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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’
I slid into one of the kayaks easily, and a guide pushed me into the water. The boat glided along the water, disturbed only by the weight of this new apparatus that forced waves to ripple gently to each side. Though not a stranger to kayaking, the single-person kayak was new to me.
I dipped my paddle into the water and pulled back, propelling the boat forward.
I floated, slowed and stalled.
I dipped my paddle into the water on the other side and pulled back, propelling the boat forward.
I floated, slowed and stalled.
A single-person kayak is a one-man job. This was going to mean work.
“Close your eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out. Listen to the natural sounds around you.”
Even with my eyes closed, I can sense the heat of the sun on my eyelids. They aren’t the dark of night but rather a muted gold as light tries to penetrate my eyesight.
I breathe in. It smells like warmth. Like hot sand. With a touch of salt spicing the breeze.
I breathe out, trying to feel my abs. I sit up straight, pushing my shoulders back and feel the even fuzz of the new beach towel on my bare feet.
I let my hearing wander, something I struggle with because of hearing problems. A few children laugh in the distance. Bicycle wheels whir along the boardwalk behind me. And overriding it all is the natural sound I’ve been instructed to hear — the waves crashing in the ocean. The waves here, in Virginia Beach, are big and boisterous. I can hear them in my hotel room on the tenth floor with the balcony door shut. And I can definitely hear the roar and crash as they land on the packed sand several yards in front of me.
My hands sit lightly on my legs, which rest in a relaxed crossed position. I breathe in again, and then out. I focus on feeling my body: The heavy connection between the bones of my backside pressed into the sand below my towel. The straightness of my spine. The breeze on the back of my neck where a few short hairs that need to be trimmed tickle the skin. The weightlessness of my hands resting on my knees.
This is the concept around which the farmers market in Virginia Beach is based.
Growing local food. Supporting local communities. Eating healthier, more centrally produced goods. In cities across the United States, farm-to-table community-centered dining has become increasingly popular. Virginia Beach has embraced this idea and not only offers a place for people to buy and sell produce (which tends to be the norm at many farmers markets), but it also offers a true space for the community to come together over good food, entrepreneurial ideas and healthy living.
This farmers market serves the tens of thousands of people who live in Virginia Beach, but it’s even more impressive when compared with the “average” farmers market. Whereas several places offer a space for people to sell goods a few hours a week to the roaming public, the Virginia Beach farmers market is open every day of the year except Christmas. Several farmers markets set up shop in a park under a pavilion or in an oversized parking lot. In Virginia Beach, several permanent structures have turned a standard market space into a center for small business owners to sell their wares out of established shops. On Saturdays, local farmers can set up spaces in the parking lot that surrounds these buildings.
It seems like just yesterday when we packed away the Christmas stockings and rang in the new year, but it honestly isn’t too early to start thinking about where you’re going to travel for your summer vacation. I am, of course, a strong believer in the good ol’ fashioned cross-country American road trip. If that’s your style of travel as well, check out these five undervisited national parks in the United States that deserve your attention as you trip from East Coast to West Coast and back.
Though breath-catching hot in the summer, Death Valley is an expansive and impressive national park worth visiting. The lowest, driest and hottest place in North America is home to an amazing array of terrain, ranging from dry salt beds and sand dunes to peaks that top out at 11,049 feet. Visitors can check out many of the park’s sites within easy driving distance, but to get a feel for all the park has to offer venture off grid with a hike into some of the country’s most unusual landscapes.