On my recent trip to Norfolk, Virginia, I noticed how friendly the locals were. At almost every restaurant, attraction and hotel we visited, we were greeted with a friendly smile and a warm hello. At times it was left at that, but at a couple locations we began chatting away with those around us. Through these conversations, we were able to find out about some hidden gems in the area outside of the touristy sections.
Speaking with a woman at the Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar, she told us she grew up in the area; and since the opening of this new restaurant, it has become one of her local favorites because the food was right up her alley. She asked if we were from around there, and we told her we were only there for a few nights. Her eyes lit up, and she told us about all of the wonderful places to try and visit during our short stay. This was her home, and she was proud of it. We were given suggestions of different restaurants to try where she said everyone in town visits because they are simply the best. The following night we took her suggestion and headed to When in Rome to pick up some takeout. She was right! It was delicious. I ordered a sundried tomato and basil pasta that was to die for. Rich and filling, it was the perfect dinner choice.
Later on in the week, we stopped at The Bold Mariner Brewing Company, as we heard they had some out-of-this-world barbeque. We grabbed some drinks, ordered some smoked meats and sat down on the large, wraparound porch. We began talking to a military vet in the area visiting some friends. She told us about the history of Norfolk and how she had lived there for many years. Seeing all of these new breweries pop up made her happy, as she said it was delightful to see the city growing and new things being added for active-duty military personnel to visit. Once again, I could tell this woman had a love for the place where she used to live. She pointed out additional spots for us to try if we had some extra time and went on her way.
As I travel more, I will make it a point to talk to locals. You never know what interesting spots they will lead you to, new foods to try and places to get an authentic experience of the city you are visiting.
— Audrey Lee, assistant editor
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