The mermaid of Norfolk

By | Category: Travel destinations

I wasn’t planning to stop at the Norfolk stand at the Pow Wow show. After all isn’t Norfolk (which is on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia) just a naval base? But I was attracted to the stand because they had USB sticks in the shape of a mermaid.
How shallow was I to be attracted by such a blatant promotion gimmick? The answer is pretty shallow! But now I was hooked. Why would holidaymakers go there I asked?
Stretching back 400 years, Norfolk sprang to prominence in the American War of Independence when two-thirds of the city was destroyed. Today you can still see a cannonball lodged in the wall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church so it has heritage. That heritage is in its naval base which happens to be the largest in the world and, yes, you can have tours including over the battleship Wisconsin. And as a base (forgive the pun) to visit the area, Norfolk is ideal. Not only does it have enough to do in a stopover for a few days but other significant places like Jamestown and Williamsburg are not far away as are the Outer banks. And being connected to a train line means you don’t need to drive if you don’t want to. the train links Norfolk with Richmond, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New york and Boston.
Being so closely defined by the waters that led to its importance means that water sports and lolling about in the bay are big attractions. So what you might say. Lots of places offer that. But how about a tall ship cruise on board American Rover where you can lend a hand with the sails or you can just bask on the deck and watch others do the work. You can hire sailing boats or motorised ones; take river cruises or kayak and you can even learn to sail while you’re there. It will come as no surprise to you that there is a cruise terminal here as well. Wherever you are, you’re not far from the water. How about watching the changing light on the waters by languishing at the edge in one of 80 different restaurants?
To get to Norfolk from the UK and Ireland, one option is to fly into Washington DC and hire a car and drive or closer airports would be Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham and then drive north. Norfolk does have its own airport so if you don’t mind changing flights elsewhere, you can get right into the city. Within the city itself there is also a light rail system, cycle hire and buses.

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