Over the Boardwalk

P1030119Like many Hampton Roads residents, we tend to avoid the southern oceanfront during the summer (although we spent a weekend there this summer). One of the most popular activities is taking a bike ride on the boardwalk. During the peak season, we feel like we’re taking our lives in our hands with all the bikes and buggies on the bike path. But after Labor Day, things calm down, and we decided to give it a try.

Starting at the southern end, we headed north. There were still plenty of folks on the beach and walking on the boardwalk, but not so many on the bike trail. But still, we wore our helmets (and were about the only ones wearing them), and off we went.

The boardwalk has been lining the beach for just about as long as Virginia Beach has existed. It started out as a wooden boardwalk and later concrete. The Ash Wednesday Storm in 1962 really did a number on it as you can see below.

A torn up boardwalk.

A torn up boardwalk.

It has been improved several times through the years and today, at three miles long, the boardwalk also serves as a seawall. It has protected beachfront properties from several near miss hurricanes and nor’easters.

But, back to our ride.

Lifeguards have an easier time with kids back in school

Lifeguards can relax a bit

Smooth sailing all the way

Smooth sailing all the way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was cloudy and pleasantly cool as we headed north. The Shriners were in town for their annual convention, so there were plenty of banners hanging over the railings highlighting where they were from.

Somewhat cryptic Shriner banners.

Somewhat cryptic Shriner banners.

A few people rode 4-person buggies on the bike path. These are a little controversial during the summer season because they take up one lane of the path, and it can be a little tough passing them. But there weren’t too many out on this Friday, so we had an easy ride. And easy it is…pretty straight and quite flat. The main thing is to keep looking out for people crossing the path getting onto or off the main boardwalk.

There are plenty of sights to see on the way, from the Norwegian Lady statue to good old King Neptune watching over the swimmers.

She's been standing at 25th Street since 1962

She’s been standing here since 1962

A great spot for a photo op

A great spot for a photo op

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we continued north, the landscaping at the hotels looked very lovely. Kudos to the groundskeepers of the Virginia Beach hotels!

P1030146

Once we got to the north end of the boardwalk, we hopped onto Atlantic Avenue for a few blocks and then got onto Ocean Front Avenue. This is a residential street that runs parallel to Atlantic Avenue but a little east of it. This is where you can see how the other half lives, with homes on the oceanfront costing well over a million dollars.

Heading south again, we stopped to take a look at the progress on the Cavalier Hotel. Built in 1927, it is being restored to its former glory.  P1030133

We’re looking forward to perhaps staying there once it reopens. We continued back on the boardwalk heading south.

Those shops still open are happy to sell you beachy items

Shops are still happy to sell you beachy items

As we got close to where we parked our car, we decided to stop for lunch, not by the beach but over top of it. Ocean Eddies, located on the wooden Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, is a Beach landmark and should not be missed.

You can catch your dinner here.

You can catch your dinner here.

Plenty of fishing still happening on the pier

Plenty of fishing still happening on the pier

Tasty mahi wraps from Ocean Eddies

Tasty mahi wraps from Ocean Eddies

We had a terrific lunch, and, somewhat reluctantly, headed back to our car. We’ll do this again soon. And as an added bonus, parking is free after October 1. For Hampton Roads residents, this is a great way to see the beach, and get some exercise, with the boardwalk virtually yours alone.

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