Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Portsmouth, VA

May 14

Day 184

This has certainly been a trip of opposites. After cruising along the east coast, anchoring in quiet out of the way spots, and visiting a few small seaport towns along the way, the bustling activity of Norfolk and Portsmouth was quite exciting. Due to the extensive military presence here, there are massive naval vessels docked all along the harbor. Some ships are obviously awaiting a final resting place, while others are at various stages of repair. Between an abundance of pleasure craft, military ships, and commercial cargo ships, this is definitely the busiest harbor we have cruised through. Our plan is to spend a few hours enjoying the historical district of Portsmouth, then take a ferry over to Norfolk for some more sightseeing. Then it is on to the Chesapeake Bay for the next couple of weeks.

The hustle and bustle of waterfront activity requires the captain of our vessel to pay close attention while traversing these congested waterways. 

It appears, to my less than knowledgeable eye, that many of the old naval ships are being slowly dismantled. At some point even these proud old ships are replaced by new modern members of our fleet.

With the city skyline coming into view, there is no doubt how important the seaport is to the economy of this area. 

Bama Dream secured to the town dock at Portsmouth, VA. Thanks to Robert, the lock tender at Deep Creek Lock, we tied up here to enjoy another great day of sightseeing. The historical district of Portsmouth is just across the street. Between that and the walkways along the waterfront this is a perfect stop. The ferry to Norfolk leaves from this dock every 30 minutes, so for $.75 each we were able to visit there as well.

The homeowners take a lot of pride in the historical district here. The homes have been beautifully cared for and the landscaping is gorgeous.

Block after block of brick sidewalks and stately homes make this a lovely place for a step back in time. Most of the homes here were built in the early 1800's. 

This stately brick home, like many of the larger homes, has been turned into apartments. The cost of caring for these large old homes must be enormous. Partitioning them off into separate apartments is probably the only way that many of them can be saved.

Loved these beautiful roses as they reached through the old wrought iron fence in front of a church yard. Roses are blooming everywhere, making for an aromatic, colorful landscape.

While we have been heading north quite rapidly, for us that is, for the past few weeks, we are most definitley still in the south. This majestic monument in downtown Portsmouth is dedicated to the men who lost their lives during the Civil War.

While walking through the downtown area, we came across this artist working on a mural that demonstrates the importance of the sea to the people of Portsmouth. Watching him work made me think about the amazing work our niece, Missy, has done on several buildings in the Guin, AL area.

The ferry took us over to Norfolk, where the U.S.S. Wisconsin is docked. It has become part of the Nauticus Museum, offering visitors a chance to tour the World War ll battleship. We wandered around the busy downtown shopping district before returning to Portsmouth. 

What a fun night we had at the Commodore! This theater was originally opened in 1945, showing motion pictures and hosting community stage presentations until it closed in 1975. It was reopened in 1989, after extensive renovations as a first-run movie theater with full-service dining. Recognized as the first such establishment in the United States.

One of the massive murals depicting important events in our Nations history. The theater has been meticulously retored to give the patrons a feeling of nostalgia for more elegant times.

The regular theater seating has been removed and replaced by cozy tables for two or four. It is laid out in such a way that everyone can see the screen easily. Let's face it, we were not there for the movie. Although, I think our grandchildren would be pleased to note that we sat through the entire showing of The Avengers and actually managed to keep up with the action. By the way, our meal was pretty good, too!

Time to pull in the lines and continue our journey. This Navy Police boat pulled up close to us "suggesting" that we should move as far to our port as possible to make room for a ship coming into the dock.

No problem. This guy can have all the room he needs!

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