An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

February 2, 2014

Pleasure House Point

     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.

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     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.

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26 comments:

  1. Great tour, and photos. The juniper tells me it's not the best soil in the world.

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    1. That's probably true about the soil, I am sure it is very sandy and salt flooding is a threat.

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  2. Very enjoyable tour, Les. Our thoughts must be running in the same direction – I am writing about Blackwater Wildlife Refuge tomorrow. By the way, driving home last Sunday, my car was almost taken out by a huge tree trunk that flew out of someone's pickup and rolled into my lane on Northampton Boulevard, quite near Pleasure House Road.

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    1. Lynn, I am glad you were able to dodge that tree trunk. Could you tell what species it was?

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  3. Saving the land from development is nothing short of a miracle. The third picture of the inviting roadway touches me the most. I know it's still early but it would be a contender for 2014's top ten.

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    1. Chav., I will take your nudge about this year's top ten. Thanks!

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  4. This was a very relaxing tour. Glad your temperatures are on the move up. It seems the year for snow in the Southern states. The third image is such a pretty view under blue cloud-filled sky.

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    1. Donna, I am sick of snow and I guess the powers that be heard me say it, because it has rained and rained and rained.

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  5. Loved the tour and the wonderful blue sky~

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    1. Thanks Gail, we have seen little of that sky since my tour.

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  6. What a lovely place. Thanks for showing us and sharing the story of its history.

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    1. You are quite welcome, thank you for stopping by.

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    1. Catherine, it is a local treasure.

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  8. You just have to seize the moment at this time of year, don't you, and that looks like a wonderful place to enjoy the winter sunshine. Great photos, as ever.

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    1. Janet, I can only take so much sitting on the couch.

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  9. Gorgeous photos! Your landscape looks a lot like Maine, and you've adapted well is you now believe that 40s is warm. Climate change is playing some weird tricks. We've had less snow than normal in January but we seem to be making up for it today.

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    1. Sarah, fortunately after warmer temperatures and much rain, the snow is gone, except for those big ugly parking lot piles.

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  10. The 'berry' pictures are wonderful! And the water... I think any water makes any weather more tolerable.

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    1. Tatyana, they remind me of olives, but they are actually the fruit of a Smilax species, a.k.a cat brier.

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  11. How wonderful that this area ended up being preserved!

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  12. As always, your pictures are top-notch!

    Your comments about the Lynnhaven oyster took me back 30 or 35 years ago, when learning that the enormous, delicious raw oysters served at T&J restaurant in Swansboro, NC, came from the Lynnhaven Inlet. A baker's dozen of them fully filled a large cafeteria tray; haven't seen or tasted anything like it since then. I sure hope they can be brought back!

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    1. bfish, it was probably an exaggeration, but they were often compared to the size of dinner plates.

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  13. Beautiful pictures, and such a positive story about open lands being preserved. And to the oysters, I say: be fruitful, and multiply!

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  14. The blue sky in your shots are absolutely amazing Les. I guess we have had so many bleak days seeing a blue sky is a real treat.

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