Hampton Roads is the name of both a body of water that serves as a wide channel for the James
rivers between Old Point Comfort
and Sewell's Point
where the Chesapeake Bay
flows into the Atlantic Ocean
, and the surrounding metropolitan region located in the southeastern Virginia
and northeastern North Carolina
portions of the Tidewater region
Comprising the Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC
, metropolitan area and an extended combined statistical area
that includes the Elizabeth City, North Carolina, micropolitan statistical area
and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, micropolitan statistical area
, Hampton Roads is known for its large military presence, ice-free harbor, shipyards, coal pier
s, and miles of waterfront property and beaches, all of which contribute to the diversity and stability of the region's economy.
The body of water known as Hampton Roads is one of the world's largest natural harbor
s (more accurately a roadstead
or "roads"). It incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth
, and James
rivers, together with several smaller rivers, and empties into the Chesapeake Bay
near its mouth leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
The land area includes a collection of cities, counties, and towns on the Virginia Peninsula
and in South Hampton Roads
. Some of the outlying areas further from the harbor may or may not be included as part of "Hampton Roads", depending upon the organization or usage. For example, as defined for federal economic purposes, the Hampton Roads metropolitan statistical area (MSA
) includes two counties in northeastern North Carolina
and two counties in Virginia's Middle Peninsula
. The Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC, MSA has a population of over 1.7 million, making it the 37th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. The Combined Statistical Area
includes four additional counties in North Carolina, pushing the regional population to over 1.8 million residents, the 32nd largest CSA
in the country.
The area is home to hundreds of historical sites and attractions. The harbor was the key to Hampton Roads' growth, both on land and in water-related activities and events. While the harbor and its tributaries were (and still are) important transportation conduits, at the same time they presented obstacles to land-based commerce and travel.
Creating and maintaining adequate infrastructure has long been a major challenge. The Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel
(HRBT) and the Monitor–Merrimac Memorial Bridge–Tunnel
(MMMBT) are major harbor crossings of the Hampton Roads Beltway
interstate, which links the large population centers of Hampton Roads. In 2009, the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority
(HRTA) was abolished by the Virginia General Assembly less than two years after its creation. In 2014, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission
was established to oversee the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund.
The term "Hampton Roads" is a centuries-old designation that originated when the region was a struggling English
outpost nearly four hundred years ago.
The word "Hampton" honors one of the founders of the Virginia Company of London
and a great supporter of the colonization of Virginia, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
. The early administrative center of the new colony was known as Elizabeth Cittie
, named for Princess Elizabeth
, the daughter of King James I, and formally designated by the Virginia Company in 1619. The town at the center of Elizabeth Cittie became known as "Hampton", and a nearby waterway was designated Hampton Creek (also known as Hampton River).
Other references to the Earl include the area to the north across the bay (in what is now the Eastern Shore
) which became known as Northampton
, and an area south of the James River which became Southampton
. As with Hampton, both of these names remain in use today.
The term "Roads" (short for roadstead
) indicates the safety of a port; as applied to a body of water, it is "a partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor". Examples of other roadsteads are Castle Roads
, in another of the Virginia Company's
, and Lahaina Roads
, in Hawaii.
In 1755, the Virginia General Assembly
recorded the name "Hampton Roads" as the channel linking the James, Elizabeth, and Nansemond rivers with the Chesapeake Bay.
Hampton Roads is among the world's largest natural harbors. It is the northernmost major East Coast port of the United States which is ice-free year round. (This status is claimed with the notable exception of the extraordinarily cold winter of 1917, which was the entire U.S.'s coldest year on record.)
Over time, the entire region has come to be known as "Hampton Roads", a label more specific than its other moniker, "Tidewater Virginia", which includes the whole coastal region of the state. The U.S. Postal Service
changed the area's postmark from "Tidewater Virginia" to "Hampton Roads, Virginia" beginning in 1983.
Counties and independent cities
The U.S. Census Bureau defines the "Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC, MSA" as 16 county-level jurisdictions—five counties and nine independent cities in Virginia, and two counties in North Carolina. While the borders of what locals call "Hampton Roads" may not perfectly align with the definition of the MSA, Hampton Roads is most often the name used for the metropolitan area.
"Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News, VA–NC, MSA" is a U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Area
(MSA). According to the 2010 Census, its population is 1,676,822 and the 2014 estimated population is 1,716,624.
''Since a state constitutional change in 1871, all cities in Virginia
are independent cities
and they are not legally located in a county. The OMB
considers these independent cities to be county-equivalent
s for the purpose of defining MSAs in Virginia. Each MSA is listed by its counties, then cities, in alphabetical order and not by size.''
The MSA consists of these locations in Virginia:
* Gloucester County
* Isle of Wight County
* James City County
* Mathews County
* Southampton County
* York County
* City of Chesapeake
* City of Franklin
* City of Hampton
* City of Newport News
* City of Norfolk
* City of Poquoson
* City of Portsmouth
* City of Suffolk
* City of Virginia Beach
* City of Williamsburg
In North Carolina
The MSA also includes the following locations in North Carolina:
* Camden County
* Currituck County
* Gates County
Evolution of Hampton Roads
The Hampton Roads metropolitan area was first defined in 1950 as the "Norfolk–Portsmouth Metropolitan Statistical Area". It comprised the independent cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth and South Norfolk
and the counties of Norfolk
and Princess Anne
. In 1952, Virginia Beach separated from Princess Anne County.
In 1963, Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County merged, retaining the name Virginia Beach. The city was added to the MSA that year, while South Norfolk lost its metropolitan status. Also in 1963, Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk merged to create the city of Chesapeake.
In 1970, Chesapeake was added to the MSA, while Virginia Beach became a primary city.
In 1973, Currituck County, North Carolina was added to the MSA.
In 1983, the "Newport News–Hampton Metropolitan Statistical Area", comprising the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, James City and York, was combined with the Norfolk–Virginia Beach–Portsmouth MSA and renamed the "Norfolk–Virginia Beach–Newport News MSA".
In 1993, Isle of Wight, Mathews and Surry counties were added. Although Virginia Beach had passed Norfolk as the state's largest city by 1990, it was not made the first primary city of the MSA until 2010.
