Introduction to Chesapeake, Virginia
Chesapeake is a city in southeastern Virginia, situated about 11 miles south of Norfolk and about 12 miles north of the North Carolina border. It is also surrounded by Virginia Beach (to the east) and Suffolk (to the west). The city is serviced by Interstates I-64 and I-464 (connecting it to Norfolk); as well as U.S. Routes 13, 17, 58, and 460; and Virginia State Highway 168. Chesapeake Regional Airport is the city's general aviation facility, with Norfolk International Airport located nearby for commercial passenger service.
The City of Chesapeake was formed in 1963 when Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk merged. The actual history of Chesapeake goes back much further...to the early 1600s when the area was first settled. The historic Battle of Great Bridge took place in what is now Chesapeake in 1775, marking an early Revolutionary War victory for American troops over the forces of British Royal governor Lord Dunmore. In 1793, work began on the Dismal Swamp Canal, which opened in 1805, but later experienced hard times and is today part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. By 1920 South Norfolk had developed to the point where it was incorporated as a city, but by the 1950s, had fallen victim (along with Norfolk County) to annexation suits filed by neighboring cities. Finding it difficult to plan for the future, the two municipalities consolidated as the new city of Chesapeake in 1963. The city has continued to experience growth since that time, and today stands as a unique blend of rural and urban centers, with miles of waterfront industrial, commercial and residential property.
Chesapeake Area Attractions
Few locations offer as wide a variety of things to see and places to visit as the Hampton Roads metro area, and Chesapeake sits at the hub of the activity. The city is only 15 minutes from Norfolk, 20 minutes from the oceanfront, and 40 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg. Chesapeake has plenty of attractions in its own right, some of which are listed here:
- Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway: the historic waterway linking the Chesapeake Bay to North Carolina’s sounds.
- Chesapeake Arboretum: Headquartered in an eighteenth century farmhouse with 48 acres of native plants and trees and trail systems which meander through a mature hardwood forest.
- Chesapeake City Park: A 75-acre site which hosts the annual Chesapeake Jubilee and Symphony Under the Stars and also houses the Chesapeake Skate Park.
- Chesapeake Planetarium: The first planetarium built by a public school system in the state of Virginia.
- Chesapeake Veteran’s Memorial: Commemorates the service and sacrifice of Chesapeake citizens who have served or are serving in the military.
- Deep Creek Lock Park: Heavily wooded with a pedestrian bridge and foot trails.
- Dismal Swamp Canal Trail: An 8.5 mile long multipurpose trail which accommodates horse owners, bicyclists, walkers, joggers, and boat owners.
- Great Bridge Lock Park: A 19-acre venue featuring a two-lane boat ramp, picnic shelters, a foot trail, a large play area, and extensive fishing and crabbing areas.
- Portlock Galleries at SoNo: A renovated contemporary art gallery which hosts local and traveling exhibits.
Virginia is the most populous U.S. state which does not host a major professional sports league franchise. However, the Chesapeake area is within short driving distance from the host venues of some quality minor-league professional teams. The Norfolk Tides, a Class Triple-A farm team for the Baltimore Orioles, play their International League home games at Harbor Park located only 15 minutes away in the city of Norfolk. Also in Norfolk are the Norfolk Admirals, a minor-league pro ice hockey team which competes in the American Hockey League (AHL). The Admirals are affiliated with the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. Nearby Hampton is the home of the Hampton Roads Piranhas, a soccer team belonging to the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL).