Southern Virginia is a great place to live. From the Chesapeake Bay and inlets, the intercoastal waterway, the James River and many smaller rivers and lakes, there is no shortage of opportunities for a variety of water activities. A number of beautiful beaches are scattered along the eastern coast, including the well-known Virginia Beach. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel—a 26-mile stretch of bridges and tunnels constructed in the 1960s— connects the Eastern Shore to the rest of Virginia.
Photos in the collage are, left to right, courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Air & Space Center, Edythe C. And Stanley L. Harrison Opera House, Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, and Chincoteague.com
As one travels westward across the diocese, one encounters bucolic farmland rich with crops such as cotton, peanuts, corn and tobacco and a variety of livestock. Smithfield Foods, the largest producer of pork and ham products in the U.S., was founded in 1936 in Smithfield, on the south side of the James River. An adventurous, outdoor weekend might include hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail or a scenic ride through the Blue Ridge mountains on the Skyline Drive.
History is as much a part of the Virginia landscape as the rivers and mountains. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Native Americans, Europeans and enslaved Africans intersected in the cradle of the United States, the consequences of which continue to influence our nation today. The Colonial Parkway connects the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Victory Center at Yorktown. So, for those interested in exploring the beginnings of “The New World”, Southern Virginia is the place to be.
Southern Virginia is also home to a large selection of public and private universities and community colleges. The College of William and Mary was established during the colonial period, Hampton University during the Civil War, and numerous others in the years following. There are 17 military installations in Southern Virginia many of which are in Hampton Roads.
The diocesan office is in Newport News on the lower Virginia peninsula. The local area has a strong economic base of both industrial and professional organizations. There is also a wide selection of golf courses, plenty of great walking and biking trails, local community sports teams, Admirals ice hockey at the Scope and Tides Baseball at Harbor Park.
The Ferguson Center for the Arts, Chrysler Hall and the Harrison Opera House, along with several other smaller theaters in the Hampton Roads area, provide year-round high-quality performances. Museums abound in Southern Virginia. Hampton Roads is home to the Air and Space Museum, Mariners Museum, Virginia Living Museum, Portsmouth Children’s Museum and many more. The area has a great variety of both local and national restaurants.
There is no shortage of things to do in Virginia, from motor racing in the western part of Southern Virginia to the Chincoteague Pony Swim on the Eastern Shore. Weekend activities might also include wine and brewery tours, camping and hiking, relaxing on one of several beaches or exploring the many beautiful small towns and rural areas.