As a result of the 2010 Census, Gates County, North Carolina was added to the MSA, while Surry County, Virginia
Combined Statistical Area
The Virginia Beach–Norfolk, VA–NC, Combined Statistical Area
additionally includes the Elizabeth City, NC, Micropolitan Statistical Area
* Pasquotank County
* Perquimans County
and the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
, Micropolitan Statistical Area, comprising:
* Dare County
As of the 2010 census, the total population of this Combined Statistical Area
was 1,779,243, with a 2013 estimate of 1,810,266, a growth of 1.74%. It is currently the 32nd largest in the country and the 2nd largest in Virginia, after the Northern Virginia portion of the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV, MSA.
The metropolitan area and water area is in the Tidewater region
, a low-lying plains region composed of southeastern portions of Virginia
and northeastern portions of North Carolina
The water area known as Hampton Roads is a wide channel through which the waters of the James River
, Nansemond River
, and Elizabeth River
pass (between Old Point Comfort
to the north and Sewell's Point
to the south) into the Chesapeake Bay
and the Atlantic Ocean.
Norfolk and Hampton Roads are among the worst-hit parts of the United States by the effects of global warming
. As of 2016, the region is a few decades ahead in feeling the effects of sea-level rise
compared to many American coastal areas.
The geology and topography of the Hampton Roads region is influenced by the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater
, one of three factors contributing to the sinking of Hampton Roads at a rate between per century.
The region has extensive natural areas, including of Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay beaches, the Great Dismal Swamp
, picturesque rivers, state parks, wildlife refuges, and botanical gardens. Inland from the bay, the region includes Lake Drummond
, one of only two natural lakes in Virginia, and miles of waterfront property along the various rivers and waterways. The region's native flora is consistent with that of the Southeast Coastal Plain and the lower Southeast Maritime Forest.
The land area that constitutes Hampton Roads varies depending upon perspective and purpose. Most of Hampton Roads' land is geographically divided into 2 smaller regions: the eastern portion of the Virginia Peninsula
(the Peninsula) and South Hampton Roads
(locally known as "the Southside"), which are separated by the harbor. When speaking of communities of Hampton Roads, virtually all sources include the seven major cities, two smaller ones, and three counties within those two subregions.
In addition, the Middle Peninsula
counties of Gloucester and Mathews, while not part of the geographical Hampton Roads area, are included in the metropolitan region's population, as is a small portion of northeastern North Carolina (Currituck County
). Due to a peculiarity in the drawing of the Virginia-North Carolina border, Knott's Island
in that county is connected to Virginia by land, but is only accessible to other parts of North Carolina by water via a ferry system.
Each of the following current cities, counties and towns is included by at least one of the three organizations that define Hampton Roads:
The Hampton Roads area consists of nine independent cities (which are not part of any county). Chesapeake
, and Virginia Beach
cover the Southside of Hampton Roads while Hampton
, Newport News
, and Williamsburg
are on the Peninsula. Franklin
borders Suffolk but the Census Bureau does not consider it part of the metro area.
The metro area has one county in North Carolina, Currituck
. The remaining counties, in Virginia, include Isle of Wight
on the Southside, James City
on the Virginia Peninsula, and Gloucester
on the Middle Peninsula. While Southampton
is adjacent to Surry, Isle of Wight, and the City of Suffolk, the Census Bureau does not consider it part of the metro area.
Five incorporated town
s are in the metro area, including Claremont
in Surry County, Dendron
in Surry County, Smithfield
in Isle of Wight County, Surry
, Surry County's seat, and Windsor
in Isle of Wight County. (Two other incorporated towns, Boykins
, are in Southampton County, and therefore, like the county within which they are located, are not part of the federally defined metropolitan area).
Other unincorporated towns and communities in the metropolitan area that are not within its cities include Gloucester Courthouse
and Gloucester Point
in Gloucester County, Isle of Wight Courthouse
, Benns Church
, and Walters
in Isle of Wight County, Yorktown
, and Tabb
in York County, Jamestown
, Ford's Colony
, and Norge
in James City County, Moyock
, Knotts Island
, and Currituck
in Currituck County, North Carolina.
The Hampton Roads MSA, with a population of about 1.7 million, is the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States
, after the Washington metropolitan area
; Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL, MSA
; Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA, MSA
, Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater, FL, MSA
; Orlando–Kissimmee, FL, MSA
; and Charlotte–Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC–SC, MSA
The first colonists arrived in 1607 when English Captain Christopher Newport
landed at Cape Henry
, today's City of Virginia Beach, an event now called the "First Landing." However, his party moved on, in search of a more defensible area upriver, mindful of competitors such as the Spanish, who had built a failed settlement on the Virginia Peninsula known as the Ajacán Mission
After exploring the James River
, they established the first successful English colony in the New World
on Jamestown Island
on May 14, 1607.
[ Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities: ''Jamestown History'']
But the low, marshy site proved unhealthy and most of the colonists died, before a new Governor, Lord De La Warr
(Delaware) arrived with John Rolfe
, who would establish the Virginia tobacco industry.
The harbor and rivers of Hampton Roads were immediately recognized as prime locations for commerce, shipbuilding and military installations, with the fortifications at Old Point Comfort
established as early as 1610, and Gosport Navy Yard
(later Norfolk Naval Shipyard) in 1767. The decisive battle of the Revolution was won at Yorktown
in 1781, and the first naval action of the War of 1812
took place in Hampton Roads, when a Royal Naval
vessel was seized by the American privateer ''Dash''. Later the entrance from Chesapeake Bay was equipped with new fortifications (Fort Monroe
and Fort Wool
), much of the building work being supervised by a young military engineer Robert E. Lee
During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the historic Battle of Hampton Roads
between the first American ironclad warship
s, the and the CSS ''Virginia''
, took place off Sewell's Point
in 1862. The battle was inconclusive, but Union forces later took control of Hampton Roads, Norfolk, and the lower James River, though they were thwarted from venturing further upstream by a strong Confederate battery at Drewry's Bluff
. Also in 1862, Fort Monroe was the launching place for Union General George McClellan
's massive advance
up the Virginia Peninsula, which almost reached the Confederate capital Richmond
, before the Seven Days Battles
forced him back. In 1865, as the Confederacy was near collapse, President Abraham Lincoln met with three senior Confederates at Hampton Roads in an unsuccessful bid
for a negotiated peace.
