I didn’t know what to expect from Norfolk, Virginia. I knew there was an immense Naval presence, but I was unaware of the scope of its footprint. Anyone’s fascination with the Navy will be satiated in Norfolk. There are ships everywhere!
I started with an early lunch at No Frill Grill, where I had a great crab cake sandwich. The black bean and white corn salad was refreshing, and you can’t go wrong with a nice crisp pickle.
A visit to Rowena’s Kitchen is a must. It’s been going strong for 30 years! Stop by for a taste. Samples of many cakes as well as their “curds, jams, and sauces” are available. I know I will be ordering several jars of Carrot Jam as holiday gifts this year.
I was lucky enough to have a tour of where the magic happens and get a sense for the hands-on, traditional production methods they use. Everyone has to wear a hairnet. Not my best fashion moment, but it was worth it to see the beautiful cake molds and learn about the history of Rowena’s.
Who knew you could turn a 500 gallon molasses storage tank into a beautiful Pagoda with the largest Koi pond on the East Coast? The Taiwanese.
The Pagoda Garden Tea House (aka Marine Observation Tower) was built on and around the pillars that originally supported the storage tank.
It was a gift from Taiwan in 1989 to celebrate trading ties. The materials were manufactured in Taiwan and assembled by Taiwanese artisans.
With over 125 species of Asian plants, you really can get lost in this space and forget Navy battle ships are just a short walk away.
They had Wandering Poet, one of my favorite cold sakes, and it was reasonably priced.
The steamed vegetable dumplings with peanut sauce were a standout.
There is a zen vibe throughout the space and menu. The bar is open late if you just want to stop by for a drink.
One of my favorite experiences in Norfolk was taking a sail on American Rover. I love going sailing and get so few chances to do it.
This was more of a cruise, as the ship is rather large, has a grand lounge and casual lounge underneath, as well as a bar and restrooms. The restrooms make it an excursion your can take your kids on.
I love the feeling of a breeze and this was a very comfortable, beautiful boat to just relax on. Watching the crew raise the sails is an experience in itself. Be sure to get your drinks early so you don’t miss it!
Docking the boat at the harbor.
Dinner at 456 Fish was delightful. They accommodated my dairy allergy so I could enjoy the fresh catch of the day plate. It came with plantains, which I was thrilled about.
I have been obsessing over them ever since eating some at a Cuban restaurant in Mexico. 456 Fish did not disappoint me with their plantains, or their catch of the day.
They also offered the only desert I was able to partake in during my Norfolk journey. A trio of sorbets. I can’t remember what they were, but they were devoured by myself and my non-dairy-allerigc dining companions. The fresh mint was a perfect touch for the palate.
The moon was nearing supermoon status so before turning in, I tried to capture it. My digital couldn’t quite do it; I’m waiting for the film photographs to be developed.
May your journey be your muse,
American Rover Sailboat photo courtesy of VisitNorfolk
Some or all of this trip was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. All opinions are my own.