Norfolk Travel Blog› entry 13 of 24 › view all entries
July 29th, 2008 – by: lulusartshack
With the hubs and friends far away, I decided to spend the day as a tourist in downtown Norfolk. I stumbled upon the Cannonball Trail the first time I came to visit my husband (then fiance) a couple of years ago. As we wandered through downtown in a particularly frigid February, I noticed little marble squares and circles inlaid in the sidewalk. They seemed to form some sort of path, so we followed them until we came to a marker designating it part of the Cannonball Trail. It was fun, took you through all the important historical and interesting sites in the downtown norfolk area, but most of the sites were closed for the winter or undergoing renovations. That was several years ago, and I had been meaning to do it again and actually take pictures and go through all the sites.
I had tried the night before to get some more information about the trail, like what sites were on it, how long it would take, etc, but al I could find were little blurbs with not much more than the address of the Welcome Center on Freemason St.
The welcome center was right by the MacAurthor Center, so I parked in the mall garage and walked down to it. It was 9:30, and the sign said it didn't opentil 10, so I walked into the mall and got myself some coffee to perk up. When I wet back outside, the welcome center was still closed. I took a closer look at the sign: it's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bummer... I was hoping to at least get a map or something. The historic house right across from it was also closed, so I took a look at the plaque outside the welcome center to try to get my bearings and get a general idea of where I was going.
The rest of the day was a bit blah unfortunately. It seems nearly everything is closed on Mondy and Tuesday and it was so hot and muggy. I went on the USS Wisconsin (even though I've been on it and much bigger Navy ships), cause it was open and free. There were a lot of school groups there, and I seemed to keep getting stuck behind someone who insisted on carrying they're baby up and down the ladderwells of the ship. It was still interesting though, and afterwards I hung out in the Hampton Roads Naval Museum for a bit to cool off.
Right near the USS Wisconsin was the Tiawanese Pagoda and Garden. Ahh... it's so peaceful and a whole world away from noisy Norfolk. I would have stayed and relaxed on one of the benches, but it was noon-time and the sun was starting to really beat down. Just in perfect time, the trail took me down a shady residential part of West Freemason St.
I ended up back at the welcome center where the trail loops and has another circle. I was thirsty and my water supply was gone, so I headed into the mall and refilled my bottle and bought a cold one from the vending machine.
I kept wandering around, FINALLY found the cannonball embedded on the wall at St. Paul's Church, went into the MacAurthor Memorial, which has been re-done since the last time I went in a few years ago. I liked looking at all the medals and personal affects. They even had MacAurthor's "McDonald's" ribbon (aka the National Defense Medal, the one everyone gets out of boot-camp, nicknamed "McDonald's" because of the red and yellow stripe.) It was around 2:30pm when I left the MacAurthor Memorial, and I was pooped. I walked what was left of the trail, and headed back to the mall for some coffee and a little relaxing at the bookstore before heading home.
When I left the mall garage around 4pm, I had to pay $9! Yikes! That's a lot of cash for parking, especially since the mall is usually the cheapest place in downtown to park. Oh well, maybe next time I'll park omewhere else.
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