Some former slaves had been camped
near Fort Monroe, where they were declared to be Contraband of war
, instead of being returned to their former owners. Booker T. Washington
was among the freedmen who attended the local school, which evolved into the present-day Hampton University
The Jamestown Exposition
for the 300th anniversary of the 1607 founding of Jamestown
was held at Sewell's Point
in a rural section of Norfolk County
President Theodore Roosevelt
arrived by water in the harbor of Hampton Roads, as did other notable persons such as Mark Twain
and Henry Huttleston Rogers
, who both arrived aboard the latter's steam yacht ''Kanawha
''. A major naval display was featured, and the U.S. Great White Fleet
made an appearance. The leaders of the U.S. Navy apparently did not fail to note the ideal harbor conditions, as was later proved.
Beginning in 1917, as the United States became involved in World War I under President Woodrow Wilson
, formerly rural Sewell's Point
became the site of what grew to become the largest Naval Base in the world which was established by the United States Navy
and is now known as the Naval Station Norfolk
Twice in the 20th century, inhabitants mostly African American were displaced when land along the northern side of the Peninsula
primarily in York County
west of Yorktown was taken in large tracts for military use during World War I and World War II, creating the present-day U.S. Naval Weapons Station Yorktown
, which includes Cheatham Annex, and a former Seabee
base which became Camp Peary
Communities including "the Reservation"
, Halstead's Point
, Bigler's Mill
, and Magruder
were all lost
and absorbed into the large military bases.
Although some left the area entirely, many of the displaced families chose to relocate nearby to Grove
, an unincorporated town in southeastern James City County
where many generations of some of those families now reside. From a population estimated at only 37 in 1895, Grove had grown to an estimated 1,100 families by the end of the 20th century. (To its north, Grove actually borders the Naval Weapons Station property and on its extreme east, a portion of the U.S. Army's land at Fort Eustis
extends across Skiffe's Creek, although there is no direct access to either base).
It was the dream of an Episcopal priest to save his 18th-century church building by turning Williamsburg into the world's largest living museum
. Wlliamsburg replaced Jamestown at the very end of the 17th century after a disastrous fire. It was the capital of the colony and the new State of Virginia from 1699 to 1780. The capital was moved to Richmond in 1780. Williamsburg became a "sleepy" small town. During the Civil War the Battle of Williamsburg
was fought nearby during the Peninsula Campaign in the spring months of 1862. The decaying town was not located along any major waterway and did not have railroad access until 1881. Perhaps due to the secure inland location originally known as Middle Plantation
Williamsburg missed growth and economic expansion in the 19th century. The main economic engines were The College of William & Mary
and Eastern State Hospital
. The College of William and Mary was chartered by the Crown and is the only pre-Independence college to have kept it. In addition to the city's historic past, quite a few buildings of antiquity from the 18th century were still extant, although time was taking a toll by the early 20th century. The Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin
of Bruton Parish Church
motive was to only to save historic church building which was secured by 1907. He subsequently served in Rochester, New York
for many years. Upon returning to Williamsburg in 1923 he realized that many of the other colonial-era buildings were deteriorating and their existence was at risk.
Goodwin dreamt of a much larger restoration of the colonial town. A cleric of modest means, he first sought support and financing from a number of sources before successfully drawing the interests before receiving major financial support from Standard Oil
heir and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr.
and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
. The result is the creation of Colonial Williamsburg
with extensive restoration of buildings such as the Wren Building
of the College of William & Mary and the Governor's Palace, and the transformation of downtown Williamsburg area into Historic District of restored buildings. Many 19th century buildings were removed.
By the 1930s, Colonial Williamsburg had become the centerpiece of the Historic Triangle
of Colonial Virginia. These were, of course, Jamestown, where the colony started, Williamsburg, and Yorktown
, where independence from Great Britain
was won. The three points were joined by the U.S. National Park Service
's Colonial Parkway
, a remarkable accomplishment in course of 27 years. The Historic Triangle area of the Hampton Roads region became one of the largest tourist attractions in Virginia.
In Dr. Goodwin's words: "Williamsburg is Jamestown continued, and Yorktown is Williamsburg vindicated."
The area consists of ten independent cities and six counties. Each independent city has the powers and responsibilities of a county, including maintaining roads, courts, schools, and public safety. Some cities share these responsibilities with an adjoining county. Incorporated town
s located within counties in Virginia operate with some level of autonomy, with some larger Towns exercising more autonomy than others.
The localities come together to consult on regional issues. Virginia defines regional planning districts by law. District members are usually independent cities and counties. Localities around the state may belong to more than one Planning District, as their constituents may have interests which cross over individual planning district boundaries.
The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) currently includes 16 cities and counties and one incorporated town in Virginia, representing over 1.7 million people.
The 17 jurisdictions include:
* the Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg,
* the Counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry, and York
* the Town of Smithfield
There are incorporated towns in three of the counties (Isle of Wight, Southampton and Surry) within the district.
The differences between the service area of the HRPDC and the federally defined metropolitan statistical area (MSA) are:
* Southampton County and the City of Franklin are not in the MSA.
* Mathews County is in the MSA but not the HRPDC.
* The MSA includes Currituck County and Gates County, North Carolina, but the HRPDC does not.
