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Norfolk Va. and Hampton Roads Harbor
by Howard Giske

Norfolk, Virginia is a medium sized city on the Hampton Roads harbor, by the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It is a major seaport and home to the huge Norfolk US Naval Base. The redevelopment of the Norfolk waterfront has created a local attraction around Town Point Park, which is also the location of the annual Harborfest celebration. The Norfolk area contains considerable numbers of beach resorts, including 3 beach parks in the city of Norfolk itself and more elaborate facilities in nearby Virginia Beach.

Norfolk Real Estate is at various price levels, with higher prices and rents in the downtown area near Old Dominion University. It is also next to the cities of Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach and Portsmouth. It is connected to Hampton Roads by a highway through an underwater tunnel. Norfolk is 190 miles SE of Washington, D.C., and 93 miles E of Richmond.

The downtown waterfront is filled with high-rise offices, and a 12,000-seat minor league baseball park. Also by the waterfront is the MacArthur Center, a shopping mall named after General Douglas MacArthur and there is also a museum and memorial to this military hero. Popular with the younger affluent set are the Norfolk homes and restaurants of the gentrified neighborhood known as Ghent.

The Ghent area has really been gentrified in the best sense, with the integration of old historic structures with the new buildings around the waterfront. Also located in the Ghent neighborhood is Fort Norfolk on Front St. and you enter by the Southampton gate. The Fort was authorized by President George Washington in 1794, and played an important role in protecting the area from the British fleet in the War of 1812. The fort was restored in 1991 and at various times of the year period enactments are held, including soldiers in period uniforms for the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Screenwriters, directors and films participate in the annual ON Film Festival, hosted by Old Dominion University and the city of Norfolk, March 18-24. Other attractions in the Ghent neighborhood are the Chrysler Museum of Art, which includes paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velazquez, and the Harrison Opera House.

A favorite tourist activity, and also popular on special occasions for local picture are harbor cruises on the ship, the Spirit of Norfolk, for an afternoon or evening cruise on the Elizabeth River. The narrated tour includes the Hampton Roads Harbor and views of the huge Norfolk Naval base. Some cruises include dinner, dancing and entertainment.

Just to the north of Norfolk, across the tunnel is Hampton, and north of that is the historic site of Virginia's colonial capital, the beautifully restored Williamsburg. This restored and reconstructed city contains over 500 buildings over 301 acres. It is also not far from Jamestown, the site of the first English colony in the New World, and Yorktown, the site of the final American victory in the Revolutionary War, in 1981. Norfolk has its own international airport which can be easily reached by all the Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton and Williamsburg on the Virginia Peninsula.

About the Author

Howard Giske writes about nationwide real estate. For more on Norfolk homes also see real estate info .

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