I recently visited Norfolk, Virginia and was completely charmed by its people, their dedication to preserving traditional techniques, the Ghent Historic District, and the waterfront.
I was surprised to find out how affordable it is to get a hotel room with a harbor view.
I woke up really early one morning and saw the dim light of dawn peering through my curtain. Instead of going right back to sleep, I got up to watch the sunrise and took the photo above from my balcony.
The Ghent Historic District boasts a plethora of independent businesses – restaurants, boutiques, bakeries, vintage shopping, antique shopping, cafes, and more.
I had lunch at this cool, creative spot called The Green Onion. As soon as I walked in and saw the pans displayed on the wall as an art installation, I knew I was in for a treat.
They offer a beautiful cheese plate with a variety of cow, goat, and sheep cheese. Everything is labeled on the plate so you can learn about each one and what country it’s from. The blueberries and honey take it over the top. Great for sharing!
I had the Lobster Roll for my main course and it was delicious. The lobster was plentiful and fresh. The serving portion was huge and about midway through, I had to ditch the bread so I had room in my stomach for all of that yummy lobster.
If you have a big appetite, you will not be disappointed. The fries were crispy and some of the best I’ve ever had. They cut them fresh all day and have a special way of soaking them (numerous times) to pull out the starch.
If you are planning a trip to Norfolk, see if you can arrange it around one of the hands-on workshops that the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio offers.
After watching an hour-long glass blowing demonstration, all I wanted to do was take a workshop. It was inspiring!
Wednesday through Sunday they offer free demonstrations at noon. You sit on these beautiful chairs and wear protective eyewear. The heat from the demo area can get quite intense.
Norfolk is home to Virginia’s first urban winery, located in the Ghent neighborhood. Mermaid Winery features 49 vines, surrounding a relaxing patio area. You can stop by for a tasting, or you can linger with a wine flight and a bite to eat.
Lovely owner, Jennifer Doumar, holding my favorite taste of the day, the Cabernet Franc.
They also have fun events – movie nights on the patio, blind wine tasting, and wine pairing dinners.
There is a burgeoning food scene happening in the Ghent neighborhood. I had a fantastic meal at Luna Maya and it was one of two restaurants I knew I had to try while I was in Norkfolk.
I had the best mojitos there, outside of Mexico (where I get them with Cuban Rum). The fresh guacamole is out of this world – don’t be afraid to try the spicy version! I am a native Texan who has eaten her fair share of guacamole. 😉
I had the gambas al ajillo (sauteed shrimp marinated in garlic, cilantro, and lime juice) and a side of the cabbage slaw. I’m not always a slaw fan, but out of curiosity, I order it when I see it on a menu because when it’s good…it’s GOOD! Luna Maya’s slaw was great!
Karla and Vivian Montano, two sisters who grew up in a large South American family, created this delicious one-of-a-kind place. They cook from family recipes and use fresh ingredients. As someone with a severe dairy allergy, I really appreciated the listing of vegan items on the menu.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of dishes with cheese for you vegetarians (these dishes are also noted on the menu), as well as a great selection of meat and seafood.
I’m actually bummed I didn’t get to eat here again. This is a restaurant I’d love to have in my hometown!
May your journey be your muse,
Related links: Two Days in Norfolk, Virginia: Day Two
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Some or all of this trip was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. All opinions are my own.