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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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

 

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.

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.

Virginia’s Eastern Shore aka southern Delmarva

Looking back towards Va Beach from the first tunnel island.

Looking back towards Va Beach from the first tunnel island.

Today we headed north from Virginia Beach across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnels to what is called the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The spit of land that forms the east side of Chesapeake Bay is also called Delmarva because it is made up of portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel was amazing to cross. This is a toll bridge: it cost us $19 in toll one way for our motorhome. There are actually two tunnels and miles of bridges crossing the water where the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay meet. There are two bridges wth two lanes each direction merging into two way traffic in the tunnels. It has been called one of the engineering marvels of the world. I have to say the construction of the thousands of concrete piers supporting the road decks is a marvel to see.

The trip north up Highway 13 this morning was quite an eye opener. The rural nature of the area was immediately obvious. There were huge wheat and corn fields as well as lots of smaller fruit and vegatable plots. Both Purdue and Tyson had massive chicken processing plants and there were many farms that had chicken finishing buildings.

We checked out a few different campgrounds on our way and have ended up in Tom’s Cove Park campground on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We’ll probably be here a day or two. It is hot this afternoon so we will take a walk down to the water later when things cool off a bit.

There are supposed to be wild ponies on this island somewhere. We’ll do some looking into them while we are here.

Lighthouse at Fort Story as seen from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Lighthouse at Fort Story as seen from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

 

 

Fishing pier at the restaurant stop on the bridge

Fishing pier at the restaurant stop on the bridge

Our coach parked at a "Scenic viewpoint" on Fishermans Island National Wildlife Preserve just at landfall from the CBBT

Our coach parked at a “Scenic viewpoint” on Fishermans Island National Wildlife Preserve just at landfall from the CBBT

Hit the Virginia Beach beach

Surf was too high here to swim

Surf was too high here to swim

We made a quick trip to the Coatan Beach south of the main drag next to the boardwalk. The surf was so heavy here that no swimming was allowed, only surfing. Swimming was allowed further north up the shore line.

We also drove up the strip and were surprised at all of the new stores and hotels that have been constructed since we were here last a couple of years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

A few surfers enjoying the waves

A few surfers enjoying the waves

Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake

This structure is a drawbridge

This structure is a drawbridge

Today we drove around the area going to some yard sales. We had good luck finding things that will sell at some of our shows later this summer.

We also had a great time driving around the Norfolk and surrounding areas. Our son drove us so Sher and I could sit back and enjoy the scenery.

We really had a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the large cargo ships

One of the large cargo ships

 

A couple of "Tall Ships" in the Norfolk Harbor

A couple of “Tall Ships” in the Norfolk Harbor