Catherine Verdier lives in Norfolk with her husband and daughter. She blogs about kid-friendly living in Hampton Roads at Where the Watermelons Grow.
One of my favorite things about the Virginia Beach Oceanfront is how much there is to discover. There’s the beach and Boardwalk, yes – but on almost every side street, there is a little tucked-away treasure just waiting to be found.
The Virginia Legends Walk is one of those, and Baby Anne and I came across it this past weekend for the very first time. Despite growing up here – and having spent a ton of time at the Oceanfront -- I’d never run across the Legends Walk before. I figure I must have walked right past it a dozen times or more and never noticed.
The Virginia Legends Walk spans a city block on 13th Street, between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. Red-brick pillar posts line a paved walkway, each featuring the name of a famous Virginian who has had a hand in shaping the nation and world.
There were 24 original inductees when the Walk was formed in 1999 – from Pocahontas to Arthur Ashe to James Madison – and the list has expanded every year since. There are plans in the next few years to extend the Walk even farther, across Atlantic Avenue to the beach.
The park is a nice place to stop and catch your breath and to learn a little, too. Anne and I had a great time playing hide and seek between the pillars. While she explored, I read a little about each of the Virginians featured on the Walk. I had no idea Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News – did you?
There’s a larger interactive element to the Legends Walk, too – older kids can write to nominate their favorite Virginians for future inclusion (http://www.va-legends.com/nominations.html).
Site sponsors also provide baseball-style cards of each of the inductees to interested elementary-school-aged children (email firstname.lastname@example.org for your own set!) It’s an enthralling experience for fledgling history buffs – and for those kids who don’t yet have an interest in history…it could be that the Virginia Legends Walk will provide that spark.
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