Exceptional Coastal Virginia Neighborhoods
Kempsville, Virginia Beach
Historic and modern, in flux and established, suburban and scenic; the Kempsville area is an evolving and dynamic ward in the City of Virginia Beach.
George Kempe purchased land along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River around 1652 and established a tobacco port. That area prospered into a small community known as Kemp’s Landing (sometimes spelled Kempe’s Landing) that attracted the Princess Anne County Courthouse, which sat in Kempsville from 1778 to 1824. Incorporated as the “Town of Kempsville” in 1783, it was absorbed into the City of Virginia Beach in 1963. Today, it is one of the seven districts of Virginia Beach City Council. However, Kempsville is more than just some bureaucratic lines on a map; it is a distinct hamlet plump with cuisines, entertainment, and outdoor recreation.
Local restaurants with worldly pallets pepper the neighborhoods with delicious ethnic foods. Papa’s Greek Restaurant & Pizzeria in Kempsriver Shopping Center is a delicious option for lamb gyro sandwiches, Greek-style pizza, and other Mediterranean fare. The Mesob Cafe on Parliament Drive is the only Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant in Hampton Roads according to their website, and has a healthy selection of vegan entrees and authentic North African dishes on their menu.
Just a couple miles away, on Princess Anne Road, you will find Aloha Hawaiian BBQ. This cute little spot, decorated like a traditional Hawaiian hut, has an array of dishes, both spicy and sweet, with rich and distinct Asian-Pacific flavors. The Hawaiian Chicken Ono Curry dish, which is a soup-like mixture of chicken, diced potatoes, pineapple chunks, onions and roasted peanuts smothered in a spicy coconut curry cream sauce, will change your life for the better.
If Indian food is more your taste, Coastal Spice in Fairfield Shopping Center is the best option in town. The menu is full of vegetarian and vegan options, and their mulligatawny soup, hummus, and butter chicken dishes are some of the best in Hampton Roads.
If you’re looking for casual American fare, try dinner and a movie at Cinema Cafe. You do not have to purchase food to watch a movie there, but movies and food go so well together, so why not?
As springtime peaks over the clouds, outdoor adventures once again light up our to-do lists, especially after eating all that food! If you find yourself driving through Kempsville, take a turn off of Princess Anne Road and drive to the back of Carolanne Farms neighborhood. You will find a hidden grove nestled quietly off Gainsborough Road, with a trail that starts at the street and winds you through a forest’s umbrage to a dock on the Elizabeth River. The trail then wraps around a small pool known as Turtle Lake, taking you over a small dam that separates the lake from the river. The site, also known as the “Elizabeth River Water Trail Access” or “Elizabeth River at Carolanne Farms,” is a mixture of paved and unpaved trails, marshland, grasses, and forests, with a wooden dock and boat launch ramps that provide public access to the Elizabeth River. It is ideal for hiking and picnicking, and is a quiet respite amidst the bustling suburbs.
Across the Elizabeth River from Turtle Lake Trail, on the opposite side of Kempsville, you will find Woodstock Park on Providence Road. Woodstock provides many standard city park amenities, such as basketball courts, picnic areas, a dog park, playground, and walking trails. However, Woodstock also includes a 10,400 square foot skate park (helmets required!) equipped with a five-foot tall quarter pipe, stairs, hubba ledges, radial ledges, vert wall, handrails, and other structures. There is also a 3,200 square foot green space within the skate park and bleachers for those who would like to sit and watch the fun.
If you’re looking for a different kind of sport, Kempsville is also home to America’s largest pool hall. That’s right, the most pool tables under one roof in America is in Kempsville, Virginia Beach. Touting a family-friendly atmosphere, Q-Master Billiards has a restaurant, full bar, bleacher seating for tournaments, is available for events and parties, and also hosts the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship. You can get a free hour of pool if you buy lunch there, which is a great deal. So whether you are a professional pool player, looking for a place to have a drink and shoot a casual game, or want to try something different with the family, Q-Master Billiards is an internationally renowned local business right in our back yard. Check it out.
While driving down Interstate-264, you may have noticed those 175-foot tall poles and netting near the Witchduck Road exit. That is the safety webbing of TopGolf, a relatively new entertainment facility that combines food, drink, driving ranges, lounges, games, and sports bars. You can rent your own room by the hour and spend your time driving golf balls into their 240-yard field, having a drink eating with friends, lounging, or checking out the sights.. The golf balls are microchipped and paired to the golfer, which allows for fun competitions, as well as accurate scoring and distance measurements. You don’t need to be a professional golfer to enjoy TopGolf, nor do you need your own clubs.