The Federal government has two major research laboratories in the area. NASA-Langley, on the northeast edge of Hampton near Poquoson, is the home of a variety of aeronautics research, including several one-of-a-kind wind tunnels. The Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
(known as 'Jefferson Lab') conducts cutting edge physics research in Newport News
; the lab hosts the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) and a kilowatt-class free-electron laser
The military has a large presence in the region. Area military facilities (alphabetically) include:
:* Camp Allen
, in Norfolk
:* Camp Peary
, in York County
:Coast Guard 5th District
:Coast Guard Base Portsmouth
:* Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown
, in York County
:* Fleet Training Center Dam Neck
, in Virginia Beach
:* Fort Eustis
, in Newport News
:* Fort Monroe
, in Hampton (closed in September 2011)
:* Joint Expeditionary Base East
, in Virginia Beach
:* Lafayette River Complex (LRC), in Norfolk
:* Langley Air Force Base
, in Hampton
:* Naval Air Station Oceana
, in Virginia Beach
:* Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek
, in Virginia Beach
:* Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress
, in Chesapeake
:* Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
, in Portsmouth
:* Naval Station Norfolk
, in Norfolk
:* Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads
, in Chesapeake
:** Naval Consolidated Brig, Chesapeake
:* Naval Support Activity Northwest Annex, in Chesapeake
:* Naval Weapons Station Yorktown
, in York County
:* Norfolk Naval Shipyard
, in Portsmouth (not to be confused with Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
, in Kittery
:* Saint Julian's Creek Naval Depot Annex
, in Chesapeake
Hampton Roads is home to four ''Fortune'' 500 companies. Representing the food industry, transportation, retail and shipbuilding, these four companies are located in Smithfield
and Newport News
;2013 ''Fortune'' 500
* 213 Smithfield Foods
* 247 Norfolk Southern
* 346 Dollar Tree
* 380 Huntington Ingalls Industries
Hampton Roads has become known as the "world's greatest natural harbor." The port is located only from open ocean on one of the world's deepest, natural ice-free harbors. Since 1989, Hampton Roads has been the mid-Atlantic leader in U.S. waterborne foreign commerce and is ranked second nationally behind the Port of South Louisiana based on export tonnage. When import and export tonnage are combined, the Port of Hampton Roads ranks as the third largest port in the country (following the ports of New Orleans/South Louisiana and Houston). In 1996, Hampton Roads was ranked ninth among major U.S. ports in vessel port calls with approximately 2,700. In addition, this port is the U.S. leader in coal exports. The coal loading facilities in the Port of Hampton Roads are able to load in excess of 65 million tons annually, giving the port the largest, most efficient and modern coal loading facilities in the world.
It is little surprise therefore that the Hampton Roads region's economic base is largely port-related, including shipbuilding, ship repair, naval installations, cargo transfer and storage, and manufacturing related to the processing of imports and exports. Associated with the ports' military role are almost 50,000 federal civilian employees.
The harbor of Hampton Roads is an important highway of commerce, especially for the cities of Norfolk
, and Newport News
Huntington Ingalls Industries
(formerly Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company), was created in 2008 as a spinoff of Northrop Grumman Newport News
and is the world's largest shipyard
. It is located a short distance up the James River
. In Portsmouth, a few miles up the Elizabeth River, the historic Norfolk Naval Shipyard
is located. BAE Systems, formerly known as NORSHIPCO, operates from sites in the City of Norfolk. There are also several smaller shipyards, numerous docks and terminals.
Massive coal pier
s and loading facilities were established in the late 19th and early 20th century by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
(C&O), Norfolk and Western Railway
(N&W), and Virginian Railway
(VGN). The latter two were predecessors of the Norfolk Southern Railway
, a Class I railroad
which has its headquarters in Norfolk, and continues to export coal from a large facility at Lambert's Point
on the Elizabeth River. CSX Transportation
now serves the former C&O facility at Newport News. (The VGN's former coal facility at Sewell's Point
has been gone since the 1960s, and the property is now part of the expansive Norfolk Navy Base
Almost 80% of the region's economy is derived from federal sources. This includes the large military presence, but also NASA and facilities of the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Commerce and Veterans Affairs. The region also receives a substantial impact in government student loans and grants, university research grants, and federal aid to cities.
The Hampton Roads area has the largest concentration of military bases and facilities of any metropolitan area in the world. Nearly one-fourth of the nation's active-duty military personnel are stationed in Hampton Roads, and 45% of the region's $81B gross regional output is Defense-related. All five military services' operating forces are there, as well as several major command headquarters: Hampton Roads is a chief rendezvous of the United States Navy
, and the area is home to the Allied Command Transformation
, which is the only major military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
) on U.S. soil. Langley Air Force Base
is home to Air Combat Command
(ACC). The Norfolk Navy Base
is located at Sewell's Point
near the mouth, on the site used for the tercentennial Jamestown Exposition
in 1907. For a width of the Federal government during 1902 through 1905 increased its minimum depth at low water from , and the channel has now been dredged to a depth of in some places.
's Langley Research Center
, located on the Peninsula adjacent to Langley Air Force Base
in Hampton, is home to scientific and aerospace technology research. The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
(commonly known as Jefferson Labs) is located nearby in Newport News.
The area's experiences with commercial and retail centers began early in 1918. Afton Square, located in the Cradock
naval community of Portsmouth, was the first planned shopping center in the US and has served as template for future developments throughout the nation.
Hampton Roads experienced tremendous growth during and after World War II. In the 1950s, a trend in retail was the shopping center, a group of stores along a common sidewalk adjacent to off-street parking, usually in a suburban location.
In 1959, one of the largest on the east coast of the USA was opened at the northeast corner of Military Highway and Virginia Beach Boulevard on property which had formally been used as an airfield. The new JANAF Shopping Center
, located in Norfolk, featured acres of free parking and dozens of stores. Backed by retired military personnel, the name JANAF was an acronym for Joint Army Navy Air Force.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, other shopping centers in Hampton Roads were developed, such as Wards Corner Shopping Center, Downtown Plaza Shopping Center and Southern Shopping Center in Norfolk; Mid-City Shopping Center in Portsmouth; Hilltop Shopping Center (now known as The Shops at Hilltop) in Virginia Beach; Riverdale Shopping Center in Hampton and the Warwick-Denbigh Shopping Center in Newport News.
In the late-1960s, a new type of shopping center came to Hampton Roads: the Indoor Shopping Mall. In 1965, South Hampton Roads broke ground on its first shopping mall in Virginia Beach, known as Pembroke Mall
. The mall opened in 1966, and became Hampton Road's newest indoor shopping destination. The Virginia Peninsula
had its first indoor shopping mall in 1973, with Coliseum Mall
. Coliseum Mall drew so much traffic from Interstate 64
, that a towering flyover
was built at the Mercury Boulevard and Coliseum Drive intersection, to accommodate eastbound mall traffic, from the Mercury Boulevard interchange. Coliseum Mall was demolished to make way for the open air mixed-use development Peninsula Town Center
. Also in the 1970s, Tower Mall
was built in Portsmouth, but was torn down and turned into the Victory Crossing shopping development. In Norfolk, Military Circle Mall
on Military Highway
was built across Virginia Beach Boulevard
from the large JANAF Shopping Center with its own high-rise hotel right in the center. In 1981, Greenbrier Mall
gave Chesapeake a shopping mall of its own as well, and Virginia Beach got the massive Lynnhaven Mall the same year.
