Monday, November 24, 2008

My Hampton Roads Bucket List

This past weekend my Girlfriend asked me if there was anything I wanted to do locally at least one more time over the next month before I move to Denver at the end of year.

My initial response was something along the lines of, "Nope. I'm ready to blow this Popsicle stand!"

But the more I started thinking about, the more I realized that there really are a lot of Hampton Roads-specific activities I would like to do before I leave.

And this got me excited because I now got to do one of my favorite things in the world.

It was time to make a list, baby!

After jotting down a few Hampton Roads must-do's, the euphoria of list making began to wear off as I suddenly realized two things: (1) After 15 years of living here, it's gotten easy to take my surroundings for granted, and (2) it was kind of weird to think about doing some of this stuff for the last time (at least for a while).

"This is creepy," I said. "I feel like I'm dying or something."

"Awww," my Girlfriend teased. "We're making your Hampton Roads Bucket List."

As in, things to do before I kick the (Hampton Roads) bucket.

I'm not totally sure where the financial backing for all these activities is going to come from yet but I'll do what I can do and go from there.

So, you go. Just a few of the items from my Hampton Roads Bucket List:

- I want to see a movie at the Commodore Theater. Whenever friends or guests have come into town over the years, I've always tried to take them to the Commodore as one of those things that you can only do while in Hampton Roads. It's a big, old theater in Olde Town Portsmouth and you actually sit at tables and order dinner while you watch the movie. Unfortunately, that new vampire movie, "Twilight" is the only thing running there until mid December (not interested) so maybe something good will come in before I go.

- I want to hit some of my favorite restaurants one last time. Right now I'm salivating for a knockwurst from the Bier Garden in Olde Town Portsmouth, a nice glass of Chianti from Bella Monte in Virginia Beach, and some banana pudding from The Virginia Diner in Wakefield (not all at once, of course. That would actually be kind of gross).

- I want to play Lambert's Point golf course. I've never seen a golf course frustrate so many good golfers like Lambert's does on a regular basis (I'm not referring to myself as a "good golfer" by the way). The course looks so easy but it plays so hard. That's where I got my very first legit birdie (the par four fifth hole) and the view is so amazing, I always find myself realizing that I would rather be bad at golf than good at anything else. Get your clubs, Chris. I've got a few more golf balls to leave at Lambert's.

- I want to drive Kempsville Road from start to finish
I think I have probably spent more time on Kempsville Road over the past 15 years than anywhere else in the area. I took Kempsville to get to my high school, a LOT of my friends, and a bunch of my jobs. It starts in Virginia Beach as Pembroke Blvd. at a dead end by a neighborhood pool (where I used to go with one of the summer camps I worked at) and then turns into Witchduck Rd. by the radio station where Paul and I did our sports show and then into Kempsville. Once you cross over Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake, it becomes Great Bridge Blvd. and then runs through Norfolk before you finally have to turn left or right onto Bainbridge Blvd. I don't think I've ever gone start to finish. I don't even know how long it will take. Half hour? 45 minutes? Hour? Two Hours? Any thing is possible on Kempsville. From the traffic to the uncoordinated stoplights, there is never a good time to be on that road.

- I want to do a Newport News day. Newport News is where I went to college (for the first time) at Christopher Newport University. It's where I fell in love (for the first time) and where I helped start that sketch comedy show. It's where I lived on my own (for the first time) and where I felt like an actual human being (for the first time). Even though it's changed dramatically, I just want to walk around the campus for a while and watch a game at Schooners.

- I want to say good bye at the Monarch. I finally found my Cheers and now I'm leaving. The wait staff knows me, knows my drink of choice, knows what game to put on for me, and beyond all of that, are genuinely great people. Seriously, the thought of leaving the Monarch was one of the very last emotional hurdles I had to clear before I could vocally announce I was leaving home. That's where I've been going to unwind at the end of a crazy day, that's where I go when there are three games I want to watch at once, that's where we have finished 2nd place at Trivia Night for the last 18 times in a row. That's where I was when the Phillies won the World Series.

So that's where I want to be with my closest friends on Friday night, December 26, the night before I leave for Denver. I hate going away parties, but I don't think this will feel like that.

I just want this to be us hanging out, watching a game.

Seriously, everyone that wants to come is invited. That's where I want to say my good bye's and that's how I want to leave this area that has been my home.


Anonymous said...

Bier Garden and The Monarch... I'm there! You should put a ban on saying goodbye the last night. We should stand outside in a circle and make plans to hang out the next night for the standard 30 minutes and say "see you tomorrow". We'll just wait to do the plans till you come back for a visit.

Tim Horton

Just Being Josh said...

Best idea I've heard yet.