Escape to the Outdoors and More in Chesapeake, Virginia  

“Chesapeake is one of Virginia's best kept secret, especially for outdoor enthusiasts,” says Kim Murden, tourism director, Chesapeake CVB. “It's a wonderful place to come and experience.”

Situated in the heart of coastal Virginia, and located in the Hampton Roads region, she says she loves what the city has to offer.

“Chesapeake is rich in history and outdoor recreation. It's a great weekend getaway throughout the year.”

As the Commonwealth's third largest city, Chesapeake offers 22 miles of fresh and salt waterways and acres of hiking trails where various wildlife and birds can be spotted. 

Murden adds, “It's a great weekend getaway throughout the year.”

And what are some activities and places that should be included in everyone's itineraries? She provides  a few must-dos when you are visiting the area.

  • Eat at Bergy's Breadbasket Bakery and More. She says the converted family-owned dairy farm is a place that both foodies and families enjoy. The foodies are drawn to the fresh choices available at the bakery and deli, while families take part in the seasonal activities Bergy's offer. Murden also recommends stopping in Wood Chicks BBQ. Not only has the restaurant been voted “Best of Chesapeake” for seven years, but also in 2009, the pit master was the winner of a BBQ pork episode of Food Channel's Throwdown with Bobby Flay.
  • Go kayaking and/or hiking. As the Commonwealth's third largest city, Chesapeake offers 22 miles of fresh and salt waterways, as well acres of hiking trails. She says some of the best places to dip a paddle in includes Lake Drummond, the second largest natural lake in Virginia. The lake feeds into the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, which has some historical significance to it. It was surveyed by George Washington in 1775. She says this area a “breathtaking experience, filled with wildlife viewing opportunities.”  Other prime places include the Northwest River and Back Bay. For those who want to explore the waterways more, she recommends getting in touch with Lillie Gilbert, author of three books on the area's waterways and with Wild Rivers Outfitters.

As for hiking, many trails can be found in the locations mentioned above. Don't forget to add  Northwest River Park and Campground to your list, too.

  • Plan your getaway around a  festival. The city is home to a number of them throughout the year, and Murden says they can make for a fun travel experience.

For those who want a little more, Murden says Chesapeake is a beautiful launch point for a destination vacation.
“After you've explored the city, the next day you can have a nautical experience in Norfolk. Or you can choose to go to the beach or have a colonial experience in Williamsburg/Jamestown.”

“The area has so much to offer. You can make it a week vacation and each day can be something different.”

Resting at Irish Isle Bed and Breakfast

Not all accommodations are created equal, and if you're looking for something out-of-the-box when you're in Chesapeake, consider Irish Isle Bed and Breakfast.

Holding the distinction of the city's first bed and breakfast, founder and co-owner Dave McLaughlin converted his residence into a bed and breakfast. A builder by trade, he finished the five-bedroom main house in 2004 and opened for business after the first of the year in 2011.

He has had a positive response.

“It's worked out well.”

The rural property sits on 11-acres of land, providing an enjoyable respite after a busy day of exploring.

“We had one couple staying here who went to the beach during the day and came back to enjoy the evening.”

With its location, not only can you enjoy the scenery, but also wildlife as well.

“There's a lot of wildlife around in the morning and afternoon. One guest commented they saw a doe and fawn relaxing at the front door.”

The property offers four suites, complete with WiFi and other amenities. There's also a large common area, outdoor fire-pit, a pool, a barn and more.

Then there's the breakfast, which McLaughlin says they pride themselves on. Honoring his Irish heritage, you can expect to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast.