The colossal statue of King Neptune on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Compare Neptune's size to the bike rider!

Compare Neptune’s size to the bike rider!

September of 2005 saw the grand unveiling of an awesome sight on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Where 31st Street intersects Atlantic Avenue, a 34′ tall bronze statue of the famous King Neptune gazes over the city as he emerges from the depths of the sea. Well, OK, he maybe isn’t coming out of the sea but he is sure impressive!

The artwork is the masterpiece of artist Paul DiPasquale’ a well known sculptor from Richmond, Virginia. Neptune grips his trident in his right hand while he “palms” a huge sea turtle in his left hand. He is surrounded by many other seas creatures, including dolphins and a massive octopus. The details in both Neptune and the sea creatures are breathtaking. This statue is adjacent to Neptune’s Park, site of many events held on the beach during both the summer season and the off season as well.

Neptune and his turtle

Neptune and his turtle

The octopus on the statue base

The octopus on the statue base

A trip to meet King Neptune is a must when you visit Virginia Beach, Virginia. You will be impressed!

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Virginia Beach Steak & Shake falls way short in quality of service

We were very disappointed with our stop at the Steak and Shake at 1676 General Booth Blvd.in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Sher and I were with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter looking for a place to grab a bite of lunch. Normally we enjoy Steak and Shake. This restaurant fell far short of the usual good service provided by this chain.

The problems began with the “host” who thought our party of five was a party of two, thus giving two tables to larger parties who arrived after us. Once seated (rather crowded in a booth designed for four) our waitress took our drink orders. After a long wait, drinks arrived. Two of our four shakes were not even close to what was ordered. The waitress took the drinks  back after she took our food order.

As served, very thin patties, no lettuce, tomato or onion

As served, very thin patties, no lettuce, tomato or onion

The food took a long time to arrive, and our son’s double came plain without the fixings as was ordered. He said bring the tomato, lettuce and onion on a plate instead of sending the sandwich back. The meat patties were also very very thin, much thinner than normal. (See picture)

Sher never did get her shake during the time we all ate. The waitress said that she had to get the reorder in line and it took that long. Hmm…You would think that a mistake would be corrected first.

This restaurant opened in September of 2015, Management better sharpen things up if it wants to stay open. As of now, I would have to say avoid the Steak and Shake on General Booth Blvd. in Virginia Beach.

Fun at Virginia Beach beaches

Sometimes the weather conditions can be a little rough for enjoying the boardwalk and beaches at Virginia Beach. However the city has added features to the beach scene that provide families the opportunity to use the beach even on cool and blustery days.

A unique beach park and playground

A unique beach park and playground

A imaginative park design

A imaginative park design

There have been many additions to the beach since our last visit. The Grommet Island park and playground has really nice  playground equipment with some whimsical features. Our granddaughter enjoyed playing in this park when we went to the beach during a recent trip to visit our family.

A blustery day

A blustery day

A few folks enjoying the boardwalk

A few folks enjoying the boardwalk

We liked seeing the pelicans flying overhead

 

Virginia Beach Virginia KOA is nearly a perfect campground

Trademark big chair near the office/store

Trademark big chair near the office/store

The KOA at Virginia Beach provided Sher and I a perfect place to stay and share with our family over the past July 4th holiday weekend. I was pleased that we were able to get a spot over the holiday, and doubly pleased with the location of our camping space.  We were placed in a spot on the first row next to the store/pools and other amenities. This gave us an easy, short walk to the pool!

Our spot was a pull through with all utilities, including cable TV and a very strong WiFi connection. The parking was level for our 24′ Thor Four Winds. There was a picnic table and permanent fire ring. Our only problem with the site came with the rain that hit a couple of times. Our site drainage was poor and we had quite a puddle outside our door until it slowly drained away. Our site was long enough to allow our family to park their car behind our RV. All in all the site was very nice.

Our comfortable site for five nights

Our comfortable site for five nights

Office and store

Office and store

The KOA has a lot of great amenities that we enjoyed with our 5 year old granddaughter. She stayed with us for the week days while our son and daughter-in-law worked. We loved the two (yes, two) swimming pools. They were crystal clean and had a lifeguard on duty during the day. Pool chemical levels were checked every hour with results posted publicly for all to see.

In addition to the pools the grounds had a huge sand pile to play on/in. Measuring at least 20′ X 20′ and a full 3′ deep, this pile of fine beach sand with buckets, shovels and other toys made for a great place to let kids play while adults sat in the shade under a huge umbrella. There was a large inflatable slide and bouncing pad next to the sand pile. Other traditional playground equipment was scattered around the park.

Convenient covered bus stop: runs all day every 20 minutes

Convenient covered bus stop: runs all day every 20 minutes

One fantastic feature of this park is the local city bus stop right on the grounds. For a mere $4 you can ride the “trolley” to and from the Boardwalk at the beaches of Virginia Beach. The day pass is good for 24 hours, the busses come by every 20 minutes and run from early morning to late at night. No need to drive your tow vehicle to the expensive beach side parking lots: take the bus!

We thoroughly enjoyed our five day stay at this KOA. We bought the KOA Value Kard to get the substantial savings offered. Our family had a ball with us. We used the fire pit, roasted hot dogs and introduced our granddaughter to s’mores. An added plus to this RV park is the security gate. Sher and I felt very safe in this park.

Be sure to check out the KOA website Virginia Beach for reservations and more information.

Enjoying Virginia Beach and Norfolk

Sher and I are enjoying our visit to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. We have spent some time with or son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. We have also been out some doing the “tourist” type stuff as well.

We are looking forward to taking a dolphin watching cruise to see these beautiful creatures in the wild. I’ve talked to the folks at Rudee Tours in Virginia Beach and can’t wait to set out on this adventure! I’ll post a full report after our cruise.

Today we drove down to Norfolk and saw the waterfront area. There is a large commercial building under re-construction with completion due in 2017 (according to the signs). When we lived here decades ago we enjoyed a restaurant in this facility. Hopefully it or a similar one will be back when the project is completed.

If you see us driving around in our Four Winds motorhome give us a honk and a wave!

Civil War Trails stop

IMG_3426_resizedThe signs on I-295 near Richmond, Virginia listed EXIT 34 as the way to Cold Harbor Battlefield. I decided to hop off the road and see how far this was. The first road east of the interstate had signs showing the direction of the Battle of Gaines Mill.

As I have been a Civil War buff for years I figured that a stop was in order. Sher and I headed down the road and followed the signs to the Battlefield. What greeted us was a sign announcing the entrance and a long narrow tree lined road winding up through the ravines to the ridge top.

I was greeted at the ridge top with an incredile vista. There was a simple two story house and large “outbuilding”, several hundred yards of spilt rail fences and a few artillery pieces. Some informational signs were scattered around. An unoccupied NPS Park Ranger squad car was the only indication that this was the year 2015, not 1862.

This plantation home was the Union Headquarters and was shot to pieces during the battle

This plantation home was the Union Headquarters and was shot to pieces during the battle

Fences are the Union lines, the Confederates attacked from the tree line.

Fences are the Union lines, the Confederates attacked from the tree line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grounds were totally empty. There was only one other car when we pulled in, and it left in short order. I couldn’t believe that we had the entire site to ourselves.  As I walked along the line where Union artillery pounded the advancing Confederate infantry as they came up the ravine and through the trees I could not help but imagine the horror of the conflict. This is hallowed ground that is filled with the energy that remains from the turbulant times of the American Civil War.

Artillery cannon with the plantation buildings in the background

Artillery cannon with the plantation buildings in the background

Our rig parked on the site with cannons off to the left.

Our rig parked on the site with cannons off to the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Gaines Mill was one of the Seven Days Battle that took place in late June/early July 1862. This day’s fighting resulted in combined casualties of 15,000 killed, wounded or captured. If you are interested in details, you can find them at this NPS website.

