Category: Lifestyle

Hottest Hampton Roads Fitness Centers

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Hottest Hampton Roads Fitness Centers


With Summer just around the corner, you may be looking to amp up your fitness. Hitting the gym, however, doesn’t have to mean mindless hours on a cardio machine.

Make getting fit fun this year by trying out the hottest Hampton Roads fitness centers. Most offer free or discounted trials, so you can see what your favorite way is to get fit.

We scoured the web and found something for everyone!

For the Climber

Virginia Beach Rock Gym – Your arms and legs will surely be burning after giving a climb a try. This rock gym uses a color tab routes ranging from beginning to advanced, so no matter your skill level, you can scale the wall.

LATITUDE Climbing and Fitness – Located in Norfolk, this is more than just a climbing facility. In addition to offering climbing intro classes for beginners, this gym offers High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes, as well as yoga to stretch and strengthen sore muscles.

For the Cycler

TIDALWheel – Whether you like beat-cycling, endurance, or have never cycled before, TIDALWheel has a variety of classes that will get your heart rate way up.

CYCLEBAR – Want to monitor your performance? CYCLEBAR offers CYCLESTATS®, so you can track calories, heart rate, and more!

MY Ride Indoor Cycling & Fitness Studio – This cycle studio has a little bit of everything. From classic cycling classes, to weighted classes, to even circuit training off the bike—you’re sure to get a full body workout at this studio.

For the Group Fitness Lover

iNLeT Fitness – With two Virginia Beach locations, this studio always has something to mix up your workout. Try cycling, yoga, Chisel, TRX, Barre, group training, and more!

Pure Barre – You know this is a popular studio with locations in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. If you’ve never taken a Barre class, let’s just say, get ready to feel the burn with ballet-inspired training!

For the Jazzerciser

Jazzercise Chesapeake South Hickory Fitness Center – Really, this Jazzercise studio is the inspiration for this whole section. Whip out those leg warmers and leotards and get your sweat on 90’s style!

For the Yogi

Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga – As one of the most highly rated studios in the area, you can try out a variety of yoga classes at their Chesapeake or Virginia Beach locations. All levels are welcome, even offering a Chair Fitness class, for a low impact workout.

Collective Yoga – This yoga studio also has something for every yogi. Candlelight flow, prenatal yoga, Core yoga, and 8 other class offerings.

Favorite Winter Comfort Soups

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When the weather turns chilly and brisk, there is nothing better than a hearty bowl of soup to warm us up, body and soul. Get a nice pot of soup going in the kitchen, throw another log on the fire, and banish the cold with these wonderful winter soup recipes.


Chicken Noodle – An old standby whenever we get a cold or the flu, chicken noodle soup is easy and delicious anytime.


Chicken and Rice – Stir up a classic with rice. This is a great recipe in that you can customize it to your taste. Get creative or keep it simple.


Brunswick Stew – A traditional southern dish, this stew is the kind that “sticks to your ribs”. The styles can vary depending on region, but here is a good recipe for your crockpot in a “Virginia Style”.


Vegetable Soup – Still hearty and filling, yet healthy and good for you too. It’s sure to please even the picky eaters!


Potato Soup – Can’t get enough veggies? Love carbs? Here is a unique and flavorful vegan version of the classic potato soup.


Tomato Soup – A warm bowl of tomato soup is not only comforting but also packed with good stuff for your health! Enjoy all those yummy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side.


New England Clam Chowder – Creamy, seafoody goodness right here. This easy recipe got good reviews even though it doesn’t have bacon. We recommend adding some bacon. You won’t be disappointed.


Corn Chowder – This can be done in a lighter version for summer, even adding shrimp – yum! This recipe is thicker and has bacon, which is awesome.


Chili – This is one of those wonderful meals you can customize in so many ways. It’s fun to experiment too. We like adding a little chipotle chili powder and brown sugar to ours.


Broccoli and Cheese – Kids don’t want to eat their veggies? A little cheese always helps. And bread bowls. Bread bowls are great. Plus, they reduce the amount of dishes you have to wash!


French Onion – Typically served as an appetizer, we think this delicious soup can also be a main course! Here is a great little recipe for the crock pot – just set it and forget it.


Beef Bourguignon – If you like to “cook with wine”, this is your dish. Also known as Beef Burgundy, this traditional French stew is rich and hearty; serve it up with crusty French bread slices and a glass of red wine.


