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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Take A Vacation In Virginia Beach {review}

**Many thanks to the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitor's Bureau for setting up lodging, meals, and aquarium passes for myself and my mom while we were in the area. These were provided in exchange for an honest review and promotion while on my trip. The review shared is based on my own experience. Others may have a different opinion or experience.**

Not too long ago, I received news that my cousin {whom I used to babysit once upon a time} was getting married. She wasn't just getting married though, she was getting married with a quickness...and states away from home. Out of curiosity as to what there is to do in my downtime while I was there, I reached out to the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor's Bureau to see if they could help me out. They were eager to team up, offering a full itinerary while I was in town.

For starters, I was sent to the Comfort Inn on Atlantic Ave. This hotel sat right on the beach and gave me an ocean view that I never wanted to leave. Since I was traveling with my mom, we were put in a 2 bedroom suite, a queen bed in each room. Other accommodations included a refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, sink, and iron in the room, a closet, a desk, a table with 2 chairs, a flat-screen TV in each room, and a balcony with seats to watch the ocean by. And In the main lobby of the hotel was a fitness room, pool, hot tub, hot coffee, and a room where we found our hot breakfast {eggs, waffles, oatmeal, and then some} each morning. Everything was so nice here that I really didn't want to leave come check-out time.

We spent our first day in Virginia Beach walking down the boardwalk and made our way to the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum. In this beautiful, historic home, are treasures of carvings representing some of the common birds of the area. It's free to visit and worth checking out if you have the time. The carvings were so stunning and they even had someone carving in the museum. We stopped for a small chat with him and watched him as he worked on a duck.

After we had walked a bit, we worked up an appetite and headed up to the restaurant Catch31, located in the Hilton on 31st Street. This restaurant was SOO nice and the perfect place to fill up at the end of a long day. Had the weather been a bit nicer, we would have taken our meal outside to eat at one of the fire pits, but found that sitting inside with a view of the boardwalk lit in holiday lights and the ocean just beyond that was just as nice. My mom had the Swordfish Filet and I had Grilled Chicken Pumpkin Ravioli. All was wonderful with the meals and our server and we headed back to our room to call it a night.

Our second day was the wedding day but we managed to squeeze in a hike in First Landing State Park. This park took my breath away as I had never seen Spanish Moss on trees. The whole hike was like a walk inside a fairy tale or a book about woodland fairies. In reality, it was different to walk around in the park thinking of those who first landed on Virginia's shores. It's a perspective that left me wondering about a lot of things and wanting to learn more. {I asked Siri a lot of questions that day. LOL}

 Between here and dinner, we were at my cousin's wedding but when dinnertime arrived, we headed out to Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro. This restaurant is positioned in The Town Center of Virginia Beach where all kinds of shopping and entertainment take place. It was quaint but chic and top notch in terms of service and food. While I didn't have a glass of wine there, I did enjoy my Grilled Chicken Pasta dinner as well as my Creme Brulee Cheesecake dessert. It was exquisite and I would recommend anyone stop over and dine here.

Our final morning in Virginia Beach began with a stop to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. We had so much fun discovering all they had to share and even petting a snake, petting the rays, and touching the crabs. This is a great stop for anyone as there is something for everyone to enjoy from young children to adults.

I was awestruck by so many different things in the aquarium and loved seeing all the beauty that lives in the sea. Beside petting the stingrays, I absolutely loved the sea turtles. I had seen them on TV and in pictures but seeing them in person was unlike anything I thought it would be. They are just amazing creatures to watch, from the tiny babies to the fully grown. It's one of those things that reduces me to one word: "Wow". 

Finally, we grabbed some lunch at the Back Bay Gourmet before heading out of Virginia Beach and back toward home. This little eatery served up a lot of delicious lunch options {soups, salads, sandwiches, etc.} and a whole menu of cappuccino/latte varieties. In keeping with the theme from dinner the night previous, I ordered a Creme Brulee latte to enjoy with my Chicken Tortilla Soup. Oh, how perfect my latte was and how I enjoyed every spoonful of soup. It was a very satisfying lunch and sent us on our way in good spirits.

Overall, I had an amazing visit to Virginia Beach and I would love to return when the weather is warmer...or colder. In the summer there are A LOT more outdoor activities to do like taking a boat tour, para-sailing, outdoor eating, and the like. In the winter, I read there is whale watching. Seeing a whale in person and getting photos of it is on my bucket list and I would probably cry if it actually happened. Either way, I'm sure Virginia Beach is beautiful as ever in completely different ways all year round.

I'll leave you with the sound I fell in love with and wanted to bottle up and bring home with me.

Psst: Check out Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor's Bureau on Twitter and Facebook



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