Finding Style in Virginia Beach
Off the Beaten Path
Happy 4th of July! Do you have on your red, white and blue? I hope the day offers some relaxation and fun celebration of our nation’s freedom!
If you’re planning on extending the holiday into the weekend, I have some ideas should you head to the oceanfront. I suggest going off the beaten path because Virginia Beach has more to offer than crowded beaches and tacky souvenir shops. And by beaten path, I mean the boardwalk.
To make sure you’re energized for all the activity I’m about to direct you to do, I first would journey to Pungo, a rural community in the very southern part of Virginia Beach. There’s public access to Sandbridge Beach, an area conspicuously lacking hotels standing like soldiers along the shore. The quietness of the long stretch of beach draws you in with a promise of leisurely lounging. But, my goal in sending you south is to have you visit The Bee and the Biscuit, an adorable, family-owned brunch spot with a farm-to-table menu that will fill you and leave you wanting more at the same time. Is it worth the loooonnnng wait for a table? Yes! Absolutely yes! Grab a spot in the yard, play some games, and order a drink from the bar on the lawn. Another option is to grab a stool at the inside bar and avoid waiting for a table to open up. Either way, you’ll be glad you stayed. Trust me. On the backside of your oceanfront experience, you’ll know why I placed this at the top!
About five blocks away from the boardwalk area, you’ll find the ViBe District. You get all the artistic vibes here starting with a visit to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art on 23rd Street and throughout the galleries, artisan shops, and plethora of wall murals over the next several blocks. Most of the businesses in the area have a map to guide visitors on a thorough exploration. My top three? North End Bag Company (a combination studio and shop!) and neighbor, Jars of Dust. And even if you’re not hungry, just enjoy the aesthetic of Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry while having a coffee and pastry. Should you land here at lunch time, the artisan pizzas do not disappoint!
Let’s keep going! I truly hope you’re here for the Saturday morning Old Beach Markets located in the Croc’s 19th Street Bistro parking lot and in ViBe Park at 18th Street and Cypress Avenue. If you’re in a hurry to get on with the day of discovery, I encourage you to still come by and anticipate seeing all the vendors. It’s doable with an hour of time, which is perfect because both markets run from 9 - 12 every Saturday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
My top three recommendations of vendors to visit at the Old Beach Farmers Market come with some bias because I’m supporting a friend, my family, and a coffee addiction! Seafield Farm brings all their beautiful goodness from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to local markets weekly. You’re going to need to eat a clean veggie diet if you sample from these next tents! My son, Jacob, represents My Vegan Sweet Tooth, a family-owned bakery that has mastered delectable vegan and gluten free recipes. Lastly, Three Ships Coffee sets up shop in the market, but the coffeehouse is literally across the street if you’re wanting something more fanciful than a cold brew. Did I say three tents? I meant four! Lamia’s Crepes is an absolute must! Good luck choosing between the savory or the sweet options! You could always live daringly and order both types!
Now that I think about it, It’s best to visit the Old Beach Art Market in ViBe Park before walking across the street to the Farmers Market. You’ll find a great selection of reusable market bags at the Eco Market vendor tents. And, you’ll find my booth- Renee Beamer Harbor & Home! I love setting up for your enjoyment while you browse, so save a few minutes for looking at my candles, wreaths, textiles, and other décor for the home! Click here to read about one of my most favored pieces by shoppers at this market.
Assuming you’ll be all shopped out and ready for a change of scenery at this point, I suggest either a hike or bike ride at First Landing State Park. You’ll have no trouble finding a bike rental shop in this vicinity, or you can bring your own with you for the day. Head down Atlantic Boulevard to the 64th Street trail entrance, and get ready to be amazed by how beautiful it is there! In fact, you may just want to bring some camping gear and plan to make an overnight stay. Tent camping to the sound of waves crashing on the shore? Yes please!
Now, I know I lost some of y’all with my rugged talk about camping! Not your thing- no worries! For a more luxurious time of exploration, check out The Cavalier, a historic hotel property in the North Beach area. My husband and I love bike riding through the resort residences and seeing the contemporary coastal and farmhouse home designs.
Seeing that Virginia Beach covers approximately five hundred square miles, it’s unthinkable that my dozen or so links to attractions represent the city thoroughly. Obviously, I’m barely scratching the surface! But before we wrap up a suggested day trip adventure, I have to recommend one more spot- in case you’re the coffee lover type! Pour Favor is “Home of the Coffee Flight,” and has all the needed juice to send you back home fully awake and revived! I’m not going to go on and on about the specialty coffees here except to say they over-deliver. It’s just that good!
I’m curious: did you learn about something new in relation to Virginia Beach? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have some happy days of exploring ahead!