Running Adventures: Oceanfront Boardwalkin’

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King Neptune stands guard over Virginia Beach's favorite running spot, the boardwalk..

Oceanfront Boardwalkin’

 

 

If you’ve lived in Virginia Beach for more than 5 minutes, you either are a runner or you love someone who is a runner.

When I moved to Virginia Beach in 2003 to attend graduate school at ODU, I found myself living at the Oceanfront, broke, and in desperate need of a way to release all the stress that graduate school has to offer.  Before moving here, I dabbled in running, but it was more of an occasional activity than a way of life for me.  That is until I moved close to the Disneyland of running, i.e., the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  There is something about the Boardwalk that just makes you want to run.  First, it’s “I’ll run to one end and back”.  Then it’s “Let me run to the other end and back so I can check out what’s going on down there too”.  Before you know it, you’re running the whole Boardwalk, all 5 glorious miles of it.  “Why is the Boardwalk such a cool place to run?” you ask, “It’s so crowded and touristy”.   Yes, you are correct, but that’s one of the reasons it’s so appealing.  Name one place that you can check out the surf, spot dolphin swimming along the shoreline, hear live music, and  people watch (mostly people wearing outfits that should probably be illegal) all in less than a few blocks?  The public restrooms and water fountains every few blocks are just icing on the cake.

The Boardwalk is home to many, many races, all of which benefit one great charity or another.  If you have not run a race on the boardwalk, I would strongly suggest you do.

There’s always a fun afterparty somewhere that you won’t want to miss.

I have personally run more races on the Boardwalk than I can count, and have had some of my best and worst running memories made there.   Friendships are formed through running on this strip of concrete, if you let them.

There is an energy to the Boardwalk that I have yet to find anywhere else in Virginia Beach.   Yes, often it is full of out-of-owners (especially when you hit it in the summertime), but seeing their wide-eyed excitement at being away from their real lives and letting lose for a few days, almost makes you feel as though you are on vacation yourself.  Times like these, you realize how lucky you are to live close to the ocean and enjoy it anytime you want.  I try never to take this fact for granted, and feel ever so grateful to live by the sea.

…when you hit the Boardwalk early in the morning, there is a peacefulness in the air that is contagious…

Other times, when you hit the Boardwalk early in the morning, there is a peacefulness in the air that is contagious.  The quietness of the morning allows you to able to hear the roar of the surf and watch the early-bird surfers out trying to catch the best waves of the day.  It feels like you’ve got the whole place to yourself.  As you run, stop to take a look out to the ocean and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic.  You are guaranteed a beautiful show.

Next time you’re bored and want something to do, I suggest lacing up and heading down there.  When you run, make sure to touch the railing at each end of the Boardwalk.  It’s a legend throughout the running community here that this is good luck, so don’t jinx yourself.  Also, look for me, because I will hopefully be there too.

Words by Karen Lindauer, Photos by Karen Lindauer and Carla Serex


Upcoming Events at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

March 18-20, 2016 Shamrock Marathon (Marathon, Half-Marathon, 8k, 1 mile)

May 29, 2016 Steel Pier Classic 5k

September 3-4, 2016 Rock’n Roll 1/2 Marathon (1/2 Marathon, 5k, 1 mile)

October 29, 2016 Wicked 10k (10k, 1 mile)

December 17, 2016 Surf-n-Santa (5 mile)

Fall paddle on Back Bay with Norfolk State University

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Autumn afternoons on Back Bay Virginia like the one these Norfolk State University students and faculty experienced tell the story of a coastal estuary in transition. As a result, wildlife sightings have been ample and fall colors are becoming more prominent as the season holds on to its last few warm days before the winds of winter arrive. Migratory birds are buzzing south along the Atlantic Flyway, which aligns perfectly with our waterway. Winding through the northern portion of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the tributary offers a complete cross-section of the watershed’s natural environment from maritime forest to marsh to open water. For more information and to book your group outing on our scenic stretch of sheltered, flat water, call us at (757) 721-6210 or follow this link. Thanks to NSU’s Living-Learning Communities coordinator Patrisha Aregano for bringing the crew down to Sandbridge! Photos by John Streit.

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False Cape Bike Tours

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Words & photos by John Streit.

Aside from being one of Virginia’s most diverse and beautiful natural areas, False Cape State Park is also the commonwealth’s most remote. Unlike nearby First Landing State Park — which offers awesome recreational opportunities in its own right — there is no parking lot access to False Cape. While that certainly limits the amount of activity the park experiences, it is also the source of the park’s allure — it’s an uncrowded, undeveloped, pristine and remote adventureland!

Thanks to our False Cape Bike Tours, Surf & Adventure/Ocean Rentals has opened the door to experience the rolling dunes, marsh flats, maritime forests, beaches and tributaries of Back Bay and False Cape! Outside of hiking, biking is the only and most efficient way to access False Cape State Park with tightly-packed gravel trails extending from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center to the North Carolina/Virginia state line. Our tours offer two ways to experience False Cape: via the interior trails on beach cruisers or on the sand with our fat-tire bikes! These photos show the landscape of the interior trails from an early summer tour. Click the link to learn more about these unique, awe-inspiring tours and to book yours today!

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Smiles for Miles on Back Bay!

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Photos & words by John Streit.

