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Chesapeake, Va. - Great Place to Live in Hampton Roads Area
by Howard Giske

Chesapeake, Va. is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, including such other cities as Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, around the Hampton Roads Harbor. Chesapeake has a population of 200,000 in 351 square miles, and its metropolitan area has a population of 1.6 million. It has been considered a bedroom community, but some industry and business has spilled over from the Norfolk harbor and naval base. Chesapeake is the fastest growing city in Virginia. It is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and is the world's largest natural harbor. Three rivers, the James, Nanesmond and Elizabeth flow into Chesapeake Bay. Colleges and Universities include Hampton University and the College of William and Mary. Average home prices for Cheasapeake homes start at around $250,000 to $300,000.

Chesapeake is only 15 minutes from Norfolk and 40 minutes from the restoration of the Colonial Capital of Virginia, Williamsburg. It is full of parks, golf courses and water recreation areas. The Intracoastal Waterway is a major attraction, with boats passing through the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Albemarle Chesapeake Canal to the Intracoastal Waterway south, shielded by the barrier island of North Carolina. Major marinas are nearby, such as the Crown Pointe Marina, a 235-boat slip facility on the York River.

An historic Chesapeake neighborhood is Cuffeytown-Longridge, which is the site of an Afro-American community that goes back to the 18th century, of free Afro-Americans. Sites to visit include the Gabriel Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church founded in 1866. The J.J. Moore Visitor, Archives & Family Life Center has the theme of preserving the history of this Afro-American neighborhood. The archives room has a historical collection of documents, pictures, and records of over 140 years of Cuffeytown, and the Gabriel Chapel Church. Cuffeytown was named after a group of Afro-American soldiers recruited to the Union Army in the Civil War. Many of them are buried nearby.

Parks and nature preserves are in abundance in the area. The Chesapeake Arboretum is a 48-acre facility built around an old farm house dating from 730 and 1822 surrounded by gardens, including a rose garden. Deep Creek Lock Park is named for the Corps of Engineers' lock that separates the salt water of Deep Creek from the fresh water of Dismal Swamp Canal. It goes through a tidal basin and marsh area. Other features include foot trails that wind through the woods

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was started in 1973 with the donation of 49,000 acres to the Nature Conservancy. This area is home to many species of plants and animals. Northwest River Park was developed to include camping, trails, picnic areas and an equestrian area for horse owners. There is fishing, miniature golf, and the renting of canoes. Chesapeake City Park has 45 acres with areas that can be rented out for outings and outdoor events. At the Chesapeake Planetarium you can explore the wonders of the universe at the Chesapeake Municipal Center. Fun Forest is spread over three acres of Chesapeake City Park, Fun Forest was built by community volunteers. The playground has an area that features a dragon, dolphin tunnel slide, and other amusements.

About the Author

Howard Giske writes about Cheasapeake homes and nationwide real estate at

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