For music lovers, Birdland Music is one of the region’s epicenters of vinyl records and compact discs. Owner Barry Friedman has run Birdland Music in Kempsville for decades, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every type of music. With a resurgence in vinyl production over the past few years, Birdland Music is a great place to find exactly what you need and maybe learn a thing or two from people who have lived the music.
After all that food, drinking, walking, playing, sporting, and music, taking in some art would be a great way to settle the soul and balance the mind. Utopia Feni is a creative gallery-studio space that hosts art shows, classes, events, fosters gardens, and provides an environment for creatives in the area. Opened by Raeesah Islam in 2015, Utopia Feni also produces creative candles, bags, and notebooks to raise money for a high school arts program in Feni, Bangladesh, which is the namesake of her gallery-studio and the village where her father lives. Find out about their events and products online and visit their studio if you’d like to support their cause.
The future of Kempsville is bright, with major construction planned around the “Historic Kempsville” section near the intersection of Kempsville and Princess Anne Roads, as well as the slated completion of a much-anticipated $38 million recreation center near Kempsvile Middle School. The Elizabeth River Greenway, part of Virginia Beach’s efforts to increase public access to the river’s canals and tributaries, has received federal funding and is progressing towards its goal of responsible and effective utilization of the environment for its residents. The Kempsville area has a lot to be excited about; good food, a strong history, art, entertainment, and a lot of green spaces. If you don’t live in Kempsville, be sure to pay it a visit sometime. There’s more to do here than you may think.
THALIA, Virginia Beach
Look most places in this corner of the city and you’ll find the name: Thalia. Thalia Road, Thalia Creek, Thalia United Methodist Church and Thalia Elementary School. Even Thalia Civic League and Thalia Fire Station No. 7.
The neighborhood could have derived its name from one of several places. Local writer and historian Deni Norred’s theories? German language, Greek mythology or botany.
Then there’s the third, far less graceful theory: Thalia is also a swamp plant. Although the plant is found farther south, it would have been fairly marshy here when the area was settled. “So maybe it was a misnomer,” Norred said. “Maybe they thought we had that plant.”
In her research, Norred has found no clues as to who gave the neighborhood its name, but the first documented reference to Thalia she found appears in an 1893-94 list of Princess Anne County post offices, she said. The name appears again in 1894, on a train schedule for the Norfolk, Albemarle and Atlantic Railroad. Thalia was one of its stops.
“I have no evidence it was ever called anything else,” said Norred, who is working on a book about the community’s history.
In 1937, a tuberculosis hospital was opened in Thalia to serve Virginia’s second congressional district, Norred said. Five years later, the hospital and the land around it was converted into Camp Thalia for U.S. soldiers during World War II. In 1944, it changed names to Camp Ashby and became a prisoner-of-war camp, housing as many as 2,230 Germans at its peak, Norred said. Today, Thalia extends from Thalia Creek to Lynn Shores Drive and from the Eastern branch of the Lynnhaven River south to Interstate 264.
A brick pillar on the corner of Thalia Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard still greets visitors, with “Thalia” printed there in iron.
Source: Margaret Matray, 757-222-5216, email@example.com
BIRDNECK POINT, Virginia Beach
Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club
The land which the Club, Course and surrounding Neighborhood are situated was once rich and fertile farmland belonging to several families – all who also had the good fortune of holding spectacular views of the Linkhorn Bay providing, in the day an abundance of fish and shellfish indigenous to those waters.
By the early 1900’s Birdneck was divided into five areas – land to the west of Cardinal Road belonged to the Miner family, to the east was held by Mr. Hurdle and beyond that was a forty-acre tract extending northward across the point owned by the Stormont family. The balance of the land was held by the descendants of John Ackiss, High Sheriff in 1769 whose property, some thirty acres from the end of Bobolink south to the inlet and north to where the Clubhouse now sits. The remainder of the Point belonged to the Miller family.
An arrangement was secured with the owners of the Cavalier Hotel (built in 1927) to facilitate the recreational needs of hotel guests. Upon Mr. Crane’s untimely and tragic death in 1938 while duck hunting on the James River the golf course was purchased from his estate by the Cavalier Hotel and was thereafter know as Cavalier Country Club. The owner of the hotel, Mr. Sidney Banks (not related to the course architect) was a very positive force in the growth and improvements to the Club, its amenities and towards the neighborhood in general.
