Thursday 12 September 2013

Virginia Beach

Brian and I drove into Buffalo the night before we were to arrive due to having an early flight on Labor Day. We spent the Sunday afternoon at the outlet mall, then visited Walden and had a nice dinner at the Melting Pot which I love!!! The shopping and dinner was all my idea... The prospect of spending a holiday Sunday at malls wouldn't normally be something Brian would do. 

We got up super early on Monday for our 8:20am flight to Baltimore. I like the Buffalo airport, it's much smaller then the Toronto one and much less crowded. We flew Southwest and it was a short flight - only an hour. It was a little bumpy, but mostly okay. We flew low so you could see the land and water below - it looks as if we came in over Annapolis or along the coast. Wherever it was, it was super pretty! 

Getting our bags and our rental car was a really quick and easy process and soon we were on the road. The course Brian was taking was in Virginia Beach, but we needed to clear out his Baltimore Storage unit and move the items to the Buffalo one which involved driving a Uhaul back. So we left Elmo (our car) in Buffalo, and flew from there. There were no flights directly to V.Beach so we opted to fly into Baltimore that way we could rent and return the car in the same state, (it was also more cost effective with the $100.00 flight I was able to find). 

Our drive to V.Beach had a few route options but because we were in no rush, we opted for the scenic route. We drove near the water and it was relaxing and peaceful. There was a lot of traffic on the opposite side with people heading away from the beach, but our drive in was easy. We stopped at this really cool beachfront restaurant/marina called Hemingways where we had seafood. Brian is very much a Maryland boy, and whenever possible returns to his seafood roots. It was the first time I ever had a crab cake sandwich. I never realized that's typically how people serve them - and not as an appetizer as you usually see around here. 

In order to get into Virginia Beach we needed to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This is a summary of it: 

"The Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel (CBBT) is a 23-mile-long (37 km) fixed link crossing the mouth of the United States' Chesapeake Bay and connecting the Delmarva Peninsula's Eastern Shore of the state of Virginia with Virginia Beach and the metropolitan area of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The bridge–tunnel originally combined 12 miles (19 km) of trestle, two 1-mile-long (1.6 km) tunnels, four artificial islands, four high-level bridges, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of causeway, and 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of approach roads—crossing the Chesapeake Bay and preserving traffic on the Thimble Shoals and Chesapeake shipping channels. It replaced vehicle ferry services which operated from South Hampton Roads and from the Virginia Peninsula from the 1930s until completion of the bridge–tunnel in 1964. The system remains one of only ten bridge–tunnel systems in the world, three of which are located in Hampton Roads, Virginia." 

As someone whose not a fan of bridges and definitely not a fan of tunnels this was a "fun" experience. But we made it, and were in Virginia Beach before dark.

Our hotel was the North Beach Holiday Inn which was at the end of the beach/boardwalk and much quieter then the main strip. There were trolleys/buses available to shuttle you down along the boardwalk to various shops and restaurants so we didn't need to take the car out much in the evenings.

This was the very start of the off season so certain places closed earlier, or were having end of season sales. On Tuesday a large group of Shriners arrived into town and it became a strange atmosphere of "Seniors on Spring Break". Lots of silly, rowdy but fun behavior everywhere you turned. It did however make Brian and I feel quite young as they became pretty much took over the hotel. The hotel was also under the flight path for the local Air Force base. So every day about 8-10 times a day, fighter jets would fly over the pool area. Wow are those things loud! 

Brian had class from 9:00am-4:30pm every day so we would have breakfast together and then he would leave. I spent my day laying by the pool relaxing and reading. It was quiet enjoyable! I took a trolley down the boardwalk and spent one afternoon shopping and browsing around. Each evening when Brian returned we would head down that way for dinner. We had some amazing seafood and always opted to sit outside facing out to the ocean which was nice. Such a change from home. 

I dragged Brian to do Old Tyme photos with me on our last night. They turned out amusing! But ever since my Nonno and Nonna had it done when I was a child it was something I wanted to do. So I am glad we did! 

(Photos to come--- must be scanned first!) 

Virginia beach was a fun trip - well for me anyways! Brian was a bit stressed about the course and the big test at the end which he of course passed. Actually he got the 2nd highest mark in the class! 

On Saturday morning we drove back to MD which was a long drive due to traffic and construction but we made it in time for my hair appointment ---well almost in time but the hairdresser waited for me! 

(My hair! And the most amazing crab and avocado salad ever!) 

We spent two days with step-mom and saw her new house, and loaded the Uhaul up. That was not a fun process in the roasting MD heat! Actually the first time we went to the storage unit we didn't have the right key. Luckily Pam had a copy so we were able to drive back there and pick it up. It cost us about an hour and a half delay but we got it all loaded. 

(A very strange lunch stop at some random place in the middle of PA.... It reminded me of an episode of CSI where a middle of nowhere BBQjoint was actually cooking humans... And it was kinda creepy so I didn't really eat anything!) 

The drive back to Buffalo was long and tedious - especially in a beast of a truck - but we made it in one day. The real problem came the next day when we had to reorganize the Buffalo unit to make room for the Baltimore items. It was another long hot day spent at Public Storage boxing, packing and moving with trips to the dump and scrapyard. 

(uhaul photos!) 

Overall it was a very strange trip --- definitely not one for Brian with his course and the storage unit moving, but it had its fun moments!