Sailing to Modernity
Two things we take for granted in Tidewater Virginia are weather and bridges.
I was explaining to two couples from Norfolk that I get people from all over the country for whom the weather is not a big news story but a big tragedy. You name it: floods, tornadoes, forest fires, drought, earthquakes. None of these plague us, and even when the weather is bad in Virginia it’s better in Tidewater.
Jack Fitzgerald explained why. “The Weather Service will tell you that Zone 8 is simply better. It extends through eastern-most Virginia right up to Williamsburg. The snow line is at Williamsburg, and we won’t get any snow in Norfolk or Virginia Beach.
Jack and his pal Dale Murray grew up in Norfolk in the 1950s. Dale said, “You had to take the ferry everywhere to cross the water. We used to go hunting at A.P. Hill,” an Army base above Richmond. “It would take eight or nine hours by ferry and now it’s a couple of hours.”
They would take the ferry across the lower end of Chesapeake Bay to go to Cape Charles. Jack said, “The rail ferry brought trains across to Little Creek and from there on to Norfolk. All that dried up until the bridge tunnel was built, and even then Cape Charles isn’t much today.”
Dale is a developer. “I built 78 condos at Bay Creek Resort, and we couldn’t find local help to work on them. So I had to hire men from Norfolk and pay their tolls every day for the 17-mile bridge tunnel. We added $3,000 per unit just to cover their tolls.”
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