You’ll find plenty of variations of these recipes out on the web, you may even have your own favorite. No matter the recipe you choose, these are all wonderful winter comfort soups, and we hope you enjoy some of them this season!

The Coastal Virginia Wine Experience

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Virginia is in the top 10 wine producing states in the country and number 6 on the list for wineries by state, with over 280 wineries and counting. Popular and distinct varietals of our region include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, and Norton, which is native to Virginia. There are many blends and dessert wines as well. While most of Virginia wineries are located west of Richmond in the piedmont and mountain regions of the state, there are several nearby that afford visitors from Hampton Roads a chance for a wine tasting day trip.

With October being Virginia Wine Month, we thought it would be a fitting time to share some information about the nearby wineries and wine festivals in Coastal Virginia which offer plenty of opportunities to learn more about all the wonderful wines produced right here in Virginia, and one just over the border.

Wineries in Coastal Virginia/NC

1. Mermaid Winery – Norfolk, VA
330 W 22nd St
Norfolk, VA 23517


2. Pungo Ridge Winery – Virginia Beach, VA
1665 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23456


3. Williamsburg Winery – Williamsburg, VA
5800 Wessex Hundred
Williamsburg, VA 23185


4. Silver Hand Meadery
224 Monticello Ave
Williamsburg, VA 23185


5. Hampton Roads Winery – Elberon, VA
6074 New Design Road
Elberon, VA 23846


6. New Kent Winery – New Kent, VA
8400 Old Church Road
New Kent, VA 23124


7. Gauthier Vineyard – Barhamsville, VA
5000 Farmers Drive
Barhamsville, VA 23011


8. Saude Creek Vineyards – Lenexa, VA
16230 Cooks Mill Road
Lanexa, VA, 23089


9. Martin Farm and Winery – Knotts Island, NC
213 Martin Farm Lane
Knotts Island, NC 27950


Wine Festivals

Neptune’s Annual Fall Wine Festival – Enjoy a variety of Virginia wines right on the oceanfront! Over 15 wineries will be offering samples, there will be a Rosé tasting station, food and live entertainment.
Dates: September 9 & 10, 2017
Tickets: $35-$40


Gloucester Wine Festival – This event has sold out each year so get your tickets early. Over 10 wineries, plenty of coastal Virginia food, and live music all set within the beautiful grounds at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA.
Date: September 23rd, 2017
Tickets: $25-$35


Chesapeake Wine Festival – A very large wine festival right in the heart of Chesapeake. In its 8th season, it gets better every year. With over 20 wineries, you’ll find wines to satisfy any palate and plenty of food and good music to balance out a great event.
Date: October 14, 2017
Tickets: $30-$40


Town Point Wine Festival – The largest wine festival in Hampton Roads, this event happens twice a year in the spring and fall. The fall festival is coming up soon and if you want to check out the largest variety of Virginia wines all in one place, this is the event to attend.  Our advice is show up early!
Dates: October 21 & 22, 2017
Tickets: $30-$40


Two final notes to remember. When you taste your wine, don’t worry if you don’t like it. The more you taste, the better it gets! And more importantly, always remember to designate a driver and enjoy your wine tasting responsibly.



Virginia Wine Varietals:

14 Tips for Visiting Wineries:

Virginia Wine:

Wine Trails:

Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail –

Eastern Shore Wine Trail –

Colonial Virginia Wine Trail –

15 Hampton Roads Breweries You Should Visit

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There is a craft beer movement brewing in Hampton Roads. Pun intended. It might be surprising the number of local breweries that can be found within close proximity to your home. Over the past few years the Hampton Roads area has emerged on the brewing scene with a collective passion for well-crafted, good-tasting beer. Hot summer days are a perfect time to get out and explore the wide variety of cold and delicious brews our local crafters have on tap.  Here is a list to get you started.


1. Green Flash

Located in Virginia Beach, this is the second location for Green Flash. Started in 2002 in San Diego, the owners chose our area as their home base on the east coast.  Offering tours and tastings with selections from IPA’s to a porter with espresso, there is surely something for everyone here.

2. Big Ugly Brewing

This brewery has single-handedly put Chesapeake on the craft beer map.  Located just off the 168 bypass and Hanbury Road, this brewery is a family friendly hangout with vintage vehicles and a tasting room that serves up bold craft brews Wednesday through Sunday each week.