On March 22, 1947 the Club’s manager announced that the facilities at Birdneck Point would now be known as the Cavalier Yacht and Country Club, a private, non-profit club for the exclusive use of the Members and their guests and would be directed by officers and a board of directors. Later that same year an extension was planned to the 55 foot pier in anticipation of extensive dredging of the Lynnhaven Inlet which would open up Broad and Linkhorn Bays to larger boats. Other improvements were announced including a 200 seat dining room (although not completed until 1959), shuffleboard and paddle tennis courts and anchorage for seaplanes for guests arriving by air. By the summer of 1952 the Club was considered to be one of the mid-South’s major Yacht Clubs, its marina accommodating some 75 yachts and cruisers on their dual 200 foot-long piers.
After a series of storms that caused significant flooding to the Club lower levels in the early 2000’s, the Club Governors found themselves with opportunity to move the Club Member Quarters to the upper level of the Club and thus, out of harm’s way. In the spring of 2011 the Clubhouse was reopened with a transformation into its current configuration, complete with resort styling and ambiance, captured by the addition of the Redan Deck overlooking Linkhorn Bay and the famous 18th finishing par-3, designed and named for the famous C. B. McDonald’s “The Redan” located on the West Links at North Berwick, Scotland. Coupled with The Banks Grille and Lynnhaven Dining Room, the Members of the Cavalier have been provided with a variety of dining and entertaining options unparalleled in the area.
The dedication and legate nature of the Members of the Club coupled with their commitment to maintaining its heritage will keep the Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club improving and reinventing itself towards better serving its membership for years and years to come.
LITTLE NECK, Virginia Beach
Little Neck is a wonderful community of homes nestled between the Eastern and Western Branches of the Lynnhaven River – due North from its tip is the Lesner Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay. We have inherited a rich history from the Algonquian nation tribe known as Chesapeakes who enjoyed life along the shores of the Little Neck peninsula to the watermen who later made their living harvesting oysters. Residents of Little Neck have good reasons to be proud of their neighborhood.
Known for its beautiful waterways, majestic tree canopy, spacious lots, and abundance of neighborhood parks and trails, Little Neck offers a variety of home styles from cozy ranches to estates on the Lynnhaven River. Summer evenings you can hear the laughter of children and hear the chimes ringing in the warm breezes, smell the goodness of summer as dinner cooks on the grill, and see the incredible sunsets over the western shore of the Lynnhaven River. Little Neck feels like an oasis, but offers easy access to interstates, Towne Center, the Oceanfront and a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, and cultural entertainment.
Neighborhood schools are a draw and you won’t mind at all getting to know your neighbors at the Little Neck Swim and Racquet Club, civic league or garden club meetings, and neighborhood get-togethers.
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LINLIER, A Classic Virginia Beach Community
Abutting Linkhorn Bay, Linlier is a classic Virginia Beach neighborhood that boasts Azaleas, Camellia Bushes, Tulip Poplars, Pine trees, Bay Laurel, and more. A few miles set back from the Virginia Beach oceanfront, Linlier continues to be one of the most sought after and desirable neighborhoods in Virginia Beach. The beauty of Linlier is that it has successfully retained its character and charm as not one home or lot is exactly the same. Flanked by deep water estates at the perimeter with neighboring adorable ranches on sizeable lots to its interior is what makes this neighborhood so desirable. The preservation of land, lot sizes, and homes that show distinction and character from one another, keep Linlier at the top of a home buyer’s list. In finding your perfect home you will pass street names like Laurel View Drive, Winwood Drive, & Little Horseshoe Drive – all that tell a story about the historical natural beauty that Linlier is known for.
While living in this wonderful community, you will love being tucked away from the hustle and bustle that Virginia Beach offers. However, Linlier is not a sleeping community. Its residents consist of professors, doctors, firemen, small business owners, military families, accountants, principals, dentists, lawyers, realtors, nurses, teachers, and more. These families also need quick and timely access that connects them to a world that is in motion. Their homes are located only a short distance from the highly rated Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, Hilltop Shops, Restaurants & Outdoor Market Place, the YMCA, Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market & Trader Joe’s, the Virginia Beach oceanfront and boardwalk, the Norfolk International Airport, interstates and highways, NAS–Oceana, Virginia Beach’s Town Center shops and restaurants, schools, city parks, churches, businesses, libraries, movie theaters, The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Arts, Princess Anne Country Club, the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, The Cavalier Golf & Country Club, the Chesapeake Bay, and more.
