Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 20, 2021

27th Birthday Recap.

      I turned 27 over Labor Day Weekend! Here's a little recap of all of the fun:

      My birthday often falls over Labor Day Weekend, and such was the case this year! This year it was on Monday, September 6th. It's always nice when it does fall over a long weekend. My high school best friend, Julia, wanted to visit over Labor Day Weekend this year! Julia had visited me in years passed when I lived in North Carolina and Vermont, but she had never been to Virginia. I wanted to plan a mix of taking her to places that I've already been to in Hampton Roads (the metro area name for Virginia Beach and other cities), as well as discovering some new places together, since I am still new to this area.

      There is a decent sized airport that Virginia Beach shares with the neighboring city of Norfolk, but Julia flew into Richmond, as the flight times were better for Labor Day Weekend over there. The Richmond airport is about 90 minutes away. I was actually kind of glad that she picked Richmond, as it meant that on Monday before she flew back I could show her a few of my own favorite spots there! Anyways, I picked Julia up on Friday evening. Next we headed off to a very "gourmet" dinner... at the classic Southern establishment Waffle House! 😊 There are no Waffle Houses in Maine, and Julia actually requested to eat here after I'd taken her to one years ago in North Carolina. After our waffles, we headed back to Virginia Beach and had an early night in to prep for a big adventure the next day. 

      On Saturday, we headed over the Virginia's Eastern Shore for a fun adventure. The Eastern Shore is an area of the state that I'd always wanted to visit when I lived in Charlottesville, but this was actually my first trip! It's not a very far drive from Virginia Beach, thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. (Fun fact: the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is the longest combination bridge/tunnel system in the world!

     Two of my Charlottesville friends, Amy and Marilee, challenged me to do a kayaking tour on my Virginia Beach bucket list . Julia enjoys kayaking, so I was browsing various trips to book while she was visiting me. I picked the Chatham Vineyards guided tour with Southeast Expeditions! These are small group kayaking trips that are run by a Southeast Expeditions guide. You paddle through a peaceful creek in the Eastern Shore, and your destination is Chatham Vineyards. You then get to do a full wine tasting and hang out for a bit at the winery, before paddling back across the creek. It is about $100 a person, but includes your kayak rental, a full wine tasting, and a complimentary bottle of Chatham wine to take home with you. Since it was my birthday weekend, we decided to splurge on doing this trip, and it was a good decision! Julia said it was a highlight of her trip.

      Our kayaking trip left from a very remote part of the Eastern Shore. After we were done, we decided to go to the beach in Cape Charles, which is one of the more prominent towns in the Eastern Shore. It is a very quaint little town right on the Chesapeake Bay. There is a lovely beach near downtown (with free parking!), and lots of streets of beautiful historic homes to explore. We had a wonderful time exploring the town and beach. On our way home, we stopped at a food truck for dinner that our kayak guide had recommended (it was just okay- next time I'd probably try a Cape Charles restaurant). 

      The next morning, I took Julia to breakfast at one of my favorite local spots near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Commune. Commune is a farm-to-table restaurant, and breakfast there is always delicious. After breakfast, I walked Julia a few blocks over to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk (this is the touristy area of VB where all of the big hotels are). We explored the Boardwalk and some of the shops for a bit.

     After the Boardwalk, we stopped at a mall to check out the Labor Day Weekend sales, and then headed back to my place. We spent the afternoon relaxing at my pool. For dinner, we headed to my favorite chain restaurant (which sadly Julia doesn't have back in Maine)... The Cheesecake Factory! My blogger friend Kelly-Anne from Crafty Teacher Lady joined us as well. Kelly-Anne is originally from Maine, so I figured she and Julia would have a lot in common! 

    Monday, my actual birthday, was a very fun and full day. We started the morning in Downtown Norfolk. I grabbed my birthday Starbucks, and then Julia and I walked around for a bit so that she could see Norfolk. 

     Next, we drove up to one of my very favorite cities: Richmond! Julia was flying out of Richmond that evening, and I got to spend most of the day beforehand showing Julia around. I used to go to Richmond 1-2x a month when I lived in Charlottesville, and this was my first trip back since I moved to Virginia Beach. Julia and I started by taking a walk on one of the James River pedestrian bridges. The weather was perfect, and the views were amazing as always.

     Next, we headed over the cute neighborhood of Carytown. I made a reservation at Les Crepes Carytown for lunch, which is a wonderful restaurant. The best part of lunch was that I had some special guests! My friends Megan and Meredith came down from Charlottesville, and my friend Caroline came over after work (she's a Charlottesville friend who now lives/works in Richmond). I was excited for them to meet Julia. And there was one more special guest too...

      ... it's Marc!! My former morning show co-host from Charlottesville, and one of my dear friends. It had been only two months since I'd seen him, but it felt like it had been forever! So glad he was able to come down to Richmond and join my friends and I for my birthday.

      I had such a fun-filled birthday weekend this year. I was a little nervous this summer thinking about my birthday, because I knew I'd still be pretty new to Virginia Beach and probably not know a lot of people yet. It was such a blessing to have my high school best friend visit to celebrate with me, and get to see Charlottesville friends in Richmond too! 

      My birthday is also my blogiversary (I started Southern Belle in Training on my 18th birthday) - check out this year's blogiversary post here!

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 


  1. So glad you had such a special birthday celebration! You deserve it!!

  2. Happy 27th birthday!What a wonderful and special cebebration!

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