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Norfolk, VA

A quick 48 hours.

I'm an oddball in that I like to travel off-season.

There's just something about having the run of a location or place that really makes me feel special. It usually gives me the time tp talk to locals and see what the scene is really like.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Virginia's geography, Norfolk is a small, industrious city that is also home to a U.S. Navy base and many colleges, namely Old Dominion University. It is about 20 minutes west of Virginia Beach, a popular destination during the summer.

Vlad and I wanted to do a quick and last minute getaway and we decided somewhere within driving distance of our home that wasn't super far away but accessible. We also wanted to go somewhere we hadn't been before. Norfolk was a great choice for all of these things.

Here's what we did! 

The Stay

We decided that instead of AirBnb-ing it (our usual choice, but read why I'm super frustrated with AirBnb right now), we wanted something a little more all-inclusive. Instead of having to go out for every single meal and coffee/tea craving we wanted something that had those things readily available, especially since we had a short amount of time to do a lot of exploring!

Beach Spa Bed & Breakfast was our chosen place to stay.

I found it by Googling "bed and breakfasts Norfolk, VA", so no referrals for this one!

Yummy French Toast! Light and Fluffy and sweet!

The breakfast on day one was AWESOME. Day 2, it was pretty run of the mill, but the service was amazing.

The amenities were plentiful. In the common space, you had coffee, espresso and tea 24/7, as well as various glassware. In the room, two comfy bathrobes were provided, extra pillows and blankets (thank you from those of us who LIKE a million pillows), soaps, lotions, conditioner and shampoo, and lots of towels. And... a very odd shower/bathtub thing. Which was amazing btw.

The room itself was spacious, but given that the building is near the ocean, I found it felt a little humid, even during the fall. The bed was firm, and so me personally not the comfiest, but I will be the first to admit that I am a very picky sleeper.

Overall, I would recommend this place.

The Eats

For dinner the first night, we went to Waterman's, about 10 minutes down the road from the B&B. The service was impeccable, and the space is beautiful. For what we paid for the meal however, it was lacking much originality. It is clear that the price is die to the rent of such an incredibly placed restaurant (right by the water of the Atlantic Ocean) rather than innovation of the menu. Not sure I'd recommend.

For lunch on our second day, we stopped by Mermaid Winery. They did a greta job transforming part of their parking lot into outdoor dining, which we used. Curled up on a couch in a corner of the tent, we had a great sampling of curated and original wines over a plate of their Mermaid fries and a charcuterie board.

The fries are unique: on top of a very ample amount of crunchy fries is arugula pesto, crumbled chorizo and sriracha sour cream. As a person of zero culinary talent but a little taste, it honestly didn't seem like that flavor combination would work. But it freaking did! It was amazing: the chorizo had just enough kick to be present but not so much as to make those who "can't do spicy" afraid. This is a Top 10 Fry for me! Would recommend this place!

Dinner on the second night was excellent. We went to Hot Tuna. Very good service, excellent excellent food. Too much food, too! Would recommend this place!

The Things to Do

Mostly, Vlad and I did a lot of walking around Norfolk and the Beach. On Day 1, we went to the Norfolk Zoo, then traveled around the city and checked out some bars with outdoor seating.

The Zoo was wonderful. Large enough to be home to a multitude of animals but not so large that it will overwhelm people, especially kids. There are a lot of open spaces for picnicking, which I had never seen before! I think it is an excellent way to spend a day with friends or family, and the fact that the Zoo in Norfolk has such spaces is beneficial, not only for the Zoo but also for the attendees. Having a place to relax gives people more time to go in depth with their education. I would definitely return!

On Day 3, we spent a majority of our time at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens before leaving for home. The Gardens are expansive, and stunning! Many different kinds of plants and styles of gardening can be found here: from meditation style gardens of the East to wildflower fields of the West. It's stunning and a place I would highly recommend going to!

Norfolk was a great little weekend trip. 

Next time I go, the top places to go on my list are The Chrysler Museum of Art and Grain!

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