35 Coaches gathered in Virginia Beach, despite hurricane Maria threatening to put a damper on the week. She remained off shore and we had a week of warm and beautiful sunshine! The group was treated to breakfast each morning before heading out on tours. The first day we were treated to lunch at the Dam Neck Naval Base Club which sits behind a dune overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. From there we were welcomed to an impressive tour of two commands at Oceana Naval Air Station. The group was first greeted by the Commanding Officer of the Master Jet Base, prior to ‘reporting in’ to the various tours. These tours left a lump in your throat and warmth in your heart, just listening to the young sailors and officers tell us what they do and love about serving in the US Navy. They were so proud of their responsibilities and the privileges they have serving their country. We ended that day at the Oceana Officer’s Club for happy hour. What a day of experiences to take pride in our nation. Word of the day was IMPRESSIVE in cluding some tears of pride and appreciation for their service from our members. The following day we drove to the Virginia Beach Military Air Museum where we had guided tours of the 2 main hangers housing American WWI, WWII, & Korean Conflict aircraft. We got up close and personal with a dozen or more vintage WWII airplanes prior to lunch. After lunch many of the group continued to the hangers holding WWII German military aircraft or they toured the antique car show also held on the grounds of the Museum or both! On Sunday we drove through beautiful back roads of the Tidewater region to Hank & Stevie’s daughter & son in-law’s Brewery, The Big Ugly, where we partied, drank beer & ate Brats! The Cheddar and Caramel popcorn was a big hit as well. Great beer and lots of fun!
We wished some of our numbers safe travels home and met up with other members in Williamsburg for the follow-on week in Virginia’s Historic Triangle: Williamsburg, Jamestown, & Yorktown for another beautiful week of sunshine and warm weather. Each of the 33 coaches signed up for tour groups Red, White, or Blue. The tour groups had designated historic sites to visit every other day. We had Happy Hours each day and the groups outdid themselves with appetizers or desserts as we gathered in a nice large tent with ac and a sound system. There were three days of guided tours in each of the historic sites and a day off in between. Many of the group members touring a site went back on their ‘day off’ and revisited other points of interest at the same site as their group tickets gave everyone free access to the sites for the week. Some went off on their own to visit some of the other historic interests in the area, shopped at the Outlet Mall, or rested around the campsite enjoying visiting with friends! There were catered dinners of Bar-B-Q, Greek, Italian, a cook out hosted by Nor’Easters, and a seafood buffet the last evening! We did not go hungry! Saturday was a day set aside for club meetings, the Nor’Easters’ cook out, the puzzle contest, and the silent and live auctions. Bill Brock, as auctioneer, did a marvelous job of encouraging everyone to bid and re-bid to support our charity, the USO of Hampton Roads & Central Virginia. We raised $3,500+ and Hank Giffin presented the checks to the local representative when he got home. They were SO grateful, saying that the money would do so much good for the local military. The morning after our farewell dinner at George’s Seafood Buffet, we gathered at the Giffin’s coach for a quick breakfast and good-byes, until we meet again!