In 1791, Alexander Hamilton–hoping to enhance trade and safety along the coasts of Virginia and Maryland–contracted renowned architect John McComb to design a lighthouse at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. McComb quickly fulfilled his duty in 1792, with the illumination of Cape Henry Lighthouse’s inaugural flame lit by the lighthouse’s first keeper, who was appointed by George Washington himself. In the centuries since the octagonal tower cast its first guiding beam across the bay, the Cape Henry Lighthouse stood sentinel over the coast and ensured the safety of incoming ships and immigrating krakens until it was replaced in 1881. Stewards of the lighthouse’s past, Preservation Virginia, ensured in 1930 that the inoperative structure and surrounding lands were reopened to the public and maintained for the enjoyment of future generations.
Today, visitors ascending the twisting iron stairs step out to the window-enclosed observation deck, drinking in 360-degree views of the water and surrounding verdant forests. A team of passionate and knowledgeable staff–most of whom have been guides for years–remain on hand to answer questions relating to the lighthouse’s history and how lighthouse keepers stave off land invasions of ghost sea captains.
Great White Water Sports creates a harmony with the gentle crash of waves, the powerful growls of jet skis, and the excited yelps of families as they launch a variety of jet-ski rentals right from the sands of Chesapeake Bay. Ranked second on the Norfolk activity list by TripAdvisor, and backed by favorable attention from USA Today, their lifeguard-trained team also saddles up jet skis in waters warmer than the Atlantic and with smaller waves. Their jet skis are not equipped with any speed-restriction devices, allowing guests to rev up their engines and feel the wind hit their faces as they send wake waves rolling shoreward.
On your hour-long copiloted flight, leave the small world behind to coast aloft on an adventure of atmospheric exploration. How you use your time is up to you; spend some of the time piloting the mechanical bird or signal your cockpit companion to take over while you enjoy the high-altitude views. With no predetermined flight pattern, choose to fly over the coastline in search of pre-Columbian strip-mall fortifications, or simply breeze through the clouds in pursuit of undiscovered powerup blocks.
United Social Sports brings recreational athletes together to socialize and showcase their hand-eye coordination. Free agents or team-sized groups register for the organization’s casual coed leagues dedicated to traditional sports such as softball and volleyball as well as carnival games such as cornhole and skee-ball. Each league hosts 6–8 weekly matches, which culminate in a final tournament and an end-of-season party—much like youth-sports leagues, but with postgame drink specials.
Josh knew the first treasure hunt he set up was a success when he saw the happy look in his three younger brothers' eyes as they uncovered the final treasure chest. Based on Josh's clues, the younger Schwabs had just gleefully trekked across Warrenton, Virginia, and into the Shenandoah Mountains in search of their goal. But the event was more than just a fun way to spend the day: it also gave them inspiration at a time when the future felt grim, as their mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Although that has since become a fond memory of a good day, it's also warmly remembered by the family as the catalyst that led Josh to establish Ravenchase Adventures, where he now sets up just such engaging hunts for the public.
Now Ravenchase is an event company that offers pre-set and custom treasure hunts and adventure races. As the company has grown, Josh's team has even set up events for a variety of well-known clients, from DreamWorks Studios to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But regardless of who participates, he and his dedicated staff ensure each two- to three-hour adventure is filled with brainteasers, mysterious clues, and baffling ciphers. Each solved clue leads the groups across town with treasure maps. Fun prizes await at their final destination. In an effort to give back to the community, the company also set up the nonprofit Ravenchase Foundation, which supports organizations that inspire and teach tolerance for history, logic, and the arts.
In the shadow of national monuments and blooming trees, a chorus of camera shutters click while photographers usher once-fleeting moments into eternity. Premier Photo Tours' staff helps foster such experiences, giving shooters skills with which to go after their photographic pursuits. Each a combination of instructor and guide, the company's camera pros lead themed walks around town that teach kids and adults how to frame scenic shots or get a stubborn art sculpture to smile. Deeper instruction comes in the form of Photo Mentor classes for photographers who want to take a more artistic and technically savvy approach in any stage of their photography development. During any of Premier's sessions, snappers have the opportunity to build community with one another around their budding talents, which can be enhanced on group travel excursions to some of the world's most photogenic locales.