The DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia) has really become a major hotspot for people to visit in recent years. Areas like Alexandria, Virginia and National Harbor, Maryland have helped put this trifecta on the map when it comes to the best places in the country for travel.
Part of why I love being a travel writer for Instinct is to show gay men (and anyone else who reads these pieces) a part of the world that you may not have heard about before. That goes for the above mentioned cities and also for Norfolk, Virginia, a gorgeous area that I had the pleasure of visiting over the summer.
Norfolk is a very interesting place to be in. They have a Beyonce/Sasha Fierce kind of deal going on when it comes to the lay of the land. When you arrive at the airport (a quick hour from NYC and many other spots on the east coast) you will take in the more suburban part of the area. Keep driving though, as the city aspect of it will hit you like a sack of bricks in the most beautiful of ways.
The quaint part of Norfolk is fun to look at. As someone who grew up in suburbia I was hit with major flashbacks while strolling through this part of town. The foodie in me was also extremely excited when we stopped by a delicious restaurant called Handsome Biscuit (2511 Colonial Avenue). They serve some of the tastiest combinations wedged between a perfectly cooked biscuit or bun. The Nashville (fried chicken tossed in Nashville hot sauce and pickles) is a perfect example of a finger licking sandwich that you’ll enjoy from the first bite to the last. More on Handsome Biscuit can be found here.
Traveling to another city requires a fabulous place to stay. The Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel is the perfect spot to lay your head at as it provides comfortable rooms and a gorgeous view of the water from the comfort of your own room. It is also located in the heart of downtown Norfolk, making it that much easier to get to the places worth trying out (many of which are only blocks away). More information can be found here.
Something work looking into during your time in Virginia is the area’s NEON District. This takes art to a whole new level and is something that is visually so interesting to look at. The NEON District highlights a bunch of talented local artists who take over a ton of buildings and create pieces that are not only colorful but educational, interesting and above all fascinating. Some include political messages while others are simply a form of expression from the artist that put it together. Take some time out of your day and enjoy a stroll through this part of Norfolk as it will leave you feeling mystified and inspired all at the same time. More information can be found here.
I need to highlight some more foodie spots as my mouth is salivating just thinking about them. I, like Oprah Winfrey, love bread. Toast Place (2406 Colonial Avenue) takes the name of their restaurant and elevates it with out of this world creations that are unbelievably delicious to try. Their Peanut Butter & Jelly option was the best I’ve ever had in my life as it contained mounds of smooth PB and sinfully sweet jelly to devour. More information can be found here.
The downtown area of Norfolk has a restaurant row of sorts that is filled with endless culinary options. Saint Germain (255 Granby Street), which prides itself on its Modern American fare with a side of yummy cocktails, is a great place to eat at. If you are looking for a great finisher to your meal then stop by Doumar’s (1919 Monticello Avenue), home of the first waffle cone. History + deliciousness = happiness. Simple as that.
There is so much more to do during your time in Norfolk. You can enjoy a free glassblowing demonstration at The Glass Studio (1 Memorial Place), take a look at 30,000 different works of art at the Chrysler Museum of Art and enjoy the sights and sounds of the area on the American Rover Sunset Cruise Ride (333 Riverside Drive). The world is your oyster in Norfolk and these places and many more are there to only enhance what a wonderful time you’ll have. This is definitely a place I recommend taking a peek into in the upcoming months and beyond!
More information about Norfolk can be found here.