3. O’Connor Brewing Co.

Big open spaces, picnic tables, cornhole, beer. What more could one ask for? Right in the heart of Norfolk, O’Connor Brewing has a large selection of seasonal and flagship beers on tap.  Not sure what to try? Get a flight and sample!

4. Smartmouth Brewing Co.

One of the original craft breweries in Norfolk, Smartmouth has been brewing up deliciousness since 2012. Tasting room visitors can sample 5 year-round beers as well as seasonals and limited editions.

5. Back Bay Brewing Company

Since 2011, Back Bay Brewing has been serving up tasty brews and fun in Virginia Beach. They host several events throughout the year and offer space for private events. The tap room is open daily (check the hours) so stop by sometime, you can even bring your dog, and enjoy one of their specialties.

6. St. George Brewing

Located in Hampton, the St. George Brewing Company has been crafting English and German style Ales since 1998.  They typically have 9-12 beers, including seasonals, on tap for tasting. Be sure to check out their nut brown ale and summer ale both of which recently won awards.

7. Ale Werks Brewing

A Williamsburg native, Ale Werks has been a local favorite for over 10 years. They have a variety of craft offerings from IPA and Pale Ale to Lagers, Brown Ales, and Stouts. They also have featured seasonal, limited-time, and historical brews.

8. Pleasure House Brewing

At Chicks beach right down the street from Lynnhaven Pier is where you will find Pleasure House Brewing. With weekly events, free wifi, games, music and TV, visitors will enjoy plenty of entertainment while sampling a large selection of on tap brews.

9. Young Veterans Brewing Company

The taproom is open daily at this Virginia Beach brewery, which is owned and operated by two Army Veterans who have a shared passion for brewing distinctive, high-quality beers.  They offer a very robust selection from pilsners and honey blondes to Belgian Wit, kolsch-style, hefeweizen to black rye ale, and stouts. There is certainly something for everyone here.

10. Reaver Beach Brewing

Located in Virginia Beach, off Dam Neck, Reaver Beach is a local craft brewer specializing in hop-forward ales and wild fermentation in oak. Visit the taproom Tuesday through Sunday to sample up to 20 of their flavorful beers.

11. Coelacanth Brewing Company

Offering unique takes on classic styles, Coelacanth is a Certified Green Brewery offering a place for locals and visitors to gather and hand-crafted ales & lagers in a relaxing atmosphere.

12. Rip Rap Brewing

Newly opened in 2016 in Norfolk, Rip Rap Brewing’s taproom is open Thursday – Sunday and typically serves up a variety of 8 beers from wheat ales and IPAs to cream ales and oatmeal stouts.

13. Benchtop Brewing

Also new to the scene, Norfolk’s Benchtop Brewing opened its doors in December 2016. Located in Ghent, their taproom is open Wednesday-Sunday and offers a selection of unique, “out-of-the-box”, craft brews including a smoked chocolate porter.

14. Bold Mariner Brewing Company

Another newcomer, the Bold Mariner Brewing Company is tucked away in the Lambert’s Point section of Norfolk in a large warehouse off Bowden’s Ferry Road and produces a variety of high quality ales and lagers. Visitors can enjoy a beautifully appointed taproom with views of the brewery area as well as a large beer garden.

15. Wharf Hill Brewing

Beer and history meet in this 100-year-old brewpub. Wharf Hill Brewing offers a full dining menu with beer pairing recommendations, and several delicious beers on tap (both from Wharf Hill and other crafters), and loads of character. Located in Smithfield, it’s a little off the beaten path for some locals, but well worth the drive.


Ready to start sampling? Design yourself a couple of “tours” and visit more than one. Of course, please be safe and responsible. Enjoy your brewery visits with a designated driver, use Uber, or you could even hire a limo!  It’s also a good idea to plan a meal in between brewery visits, since not all taprooms offer food. Cheers!



A Guide to Farmer’s Markets in Hampton Roads

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farmers market

Summer is the season when fresh produce is in abundance, and what’s better than right off-the-vine veggies and fruit, homemade jams, jellies, breads, local honey, and seafood?  Farmer’s markets create stronger, close-knit communities that support local farmers, encourage healthy lifestyles and serve as a gathering place to connect with neighbors. Here in Hampton Roads there is a thriving community of farm markets with a wide variety of goods for every taste, from pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, crabs and fish to heirloom produce, and regional specialties. Hungry yet? Skip the grocery store and check out some of these great farmer’s markets in Hampton Roads for some farm-to-table deliciousness.


