10 Things To Do In Norfolk, Virginia If You Only Have 24 Hours

10 Things To Do In Norfolk, Virginia If You Only Have 24 Hours

This city holds a special place in my heart. These are some of my favorite things to see and do in Norfolk, Virginia.


I spent my final week of summer in Norfolk, Virginia. It is the town my mom grew up in and known for being the home of a large Navy base. For the last two days of our trip, my sister's friend from England came to stay with us and joined our road trip down to Atlanta. Sadly, she was only able to stay in Norfolk for one day.

So my sister and I attempted to show her all there is to Norfolk, Virginia in 24 hours.

1. Virginia Beach

Grace Bellman

While VA Beach doesn't crystal clear water or white sand, it is a fun place to spend a summer day. Dogs are allowed on the beach before 10 am so my family often takes our black lab, Ollie, to jump in the waves in the early morning. The Atlantic Ocean is the perfect temperature in the summer (it's a little chilly in the winter) and the beach is rarely too overcrowded. It is a popular destination for both families on summer vacation and locals who have lived in the area for years.

2. Taste Unlimited

Grace Bellman

This is my family's favorite sandwich shop. Although there are several locations in Virginia, our favorite is on Shore Drive on the way to Virginia Beach. We have enjoyed countless Taste sandwiches for lunch on the beach. Of course, I couldn't leave Virginia without bringing a little piece of it with me in the form of Taste House Dressing. It is a welcome addition to all my meals at Emory.

3. Doumar's

Doumar's is the origin of the first waffle cone. A local Virginian family, The Doumar's, opened this diner in 1904 and has been serving ice cream, burgers, and fries ever since. My family always has to make a stop at Doumar's when we are in town.

4. First Landing State Park

Josephine Bellman

Extensive running trails coupled with a little bay makes this park super special. It is a must if you are looking for somewhere beautiful to walk, run, swim, or picnic. For a small donation to the State Parks, you can park for the day and enjoy the Virginian summer weather in a beautiful part of the world.

5. Little Dog Diner

As our waitress put it, "this is not the place to come if you are trying to be healthy, this is the place to come when you want to eat well." Little Dog Diner replaced Donut Dinette, a favorite in the neighborhood for many years. While I miss the old diner, Little Dog Diner is a great substitute. Their fried green tomato eggs benedict is amazing.

6. No Frill No Grill

No Frill is my grandfather's favorite restaurant in Norfolk. It serves portions that are way too big, Pepsi instead of Coke, and always has a wait. But it is so worth it because the food is delicious. Every time Grumpa comes to visit from Williamsburg, we go out to eat at No Frill and we always leave with happy, full stomachs and at least one to-go box in our hands.

7. Elizabeth River Trail

Grace Bellman

The Elizabeth River trail runs through the West Ghent neighborhood and is a great place to get some exercise. It is so close to my family's house that it is perfect for an early morning or late afternoon jog. While it isn't the prettiest trail, it is slowly being refurbished with the help of local donations and volunteers.

8. Waterside District

Grace Bellman

9. USS Wisconsin

While this is not something the locals do often, visiting the USS Wisconsin is a must for Norfolk visitors. The navy ship is huge and sits in the harbor next to the Nauticus museum. It is a not-so-subtle reminder of the presence of the military in Norfolk. After all, the Navy is a big part of why so many people move to Norfolk in the first place including my mom and her family.

10. Chelsea Neighborhood

The Chelsea neighborhood is a couple blocks away from my family's house in West Ghent. It has recently become home to Smartmouth Brewery (my dad's favorite local), Torch, Tortilla West, and many other local businesses. It is a hub for the younger generations and always busy on the weekends. It is a fun place to go for dinner with friends that is still close to home.

All in all, I cannot recommend Norfolk, Virginia enough. It is my second home and a place I have grown up visiting for years. We live in my mom's childhood home and visit with all her high school and college friends. It is a historic town that is proud of it's past while simultaneously focusing on catering to the younger generations. I always look forward to visiting, no matter how short our trip might be.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.

The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.

2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.

3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.

4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).

5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.

7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.

8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.

9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.

10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.

11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.

12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.

13. Goblin Shark

This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.

14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.

15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.

16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.

17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.

18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.

19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.

And finally....

20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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8 Thoughts Your Pets Have When You Come Home From College

Wouldn't we love to know what really goes through our pets minds when we finally return to them?


1. What are you doing here?


2. Why do you think it's okay to just come and going as you please?


3. My human is back!


4. Now that you are back, let's take a nap! Too much excitement for one day.


5. I'm so excited I don't know how to control my emotions


6. I guess since you are here...where are my tummy rubs?


7. Uninterested


8. Well well well, look who finally decided to come back home.


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