24 May 2010


Rough night for both CA and I. Over-stimulated and over-tired we finally sink into deep sleep and don’t roll out of bed until 10:00am EDT. That’s O.K. We’re on vacation and in the Eastern Time Zone…

Since we’re getting a late start we share a bagel with peanut butter in our studio and decide that we’ll rent bikes and explore The Narrows—a beach area we’ve never visited. Before we head out I realize that I missed a free yoga session at 8:30am. Oh well, it’s free on Wednesday, too. I’ll just pay for the 5:30pm Essential Yoga class.

Our beach bikes are basic design with pedal brakes, and I love mine. CA is missing his hand brakes, but not me. We have about one mile of bike path along the board walk It goes 3-1/2 miles in all; 2-1/2 miles south of OBC.), and then we hit the sidewalks along Atlantic Avenue (legal). At 40th Street we turn toward the Atlantic Ocean and find the lovely winding lane that runs just one house in from the beach—Ocean Front Avenue. The beach cottages! Oh, my! I need photos! But, we are on a mission…

At 64th Street we make a left turn and cross Atlantic and continue on 64th to the entrance to First Landing State Park and Natural Area. The signs tell us we can only bike on the Cape Henry Trail, so we take the right turn and off we go into the forest along paths strewn with pine needles and still a bit muddy in spots. About 2 miles in, a runner stops to talk and we discover that The Narrows are not this direction. This trail takes us to another northern entrance to First Landing! Oh, well. We’re getting great exercise and enjoying our bikes. (We won’t talk about our butts…)

We continue along, thinking we will ride our bikes along south Shore Drive. The cute UVA student at the guard booth recommends strongly that we not ride along Shore Drive because the traffic there does 55 mph and there are no sidewalks and not much shoulder.

So, we turn around and head back the way we came. Still a beautiful ride and we are feeling noble and self righteous because of all this healthy exercise!

As we head past the first guard house and wave good-day to the young woman there, and up the last hill, I decide to double back and ask about the path to The Narrows. Turns out we should have turned left over the bridge just catty-corner from her guard house. We thought bikes weren’t allowed that direction, but she encourages us on.

This new trail takes us about 1-1/2 miles into what the tourist lit says,

At the end of 64th Street lies “The Narrows”. The weird thing is you take a left of Atlantic Avenue to get there, if you are heading north. You’ll see First Landing State Park entrance at the end. .. There is a boat ramp, beach, and fishing area that abut Broad Bay. This is one of the loveliest sights in Virginia Beach! Broad Bay is just that—“broad”. It is breathtakingly beautiful! There is lots of boat traffic, which creates an ever-changing and entertaining view. Biking and hiking trails add to the versatility of this great area!

We walk our bikes along the shore near the end of the trail and take a few photos. A couple of young women are trying without much success to land some blue crabs with the traditional bait of chicken wings on a string, while holding a net for the capture. There’s not boat traffic today, but the views are still spectacular and Broad Bay is peaceful and translucent. There’s a bit of a tide… It’s not a sunny day, but it’s easy to imagine how spectacular all this would be on a sunny Spring day. It’s dazzlingly even on this cloudy one.

We’ve contracted for just two hours on these bikes (for a special buy one hour, get one hour free rate) for a total of $12. By the time we reached the second entrance to First Landing and the second guard house, we’d decided we’ll keep these blue bad boy and pink good girl bikes out for a third hour…

CA suggests we cut down to a quiet road that runs just a bit away from the beach to speed up our return biking. We tell the nice girl at the 64th street entrance “Good day” again, and double back the way we came across 64th to 63rd and Ocean Front Avenue, stopping many, many times for beach cottage and garden photos.

We detour along the sidewalks on Atlantic Avenue and then back onto the bike trail at 40th Street until we’re back at the Sheraton saddle sore and ready for lunch. A lovely day so far.

We take the elevator to our studio on the 15th floor for a quick clean-up and then down Atlantic to π Pizzeria and share a pizza Margarita and garden salad.

After returning to our room, I luxuriate with a hot shower and shampoo—catching a quick 30 minute rest before walking across the street to Oceanfront Yoga & Fitness for a 5:30pm yoga stretch class. Lovely! I make arrangements to purchase a punch card for the remainder of the week and look forward to 5 more classes.

While I am stretching and yoga-fying, CA goes to Fresh Market for a few grocery items. We’ve already decided we won’t need dinner tonight, and tomorrow night we are going to watch the Norfolk Tides (AAA Baltimore Orioles Farm Team) play some baseball at Harbor Front Park. When we lived here in the 1970s, the AAA team was a Mets Farm Team, and was called the Tidewater Tides.

We’ll drive the 20 minutes or so to Norfolk early afternoon and explore some familiar and not-so-familiar haunts. We’ll see what’s changed, what’s been improved, and brush off some almost 40-year old memories. DM was born while we lived in Norfolk. We made some life-long friends during CA’s Navy years, and I discovered some of my enduring interests while living here.

In Norfolk, I knew I wanted to finish a college degree—most of my friends during those years had at least acquired BA/BS degrees and I felt inferior. My friend Karen had a beautifully decorated Country Living-ready home, and I fell in love with the style. That trip awakened my years of antiquing and my love for folk art and well-made reproductions. I learned my chili recipe from Sally, and also adopted her vegetable soup and Key lime pie recipes. My foodie roots are here.

Any-hoo… We’re settling in for a night of reading and television. Our muscles are stretched and are bones are crunched. We’ve earned our self-congratulatory smugness.

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