Days are longer, breezes kinder, and we are feeling the urge to dig our toes in sand and raise our faces to the sun (properly covered in sunscreen, of course) while relaxing to the sound of the gentle waves.
Among so many reasons Norfolk is wonderful is that we have 7.5 miles of beaches right in our backyard. With the nearly completed nourishment project, our beaches are beautiful, family-friendly, and a resource we often overlook. The beaches in OV have relatively easy access, free parking, are kid- and pet-friendly, and have calm waves to promote safe play for littles and relaxation for bigs.
It’s time to bring those indoor activities outside, to join with the rhythms and sounds of the Chesapeake Bay. Time to practice sun salutations into the sunset. Time to celebrate the weekend’s arrival with a drum circle, or search for treasure hidden in geoaches along the beaches. Time for a Saturday morning sand soccer game or a run with the lifeguards.
“Play isn’t just for the young, and it won’t be long until Norfolk’s beaches are teaming with people, young and old, looking for some fun in the sun and to enjoy the water,” said Darrell R. Crittendon, Director of Recreation, Parks and Open Space for Norfolk.
Originally a destination for Mid-Atlantic residents to beat the heat, OV quickly became a “hot spot” for summer fun, resulting in a dedicated trolley line, and amusement park, and vacation homes. Personal autos saw the demise of the trolley. The amusement park shut down, quite literally, with a bang, in a made-for-TV moment.
Since then, the vacation homes have become permanent places for beach lovers to call home sweet home.
Also calling OV home are live oaks, which thrive in salty soil, hence their proximity to the beaches. This is the northernmost border for these trees, which can live more than several hundred years. Added bonus: their bendy, twisty, sturdy limbs beckon young climbers to explore the space among the leaves.
Watching the horizon, you’ll spot brown pelicans flying in lines low over the water in search of prey. Further into the distance are the giant container ships moving in and out of the Port of Virginia, connecting Norfolk to the rest of the world. As the sun sets, tiny ghost crabs emerge to hunt for food and the next day’s space. Horseshoe crabs can be spotted in the tidal flow, and their rope-like eggsacks can be seen…everywhere. And every now and then, fireworks from a distant celebration can be ooohed and aahed.
We’re not the only ones drawn to the beaches this time of the year. We bet you are too. Recreation, Parks, & Open Space is looking for partners to add fun and energy to our OV beaches. Want to bring your yoga students to the beach? Lead tai chi at dawn? How about getting in on an Independence Day Parade a’la Dr. Seuss’ Navy? Have your own ideas for family fun in the sand and surf? Get in touch with me at 823-4376 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help make OV beach memories!