black shipyard workers as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Subsistence Homestead Project.

Air Power Park and Museum

413 W. Mercury Blvd., Hampton, (757) 727-1163, www.hamptoncvb.com. Open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Free.

The display includes jets, missiles, rockets and space artifacts.

Beaches

Details, Page 17

Busch Gardens Europe

1 Busch Gardens Blvd., Williamsburg, (off S.R. 60/I-64 exit 243A), (800) 343-7946, www.buschgardens.com. Call for hours and rates.

Busch Gardens Europe has expanded both the offerings at Jack Hannah’s Wild Reserve and its tributes to a different sort of wildness – hair-raising rides of every sort. It has the tallest, most twisted inverted coaster, the Alpengeist; the world’s tallest dive coaster, the Griffon; and a coaster, Apollo’s Chariot, that give riders moments of weightlessness.

casemate Museum at Fort Monroe

Entrance at Mellen Street in Phoebus in Hampton. (757) 788-3391, www.hamptoncvb. com. Open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Free. Photo ID required to enter base.

Displays are mounted inside the walls of the largest stone fort ever built in the nation. The museum features the cell where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned.

Charles H. Taylor Arts Center

4205 Victoria Blvd, Hampton, (757) 727-1490, hamptonarts.net/ arts_center/index.php. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 1- 5 p.m. weekends. Free.

This gallery offers changing exhibits of regional and national artists and offers classes.

Colonial National Historical Park & Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield: Off Rt. 17, Yorktown, (757) 898-2410, www.nps.gov/york/ index.htm

Yorktown Victory Center: 260 Water Street, Route 1020, Yorktown, (757) 253-4838 or (888) 593-4682, www.historyisfun.org/Yorktown- Victory-Center.htm

George Washington’s victory at Yorktown effectively ended the Revolutionary War and set the stage for American independence. The Colonial National Historical Park offers walking tours of the British siege defenses, the town and artillery demonstrations. The Yorktown Vict ory Center features indoor galleries and an outdoor re- creation of Continental Army encampments.

Colonial Williamsburg

Details, Page 29

Cousteau Society

710 Settlers Landing Road, Hampton, (757) 722-9300, www.cousteau.org. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; call for winter hours. Free.

This waterfront gallery is the U.S. headquarters for the Cousteau Society, founded by famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. The gallery displays photographs, models of the Alcyone and the Calypso, as well as artifacts from Cousteau expeditions.

Endview Plantation

362 Yorktown Road, Newport News, (757) 887-1862, www.endview.org. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Wednesdays, January through March. Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for children 7 and older, $5 for seniors.

This 1769 Georgian-style house and plantation is open for tours and hosts Civil War-themed events, living history programs, summer camps, a ghost walk and Christmas programs.

Hampton UNIVERSITY MUSEUM

Details, Page 29

Hampton History Museum

120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton, (757) 727-1610, www.hampton.va.us/ history_museum/. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1- 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for children 4 to 12, seniors, and active military and NASA.

This museum focuses on the history of the city, with research materials and exhibits that include displays on Native Americans, the city’s role in the Civil War and modern artifacts.

Great Wolf Lodge

549 E. Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg. (800) 551-WOLF, www.greatwolf.com. Call for hours and rates.

This resort with a year-round indoor water park includes two restaurants, children’s craft area, outdoor pool, a spa and a live- action fantasy adventure game for guests. The 67,000-square-foot waterpark has nine waterslides, four pools, a treehouse water fort and a tipping water bucket that holds nearly 1,000 gallons.

Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement: 2218 Jamestown Road, off Route 31 S., (757) 253-4838 or (888) 593-4682, www.historyisfun.org/Jamestown- Settlement. htm

Historic Jamestowne: Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, (757) 229- 1733, historicjames towne.org

Visitors to Jamestown Settlement, a living history park celebrating England’s first permanent settlement in the New World, can board re-creations of the three ships that brought colonists to Virginia in 1607. The settlement also includes a Powhatan village and costumed interpreters and exhibits that explore the lives of Europeans, Powhatans and Africans in 17th-century Virginia. Next door, at Historic Jamestowne, visitors can see archaeologists excavating the site of the 1607 fort, stroll through the ruins of many of the settlement’s original buildings and talk with glass blowers demonstrating their work at the Glasshouse.

Langley Speedway

Details, Page 35

Lee Hall MANSION

163 Yorktown Road, Newport News, (757) 888-3371, www.leehall.org. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Wednesdays, January through March. Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for children 7 and older, $5 for seniors

Lee Hall Mansion, a only large antebellum plantation house, was used as a Confederate headquarters in 1862 before Union forces overtook the area. The restored mansion documents the Civil War’s 1862 Peninsula Campaign.

