We started the day off slowly; legs were still a bit sore from climbing Currituck light yesterday. We decided to drive over to Virginia Beach and check it out. We first made a stop at the visitor’s center to get a map, so we could see where we were going!!
Virginia Beach is only about 30 minutes from the boat if you use the right interstate. I-64 drops you right off onto Pacific Avenue. We headed north up to Fort Story, an active Army base that is where The Cape Henry Lighthouses are. Yes, I said houses, there are two of them sitting almost side by side. Before we could enter the base we had to clear through a vehicle inspection and show our ID’s. Since this is also an historical sight, a visitor’s gate is set up to make this procedure fairly swift and easy. It was a short drive to the Old Cape Henry light and once there we climbed the 191 steps to the top… and Schooner, too!! (They forgot to tell us the last 12 steps, or so, were a vertical ladder. Schooner made it up all right, but Gordon had to bring her back down to the landing.)
The Old Cape Henry light was the government’s first light tower completed in 1792 and was made from cut sandstone, giving it sandy reddish color. It was an active light until 1881 when the new light was lit. The New Cape Henry light is an octagonal cast iron tower painted black and white. It has been in service continually since 1881, although the light was turned off during WWII when German subs forced a blackout of all East coast lights. This light however, had the watch deck enclosed and was used as a fire control tower for 2 of Ft Story’s 16” howitzers during the war. It is an active lighthouse so we didn’t get to climb this one. L
Also, near by is a National Memorial to the first English landing in 1607, when three English ships, Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed made landfall. The Cape is named after Henry, Prince of Wales, and son of King James I, after being claimed for England. Fort Story today is home to the 11th Transportation Battalion and also serves as a special operations training site for the Army, Navy and Marines. So that is the end of your history lesson for today!!!
We made our way south and spent time (and had lunch) on the beach boardwalk. We got to check out a Naval Aviation Memorial, the Old Coast Guard Station, King Neptune and the fishing pier. It was a really great day and Schooner was completely exhausted, as were we.