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Trip Report Richmond Va and Cape Charles Va Trip Report

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My wife, 16yr old son and I drove to Richmond for one night, and then to Cape Charles for four nights, and then home. A short spring break. In Richmond we stayed at the Berkeley Hotel. A friend manages the hotel so our review is biased (but we liked it).

We arrived early and walked to Millie's Diner for lunch. Millie's has good food and really friendly servers who saw our maps and suggested what to see and how to get there and gave us a free homemade cd with traveling music (ie, Cold Kentucky Rain). Then we walked up Church Hill to St. John's Church where Patrick Henry demanded liberty or death. Then back to the hotel to watch basketball, then biked to Bell Isle where there was a festival for mountain bikers. That was fun to watch, jumps and tatoos and beer. I was about 40 years too old for all that fun. We had dinner at the hotel, and watched more basketball.

The next day we walked to the Gutenberg Cafe, looked at the train station, visited the Civil War Museum and explored town a little. We looked at brunch at the Jefferson (snazzy!) and drove through Carytown and the Fan. The James River in Richmond is central literally and figuratively, and a bike ride or walk along Tredegar to the civil war museum and Bell Isle is really fun. We didn't get to Hollywood Cemetery but wanted to.

Then off to Cape Charles via Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge. The tunnel bridge is fun and easy. The snack bar (per fodorite advice) is a good stop with great views and decent food. At least the toasted cheese was decent. But Cape Charles is fascinating. Cape Charles is like amber, like Pompeii almost. The town was the bee's knees in the early 1900's up until about 1950. The railroad brought people and freight to Cape Charles and then by ferry and barge to Norfolk. But then the ferry terminal moved. And the trains stopped. What's left is what the town was like 50 to 75 years ago. With sidewalks (by TA Goodwin), and Sears-built houses, and beautiful brick houses with grand porches facing the bay. And an old bank building converted to a pub. And a beautiful, sprawling, perfect, empty brick service station. Perfect for its time. Perfect for its glory days.

It was too cold to swim (April) but the bay beaches seemed nice and we had fun taking a kayak out. Wonderful sunsets. One day we golfed at the posh Bay Creek development. A beautiful course by the bay. Another day we drove down to the Nature Refuge by the bridge-tunnel and hiked. The visitors center there is interesting with friendly guides and a bird watching area. Another day we went to the diner in Exmore and looked at Oyster. It's a very interesting area, the eastern shore. It's not at all like Bethany Beach or Rehoboth. It feels very removed. We rented a little house. Our neighbors were crabbers. But there's wi-fi at the library (an old church). And the pub.

On the drive home we stopped at the new museum in Pokemoke. I like Pokemoke. The river is beautiful and, like Cape Charles, the history seems so present, so much a part of the present. You can see the shells of big old boats and big old buildings and feel the rich past, the glory days, all around you. Almost like ghosts.

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