Chesapeake Farmers Market

Local producers offer fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, plants, eggs, honey, meats, and value-added products made from things grown on the farm.

Open: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm, beginning June 10, 2017. Western Branch location is Saturday only.

Battlefield Park
120 Reservation Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(Wednesdays & Saturdays)

Chesapeake City Park
900 Greenbrier Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(Wednesdays & Saturdays)

Western Branch Community Center
4437 Portsmouth Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23321
(Saturday Only)

Hickory Ridge Farm

This family owned farm, offers u-pick strawberries and u-pick pumpkins each spring and fall, as well as plenty of fresh, locally grown vegetables, local honey, homemade jams and breads, eggs, flowers and more. They also have friendly farm animals for the kids to feed and pet, play houses, pony rides, a sand pit, picnic tables, and hay rides.

Open: Daily from 9am – 6pm (check Facebook for current updates)

2928 Battlefield Blvd S
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Skipper Farms

Another family owner farm, Skipper Farms has two locations – in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake and at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market.  They offer home-grown fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, corn on the cob, peaches, green beans, cantaloupes, watermelons, and much more. They also have apple butter and apple cider. Check their website or Facebook for current offerings.

Open: Daily from 9am – 6pm (check Facebook for current updates)

1305 Kempsville Rd.
Chesapeake, VA 23320

3640 Dam Neck Rd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23453


Virginia Beach

King’s Grant Farmer’s Market

A pet friendly farmer’s market that hosts a large variety of vendors including food trucks. Visitors will find goodies such as seafood, fresh meats and produce, honey, milk, sweets, coffee, soaps, gifts and much more. Check their Facebook page for updates.

Open: Thursdays – June 8 & 22, July 6 & 20, August 3 & 17, 2017. From 4-7pm rain or shine.

873 Little Neck Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

McDonald Garden Center’s Farmer’s Market

This is the first season for this new farmer’s market.  Stop by to check out fresh herbs, veggies, jams/jellies and much more.

Open: Every Thursday 3-6pm and Saturday 8am-12pm through August 31

1144 Independence Boulevard
Virginia Beach, VA 23455

Old Beach Farmers Market

Find this farmer’s market just 6 blocks back from the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. Featuring seasonal fresh fruits and veggies, meats, eggs seafood, cheeses, baked goods, salsas, pasta, as well as soaps, flowers, gifts, and more.  Be sure to bring your own bags!

Open: Saturdays, May through October 9am-noon. Third Saturdays from 9am-noon, November thru May.

19th Street and Cypress Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Virginia Beach Farmers Market

The Farmers Market, located at the corner of Dam Neck and Princess Anne Roads, is a year-round open-air market featuring fresh local and regional produce, a butcher shop, a dairy store, organic grocery, wild bird store, seafood, florist, candy and bakery, specialty garden shops, restaurant and more.  The market is family and pet friendly.

Open: Open daily and year-round, 8:30am-5pm, plus there are live music events on Friday nights from April-October from 7pm-10pm.

3640 Dam Neck Road,
Virginia Beach, VA 23453

Shore Drive Farm Market

In its second year, the Shore Drive Farmers Market has been filling a gap in the Virginia Beach area offering everything from local, ethically raised meats, seafood, honey, fresh fruits and veggies to coffee, baked goods, crafts and even antiques. Shoppers will find a wide variety of delicious, quality local fare.

Open: Open Saturdays from 9am – 12pm.

2947 Shore Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23451



 Farmers’ Fare at East Beach 

Located in a beautiful park setting by the Chesapeake Bay, the Farmers’ Fare Market at East Beach offers S.M.A.R.T. fare: Sustainable, Measurable, Affordable, Responsible, and Trackable.  Bring your re-useable market bags, and come out for lots of fresh food and live music.  Visit the website for a current list of produce and products.

Open: Saturdays from 9am to 12pm, starting May 6, 2017


Pavilion Park
4630 Hammock Lane
Norfolk, VA 23518

Five Points Community Farm Market

This indoor farmer’s market in the heart of Norfolk Virginia is a community run non-profit that works to bring the city of Norfolk and surrounding cities fresh produce grown by local small farms.

