I spent the past few days in Virginia Beach, packing belongings, and moving out of our long-time, second home. My faithful dog Bosco kept me company but other than that I was alone with twenty years worth of memories and stuff.

I first met Virginia Beach when my college boyfriend swept me away from D.C. to his family’s vacation house. I’m not sure my parents believed me when I told them we spent the weekend watching the Iran-Contra Hearings. But that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

I didn’t know it then, but ultimately I would marry that boyfriend and spend countless weekends and holidays on the same beautiful shoreline. In the early years, we drove from the north via the Cape May-Lewes ferry. As DINKs (double-income-no-kids), we walked hand-in-hand on the seashore, wined and dined at fine restaurants in the Hampton Roads area, and rode bicycles along the boardwalk.

When my oldest was born, I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Virginia Beach. What I recalled most from our first trip there with a new baby was dangling his toes in the water and yanking him up when an incoming wave made him cry a silent-scream-of-fear. Watching our son on the beach was a simple pleasure. Hubby and I took turns playing with him and reading books or relaxing.

By the time the twins came along, family time on the beach transformed from man-to-man to zone defense. My three sons crawled and ran in every direction while my husband and I chased them through the sand. Our bike rides evolved into a stroller brigade with a double-wide plus a single for big brother. Art on the Boardwalk in the summer and Sand Castle Championships in the fall always drew us to the coast. In winter, we drove our car down the boardwalk to see the holiday displays along the beach.

Fine dining from our early years turned to family time with all you can eat buffet at the Happy Crab, the giant pie at Cal-Z Pizza, Frankie’s Place for Ribs, and our favorite, the Purple Cow.
The Purple Cow was a given on any trip to Virginia Beach. With purple petunias out front, bright purple walls and booths, and vanilla ice cream dyed purple to match. We learned the hard way that parents should not feed purple-vanilla ice cream to children who are still in diapers. No one needs to see how scary that stuff looks!

Just when things started to feel relatively calm at our house, as the twins entered kindergarten, we added a dog to the family—a lazy, couch-potato-of-a dog. He sleeps (and snores—loud) about 23 hours a day. But at the beach, oh, at the beach he is an athlete. He jogs along happy-as-can-be and lets the wave’s crash over his chubby girth.
I loved early morning hours at the beach with Bosco, walking along the shore, watching schools of dolphins leap in the distance, and enjoying how pelicans soar and dive.
Over the years, countless friends have shared the joys of Jungle Mini-Golf, Surf & Sand Movies, Jet-skis at Rudee Inlet, touching the stingrays and going to IMAX at the Virginia Beach Marine Science Center, eating tiger tails from the Sugar Plum Bakery, and dancing like fools to the sounds of Beatles impersonators and Jefferson Airplane while wearing tie-dye.
Now, my children’s weekends and summers are filled with baseball, basketball, lacrosse, and more. We seldom have a chance to steal away to our oasis. Last year, the place stood empty. The old neighborhood has changed: Happy Crab closed. Frankie’s Place closed. Surf and Sand Movies closed. Purple Cow closed. So, another chapter ends. My family no longer has a place to hang our hats in Virginia Beach.
While I will always cherish my memories of Virginia Beach, I welcome suggestions for a place to make new ones.
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  1. Kim Smith says:

    Aw Lisa! This post made me sort of sad. It’s hard saying goodbye to so many lovely memories. Hope you find a new “home” feeling soon!

  2. Rebecca Camarena says:

    I thought your post was going to be about your dog dying and I’m so glad that your post was only about moving.

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