Destination Vacation: Fort Monroe, Virginia

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Now that it’s spring, you may be looking for new things to do outside.

With a history dating back 400 years, Fort Monroe is tucked away in Hampton and offers plenty of space for exploration and education.

“You are essentially walking in the footsteps of these progressive movements going forward and you’re going in the footsteps of history,” said Nathan Varnold, community volunteer ambassador with Fort Monroe National Monument.

Part of that history comes in the form of a stone fort sitting on 63 acres. It’s the largest in North America.

Varnold says the history at Fort Monroe is rich. From military actitivites, to the arrival of the First Africans in the New World, to accounts of American Indian history, he says Fort Monroe has a lot to offer.

“There are so many different cords of history and cords of interest for an individual to come [see],” explained Varnold.

Once you park, you’ll quickly find the walking path with gems to see along the way. Like the fishing pier, with a breathtaking view, and batteries with old canons you can touch.

If you look closely, sitting in between the brick homes, is another piece of history: the Old Point Comfort Light House built in 1802.

Used during the War of 1812, it’s seen a lot, and now it’s operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, helping boats navigate with its light every night. 

“The lighthouse itself is a very unique feature here. There’s an interesting story that says before that lighthouse was constructed, there was someone out here in the 18th century that was manning this light that allowed the ships to come in,” said Varnold.

You can easily spend hours, exploring it all.

In the case you want to grab a bite to eat before exploring, just across the bridge is a national historic district, Phoebus.

Stroll along the bricks and hit the main strip. You”ll find multiple local eateries, a theater, and boutiques to enjoy.

And maybe, just maybe, it’ll give you the energy boost you need to continue to unwrap all the secrets Fort Monroe holds.

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