Open: Thursdays 11am – 7pm, Fridays from 11am-9pm, Saturdays & Sundays from 10am-5pm

2500 Church St
Norfolk, VA 23504



Olde Towne Farmers Market 

Offering a variety of farm goods and crafts including baked items, cheeses, honey, coffee, meats, fruit, veggies, and seafood all under the shade of 200-year-old oak trees in Portsmouth’s historic district.

Open: Saturdays from 9am-1pm (check website/Facebook for winter hours)

Northwest corner of High Street and Court Street (opposite the Visual Arts Center)



Suffolk Farmers Market 

The Suffolk Farmers’ Market is a popular outlet for locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods, organically raised poultry, fresh eggs and milk, honey and a variety of artisan-crafted goods

Open: Saturdays from 9am-1pm. May 6- November 18, 2017.

524 North Main Street
Suffolk, VA 23434

Bennett’ Creek Farm Market and Deli

From honey and vine-ripened tomatoes to blue crabs, they offer a wide variety of seasonal, local products as well as serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the deli.

Open: Monday – Saturday, 7:30 am – 7pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm

3881 Bridge Road
Suffolk VA 23435

Farmer Frank’s

Family owned and operated, Farmer Franks offers homegrown peanuts by the pound or bushel as well as plenty of fresh produce, jams, pickles, preserves, meats, candies, nuts, boiled peanuts, crafts and more.

Open: Daily 8am – 7pm. After Labor Day, closes at 6pm.


6001 Holland Rd
Suffolk VA 23437



Dean and Don’s Farm Market 

Fresh fruit, produce, and more are available daily (except Sundays) from April through October with loads of fruit, veggies, eggs, honey, jams and jellies, NC BBQ, homemade breads, garden plants and much more.  They are also open in November/December for fresh cut Christmas trees and hand-made wreaths. This family owner farmers market has two locations – in Hampton and in Newport News. Check their website and Facebook for current offerings.

Open: Hampton Location, Monday – Saturday, 9am -6pm; Newport News Location, 8am – 7pm

600 LaSalle Ave.
Hampton, VA 23669

12601 Warwick Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23606


Newport News

Game’s Farmers Market

This large indoor grocery and farm market has been in business since 1967 and offers a large variety of produce, meats and Amish style goods.

Open: Everyday, 7am – 9pm

503 Harpersville Rd.
Newport News, VA 23606



Williamsburg Farmer’s Market

Located in Merchants Square in historic Williamsburg, this farm market offers fresh, seasonal food from local farms.  Featuring approximately 40 vendors, shoppers will find a wide variety of pasture-raised meats, cheeses, produce, baked goods, honey, eggs, herbal and goat’s milk soap, cut flowers, seafood and more.

Open: Saturdays, 8am – 12pm

Merchants Square
402 W. Duke of Gloucester Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185



Farmers Market on Main

Visitors will find a wide selection of seafood, honey, jellies and jams, fresh eggs, salad mixes, vinegars, dry rubs, fresh tomatoes & vegetables in season, homemade soaps, baskets, and more. There are also food trucks, and on special dates – pony rides, a petting zoo, the bookmobile and live music. Check the website for details.

Open: Wednesdays, 4pm-7pm and Saturdays,9am -1pm

120 South Main Street
Franklin, VA 23851



Smithfield Farmers Market

You’ll find this large open market in the heart of historic downtown Smithfield, in the parking lot behind Bank of Southside Virginia. In addition to produce, there are baked goods, cheeses, fresh flowers, clothing, soaps, crafts and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Open: Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon

115 Main Street
Smithfield VA 23430



Yorktown Market Days 

The market hosts more than 35 farmers, producers, vendors and artists including a variety of homegrown favorites and local art.

Open: Saturdays from 8am to 12pm, from April 29 – October 28, 2017 (excludes May 6 & October 7).  Extended days and hours on Oct 14, Nov 11 & 18; and Dec 9 until 3 pm.

Located on the Yorktown waterfront between Buckner and Ballard Streets.

It’s always a good idea to check the market website or Facebook page before heading out to be sure of the current hours and product availability.  Many markets also do not have bags for your purchases so be sure to bring some reusable shopping bags just in case.  Supporting your local farmer’s market is beneficial in so many ways, from getting the freshest, best tasting food available and eating healthier, to supporting your local family farmers and protecting the environment by reducing shipping costs.  While this list is not comprehensive of all farmers markets in Hampton Roads, we hope you’ll find one here close to you and discover the joy of connecting with your community and enjoying new seasonal, local fare.


10 Reasons to Support Farmer’s Markets: