Travel Recap: Virginia Beach, VA

Map RI to VAI want to start off by saying what an amazing time I had in Virginia Beach and thank my cousin for being a great hostess and tour guide. She welcomed us into her home and then hooked us up with a sweet hotel to get us out (just kidding, but we did stay in a hotel).

This was my first trip to Virginia Beach but it will not be my last.

On Thursday morning, my mom and I set out on our road trip from Rhode Island to Virginia. It would take us 10 hours total and we would drive through 7 states; RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE, MD & VA. With the exception of one drive to Jacksonville, FL (19 hrs in the car with my best friend, Feb ’12) it would be my longest drive.

We were lucky enough to only catch about 30 minutes worth of traffic while approaching the George-Washington Bridge (which is to be expected). Northbound traffic was grid-locked for miles and I was nervous we’d see the same on our way home.

Thanks to my little Nissan Altima, we only needed to stop once for gas. Last stop in NJ, super cheap gas and they pump it for you! We grabbed some drinks and ate the pizza strips we brought. Never heard of pizza strips? You’re missing out.

At this point we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge and got onto Route 13 for a nice ride through Delaware and Maryland, avoiding the traffic I-95 would bring through D.C.. The scenery was amazing farmland lining both sides of the road. There are developed areas with traffic lights but overall, the ride was enjoyable.

My favorite part of the trip was crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It is over 17 miles long and includes 2 mile long tunnels (under the bay). The view was beautiful! Of course, we had missed sunset by only 4 minutes but that’s OK.

Where'd the road go?
bird’s eye view of the Bridge-Tunnel

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Next thing we knew, we were in Virginia Beach. Knowing my aunt and cousins would be on their way back from a sunset kayaking tour, we found her house and then set out to grab a bite to eat and wait for them to meet us. We decided on Mexican! Who doesn’t want a nice cold Margarita after 10 hours on the road. Once the rest of the group met up with us, we headed to Finn McCool’s. It was nice to sit out on the patio and listen to the Navy Fighter Jets fly overhead.  After dinner and a few drinks we headed back to the house to wind down for the night.

The next morning we woke up with no real agenda. We only knew that at some point we would be heading to our ocean front hotel where we would be staying for the next 3 nights.

I immediately fell in love with the area. The beach was bigger than I could have imagined, the boardwalk was more active than I expected and the weather was perfect for a weekend at the beach.

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We decided it would be good to head to the race expo so that we wouldn’t have to worry about getting there later on. The expo was held where the race would start on Sunday, 1.5 miles from our hotel. When we arrived, we grabbed our bibs, shirts and goodie bags. Lucky for me, they allowed us to swap shirt sizes because the medium women’s cut I originally picked was a little too tight! The expo was huge! They had this great “Run Happy Island” hosted by Brooks, with fun, kid-friendly activities. We took some time wandering around, checking for free samples and making a few purchases.

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Took this because my son loves guitars. I thought it’d make me “cool”
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cousins looking goofy but who cares

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Two of the greatest spectators ever
Two of the greatest spectators ever – my aunt and mom 🙂

The great thing about the Rock N Roll Virginia Beach is that your race bibs get you into the three-day Verizon American Music Festival (AMF).

Friday Night: Daughtry

Saturday Night: Barenaked Ladies (started at 1:30 in the afternoon so the runners wouldn’t have a late night)

Sunday Night: Third Eye Blind

Cousins @ the Concert
Cousins @ the Concert

Aside from a mix of eating, drinking and dancing, we spent some time relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean and chilling on our ocean view balcony. It is vacation after all…

Pina Coladas with strawberry mix!
Pina Coladas with strawberry mix!

Saturday morning I woke up and went for a run on the boardwalk. Even early in the day, it was already HOT! I ran a mile south of our hotel and came across the far end of the Race finish chute and then turned around and went back.

I started missing my husband and kids like crazy. Luckily I was able to ooVoo with them thanks to my sister. And my aunt sent me lots of pictures!

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messy boys enjoying ice cream
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washing up before bed
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puzzles while little brother naps

Sunday was the race – see my RECAP for more details on that.

And Monday I woke up early to watch the sunrise and saw dolphins swimming down the shore line. It was a really amazing start to the day. And then I went for a run on the beach. 1 mile was all I could handle running barefoot in the sand. Later in the day, thanks to a recommendation from a friend and a BOGO coupon, we picked up some popcorn from Jody’s Popcorn on Laskin Road. They have a bunch of different flavors and it is delicious!!

Before hotel checkout, I dragged my mom to this gigantic blow-up water slide.
Before hotel checkout, I dragged my mom to this gigantic blow-up water slide.
See? There she goes. There's a video too but she might kill me if I post it!
See? There she goes. There’s a video too but she might kill me if I post it!

That afternoon we ended up going on the Rudee Rocket. A 2000 HP speedboat ride! WARNING: you get wet. We were able to see more dolphins and learn some history about them and different landmarks in the area. I’d recommend it. They only thing I was disappointed about was that we had a lame group of people with us! The captian blasts music and asks the group to make noise: The louder you are, the faster they go. Our group kinda sucked :-/

That night would be our last night in VA. We decided on more Mexican food. And maybe a few too many Margaritas.

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The 6:15am wake up was NOT fun but we did it. We were back on the road by 7 and ready for our 10 hour trek home. The ride was pretty uneventful until we hit Connecticut. With about 100 miles to go, my car started acting up. We had to pull over and check a few things but we eventually made it home.

I still don’t know what is going on with my car. It has been OK but definitely not “normal”. She’s old and probably unhappy with me for taking her so far but we’ll work things out. HAHA. I love being that crazy lady talking about her car like it’s a person. (I’m really not like that).

All in all, I had an amazing trip. I’m thankful for my husband for giving me the chance to escape reality for a few days. I’m thankful for my mom for hopping in the car with me. I’m thankful for my other family members back home willing to help out with the kids while I was away and my husband was at work. And also thankful for my cousin and her son for letting us take over their “oasis” for a few days.

My mom, me, my aunt, and my 2 cousins - celebrating post race
My mom, me, my aunt, and my 2 cousins – celebrating post race

 

Have you ever been to Virginia Beach?

Would you go back?

Do you ever explore race expos?

Do you buy anything or just seek out the free stuff?

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3 thoughts on “Travel Recap: Virginia Beach, VA

  1. Have you ever been to Virginia Beach? Never been to the East coast in my adult life (I was born in Jacksonville FL though, Navy baby!) I do think it would be cool to go through so many states though. We have bigger states over here. 10 hours would get me to the pacific ocean though!

    Do you ever explore race expos? I haven’t ever been to a race expo, but I have one before my 9k on 9-21 I probably won’t buy, but defiantly will seek out the freebies!

  2. Hi! I am returning the love from the recent Share the Love blog hop. I have just started learning how to run as part of my rehabilitation with chronic pain. I hope to learn something off you. Wow! half-marthonons is amazing! Congrats! You can be my new inspiration. x Sarah from creating contentment.com

    • Thank you Sarah. I hope that I can be an inspiration to you. That is amazing that you are using running to overcome chronic pain. Running may not always come easy but take the good with the bad. Not every run will go the way you want but the good ones make up for it.

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