Why We Love Coastal VA

Why We Love Coastal VA

Happy February Friends!

Coastal VA really has our hearts this month. From cozy wineries and Bay oysters on the grill to the African American Heritage Trail and biking our vibrant arts districts, February in our region will warm your soul…and surprise you with a sunny day warm enough to walk barefoot on the beach!

We already see the signs of spring (at least in the office as we plan for a busy upcoming season). We’re particularly excited for the Virginia Art’s Festival’s 2020 program, the Botanical Gardens in bloom and of course more days spent outdoors. Read on as we share the Coastal VA love…
Anne, Brooke, Shannon, Erika, Erin, Briana and our fabulous team of guides

February Flavors

The Chesapeake Bay not only provides picturesque views and plenty of water-based activities for our region, but it’s one of the world’s biggest suppliers of oysters. February is synonymous with the half-shell delicacy here and what better place to enjoy them than the Barrier Island Center’s annual Oyster Roast. It’s always one of our favorite events of the year!
If grapes or grain is more your thing, check out Mermaid Winery’s pairing dinner or the Bunker Brew Pub started by two local veterans. That’s definitely something to toast!
And what’s the month of February without guiltless chocolate consumption? We love Royal Chocolate and the groups we send there for their delicious chocolate tours agree!

African American Cultural History Month

Retrace the steps of some of the bravest people who lived in our region. During African American Cultural History Month, there are many historic sites and powerful stories to share in Coastal VA. From the Hampton History Museum and Fort Monroe to the Newsome House and Emancipation Oak, we have an incredible itinerary to experience and celebrate. Here’s an example of how we’d guide guests along…

Day 1

  • Enjoy a narrated riding tour of Virginia Beach. Drive by First Landing State Park, built primarily by African American Civilian Conservation Corp workers in the 1930’s.
  • Stop at Morning Star Baptist Church, founded in 1892, which houses memorabilia and artifacts that depict the lives of African Americans in Princess Anne County through the 1950s.
  • Visit Union Kempsville High School Museum, a school funded by the African-American community to promote proper education during segregated times.
  • Travel to Francis Land House, a plantation home with a history spanning 200 years and includes documentation on slavery and its impact on African Americans.
  • Enjoy a festive dinner cruise along the waterfront on the Spirit of Norfolk.

Day 2

  • Start the day at Hampton University, one of the oldest and most prestigious predominantly black colleges in America. Stand under the historic Emancipation Oak¸ whose shade provided the first classroom for newly freed African American men and women. Explore Hampton University Museum, the largest African American museum in the country and visit the only known African American missionary chapel in the state, Little England Chapel.
  • Enjoy lunch at The Grey Goose, a restaurant-owned and operated by a Hampton native specializing in Old Virginia-style cooking.
  • Next, visit the Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center, built in 1899 for Henry Newsome, a prominent post-war attorney. Newsome’s residence became a hub of the local African American community as he led the fight for social justice within the commonwealth.
  • Tour Fort Monroe and the Casemate Museum, home of the Army’s Coast Artillery collection which dates to 1819. In addition to learning about Fort Monroe’s original mission to protect the entrance to the Hampton Roads harbor, the tour will include the First Africans marker and exhibits on the first Africans and Contraband slaves.

Get to know a Guide: Wesley Cheney, Bicycle Tour Guide

Discover Coastal VA: What drew you to guide bike tours?

Wesley: I’ve always enjoyed riding my bike around Norfolk, and showing other people where to ride, too. Discover Coastal VA has hosted German cruise passengers for the past several years and they really enjoy touring on two-wheels.

Discover Coastal VA: Do you have a favorite memory from a group you guided?

Wesley: Our German guests always ask to stop and take pictures of Halloween decorations in Larchmont and Ghent. And taking twenty Germans into Bob’s Gun Shop is a hoot!

Discover Coastal VA: What’s your favorite place to take visitors via bike when it’s their first time in the area?

Wesley: I love taking our bike tours to the west end of Bolling Avenue, overlooking the Elizabeth River. It’s such a beautiful panorama of the river and the cities.

Discover Coastal VA: What is one of your favorite things to do in Coastal VA, when you’re not leading groups on two wheels?

Wesley: I love producing my podcast, Tell Me About Your Bike. It’s all about the meaning of life, the universe and bicycling. I record interviews with local cyclists as well as backing ukulele tracks.

Instagram: @tellmeaboutyourbike

Facebook: Tell Me About Your Bike

Gal-entine’s Dday with Briana Hurley

Briana Hurley

As a women-only owned and operated business we’re all about gal-power. Our social media coordinator, Briana shares how she celebrates Galentine’s Day in Coastal VA. Hint: Sip, savor, spa, repeat #yesplease

Gather your best girlfriends and set off on a fun-filled day in Coastal VA…

  • Start the day with some shopping at Virginia Beach Town Center or the new Norfolk Premium Outlets
  • Enjoy lunch with a view at a local favorite Chicks Oyster Bar. Briana recommends snagging a table outside and sipping an orange crush while taking in views of the Lynnhaven Inlet.
  • Connect with your inner artist at The Mermaid Factory by painting a locally made wooden mermaid (the symbol of Norfolk), the perfect keepsake to remember your special day
  • Next it’s time to pamper yourself at the luxurious Seahill Spa inside the historic Cavalier Hotel. Try a salt scrub and seaweed soak…ahhhhh.
  • Finish the day with a girls’ dinner at Harper’s Table in Suffolk for locally sourced Southern cuisine and delicious craft cocktails. Cheers ladies!

Our Team Around Town…

From our annual Holiday Party at Norfolk Yacht Club and the kick-off for the Virginia Art’s Festival’s 24th season, to the opening of the chic new Glass Light Hotel in Norfolk and the 2020 Coastal VA Hospitality Expo hosted by the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, lately we’ve been sharing the love with our amazing guides and industry partners. Check out our Instagram page for more photos and details.