Paying A Visit to the City of Norfolk
The charming Chesapeake Bay waterfront City of Norfolk, located in the heart of coastal Virginia between Newport News and the popular Virginia Beach tourist area, is intersected by two primary interstate highways, I-264 and I-64. The center of the city is also within shouting distance of Interstate 664.
The Largest Naval Station in the World
Norfolk is home to Naval Station Norfolk, which owns the title of being the world’s largest naval station, home to 75 naval vessels and 134 naval aircraft. Naval Station Norfolk is also home to one of the famed WW II battleships, the USS Wisconsin. Naval Station Norfolk acts as the logistics hub for naval operations in the Caribbean and in the European and Central Command theaters of operations. Nearby is Nauticus, Norfolk’s sailing center from where you can set sail on Chesapeake Bay or travel up the Elizabeth River.
Cruise Ship Port of Call
The City of Norfolk is also a port of call for cruise ships bound for Bermuda and the Caribbean. While waiting to embark on your cruise you may want to spend some time visiting the cruise ship terminal’s collection of ocean liner artifacts, said to be the largest privately-owned collection of its kind in the world. Here you will also find 400 year old artifacts from Virginia’s famed Jamestown colony. The modernistic terminal, named the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, is well worth a visit even if you don’t have a cruise in mind.
Go Tides! Go Admirals!
While Norfolk has a great deal to offer in the way of water sports and outdoor activities including fishing, golf, boating, or just going to the beach. There is also something for those who like to participate in sports as spectators. During baseball season you can take to Norfolk’s fine ballpark to watch the Tides, minor league affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles. In the winter, it’s Admirals ice hockey. There’s also the Northside Skate Park. The Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. It is widely used by both experienced and inexperienced skateboarders, bikers (BMX bikes only), and in-line skaters.
Visit a University Campus – Become a Maniac
Norfolk is the home of Old Dominion University. At one time an extension of William and Mary University, Old Dominion now stands proudly on its own. Campus tours are available, or you can tour the campus on your own. If you enjoy football or one of the other collegiate sports, try taking in one of the Monarch’s events. You might even find yourself becoming a ‘Monarch Maniac.’
A Never Ending Parade of Festivals and Events
If you plan to be in the City of Norfolk area it would be well worth timing your visit to coincide with one of Norfolk’s many festivals and events. That isn’t hard to do as there is something going on almost anytime of the year. One of the feature events is Norfolk Harborfest, billed as the East Coast’s premier waterfront festivals. Harborfest features the largest annual fireworks display on the East Coast, visits by upwards to 200 ships, and on special occasions, visits by one or more of everyone’s favorite, the famous tall ships.
Norfolk also hosts the annual AT&T Fourth of July Great American Picnic and Fireworks event, an annual Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival, the Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, and the Norfolk Jazz festival. These are just a few of roughly 75 festivals and events that are held in and around the city every year.
Getting Around is Easy
Getting around Norfolk is rarely a problem. Although the city’s population exceeds 200,000 the major points of interest in the downtown area and waterfront area are mostly within walking distance of one another. Taxis and rental cars are always available and Hampton Roads Transit is there if you need to travel longer distances. You can take The Tide from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center to the Border of Virginia Beach, or get off at one of the eleven stops along the way. Stops include MacArthur Park, where a memorial statue of the famous World War II and Korean War general is located, the Civil Plaza, and Harbor Park.
The Hermitage is Well Worth a Visit
While Norfolk is home to several museums, a botanical garden, and a zoo, a museum well worth visiting would be the Hermitage Museum and Gardens. The centerpiece of the museum and gardens is the Arts and Crafts style mansion built in 1908 as a summer house, and expanded to 42 rooms in 1936. The building was first a residence, but its owners the Sloan family eventually transformed it into a museum to promote the Arts and Crafts. Seeing the interior of the building itself is rewarding but of primary interest are the fifteen galleries filled with Sloan family art collection which features not only paintings but sculptures, fine furniture, and historical artifacts.
There is much to see in Norfolk by simply visiting downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods on foot. The city has an attractive setting and no matter where you are in the city, you are never all that far away from Chesapeake Bay.