Spring in Virginia Beach
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At this point, most New Yorkers are sick and tired of snow and cold, wet streets, which makes heading to Virginia Beach an enticing idea. Aside from the pleasant temperatures and warm sunshine, there are plenty of reasons to visit this quaint and historical city along the Atlantic Ocean during spring break.
HOW TO GET THERE: One of the simplest ways to get to Virginia Beach is by bus. For $70 round trip you can book a ticket on NYTiger.com, a specialty bus with free WiFi that picks up passengers at 59 Canal Street and leaves for the city twice a day, at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The trip takes about seven hours driving time, depending on traffic. You can also fly there in an hour and a half for around $260, though the closest airport to Virginia Beach is in Norfolk, which is about 25 minutes away. From there you can take a cab for around $40-$50, or rent a car.
WHAT TO DO: Spring is just around the corner, but at Virginia Beach it will feel even closer, especially if you take advantage of the beach, boardwalk and outdoor events coming up. Starting on May 15, you can grab the kids and take a pirate-themed cruise with Capt. Jack's Pirate Ship Adventures (virginiabeachpirateship.com). On May 24 and 25, the area welcomes the Pungo Strawberry Festival (pungostrawberryfestival.info), an annual event where you can eat your fill of the bright red fruit, served more than 50 different ways. Year-round, the area has a plethora of museums to visit, too, including the Old Coast Guard Station Museum, Chrysler Museum of Art and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
WHERE TO EAT: Eating is best done seaside here. Start your day out right with the smell of salty air and coffee at Doc Taylor's (207 23rd St., 757-425-1960; doctaylors.com) and fill up on biscuits and gravy, granola pancakes or a doctor-themed omelet before heading out to the shore. For dinner, head to the white tablecloth-clad Terrapin (3102 Holly Road, 757-321-6688; terrapinvirginiabeach.com), where chef Rodney Einhorn dishes up farm-fresh American fare including risotto with local shrimp and pork ribs with organic collard greens. Or, for a more laidback but none-the-less tasty meal, try Zoes (713 19th Street, 757-437-3636; zoesvb.com), chef Jerry Weihbrecht's seafood and steak joint near the boardwalk. No matter where you dine, just make sure to order plenty of fresh seafood, and keep in mind that rockfish and Lynnhaven oysters are a specialty of the area.
WHERE TO STAY: If you want to lodge in style with a dash of relaxation, the Beach Spa Bed and Breakfast (2420 Arctic Avenue, 757-422-2621; beachspabnb.com; rates start at $129) has what you're looking for. There are only eight rooms in this two-level inn. Amenities include a spa-like bathroom with a rainfall showerhead, steamer shower and jetted tub, as well as an array of massage treatments. If this space is booked up, make a reservation at the Comfort Inn Beachfront (2321 Atlantic Avenue, 757-491-2400; comfortinn.com; rates start at $69) a larger venue located right by the water. The hotel features an outdoor pool and complimentary breakfast.
SHOPPING: For the hardcore shopper, Lynnhaven Mall (710 Lynnhaven Parkway, 757-340-9340; lynnhavenmall.com) is where it's at. This stylish institution is the largest in the area and boasts close proximity to the water, around 180 stores, food options and entertainment. For those looking to catch some waves, purchase all your surfing gear and beach ware at the 30-year-old 17th Street Surf Shop (1612 Pacific Avenue, 757-422-6105; 17thst.com). Finally, don't forget your pooch. Get Fido a custom collar from Mrs. Bones (1616 Hilltop West Shopping Center, 757-412-0500; mrsbones.com), a boutique pet shop specializing in the accessory. You can also wander up and down the boardwalk and Atlantic Avenue and pick up the random souvenir here and there to remember your spring fling by.