NORFOLK, VA – February, 2010 – The seaport city of Norfolk has long been lauded as an eastern seaboard gem, with water hugging three sides of the downtown district and a breathtaking view of the Chesapeake Bay. The city kicks off the new decade with major additions to its downtown area, including the multi-million dollar renovation of Town Point Park, which sets the scene for countless must-see events throughout the year; the debut of a new contemporary hotel property, with another in the works; and an expansion of the local culinary repertoire, with new restaurants lining Norfolk’s restaurant row, Granby Street. In addition to the sampling below of exciting new additions to Norfolk, a full listing of the city’s hotels, restaurants, attractions and events can be found at the Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau’s recently revamped Web site, www.visitnorfolktoday.com.
With a wide array of hotels to choose from, it is no surprise that Norfolk offers a great getaway for every budget, every age and every purpose. Hotels in the area currently boast more than 5,200 guest rooms, all while offering 175,000 square feet of meeting space. Adding to the array of hotel options at Military Highway is the recently debuted Holiday Inn Express & Suites Norfolk, which serves as a prime example of the company’s newly rebranded image. A new hotel in downtown Norfolk is also slated to open in 2011.
• Holiday Inn Express & Suites Norfolk: Located at 1157 North Military Highway, in Norfolk, Va, the $14 million dollar property launched in December 2009 and features 104 guest rooms and 1,300 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is part of the newly rebranded Holiday Inn hotel group, which features amenities such as cinnamon-scented bath products and a complimentary breakfast.
Norfolk’s local cuisine continues to shine brightly. With over 80 chef-owned restaurants within walking distance of the city center, it is no surprise that Norfolk is making waves as a leader in the farm-to-table movement, with many critically acclaimed restaurants featuring Virginia wine and Virginia-grown produce and meat. Additionally, Norfolk participates in the new “Farm to Feast” week, which celebrates the local, smaller production farmers within the region. To highlight some of the local gastronomic offerings, Norfolk also hosts a widely successful Bi-annual Restaurant Week in addition to a Bi-annual Town Point Park Wine Festival, showcasing Virginia-based vintners. The city’s varied offerings also attract such culinary legends as Philip Thomason of Vintage Kitchen (trained by Wolfgang Puck himself) and the Norfolk legendary and nationally acclaimed, Rowena’s. In the coming months, additional restaurants will debut in Norfolk, including:
• 219, An American Bistro: The former 219 on Granby will reopen with an outdoor dining space for patrons to enjoy each night of the week, as well as weekdays for lunch. The contemporary American cuisine will boast moderately priced menu options.
• Bootleggers: Seasoned restaurateur Ryan Arney will open Bootleggers at the former home of Posh Dolce. The restaurant is sure to be a hit with a country western theme and cuisine to boot.
• Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub & Restaurant: The town staple located on Granby Street will reopen to serve old and new patrons classic pub-style favorites.
In addition to an array of dining options and hotel selections, exciting attractions will sail in to Norfolk this spring. With the USS Wisconsin permanently docked in the harbor and officially run by the city of Norfolk, visitors will now be able to tour the upper decks of the world’s largest battleship in naval history. Meanwhile, National Geographic’s Real Pirate’s Exhibit washed ashore and will continue to tell the story of the Whydah – the first fully authenticated pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago- until April. Lastly, the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk will debut the Asian-themed Trail of the Tiger exhibit, featuring animals from across the Asian continent.
• USS Wisconsin: The famous vessel was built in 1944 and remains one of the largest battleships in the world. The USS Wisconsin will now be maintained and run by the city, rather than the US Navy. This will allow patrons to tour the interior decks and get an inside glimpse into US Naval history.
• National Geographic’s Real Pirate’s Exhibit: Organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, the exhibit showcases treasure chests of jewelry, coins, and gold; weaponry; and a replica of the pirate ship Wydah that visitors can board.
• Trail of the Tiger Exhibit: Debuting in 2010, the Trail of the Tiger Exhibit, an Asian inspired area with animals from Southeast Asia to India, is sure to be a hit with visitors, showcasing apes, tigers, and mini buffalos. Special features include an underwater viewing deck, tree dwelling bear species and a 60 foot viewing window in the orangutan exhibit.
• Chrysler Museum of Art: The Chrysler Museum began offering free admission to guests beginning in September 2009 and will continue this offering into 2010. The museum hosts a wide array of famous artwork and one of the largest collections of Tiffany-blown glass in the United States.