Norfolk: Day 1 – Nauticus and Fort Norfolk

For the first time in months, I can legitimately say I had a really good night’s sleep. However, this meant I was up ridiculously early. I can’t have everything, but I could get breakfast…from the rudest server on the planet. Fortunately, I was bound and determined not to let her snarky attitude ruin my day.

My first stop was Fort Norfolk, the epitome of over-hyped “nothing to see here” tourist attractions. Yes, there was a historic fort there, consisting of five small buildings with two interpretive signs enclosed within a white stone wall, but the rest of the fort is a modern collection of buildings. It was nice to see we’re still using one of Washington’s original naval fortifications, but this made it harder to find as it is not listed as part of an active military base.

I walk back to The Tide and take the bright, clean train back towards downtown. My next destination was conveniently located halfway between two stations so I flipped a coin and took the second. Why not? It was a lovely day, besides I was already sweaty what a few blocks going to do to me?

I arrived at Nauticus within a few minutes of disembarking from the light rail. It was a hot walk, but the air-conditioning inside the museum was a welcome change after wandering around in the sun all morning. That being said, I still wasn’t impressed with the city’s most hyped a tourist attraction.

You see Nauticus is more than a mere “marine museum” – it’s an aquarium, a naval history museum and a science center with a 4-d theater rolled into one building. It’s a lot to ask from one institution PLUS they have the battleship tours and a separate museum celebrating the various accomplishments of the U.S Navy.

The third floor was the slightly disorganized life at sea exhibit called “Guns, Sweat & Gears: Anatomy of a Warship” which was basically a collection of bunk beds, cookware, armaments and archival photos that just seemed kind of thrown together. It had no logical flow for me to follow through the exhibit almost as if they told their construction crew to simply “put that stuff anywhere.”

I leave Nauticus around 3pm and make my way back to the hotel to shower and change clothes for dinner. I didn’t have specific reservations; I was just tired of wearing wet clothes. Besides, it gave me an excuse to sit down and check my e-mail and start on my Amtrak summary (as WP lets me use any timestamp I want on my stories).

At 5pm, I grabbed my room key off the dresser and headed downstairs to the lobby. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I figured that there had to be something good at MacArthur Center. I make my way around to the food court on the third floor and find a sit down restaurant with a friendly if inattentive waitress who clearly just wanted the solo guest out of her section without being overly rude. At least, the food was good. Actually, it wasn’t but I don’t feel like letting two lousy meals ruin my vacation.

In order to pick my spirits up, I crossed the corridor and bought a ticket to see Despicable Me 2 over in the cinema. Like Nauticus above, I am not planning on writing a full review, but I will say it was one of the best movies – animated or not – that I’ve seen in a long time.

It was only 9pm when I came out of the movies… but I wasn’t sure where else to go so I walked a few blocks back to the hotel. No-one said I had to go to bed so I turned on the television and continued writing my posts.

Categories: entertainment, movies, Norfolk, writing | Leave a comment

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