While staying close to home, enjoy the abundant amenities that immediately surround Linlier. Meet your neighbors and start enjoying this amazing community centrally located in Virginia Beach. Owning a home in this neighborhood offers a lifestyle filled with choices. Enjoy the life, spend quality time with your family, meet your neighborhood friends, take some time to enjoy all that surrounds you, or just plain relax.
EAST BEACH, a Waterfront Community in Norfolk
Strolling down sidewalks shaded by oak trees, experience the New Urbanism that is East Beach. There is a palatable sense of Neighborhood. Situated on 100 acres along the Chesapeake Bay, you can experience the grandeur and grace of Norfolk waterfront living. The architectural designs of the homes in East Beach are fashioned after classic southeastern seaboard coastal villages. East Beach homes include brownstone townhomes, manor condominiums as well as cottages and elegant large waterfront homes, the majority built by a Guild of custom builders who adhere to a high standard of excellence which pays off in the rich architectural palette that East Beach has created. Many of the homes in East Beach feature detached Carriage House garages with finished apartments above which are perfect as in-law or guest suites or which can be used to generate rental income.
East Beach is a neighborhood designed to bring people together – on the sidewalks, in the parks, and on their porches. This is a neighborhood designed for pedestrians with plenty of walking paths and bay front greens which enhance livability and create open spaces for this beachfront community. They also provide venues for music, local farmers’ markets or other community events. Walk just a few short blocks to the Chesapeake Bay and take advantage of the amenities and activities at the Bay Front Club. One of the greatest pleasures of living on the bay is simply strolling along the beach, enjoying the sand between your toes, the salty air, and the rhythmic lapping of the waves on the shore. The bay’s warm waters and gentle waves create an ideal playground for children and make swimming both pleasurable and safe. Jet-skis, windsurfers, kayaks, and small boats can be easily launched from the beach.
Walk in the other direction to Pretty Lake’s deep water marinas and the shops along Pretty Lake Avenue. From the deep-water marinas at Pretty Lake, larger boats have easy access to the bay and the world-class fishing found at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, with no bridges to limit the height of your mast.
Book Clubs, Wine Clubs, Progressive Dinners – there is no shortage of opportunities to socialize with others who call East Beach home. And if the walk is too far, just hop in your golf carts, as this is one of only a few communities in Coastal Virginia which allows golf carts on the streets.
Experience the richness of Neighborhood that is East Beach!
SANDBRIDGE, Virginia Beach
My love for Sandbridge Beach started back in the late 1980’s when my boyfriend, now husband, would take me down to Little Island Pier at the south end of Sandbridge Beach. Sandbridge Beach stretches five miles along the Atlantic Ocean. Its pristine sand dunes, beach areas, and dancing sea oats capture your senses and truly make you slow down. There we would meet up with his friends during summer break so they could surf. I remember the drive – little winding two lane roads surrounded by deep ditches filled with brackish water and tall seagrasses. Farm land was undeveloped and you could see cornfields for miles, and yes, there was one traffic light! Eventually we’d roll-up to the old life guard house and pier at what seemed to be the end of world – Little Island Park. There was a sand-parking lot, very rustic public restrooms and a couple of tennis courts; they get really hot on sunny summer days, so bring your racquet and your shoes! The guys would surf for hours and I would soak in the sun. We lived the life, Virginia Beach style.
Sandbridge Beach had beach homes and cottages – but not like the homes that stand there today. Back in the day, most of the cottages were rentals or second homes with a small community of year-rounders. Today, those numbers have nicely balanced out. Sandbridge Beach is no longer the remote south beach of Virginia Beach. Sandbridge is a bustling community with many full-time/year-round residents. There are kids of all ages and homeowners of all ages too. Small business owners, doctors, lawyers, teachers, members of the military, accountants, surf board designers, fishermen, real estate agents, therapists, fireman, rescue squad volunteers and more, that live, work and thrive, year-round in Sandbridge.
Fortunately for Sandbridge, Americans still desired family vacations even during the economic downturn. And their love for the casual beach lifestyle keeps them coming back! Sandbridge was able to weather the economic storm due to the fact that it offers a remote getaway, yet vacationers are able to access it quickly and easily while not being too far from their home bases. Sandbridge is not too far off the beaten path, so access to interstates is relatively quick (approximately 13 miles). Norfolk International Airport is about 25 miles from Sandbridge Beach – a stone’s throw away. Those that know Sandbridge want vacations where families can come and gather together – the more the merrier! Having access to amenities and being able to stay connected to the world is important, if needed.
