Last weekend we had a break between two nasty spells of winter weather, and on Sunday it was actually sunny and in the low 40's (last winter this would have been considered too cold to venture out). To celebrate a friend and I decided to travel to Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach. she wanted to look for birdlife, which I always enjoy, but I really wanted to see this area's newest preserved natural area. Pleasure House Point sits on a creek of the same name and is part of the Lynnhaven River system where it meets the Chesapeake. The property is a mix of maritime forest, sandy beach, marsh and open water, and just before the great recession was purchased by developers who were eyeing it for a 1000+ housing development. It ended up in the hands of the bank, and through a very collaborative effort it is now preserved for all to enjoy, including the wildlife that calls it home, very welcome news in one of Virginia's most densely populated areas.
The Lynnhaven River was once world renowned for its large, plump and salty-sweet oysters. President Taft famously made such a glutton of himself on these delicacies during a visit to the area, that he declared he felt more like an oyster than a man. They were once so numerous that their reefs were navigational hazards, but no longer. Over harvesting, habitat loss and environmental degradation nearly wiped out the Lynnhaven oyster, but in another collaborative effort, strides are being made to correct this, and the oyster is making a hopeful comeback. They are not the most obviously beautiful animal in the world, but seeing so many made me smile.