Battlefield Visits, Epic Man Trip Edition – Part 5: Norfolk

From my travels, June 28, 2023.

Air Power Park

The museum at the Air Power Park. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
The museum at the Air Power Park. – Photo by the author

This is a very cool city park in Hampton. Sadly, the outdoor aircraft display was closed because of construction, but the totally free museum here had HUNDREDS of model aircraft that people have built and donated. They also have an aviation-focused library, and some informational signs. The curator talked to us for a while, and you could tell that he really loved the subject matter.

Just a few of the hundreds of aircraft models that have been donated to the museum. The boys LOVED these! - <i>Photo by the author</i>
Just a few of the hundreds of aircraft models that have been donated to the museum. The boys LOVED these! – Photo by the author

As a bonus for me, the entrance to the museum is flanked by two Nike Ajax missles – like the ones that were stationed at my office when it was first built.

Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe. Lots of history here. While there were no Civil War battles fought here, this is one of the first places that was used as a “contraband” camp during the war. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was also held here after he was captured. The museums at the visitors center, as well as the Casemate Museum, were all awesome.

This is another site that is operated through some kind of joint partnership with a local group and the NPS doing different things. They have a Junior Ranger program here that the boys participated in, so that was good. And it was cool to be able to drive around such a large Third System fort.

Norfolk Naval Base Cruise

After grabbing some lunch, we took a tour of Norfolk / Hampton Roads by boat about the Victory Rover. Norfolk has the largest naval base in the world. It’s impressive to see not only the fleet, but all the other infrastructure that goes into supporting it.

The captain / narrator was very good about explaining what we were seeing as we went past – including the sites of some old forts and all the modern facilities. We got to see some LHDs in dry dock, some Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (including the USS Porter, named in part for Civil War Admiral David Dixon Porter), and some Ticonderoga-class cruisers (including the USS Gettysburg). None of the aircraft carriers were in port, though – they’re quite busy these days. As we were turning around to head back, we did get to see a Los Angeles-class submarine heading out to sea.

Battle of Sewell’s Point – Civil War Battlefield #173

The earliest naval fight of the war, the Battle of Sewell’s Point was between the gunboat USS Monticello and Confederate shore batteries that had been constructed on Sewell’s Point (now part of the Norfolk Naval Base). Over a few days, shots were fired by both sides, with very little effect. Combined casualties were less than 10 men.

Confederate batteries were here on Sewell's Point. - <i>Photo by the author</i>
Confederate batteries were here on Sewell’s Point. – Photo by the author

I was able to get a photo of the area that the batteries were in while we were on our harbor cruise.

Norfolk Tides

Being native Baltimoreans, my boys and I are Orioles fans. So I couldn’t pass up the chance to see their Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, while we were in town.

It was a beautiful night for baseball! We got tickets to the 6:35pm game against the Charlotte Knights. In the end, the Tides crushed them 12-5 and just check out that lineup for our baby birds: Mountcastle, Kjerstad, and Grayson Rodriguez pitching!

Also, it was $0.50 hotdog, popcorn, and soda night. That’s already a win and a dinner solution! Toward the end of the game they announced the attendance: 10,213, with 24,697 hot dogs sold.

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