Today you will find restaurants, grocery stores, ice cream shops, breakfast eateries, and even condominiums at both the south and north ends of the beach – Sandbridge has it all these days – including a well-balanced housing market.
The Sandbridge housing market has remained strong – sure it felt the pain and heartache of the economic downturn – but that pain was short-lived. Due to the fact that there is a strong balance between full-time resident homeowners and second home/vacation home owners, property values stabilized before other areas of Virginia Beach and revitalization of old homes and new home construction has been strong.
The median homes sales price for 2014 is $659,000 and goes upwards of $1,400,000. Presently there are 29 homes for sale on the market and over the last six month 9 homes have gone pending or have sold. There are approximately 38 monthly rentals on the market and rents can run from $1,150 per month to $12,000 per month. There are even more weekly rental options in Sandbrdige.
Because the housing market is strong and thriving in Sandbridge, the need for casual, good food & dining has continued to flourish. If you know Sandbridge, you know Baja! A few other locally owned great eateries are BoardWok, Flip Flops, Blue Pete’s (which is technically in Pungo, but you’ll make time to go), Zest, Back Bay Gourmet, Sandbridge Island Restaurant, Seacrest, and of course we cannot leave out Margie & Rays Crabhouse – best She Crab soup in the area, in my humble opinion. Red Mill Commons is a short drive from Sandbridge and has everything from Target, Home Depot, TJMaxx, Pier- One Imports, Walmart, restaurants galore, jewelry stores, salons, bike stores and more.
Sandbridge is an amazing beach community. The City of Virginia Beach has built two public parking lots with restrooms and bath-houses. For a small parking fee, locals can visit Sandbridge daily. Little Island Park even has a large public picnic area and a state-of-the-art playground for the little groms. There are events all year round for residents and vacationers to attend. Backed by a strong civic league, the community has a voice that stays involved in communicating to homeowners everything from the Federal Government Sand Replenishment Program to ensuring that the 4th of July Fireworks events go off without a hitch to kick-off the summer. Attend the annual Flyway Fest, participate in the Little Island Park Fall Beach clean-up events, surf in the annual Baja Surf Classic Competition, run in the LiveStrong Sandbridge Dolphin Challenge 5k & 10K races, take a surf lesson through Sandbridge Surf & Adventure Company or have them set you up with a SUP (stand up paddleboard) to hit the Back Bay w/ a paddle board tour, and ride with your group on a tram tour with the Back Bay Restoration Foundation through the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.
No matter what your fancy, in the end, we want to gather with our friends and family where we can dig our toes in the sand, ride the waves, enjoy the camaraderie of Sandbridge and benefit from an active community.
If you are contemplating investing in a residence in Coastal Virginia, Sandbridge Beach truly has it all. The professionals at Virginia Coastal Connection will help Guide Your Next Move!
The Ghent District includes various Ghent neighborhoods: Ghent, West Ghent, East Ghent, and Ghent Square. The Ghent District was developed in 1890, with most construction occurring between 1892 and 1907. After a steep decline in the years following The Second World War, the area was the focus of a very concentrated and successful revitalization effort that continues to this day. As a result, the area is one of the most economically diverse in Norfolk with large turn-of-the century apartment buildings next to rows of cozy bungalows, and newly developed condominiums.
Ghent is home to Norfolk’s largest medical complex, containing Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Heart Hospital, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. With Downtown Norfolk and Old Dominion University being close by, you will find a mélange of people living the Ghent lifestyle.
Ghent is rich in history and a place you can experience the very best in cultural activities. Thanks to GhentEvents , there are activities for families planned year-round : Greening of Ghent in April celebrates “Going Green”, and “Heart of Ghent” brings in the fall season. Masquerade and Mask Making celebrate Halloween and Holidays in Ghent feature the annual tree lighting and holiday Open Houses.
Historic Ghent is a thriving, eclectic and pedestrian-friendly community, offering a diverse cultural, shopping and dining experience. Those who experience Ghent return again and again to discover what’s new and unique about its restaurants, boutiques, cultural arts venues and services. A few notable places are the Naro Cinema which screens foreign and independent films and Doumar’s Cones and BBQ, known for having the world’s first ice cream cone machine. Various cultural attractions including Norfolk’s major art museum, the recently renovated Chrysler Museum of Art, and the Virginia Opera’s home stage, the Harrison Opera House are all in the Ghent District. With its unique blend of restaurants, boutiques, cafes, stores, professional services and quiet residential neighborhoods, Norfolk’s historic Ghent is truly a diverse urban destination.