Growing up on the east coast, I’ve become accustomed to a variety of beaches. The further north you are, the sand appears tan to light brown, and the water is a mixture of brown, green and dark blue colors. Then, if you travel down south, the sand becomes a lighter shade of beige to white in some areas of Florida, and the water is light turquoise to crystal blue.
Most of us prefer the white sand beaches and the crystal blue waters, myself included. But there is one beach back home that stole my heart. I catch a lot of flack from the locals in the Virginia Beach area for frequenting Ocean View. It lies in a somewhat rough part of Norfolk, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in Virginia. The city there is growing, but the streets are hit or miss when it comes to the level of safety and crime rate according to recent reports.
When you walk up to Ocean View, the first thing you’ll notice is the fishing pier, which holds the record for the longest free-standing pier in North America (1,690 ft long). In the summertime, the pier is packed with people of all ages, some local, and some not. Off to the right of the pier is a little stretch of beach that sits in front of a few run down bars, and holds two or three storm drain pipes. It’s not much to look at, if I’m being honest.
When I was younger, my dad brought me to Ocean View to go fishing with him, and many memories were built on that pier. I never thought to spend time on the beach there, as I usually stayed close to where he was fishing. We’d spend 4 to 6 hours there to fish on the pier (for Croaker usually) and then we would head home. As I got older, he would still enjoy visiting there to fish, but we would only make the trip a couple of times each year. It wasn’t until I turned 26 and was single for the first time, that I really grew a soft spot for Ocean View.
Ocean View was only an hour and a half drive from where I was living, and on days when I felt down, alone, or stressed, I would take a drive there. The drive itself was relaxing to me, but when I got there, instead of fishing on the pier, I decided to walk. I discovered that to the left of the pier, was this beautiful, long stretch of empty beach, that reminded me of a similar beach in North Carolina. There were big, empty houses, and the occasional beach lover reading a book in front of them. One thing I loved about that place was how calm the water was, unlike Virginia Beach which had the usual big crashing waves, this water was more calm and peaceful. I would find seashells there, as fewer people combed that beach. There were big rocks to shield the tide from coming but so far, and potentially damage the sand, like others have. In the evening, I would watch the sun go down, and was amazed by how beautiful the sunsets were there.
I took many trips to Ocean View, sometimes to walk along the beach for exercise, and other times, I would just sit, and stare at the big blue, trying to clear my mind. This was my therapy, and my home away from home. In just one year, I had visited that beach over twenty times, and found myself gaining more and more clarity each time I went. Usually I went alone, as this kept me from being distracted from the inner workings of my mind.
I very well could have driven further to Virginia Beach as I did on a few occasions. I could have been the stereotypical single woman, who spent her time in the bars and clubs instead, trying to fill my void. This beach, though, is what did it for me. To me, Ocean View was beautiful, and fulfilling.
If you are ever driving through the Norfolk area, I encourage you to stop by this little piece of heaven. Maybe you won’t see what I see, as I sometimes wear rose-colored glasses, but maybe you will gain a different perspective on your local over-looked beach.
~ Your Singing Mermaid