Flashback: Early 80s, me–decked out in an eyelet dress and Mary Janes–scurrying up Mt. Trashmore with my pastel wicker basket. At least two other dozen kids raced up the mountain for those jelly bean- chocolate-filled goodies, giggling as our moms and dads stumbled through grass and dirt to make sure we came out better than Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
It’s an annual tradition in Virginia Beach I hope to one day share with my own children. Maybe next year, I’ll get my act together and rent a Virginia Beach vacation home for the weekend.
While I enjoy living in a big city and all the spoils that come with it–hello, foie gras cupcakes and an 18-mile lakefront–there are some things that just don’t compare to my hometown:
1. Hunky blue crabs plucked from the Chesapeake Bay
2. An hour’s drive to my favorite amusement park, Busch Gardens, where rides and “villages” pay tribute to Europe
3. A 5 percent sales tax (I pay 10.25 percent in Chicago, the highest of all major American cities.)
4. A lively boardwalk that hosts festivals all summer long (A local fave is the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, a collection of 35 events topped off by the Boardwalk Weekend from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27, where thousands of revelers flock to the city for sandcastle competitions, surfing, food and hundreds of arts and crafts exhibitions.)
5. In-ground pools in my neighbor’s backyard
Because the idea of having to shower before and after entering a public pool grosses me out.
There’s no place like home.