Virginia Beach: The City is Excited about Surfing
Virginia Beach Boasts the Lowest Crime in the U.S., and Excitement about the Future
Last week I flew down to Virginia Beach for a meeting with some of my favorite travel writers and tourism boards. It was the annual Travel South or Southeast Domestic Tourism conference, that brings reps from all of the southern states together with a pack of travel writers, travel agents and tour operators to talk about the many reasons to visit the southern half of the United States.
Every time I make this journey I’m rewarded by renewing my relationships with many travel writers who have become friends, and I always come back with a passel of story ideas and inspiration for future trips down the line.
When I was there I hung out with my best buds Kim Schneider and Deb Thompson as well as regular GoNOMAD contributor Jackie Finch and our host, Ruth Sykes, who always makes everyone feel welcome and takes care of the details.
My 8th-floor perch at the new Hampton Inn down the street was first-rate. The striking view of Virginia Beach’s immense stretch of sand, a full 13 miles long, was the highlight.
The city has an interesting collection of attractions and highlights, along with their precious wide brown sand. Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia and is the safest large city in the U.S. we learned from the mayor, Robert Dyer.
In late August, the city’s Coastal Edge Surf Shop will be a sponsor of the East Coast Surfing Championships, we learned from the city’s mayor. This event takes place over eight city blocks and brings surfers from 44 different countries to compete for cash and honors. Sponsors include the surf shop and Van’s, and this is a very big deal for the city.
Wes Laine, a competitive surfer in his day, commented on some of the finer points of catching waves and what they do when there are no waves. The answer? Send burning surfboards out to sea. It seemed to do the trick a few years ago.
We toured what undoubtedly is the best of the bunch of the city’s hotels with a visit to the elegant Cavalier Hotel, built in the 1920s, complete with its own beachside beach club.
We learned about tours that take visitors out to shuck oysters and found out about this crop that’s raised in beds beside the ocean and is growing in size and popularity.
Unfortunately, we were not served any oysters at the Cavalier, but the eggs benedict with crab was a fine substitute.
Some of our group got out onto a boat in the chilly Chesapeake Bay with Rudees Tours to take in the view of some of the migrating humpback whales that make a stop here every season.
While I didn’t catch any tails in the air like my friend Kim did, we all got a good gander at these large mammals spouting as they surfaced in the chilly water.
Other highlights of the city we visited were the late Edgar Cayce’s ACE Center, a library and conference center devoted to this famous medium who predicted the future and had a giant impact on the study of dreams and fortunes.
We also got a chance to tour the Virginia Aquarium and get up close with some Komodo dragons, the meet a mermaid.
While in the off-season on the main thoroughfare of Virginia Beach can be a little grim, imagining it filled with beach-goers when the warm weather comes is indeed a worthy vision.