The snow storm today has me longing for warmer weather, so I figured I’d write about our vacation to Virginia Beach a few months ago to distract myself from the cold reality outside my window. Seriously, it is way too early for all this snow! We still have another five months of this until Rochester winter is over!
Anyways. Dan and I took a much-needed vacation at the end of August and drove down to Virginia Beach. It was perfect timing, because Dan had just got his new Jeep Gladiator a few weeks before and was itching to break it in. The 10-hour drive to show it off at Virginia Beach seemed to do the trick. He had a little too much fun “bumpin” with the roof off 🙂
We stayed four nights at a beach-front Holiday Inn for “free” using Dan’s travel points from work (probably the only perk of him having to travel so much). In only four nights, we were able to have a vacation that was equal parts fun and relaxing, and it was just what we needed.
Things to do in Virginia Beach
We spent our first full day at Busch Gardens. Busch Gardens is in Williamsburg, VA, which was about a 45-minute drive from our hotel. The tickets were reasonably priced, and there was plenty to do and see! The park is split into different “countries.” We rode a few rides in Italy and Germany, then stopped at Oktoberfest for lunch and a live show. We had pastries while we strolled through France and England, and finally the highlight of the day was was watching Celtic Fyre in Ireland. Celtic Fyre is a live Irish Step dancing show complete with singing, dancing, and fun outfits. The performers were unbelievably talented, and the show just felt homey somehow. If you ever visit Bush Gardens, I strongly recommend you make time to watch this show.
Because we didn’t have to pay for our hotel, we decided to splurge a little when it came to shopping. We spent an afternoon at Norfolk Premium Outlets and stopped at some of our favorite places: Calvin Klein, The Gap, and Tommy Hilfiger. At Sunglass Hut we both splurged on new sunglasses. We usually just buy the $10 sunglasses at Marshalls that last for about a year before breaking, so this was a pretty big deal for us.
My favorite part of our vacation was just hanging out at the beach. Playing in the waves, lounging on our beach blanket in the sand, and walking down to the boardwalk. On our second beach day, we walked down to one of those Bargain Beach stores and picked up boogie boards. We spent hours riding the red-flag waves like kids- no shame, we were having so much fun!
Relaxation is one of the most important things to me on a vacation. If you feel exhausted after your vacation, you are probably doing it wrong. Just give me a thick book, a cold drink, and some sunshine.
Regardless of what my husband says, no vacation is complete without a trip to the “exotic” Wegmans nearby. Wegmans opened its store in Virginia Beach in the Spring, so you know that this Rochester-native was not going to miss an opportunity to visit! The store is huge and gorgeous, and unlike our Wegmans here in Rochester, there is a giant wine and spirits section. We both picked out a few Virginia wines to bring home with us.
Places to eat
Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint
On our way back from Busch Gardens, we made a pit stop at Flavor Town. The decor was eye-catching, the food was decent, and they had a live band playing. Overall, I would say the restaurant was underwhelming but that was probably due to inflated expectations. We left after one chorus of the band absolutely butchering Creedence Clearwater Revival.
TASTE, a cafe and specialty foods market with cheery yellow branding, was definitely a bright spot of the trip. We stopped there for a light lunch after spending a few hours at the beach. It turns out that they will also deliver lunch right to your beach chair if you order online. They also had a wall of wine, so we picked up a few bottles to bring back to our hotel room.
Doc Taylors is a hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint. If you’re not looking for it, you might walk right by it without noticing it’s there. We walked to Doc Taylor’s from our hotel one morning, and there was a long line but it was worth the wait. Dan ordered some sort of Irish breakfast extravaganza, and I chose to go with a lighter option before spending the day in a swimsuit- granola pancakes.
Repeal Bourbon & Burgers
We stopped at Repeal during our night out walking the Virginia Beach main strip. Of all the places we ate at, Repeal definitely wins for me. The atmosphere was perfect, the bar tenders were down-to-earth and knowledgable, and I had one of the best burgers ever. The drinks were on point and affordable. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover this gem until our last night of vacation. Next time we are down there, we are making it a point to visit it more often, even if just for drinks.
Getting away together, even just for a few days, should be a priority in any relationship. Taking time away from your everyday routine can breathe so much life into you. We chose Virginia Beach because it’s far away, but close enough that we could still drive there. We had a wonderful time, and we’ll definitely be back again.