Re: Tell Us About Virginia
I was a resident of southern Virginia for thirteen years. I also lived in DC for two years, which is just north of the Virginia border. The two areas are very different; more like two different states.
Virginia is very rich in history. Colonial Williamsburg is a mostly recreated colonial town where you can hang out as a tourist and enjoy costumed characters and authenticly-recreated colonial architecture. Just be warned; it's a quite snobby place. The local hotels are expensive for little atmosphere. In the town of Williamsburg, things are a bit better. Nearby is "Busch Gardens The Old Country" which is my favorite non-Disney theme park. I highly recommend visiting for anyone who enjoys amusement parks. The landscaping there is first rate and creates a very beautiful park literally among the trees. The "big iron" roller coasters are world class.
Not far from Williamsburg is Yorktown where you can visit the original battlefield from the Revolutionary War; it still looks pretty much the same. Next door is Jamestown. Everything there is recreated since the original settlement is now underwater in the York River. Jamestown is a bit snooty, but nothing like Colonial Williamsburg.
Connecting these little, historic towns is the Colonial Parkway; one of my favorite drives. When the weather is nice, meaning Fall and Spring, rent a drop-top and cruise the parkway. You will enjoy views of beautiful forests, swampy areas and the York River. When you get to Colonial Williamsburg, just turn around and go back because, like I said, they're really snooty there.
The actual beach in Virginia Beach is small and crowded with tourists from New York and New Jersey who try to have a good time among locals who tend to wander the area spewing foul language and explicit suggestions at young ladies. (I expect a nasty letter from the burea of tourism for saying this.) The city has installed video cameras and bright lights almost everywhere on the oceanfront to discourage such behavior. Most of the city of Virginia Beach consists of shopping malls, bedroom communities and Naval Air Station Oceana.
Norfolk features the world's largest navy base. Downtown you can visit the Nauticus Maritime Museum (yawn) and walk the decks of an Iowa Class battleship (cool, but you can't go below decks). Also downtown is a museum and memorial for General Douglas McArthur and an upscale shopping mall sharing his name. The Harrison Opera house is an incredibly elegant and historic venue for local plays and music performances.