Instead of buying each other gifts this Christmas, Wayne and I decided to treat ourselves to a night at Virginia Beach. Off-season rates made an oceanfront hotel pretty affordable, so we left the house on the morning of Saturday, December 22nd and headed east.
Usually we’ve tried to make this trip a couple of times a year, but I realized that our last stay at the beach had been in June 2017. We were long overdue!
We stopped just west of Richmond to visit with one of Wayne’s brothers for a while. Then, after going around Richmond on I-64 and 295, we continued our eastward trek on scenic Rt. 5.
While it’s a much slower way to get to the ocean, we’ve always enjoyed how the road closely parallels the James River. As usual when we take this route, we stopped at Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park near Charles City, VA.
After days and days of heavy rain, the river was high, fast-flowing and muddy.
The temperature was in the upper 40s with a steady breeze, so we spent a few minute scanning the sky and surrounding trees for Bald Eagles (which we’ve seen there several times), then hopped back in the car.
On the way back to the main road, a Bald Eagle flew over the car and we were able to snap a quick picture. Nice!
We arrived at the Jamestown-Scotland ferry a little after 1:00 pm and had to wait 10-15 minutes on the bridge for the ferry to arrive. Crossing the James this way is another favorite thing about taking this route!
While it was a little warmer, it was really windy!
After crossing the James, this route takes us through Surry, Smithfield, and other small towns before we finally arrive in Virginia Beach. Check-in time at the hotel was 4 pm, and since we were there a little early we decided to go directly to First Landing State Park–the part that you enter from 64th Street in Virginia Beach. It’s absolutely one of my favorite places, and as the sun dropped lower the sky, the light became magical…
Such a beautiful evening!
Sometimes we see dozens and dozens of large birds, but this time there were very few. I spotted a hawk in a tree, but the camera we were using didn’t have a zoom powerful enough to get a good picture.
We then saw some sort of heron in a tree. It appeared darker in color than a Great Blue Heron, but it’s possible it was a juvenile.
It was almost dark by the time we left the park, and we decided to go get dinner before checking in at the hotel. While we did miss seeing the full moon rise over the ocean, eating at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant is always a special treat!
It was one of those nights that we completely skipped the salads and vegetables and went straight for the seafood–especially the crab legs! Absolutely delicious!
We finally went to the hotel, checked in, then bundled up and walked along the boardwalk. The moon over the ocean was still beautiful, and the next morning was beyond beautiful….
When we went to Maine in 2013, Wayne wrote the word “TIME” in the sand and let the waves wash it away. It’s become somewhat of a tradition now whenever we’re near an ocean:
I decided that we also needed to let the ocean wash away “STRESS”–but I found that wasn’t quite as easy…. 😉
We stayed on the beach until it was nearly time to check out of the hotel, and even then it was hard to leave–such a gorgeous day!
Indeed, Merry Christmas to us!
Until next time, VA Beach, much love!