Aug 27, 2012

Life is a beach in Sandbridge, Virginia

Sandbridge is a long stretch of beach south of the hotel resort area of Virginia Beach. We rented a house on the beach and were joined by most of our children and grandchildren who are scattered in four different states. The beach is lined with houses, actually several rows of houses, but even though it was peak season the beach never felt crowded. The waves were great for playing in and for boggie boarding. Sandbridge is quiet and very family-friendly.

Renting a house allowed us to prepare our own meals thus saving the expense of eating out. One day the men and boys went out on a fishing charter and caught enough fish for dinner with some left over for fish tacos the following day. However, the kids were equally impressed with the shark they caught. They had to throw it back, of course. Luckily the crew cleaned the fish. Our son also bought a bushel of crabs which provided a family feeding frenzy. Personally, I hate hearing the poor crabs trying to claw their way out of the boiling water!

While the guys were fishing the rest of us visited the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge preserves the fragile habitat. There are hiking trails, storyboards, a small museum and viewing stations overlooking the Back Bay.

There are a plethora of things to do besides tanning on the beach and cavorting in the water. One morning we went kayaking on a bayou. The water was calm and it was significantly cooler under the trees than it was on the beach. For several of the grandkids it was their first kayaking experience. They only saw one critter, probably a muskrat, but there were many birds. Even though we went in the morning it was very hot and I think the wildlife had found cool places to hide out for the day.

The boardwalk area of Virginia Beach is about 20 minutes by car from Sandbridge. Each Wednesday evening during the summer season Virginia Beach has a fireworks display along with the usual nightly entertainment. The youngsters headed for the amusement park while John and I walked the boardwalk. I was impressed with the free theatrical presentation. One presentation, “The Wreck of the Dictator,” was a one-man performance detailing the true account of the 1891 Norwegian ship that went aground and the daring attempts to rescue those aboard. Seven people perished including the captain’s wife and small child. The performance, enhanced with sound and lights, took place by the statue, “The Norwegian Lady” erected as a memorial to the event. A little farther down the boardwalk we were in time for the evening’s last presentation of the “The Witch of Pungo.” The multi-person presentation told of the only witch to be executed in Virginia Beach. In 1689 Grace Sherwood was accused of putting a curse on her neighbor’s crops. Furor grew until it was decided that they should use the water test to see if she was truly a witch. In 1706 with her thumbs tied to her big toes she was dropped into the river. She floated – a sign of guilt. She was imprisoned and some years later when the witch hunt uproar died down she was released. There were many excellent events along the Boardwalk. I found the fireworks a bit underwhelming. Walking back to our car we enjoyed the street entertainment. It was a great multi-generational destination.