Hunting & Gathering - Virginia Beach

We had lots to do before leaving Cups. David was intent on getting as many chores done in advance of our departure as possible so that once we return in September, we can spend time sailing in the Chesapeake rather than doing repairs and maintenance. Much of what we needed in the way of parts and supplies, however, were not available within walking distance. This easily prompted us into renting a car for the day and heading out for a “hunting and gathering” trip … and maybe lunch in nearby Virginia Beach. welcome to virginia beach

We had our list all written out and even remembered to take it with us. West Marine was at the top, followed by an auto parts store, WalMart, Lowes or Home Depot, a grocery and whatever else we saw along the way that tempted us … and lunch. Don't forget lunch!

Hertz picked us up a bit late and by the time the paperwork was completed at their office, it was 10am before we hit the road. We headed first to WalMart since it was on the way. Our microwave, which admittedly we don't use very often, had died … after only 14 years. We found a compact, same-size replacement for $49. David found the motor oil he needed, but not transmission oil. We headed to the auto parts store for that. Lowes had muriatic acid for cleaning out the head hoses. By the time we arrived at West Marine, we were all primed for buying stuff. Oh-oh! We managed to get away for only a couple hundred dollars … three gas jugs, engine spray paint and some electrical parts... though we were tempted to buy much more. Luckily, we were hungry and that trumped more West Marine purchases!

We drove down to the shore and had a late lunch at the Waterman's Surfside Grille. It was touristy and crowded, but the she-crab soup and lump crabcakes were worth the bother. We sat on the covered outdoor patio with the smell of the salty ocean sweet to our senses. A light breeze ruffled the awnings and the white sand beach was just a few feet away. We ate, sipped cold draft beer, chatted and just enjoyed the day.

watermans grille

After lunch, we wandered along the Boardwalk for a few minutes and then along Atlantic Avenue. The beach was colorful with bright umbrellas lined up at the shore and people of every description soaking up the surf and sun. Way in the distance we spotted a sailboat.

virginia beach beach

Across the street, the shops on Atlantic Ave offered all sorts of things to woo the tourists. At one store, we could have received a free hermit crab if we bought a cage, but we chose not to. We could have rented bikes or self-powered dune buggies to get around town or bought a boogie board or new swim togs or beach toys or kites, but we passed up all these wonderful opportunities and decided to visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse.

We noticed the giant King Neptune statue as we were heading north and David patiently stopped in a no-parking zone so I could get out and get a quick photo. My camera is not working properly and I was forced to use my phone as a camera … a new experience for me. The rest of the world, I'm told, does this all the time.

king neptune statue

There are actually two Cape Henry Lighthouses and they're both at Fort Story, an active US military base. To gain access to the lighthouses, we had to stop at an inspection post, show IDs, proof of registration and insurance for the car, answer some questions and evacuate the car while they gave it a thorough once-over. Finding nothing suspicious, they issued us a pass for entry. This was the highlight of the afternoon though they discouraged me from taking any pictures at the inspection point.

fort story access pass

We drove a couple of miles through the base (do NOT leave the main road, we were cautioned) and there before us stood the lighthouses. The original Cape Henry Light, first lit in 1792, is octagonal-shaped and was the first federally-funded works project in the USA. It has been claimed by a non-profit for preservation and upkeep. We passed on climbing the 191 steps to the top and contented ourselves with views from below and afar.

original cape henry lighthouse

Close by is the 1881 black and white patterned lighthouse which replaced the deteriorating older one. It still stands sentry over the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.

1881 cape henry lighthouse

We headed back towards Chesapeake, but had to stop when we saw a Trader Joes. And then another stop at Mickey D's for an afternoon iced coffee. I spotted a Good Will and really needed a “thrift store hit” so we stopped yet again. I netted a classic Blue Willow china saucer (c. 1940) which doesn't go with anything at all and made no sense to buy, but for $2, I thought it was a steal. We finally made it back to the boatyard.

blue willow saucer

All in all, a fine day. We hunted and gathered all the supplies and parts we needed for Cups and the crew was delighted with lunch out and a break from the boat. Now to put all those supplies and parts to good use.