Tom’s Cove Park on Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Fishing piers at the park

Fishing piers at the park

Tom’s Cove Park is one of two large RV parks on Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s Atlantic shore. The RV park was our stopping point for a couple of days during our jaunt up and down the Delmarva Penninsula.

The park is easy to get to, just turn left on the main street when you cross the bridge at the end of the causeway leading to the island. There will be a nice drive along the inner waterway and you will see the signs to the park.

The park has over 900 sites with about half being seasonal rigs. There are sites for tents as well as the big rigs and everything inbetween. They offer free WiFi which actually provided a strong connection. The cable TV was available at our site, but it was poor quality.

Sher getting a little computer work done

Sher getting a little computer work done

Restrooms and dump stations are scattered around the park, although there are plenty of full hook up sites as well. The store/registration office is very large and stocks a bit of everything from food to power cords to bait.

The water is close and several private fishing and crabbing docks will make this a delightful place to wet a line or set the crabbing pots if you are so inclined. There is also a boat ramp and marina on the property.

Working lighthouse you can see after dark from the park

Working lighthouse you can see after dark from the park

Camp store/registration

Camp store/registration

Take a drive through the park and check out which site you want. This is a suggestion I would make. Had we done that before we registered we probably would have picked a different site. There is quite the selection of sites in the park. Staff are friendly, fellow campers are friendly and there is also a nice pool with a lifeguard on duty.

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This camper is ready to fish!

The large swimming pool

The large swimming pool

Rates are moderate to high, so pick and choose what you want in your site: full or partial hook-ups, 30 or 50 amp, cable TV or not, etc. All in all it is a nice, clean, safe park albeit on the high price side. Click here for the park Website.

Chincoteague Island

Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s eastern shore is a unique dab of land that features a large National Wildlife Refuge, some pretty beaches, and is known for the herd of wild ponies that roams the open spaces.

There are lots of “touristy” type things to do, including a lot of tour boats that will take you out and around the island. Most of these are pontoon boats with a capacity of six passengers. We decided to not take one of these tours but to just drive to the beaches and drive around the Wildlife Refuge.

We parked on the beach lot accessible through the Wildlife Refuge. The beach is really worth the drive: the parking is close to the beach, the sands are clean and it is a great place to grab a bite of lunch.

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Our National Parks Service Senior Pass saved us the $8 entrance fee to the National Wildlife Refuge. (Seniors 62 and older can get this pass here: NPS lifetime Senior Pass website)

IMG_3345 (2)Our drive around the “Wildlife Loop” did allow us to see two of the wild ponies. They were about 400 yards away from the road, so the picture is not the best quality. We did see them, though, which is alleged to be usually pretty iffy. Other than the two ponies and some white egrets we did not see any other wildlife during our drive.

Our home base on Chincoteague Island was an RV park named Tom’s Cove Park. The park was large, with over 900 spaces. It was a decent park albeit a bit pricy. (We were at a $51 a night spot that included cable and free WiFi)

A close encounter of the buzzard kind

On our way to Chincoteague Island the other day we had an interesting wildlife viewing. We were on Highway 13 heading north out of Cape Charles, Virginia on the Delmarva Penninsula.

I noticed a buzzard (actually the correct name is turkey vulture) soaring over the road. He was big like the one in the picture below that I took some time ago. As he started down over the road I could tell he was heading to the ditch on the right side.

These guys have a 5 to 6 foot wingspan

These guys have a 5 to 6 foot wingspan

The next thing I know his buddy buzzard took off from the ditch right in front of our motorhome! Whack! The next thing I see is the tail of this huge bird getting hit by the top edge of our vehicle’s hood. Sher let out a screech as the loud sound of the impact startled her to say the least. It sure scared me as well. Mr. Buzzard flew off to the left after he tried to clean the front of our hood with his tail feathers.

After our next stop we checked and luckily there was no damage to the front of the motorhome. However I know that somewhere on Hghway 13 there is a big buzzard with a sore butt.