The Mariners’ Museum

Details, Page 29

Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center

2803 Oak Ave., Newport News, (757) 247-2360, www.newsomehouse.org. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

This restored 1899 home is a museum devoted to cultural and historical issues.

Peninsula Fine Arts Center

Details, Page 29

Riverwalk Downtown

Yorktown, (757) 890-3500, www.yorkcounty.gov

The Riverwalk complex on the York River is the anchor for the town’s two-acre public beach, with fine dining, an ice cream shop, boutiques and sightseeing cruises. Showers are open April through mid-October.

Tours

Downtown Hampton A walking tour of downtown Hampton takes strollers back to the 1600s. The tour begins at the Hampton Visitor Center and winds past sites that include Hampton University, Fort Monroe and the Booker T. Washington Memorial. Self-guided. For a brochure, (775) 722-1102, www.hamptoncvb.com

Hampton University Self-guided driving and walking tours look at sites at the historically black college. (757) 727-5000, www.hamptonu.edu.

Peninsula Campaign Follow the route of the Civil War’s Peninsula Campaign. Maps are available for a self-guided driving tour, or an escorted tour can be arranged. (757) 926-1400, www.peninsulacampaign.org

U.S. Army Transportation Museum

Details, Page 29

Virginia Air & Space Center

Details, Page 29

the VIrginia Living Museum

Details, Page 29

Virginia War Museum

Details, Page 29

Water Country USA

176 Water Country Parkway, Williamsburg, (off S.R. 199), (800) 343-7946, www. watercountryusa.com

Water Country USA, the mid-Atlantic’s largest water park, is a popular spot for getting soaked. This year, the park adds Rock ‘n’ Roll Island, with three body slides emptying into a 9,000-square- foot pool surrounded by a more sedate 700-foot “lazy river.” The water park, built with a ’50s and ’60s surf theme, includes more than 30 slides and rides and rental cabanas for those who want an island of privacy in the park.

Watermen’s Museum

309 Water St., Yorktown, (757) 887-2641, www.watermens.org. Admission: $4 adults, $1 students K-12. Days and hours vary by season.

This museum preserves and interprets the traditions of fishing, crabbing, oystering and clamming. Events hosted by the museum inclue TGIF parties May through Octoer, the Watermen’s Heritage Celebration in July and the Yorktown Tea Party in November.

York River State Park

5526 Riverview Road, (757) 566-3036

Eleven miles west of Williamsburg, this park offers a look at the wildlife of a coastal estuary and includes more than 25 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, fishing and boat rentals. You can meet Patrick Henry – granted, he’s an actor – here or find yourself living next door to a real live rocket scientist. In few places do the past and the future come together as on the Peninsula.

The first permanent British settlement occurred here, at Jamestown. The Peninsula is home to Colonial Williamsburg, with its restored 18th-century buildings, and the College of William and Mary, the nation’s second-oldest college. We won our freedom against the British at York- town. Need we say more?

Not far away at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, where Project Mercury was born and where many astronauts were trained, scientists are at work creating new technology to take us who knows where. The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News is a leader in nuclear physics research.

Folks who are content to keep both feet in the present will tell you that the Peninsula – from Hampton to James City County – is a pretty good place to live.

Newport News, the most-populous city, has more than 30 parks. Known for its tree-lined neighborhoods, the city is taking on more of an urban feel with the development of City Center at Oyster Point, with its luxury apartments and condos in a mixed-use setting, and Port Warwick. Northrop Grumman Newport News, formerly Newport News Shipbuilding, is the region’s largest employer.

Of course, history is everywhere. The Mariners’ Museum, where you can relive the epic Monitor-Merrimac Civil War battle and see the restoration of the Monitor’s turret, is one of a number of excellent museums. You will also find The Virginia Living Museum and the Virginia War Museum. If plantations and historic homes are your thing, Lee Hall Mansion and the Endview Plantation are among many.

Pockets of tranquility peek out up and down the Peninsula. Hampton combines a small-town feel with a beautiful waterfront setting. It’s the home of Fort Monroe and Hampton University.

Tourism is vital on the Peninsula. Hundreds of thousands travel the Colonial Parkway and visit the Historic Triangle – Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown. And just as many come to spend a day at Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA.

Whatever century you are living in, the Peninsula has something to offer.

– Fred Kirsch

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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