While we approach every family’s Surf & Adventure experience with the utmost passion and enthusiasm, it’s always a treat when influential members of our community choose to hit the water with us. That was the case last week, when Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee — founders of the global, Virginia Beach-based medical nonprofit Operation Smile — brought their big, happy family down to Sandbridge for our famous Back Bay Eco Tour! Comprised of the elder Magees, several of their children and many more grandkids — 21 in all — the crew was stoked to take on our three-mile track down our waterway and into the open waters of North Bay. Youthful energy and adventurous spirits ran high as we made the paddle through the maritime forest into the open marsh and open water. Some of the resident critters decided to put on a show for the Magees, as we spotted turtles, snakes, muskrats, red wing blackbirds, purple martins, vultures, osprey and even a pair of bald eagles soaring over the marsh in the bluebird skies.

The Magees founded Operation Smile in 1982 after visiting the Philippines and witnessing the remarkably high concentration of cleft lips and palettes in the local population — most of which in poverty-stricken, rural areas. Since then, Operation Smile has steadily grown into one of the world’s most celebrated and recognized nonprofit organizations for their tireless work in improving the lives of their patients — free of charge — around the globe. The Magees have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors including the first $1 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1996, the Servants of Peace Award in 1997, the Golden Plate Award and Kellogg’s Hannah Neil World of Children Award in 1999, and in 2001 the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service and the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Exceptional Endeavors of Outstanding Moral and Humanitarian Value by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. In 2007, USAID presented the Magees with the President’s Call to Service Award from President George W. Bush. In addition, Kathy Magee was highlighted in November 2009 in US News & World Report’s issue “America’s Best Leaders.”

We would like to offer huge thanks to the Magees for their incredible contribution to humanity — not to mention bringing the family down for a good time on the water!

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False Cape Bike & Surf Trip Scenes

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Words, photos and video produced by John Streit. Filmed by Les Frankel & Streit.

False Cape State Park is the kind of place where the usual travel or nature buzz words like “breathtaking” are used to describe it, but inevitably fall short of actually summarizing its majesty. No matter how many times I have made the trek from Sandbridge to Virginia’s southernmost state park, I always return with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for this incredible stretch of natural beaches, high dunes, maritime forest and marsh flats. All of those ecosystems were on display under sunny skies and warm temperatures for our 2015 False Cape Bike & Surf Trip, which took 15 stoked participants from Little Island Park to False Cape’s Barbour Hill and back with a four-plus-hour surf session in between for good measure.

This trip also serves as a preview for our False Cape Retreats, which return for three special runnings this summer starting on Saturday, June 20 followed by Saturdays July 11 and August 22. We are also offering False Cape Bike Tours which offers participants the option of biking the interior trails or on the sand with our fleet of fat-tire sand bikes!

Until then, enjoy the video and photos capturing the action from another classic Bike & Surf Trip!

 

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Filming “On The Map” with WHIG-TV!

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Words & photos by John Streit.

We’re always proud to be the media’s source for adventure! Through our great relationship with the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and BCF Agency, we’ve hosted hundreds of travel and adventure journalists from around the globe, showcasing our slice of Virginia Beach on the banks of Back Bay. Our latest media visit came to us from Rocky Mount, N.C.’s WHIG-TV, which selected Surf & Adventure Co./Ocean Rentals Ltd.’s Blue Pete’s Sunset Dinner Kayak Tour as the subject of an upcoming episode of “On The Map,” a show dedicated to travel destinations within a short drive from the station’s viewing area.

On-air talent Brittany Smith and cameraman Robby Morris interviewed shop owner Rob Lindauer to gain insight to our company’s wide array of adventure opportunities from surf lessons to SUP, bike and kayak tours. Our paddle to Blue Pete’s was completed with an ideal, following breeze from the east-northeast, comfortable temperatures and smooth waters for the entire trip. The two-hour paddle is perfect for building up a hunger and thirst for the restaurant’s delicious food and drink offerings!

Enjoy the photos and stay tuned for the “On The Map” video once it airs. To book your own Blue Pete’s Sunset Dinner Kayak Tour, click here!

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False Cape Bike & Surf Trip: May 16

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May has arrived, and that means it’s time for adventure through the diverse ecosystems of False Cape State Park in search of natural beauty, fun waves and good times!

Alongside the friendly staff of False Cape State Park, Surf & Adventure Co. is proud to host our fourth annual False Cape Bike & Surf Trip!

Join us as we set out on bikes from Little Island Park through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and into False Cape State Park. With the gracious park staff hauling our gear to the Barbour Hill walkover, all you have to do is pedal through the marsh flats and maritime forest — on a well-packed gravel pathway safe for beach cruisers — and enjoy the scenery and serenity of this natural treasure to Sandbridge’s south.

Please be sure to pack a lunch, water, towel and plenty of sunscreen! We will provide transport of your choice of one surf craft — pick the best option for the day’s conditions — tents, umbrellas and several beach chairs for the group to share.

If you’ve experienced the trip in the past, you know how special and thrilling this unique adventure is. If you haven’t, be sure not to miss out on this opportunity to immerse yourself in our region’s most beautiful natural scenery!

Schedule:

8:30 a.m.: Meet at Little Island Park for check-in and load-up.

9 a.m. SHARP: Departure to False Cape.

3 p.m.: Return trip to Little Island Park.

Total milage for the bike trip is about 12 miles.

Costs:

Package A: $20, includes park entry fees and gear transport.

Package B: $30, includes bike rental, park entry fees and gear transport.

Call Surf & Adventure Co. at (757) 721-6210 to reserve your spot. Additional rentals, such as wetsuits and boards, are not included in the packages.

See you there!

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