You can drive far and wide along the nation's interstates, but eventually you will have to admit that no other state on the Eastern seaboard offers such diversity in culture and environment than Virginia. From the majestic mountains cut by the Appalachian Trail to the gentle coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia boasts many natural resources and opportunities for prosperity. Anyone considering a move from the sweltering Deep South, the Great White North, or from Way Out West ought to give the commonwealth a try.
Especially, one would do well to consider a move to the Hampton Roads area. This metropolitan region spans ten independent Virginia cities over twenty towns (incorporated and unincorporated) among seven counties, plus parts of the Currituck Outer Banks of North Carolina. It may seem crowded to read about it, but the Hampton Roads area stretches over much of Virginia's coastline and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Many who come are tempted to stay, and it is no surprise why. Here are just ten reasons why you should come and stay, too.
1) Cultural Diversity
Hampton Roads is a veritable melting pot spilling into the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to a strong military and governmental presence, people of all ethnic backgrounds call the Tidewater area home. Residents in the northern part of the region may note a large population of Mennonites, while descendents of the Nansemond tribe are congregated in the area.
Such blending of the cultures is evident in annual festivities held in Norfolk: the Azalea Festival that pays tribute to all nations represented in the area, and the AfrAm Festival which celebrates the region's African American heritage. Annual festivals, regular markets and seminars allow everyone to absorb and appreciate the diversity of the people of Hampton Roads.
2) Rich History
It is no secret that Virginia is the seat of American history, having fathered more US Presidents than any state. It is on the shores of modern day Virginia Beach where our forefathers landed, and it is in Norfolk where the might General MacArthur is laid to rest. Deep in the bay that separates the beach from Newport News is where the famous battle of the Monitor and Merrimac took place. A history enthusiast's senses are guaranteed to be overloaded here.
Of course, mention of history and Hampton Roads just would not be complete without a tip of the quill to the Jamestown Settlement, the first permanent colony established in this country! Each year thousands of visitors make the historic triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Colonial Williamsburg their vacation destination. To live in Hampton Roads means one can explore these attractions all year round, particularly in the winter when the colonial homes and roads are beautifully decorated for the holidays!
Proximity to Jamestown will have its advantages in 2007, too, when the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of the colony is celebrated. The entire state of Virginia switches to party mode in that time, but Hampton Roads will host the party, and residents have a front row seat.
3) Family Fun
Why pile the kids into a car and drive all the way to Disney World, when fun and excitement are right in the backyard? The Hampton Roads area boasts one of the top amusement parks in the county: Busch Garden Europe. From early spring to late autumn, the whole family can enjoy spine-tingling roller coasters and breathtaking 3-D rides at this popular attraction. Summer offers more opportunities for fun with Water Country USA in Williamsburg and Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach.
For a slower pace, but not necessarily a boring one, families may take advantage of various attractions throughout the year, including the newly renovated Virginia Zoo, the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, President's Park in Williamsburg, and of course the famous Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The advantage to being a resident is that such places offer periodic discounts on admission and gifts, so if you live close by you are always in the know.
4) Great Outdoors
Think Hampton Roads is all beach? Think again! True, while it is the Oceanfront with its endless stretch of sand and sea that attracts tourists and new residents alike, Hampton Roads offers more for the outdoorsman with regards to activity. The southeastern part of Virginia represents one of the healthiest regions of the state, and it's easy to see why.
First Landing State Park of Virginia Beach is a haven for runners, mountain bikers, and nature hikers. Waller Mill Park of Williamsburg is available for the extreme biker who enjoys a rough terrain and never-ending excitement.
Nature lovers will enjoy leisurely walks at Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton and False Cape State Park at the beach, both known for beautiful flora and fauna. And, if you enjoy your long walks in between shots of golf, Hampton Roads has many courses, including the Tournament Players Club at the Beach and Golden Horseshoe in Williamsburg.
5) Growing economy
Business is literally booming in Hampton Roads, offering many opportunities for small business to grow and larger businesses to take in more employers. A strong military presence helps boost regional economy, while corporations find many attractive qualities in the Tidewater region. Proximity to Washington, DC, easy shipping access, and a growing downtown establishment in the Pembroke section of Virginia Beach indicate a prosperous future for Hampton Roads.
Hampton Roads is a region of culture and comfort, offering residents fun and opportunity on land and by sea. Combined with moderate weather throughout the year and friendly locals, and one can conclude that there is no place like home than in Hampton Roads.