Chesapeake Square Mall
was constructed in Chesapeake, Virginia in 1989, near the border of Suffolk, Virginia, and has spawned a number of shopping centers in the surrounding areas.
opened in March 1999, which made downtown Norfolk a prime shoppers destination, with the region's first Nordstrom
department store anchor. MacArthur Center is compared to other downtown malls, such as Baltimore's Harborplace
, Indianapolis' Circle Centre
Mall, Atlanta's Lenox Square
Mall and most comparably to The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City
near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Virginia
Currently, Virginia Beach's Lynnhaven Mall
is the region's largest shopping center with nearly 180 stores, and is one of the region's biggest tourist draws, with the Virginia Beach Oceanfront
, Colonial Williamsburg
, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
and MacArthur Center.
For a long time, the indoor shopping malls were seen as largely competitive with small shopping centers and traditional downtown type areas. However, in the 1990s and since, the "big-box store
s" on the Peninsula and Southside, such as Wal-mart, Home Depot, and Target have been creating a new competitive atmosphere for the shopping malls of Hampton Roads.
Several older malls such as Pembroke and Military Circle have since their grand openings been renovated, and others have been closed and torn down. Newmarket North Mall is now NetCenter
, a business center. Coliseum Mall
, in Hampton, has been redeveloped as Peninsula Town Center
in a new style, in step with the latest commercial real estate trend: the nationwide establishment of "lifestyle centers
". Additional malls which have closed include Mercury Mall
in Hampton (converted to Mercury Plaza Shopping Center in the mid-1980s, then completely torn down in 2001), and Tower Mall
in Portsmouth (Built in the early 1970s, then torn down in 2001).
America's first region
In late 2006, the Hampton Roads Partnership, a non-profit organization representing 17 localities (ten cities, six counties, and one town), all local universities and major military commands as well as leading businesses in southeastern Virginia, commenced a campaign aimed at branding the land area of Hampton Roads as "America's First Region".
The new title is based on events in 1607 when English Captain Christopher Newport's
three ships – the ''Susan Constant
'', and ''Discovery
'' landed at Cape Henry
along the Atlantic Coast in what is today Virginia Beach. After 18 days of exploring the area, the ships and their crews arrived at Jamestown Island
where they established the first English speaking settlement to survive in the New World
on May 14, 1607.
Because the region's east–west boundaries (now the City of Virginia Beach and James City County) have not changed since 1607, the Partnership felt justified in labeling Hampton Roads "America's First Region". It unveiled the new brand before 800 people at the annual meeting of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
on December 13, 2006. A video shown that afternoon included endorsements from mayors and county board of supervisors chairs representing Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and James City County as well as the Governor of Virginia
, Timothy Kaine
The mission of Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (HREDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to business attraction—marketing the Hampton Roads region as the preferred location for business investment and expansion. HREDA represents the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and Franklin, as well as the counties of Gloucester, James City, Isle of Wight, York, and Southampton.
Historically, from the earliest times, the harbor was the key to the Hampton Roads area's growth, both on land and in water-related activities and events. The harbor and its tributary waterways were (and still are) both important transportation conduits and obstacles to other land-based commerce and travel. Yet, the community leaders learned to overcome them.
In modern times, the region has faced increasing transportation challenges as it has become largely urbanized, with additional traffic needs. In the 21st century, the conflicts between traffic on vital waterways and land-based travel continue to present the area's leaders with extraordinary transportation challenges, both for additional capacity, and as the existing infrastructure, much of it originally built with toll revenues
, has aged without an adequate source of funding to repair or build replacements. The now-closed Kings Highway Bridge
and the Jordan Bridge
closed by neighboring Chesapeake
in 2008 were each built in the 1920s. These were considered locally prime examples of this situation.
In 2007, the new Hampton Roads Transportation Authority
(HRTA) was formed under a controversial state law to levy various additional taxes to generate funding for major regional transportation projects, including a long-sought and costly additional crossing of the harbor of Hampton Roads (The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, and the James River Bridge are the existing crossings). As of March 2008, although its projects were considered to be needed, the agency's future was in some question while its controversial sources of funding were being reconsidered in light of a Virginia Supreme Court decision.
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport
, located in Newport News, and Norfolk International Airport
, in Norfolk, both cater to passengers from Hampton Roads. The primary airport for the Virginia Peninsula is the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. The Airport experienced a 4th year of record, double-digit growth through 2011, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the country.
In 2012 however, the airport lost its biggest carrier and has seen massive declines in passenger service, culminating in layoffs of police officers and many other staff.
Norfolk International Airport
, serves the region. The airport is located near Chesapeake Bay, along the city limits of Norfolk
and Virginia Beach
Seven airlines provide nonstop services to twenty five destinations. ORF had 3,703,664 passengers take off or land at its facility and 68,778,934 pounds of cargo were processed through its facilities.
The Hampton Roads Executive Airport
(KPVG), located on US460/US58, is the state's 3rd busiest General Aviation airport and hosts the largest number of general aviation aircraft of any Virginia airport. The airport offers flight training, avionics services, as well as major and minor airframe and powerplant repairs. There is also a sit-down restaurant in the terminal.
The Chesapeake Regional Airport
(KCPK) provides similar general aviation services and is located in the city of Chesapeake. Additionally, many local general aviation pilots fly from the nearby Suffolk (KSFQ), Wakefield (KAKQ) and Franklin (KFKN) airports.
serves the region with Northeast Regional
trains to its Norfolk
and Newport News
stations. The lines run west to Richmond
then north to Washington, D.C.
and major cities north to Boston
. Connecting buses are available between the Norfolk and Newport News stations and from both stations to Virginia Beach. A high-speed rail connection at Richmond to both the Northeast Corridor
and the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor
are also under study.
service is provided by Greyhound Lines
(Carolina Trailways) with bus stations in Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk. Transportation within Hampton Roads is served by a regional bus service, Hampton Roads Transit
. Local routes serving Williamsburg, James City County, and upper York County is operated by Williamsburg Area Transit Authority
A light rail
service known as The Tide
was constructed in Norfolk. It began service in August 2011. Operated by Hampton Roads Transit, it is the first light rail service in the state. It is projected to have a daily ridership of between 7,130 and 11,400 passengers a day.
There has also been a light rail study in the Hampton – Newport News areas.
In the 2016 election, a referendum was on the ballot in Virginia Beach to kill the planned, and mainly state-funded extension of the Tide to the commercial center of Virginia Beach and ultimately to the oceanfront. The ballot initiative won, cancelling the project. The transit authority and the state were left with new light rail cars and major infrastructure for the extension to be disposed of. There are no further plans for light rail mass transit initiatives within Virginia Beach.
The Hampton Roads area has an extensive network of Interstate Highway
s, including the Interstate 64
, the major east–west route to and from the area, and its spurs and bypasses of I-264
, and I-664
The Hampton Roads Beltway
extends on a long loop through the region, crossing the harbor on two toll-free bridge–tunnel
facilities. These crossings are the Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel
in Hampton and Willoughby Spit
in Norfolk and the Monitor–Merrimac Memorial Bridge–Tunnel
between Newport News and Suffolk. The Beltway connects with another Interstate highway and three arterial U.S. Highways at Bower's Hill
near the northeastern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp
. Other major east–west routes are U.S. Route 58
, U.S. Route 60
, and U.S. Route 460
. The major north–south routes are U.S. Route 13
and U.S. Route 17
There are also two other tunnels in the area, the Midtown Tunnel
, and the Downtown Tunnel
joining Portsmouth and Norfolk, as well as the -long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
, a toll facility which links the region with Virginia's Eastern Shore
which carries US 13
The original Downtown Tunnel in conjunction with the Berkley Bridge
were considered a single bridge and tunnel complex when completed in 1952, perhaps stimulating the innovative bridge-tunnel
design using man-made island
s when the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel was planned, first opening in 1957. The George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge
is a major toll bridge
connecting U.S. Highway 17 on the Peninsula
with Virginia's Middle Peninsula
region. Another major crossing of waterways is the James River Bridge
, carrying US 17 US 258
, and SR 32
from Newport News to Isle of Wight County
The region is notable in that it has 2 types of public transport services via ferries
. A passenger ferry is operated on the Elizabeth River between downtown areas of Norfolk and Portsmouth by HRT.
The Jamestown Ferry
(also known as the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry) is an automobile ferry system on the James River
in James City County
with Scotland in Surry County
. It carries State Route 31
. Operated by VDOT
, it is the only 24-hour state-run ferry operation in Virginia and has over 90 employees. It operates four ferryboats, the ''Pocahontas'', the ''Williamsburg'', the ''Surry'', and the ''Virginia''. The facility is toll-free.
According to the 2010 Census
, the overall racial composition of Hampton Roads was as follows:
* White or Caucasian
* Black or African American
* American Indian
* Some other race: 1.7%
* Two or more races
In addition, 5.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino
(of any race). 57.2% of the population were of non-Hispanic White
The area is most often associated with the larger American South
. People who have grown up in the Hampton Roads area have a unique Tidewater accent
which sounds different from a stereotypical Southern accent
. Vowels have a longer pronunciation than in a regular southern accent.
In 1998, a flag representing the Hampton Roads region was adopted. The design of the flag was created by a contest. The winner, sixteen-year-old Andrew J. Wall of Frank W. Cox High School
in Virginia Beach, raised the new regional flag for the first time on the mast of a ship moored in the harbor.
As conceived by student Andrew Wall and embellished by the selection committee, his flag is highly symbolic:
:The ring of sixteen white stars stands for the cities and counties that comprise the region of Hampton Roads. The blue upper panel refers to the sea and sky, recalling the first European settlers at Jamestown in 1607, the first battle between ironclad ships in 1862, the importance of shipbuilding and ship repair in the area, as well as maritime commerce, fishing, recreational boating, and the major military and government installations around the area's shores. Agriculture, the environment, tourism, industry, and a healthy quality of life are suggested by the lower panel of green. The wavy white central band with three crests suggests past, present, and future. The wave also recalls the surf and sand dunes of the area as seen from the sea. Water is the central theme. It touches all the components and binds them together.
Sites of interest
Attractions include museums, historical sites, and venues from tiny to massively large for such things as art and musical shows. The region hosts two-week-long visits by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
each year with multiple performances at Norfolk Scope and the Hampton Coliseum, and even attracts a group of Circus Train Enthusiasts, railfan
s who watch, photograph and report on the blue or red unit trains as they make their move between the two sites, requiring a long inland trip through Petersburg
in order to avoid crossing the geographical distance across the harbor (a trip impassable directly by modern trains; the two bridge-tunnel
facilities operated by VDOT
accommodate only highway traffic).
Parks and recreation
The Norfolk Botanical Garden
, opened in 1939, is a botanical garden
located near the Norfolk International Airport. It is open year-round.
The Virginia Zoo
logical Park, opened in 1900, is a zoo
with hundreds of animals on display, including the critically endangered Siberian tiger
and threatened white rhino
First Landing State Park
and False Cape State Park
are both located in coastal areas in Virginia Beach. Both offer camping facilities, cabins, and outdoor recreation activities in addition to nature and history tours. First Landing is the site of Cape Henry
while False Cape is located at the southeastern end of Virginia Beach.
Newport News Park
is located in the northern part of the city of Newport News. The city's golf course also lies within the park along with camping and outdoor activities. There are over of trails in the Newport News Park complex. The park has a 5.3-mile (8.5-km) multi-use bike path. The park offers bicycle and helmet rental, and requires helmet use by children under 14. Newport News Park also offers an archery range, disc golf course, and an "aeromodel flying field" for remote-controlled aircraft, complete with a runway.
The region also has amusement parks which attract tourists and locals alike. The Virginia Beach Oceanfront has Atlantic Fun Park
(formerly called "Virginia Beach Amusement Park"). Virginia Beach also has Ocean Breeze Waterpark
, Shipwreck Golf, and Motor World
which were formerly combined into one as "Ocean Breeze Fun Park". As separate parks, they provide miniature golf, go-karts, water slides, pools, climbing wall, paintball area, and kiddie rides. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
and Water Country USA
are the major theme parks in Williamsburg.
The Historic Triangle
is located on the Virginia Peninsula
and includes the colonial communities of Jamestown
, and Yorktown
. The sites are linked by a scenic roadway, the National Park Service
's Colonial Parkway
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia
was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was established by the Virginia Company of London
as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607, and was considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke
. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony of Virginia for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
is the archaeological site on Jamestown Island and is a cooperative effort by Jamestown National Historic Site (part of Colonial National Historical Park
) and Preservation Virginia
. Jamestown Settlement
, a living history interpretive site, is operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation, a state agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Williamsburg was founded in 1632 as Middle Plantation
, a fortified settlement on high ground between the James
rivers. The city served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia
from 1699 to 1780 and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution
. The College of William & Mary
, established in 1693, is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the only one of the nine colonial colleges located in the South; its alumni include three U.S. presidents as well as many other important figures in the nation's early history.
The city's tourism-based economy is driven by Colonial Williamsburg
, the restored Historic Area of the city. Modern Williamsburg is also a college town, inhabited in large part by William & Mary students and staff.
Yorktown is one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1682. The town is most famous as the site of the siege and subsequent surrender of General Charles Cornwallis
to General George Washington
and the French Fleet during the American Revolutionary War
on October 19, 1781. Although the war would last for another year, this British defeat at Yorktown effectively ended the war. Yorktown also figured prominently in the American Civil War
(1861–1865), serving as a major port to supply both northern and southern towns, depending upon who held Yorktown at the time. It is the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway
connecting these locations. Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the TransAmerica Trail
, a bicycle touring route created by the Adventure Cycling Association
The Mariners' Museum
, founded in 1930 by Archer
and Anna Huntington
, is an institution dedicated to bringing maritime history to the world. It is currently home to the USS ''Monitor''
Center where 210 tons of artifacts recovered from the USS ''Monitor'' are held, including the gun turret
. The museum also consists of a 550-acre park and the Mariners' Lake
, through which is the five-mile Noland Trail. The permanent collection at the museum totals about 32,000 objects, equally divided between works of art and three-dimensional objects. The Mariners' Museum Library and Archive, now located in the Trible Library at Christopher Newport University
, consists of over 78,000 books, 800,000 photographs, films and negatives, and over one million archival pieces, making it the largest maritime library in the Western Hemisphere.
The Virginia War Museum
covers American military history. The museum's collection includes, weapons, vehicles, artifacts, uniforms and posters from various periods of American history. Highlights of the museum's collection include a section of the Berlin Wall
and the outer wall from Dachau Concentration Camp
The Virginia Living Museum
, first established in 1966, combines the elements of a native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve, and planetarium. The exhibits are themed on the geographic regions of Virginia, from the Appalachian Mountains to the offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and includes more than 245 different animal species.
The Peninsula Fine Arts Center
in Newport News contains a rotating gallery of art exhibits. The center also contains a Studio Art School of private and group instruction for all ages. It maintains a permanent "Hands on For Kids" gallery designed for children and families to interact in what the center describes as "a fun, educational environment that encourages participation with art materials and concepts."
The Hampton University
museum was established in 1868 in the heart of the historic Hampton University campus. The museum is the oldest African American museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in the State of Virginia. It contains over 9,000 objects, including African American fine arts, traditional African, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Asian art.
The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center is Hampton's public access arts center. It offers a series of changing visual art exhibitions as well as a quarterly schedule of classes, workshops and educational programs.
The Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in SE Newport News contains a community-based art gallery, as well as arts classrooms and the Ella Fitzgerald Theater.
The Casemate Museum (where former Confederate
President Jefferson Davis
was imprisoned) is at Fort Monroe
in the historic Phoebus
area at Old Point Comfort
NASA Langley Research Center
is in Hampton, the original training ground for the Mercury Seven
, and Apollo Astronauts
. Visitors are able to learn about the region's aviation history at the Virginia Air and Space Center
Air Power Park is an outdoor on-site display of various aircraft and a space capsule. It is located on Mercury Boulevard at the intersection of LaSalle Blvd, near the AF Base.
The Biblical Art Gallery at Ivy Farms Baptist Church is Virginia's largest collection of pre-1900s religious art.
Harbor tour sites
* Fort Wool
is located in the middle of the Hampton Roads harbor. Harbor tours departing from Hampton
and Newport News
provide access to Fort Wool
* Newport News Shipbuilding – America's largest military shipbuilder – may also been seem from aboard a Hampton-based harbor tour.
=South Hampton Roads
The Chrysler Museum of Art
, located in the Ghent district
of Norfolk, is the region's foremost art museum and is considered by ''The New York Times
'' to be the finest in the state.
Of particular note is the extensive glass collection and American neoclassical
, the National Maritime Center, opened on the downtown waterfront in 1994. It features hands-on exhibits, interactive theaters, aquaria
, digital high-definition films and an extensive variety of educational programs. Since 2000, Nauticus has been home to the battleship , one of the last battleships to be built in the United States. It served briefly in World War II and later in the Korean
and Gulf War
The General Douglas MacArthur
Memorial, located in the 19th-century Norfolk court house and city hall in downtown, contains the tombs of the late General and his wife, a museum and a vast research library, personal belongings (including his famous corncob pipe) and a short film that chronicles the life of the famous General of the Army
Also in downtown Norfolk and inside Nauticus is the Hampton Roads Naval Museum
, an official U.S. Navy museum that focuses on the 220 plus year history of the Navy within the region.
The Children's Museum of Virginia
has one of the largest collection of model electric trains and other toys.
The Norfolk Naval Shipyard
is one of the oldest shipyards and has the first dry dock
The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
(in Suffolk and Chesapeake) is accessed from U.S. Route 17
The Suffolk-Nansemond Museum
is in the restored Seaboard
and Virginian Railway
passenger train station in Suffolk
The Isle of Wight Museum
is in Smithfield
The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia located in Virginia Beach features the significant art of our time.
Music and venues
The Hampton Roads region has a thriving music scene, with a heavy concentration thereof in the Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk areas. Many clubs, venues, and festivals exist within the region, all playing host to a wide variety of musical styles. There are a few hundred bands that play routinely in the region, spanning multiple genres. There are also twenty to thirty musical acts based in the region that perform throughout Hampton Roads and its surrounding areas on a "full-time" basis.
In addition, plenty of well known acts have come from the area. Some of the major rock/pop artists include Bruce Hornsby
, Gary "U.S." Bonds
, Juice Newton
, Seven Mary Three
, Gene Vincent
, Keller Williams
, and Steve Earle
. Ella Fitzgerald
is the most recognizable jazz musician from the area. Robert Cray
and Ruth Brown
are both prominent blues and R&B artists. Tommy Newsom
is another famous jazz musician. Many prominent rap and hip hop artists come from the area including Chad Hugo
, Missy Elliott
, Nicole Wray
, Pharrell Williams
, Teddy Riley
, and Timbaland
The region has a number of venues hosting live music and performances. Several of the larger (in order of maximum seating capacity) are:
* Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
in Virginia Beach (seating 20,000)
* Norfolk Scope Arena
in Norfolk (seating 13,800)
* Hampton Coliseum
in Hampton (seating 13,800)
* Kaplan Arena
in Williamsburg (seating 10,175)
* Ted Constant Convocation Center
at Old Dominion University
in Norfolk (seating 9,500)
* Portsmouth Pavilion
in Portsmouth (seating 7,500)
* Le Palais Royal Theatre
at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
in James City County (seating 5,600)
* Ferguson Center for the Arts
in Newport News (seating 1,725 and 453 in 2 separate concert halls)
* Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre
at The College of William & Mary
in Williamsburg (seating 1,700)
* The NorVa
in Norfolk (standing 1,500)
Dozens of much smaller commercial establishments offer live music and other entertainment such as comedy shows and mystery dinner-theater throughout the region.
Other notable Hampton Roads "firsts"
America's first free public schools, the Syms and Eaton free schools (later combined as Syms-Eaton Academy
), were established in Hampton in 1634 and 1659 respectively. The Syms-Eaton Academy was later renamed Hampton Academy and in 1852 became part of the public school system, thus Hampton High School
lays claim to being the oldest public school in the United States. The trust fund created from the Syms and Eaton donations has remained intact since the 17th century and was incorporated into support for the Hampton public school system.
In 1957, the Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel
was the first bridge–tunnel
complex in the world, to be followed by the area's much longer Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel
in 1963. This was followed by the Monitor–Merrimac Memorial Bridge–Tunnel
Hampton Roads' individual cities and counties administer their own K-12 education for their localities. In addition to public education, area residents have many private and religious school options.
The area also has a number of higher education options for area residents. Some offer only associates and technical degrees and certificates, while others award advanced degrees, including doctorates. Some are publicly funded, but the region also has a number of private and for-profit colleges. Additionally, a number of universities have established satellite campuses in the region.
The College of William and Mary
in Williamsburg was founded in 1693 and has served as the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Old Dominion University
, founded as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary
in 1930, became an independent institution in 1962 and now offers degrees in 68 undergraduate and 95 (60 masters/35 doctoral) graduate degree programs. Norfolk's Eastern Virginia Medical School
, founded as a community medical school by the surrounding jurisdictions in 1973, is noted for its research into reproductive medicine
and is located in the region's major medical complex in the Ghent district
. Norfolk State University
is the largest majority black university in Virginia and offers degrees in a wide variety of liberal arts
Christopher Newport University
serves as a public university and is located in Newport News.
, a private university founded by Christian evangelist, television host and leader Pat Robertson
, has historically focused on graduate education but is attempting to establish an undergraduate program as well.
, associated with the Edgar Cayce organization's Association for Research and Enlightenment
(ARE), offers instruction in New Age subjects and an M.A. in Transpersonal Studies.
Virginia Wesleyan University
is a small private liberal arts
college on the border of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
, a private HBCU
university, has a long history serving Hampton.
Universities with satellite campuses:
Several universities based outside Hampton Roads offer a limited selection of classes in the area. Virginia Tech
and University of Virginia
have established a joint teaching center in Newport News. George Washington University
and Averett University
also maintain campuses there. Troy State University
, Florida International University
, and Saint Leo University
offer classes, primarily connected to one or more of the area's military bases.
The National Institute of Aerospace
(NIA) is a consortium of member universities: Georgia Tech
, Hampton University
, North Carolina A&T
, North Carolina State
, Old Dominion University
, University of Virginia
, Virginia Tech
, the College of William and Mary
, and Christopher Newport University
. Their unique approach allows students pursuing M.S. and PhD degrees the opportunity to take classes from any member university taught at the Institute.
Area residents also have options for training for technical professions. The Apprentice School
was founded in 1919 and offers four/five-year programs in mechanical and technical fields associated with the shipbuilding industry. Graduates from the Apprentice School go on to work at the Newport News Shipbuilding.
Technology-focused ECPI University
has campuses in Virginia Beach and Newport News
while ITT Technical Institute
has a campus in Norfolk. Bryant & Stratton College
has campuses in Virginia Beach Town Center
and Peninsula Town Center
. The Culinary Institute of Virginia is located in Norfolk. The Art Institute of Virginia Beach
offers programs in the media arts, design and culinary arts fields.
Three institutions in the Virginia Community College System
offer affordable higher education options for area residents. Tidewater Community College
in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth, Paul D. Camp Community College
in Suffolk, Franklin, and Smithfield, and Thomas Nelson Community College
in Hampton and Williamsburg offer two-year degrees and specialized training programs.
Bible training schools include Hampton University and Regent University, but also Canaan Theological College & Seminary, Bethel College and Victory Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Hampton, Tabernacle Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary, Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia Beach, Providence Bible College & Theological Seminary in Norfolk and the Hampton Roads campus of the John Leland Center for Theological Studies
Three daily newspapers serve Hampton Roads: ''The Virginian-Pilot
'' in the Southside, the ''Daily Press
'' on the Peninsula, and the six days a week ''Suffolk News-Herald
'' that serves Suffolk and Franklin.
Smaller publications include the Williamsburg-James City County area's twice-weekly ''Virginia Gazette
'' (the state's oldest newspaper), the ''New Journal and Guide
'', and ''Inside Business
'', the area's only business newspaper.
Newspapers serving the Hampton Roads area include:
* ''Daily Press
'' – Newport News
* ''The Virginian-Pilot
'' – Norfolk
* ''Suffolk News-Herald
'' – Suffolk
* ''The Flat Hat
'' – student newspaper of the College of William & Mary
* ''Inside Business
'' – Norfolk
* ''The New Journal and Guide
'' – Norfolk
* ''Tidewater News
'' – Franklin
* ''The Virginia Gazette
'' – Williamsburg
''Coastal Virginia Magazine'' is one of the region's city and lifestyle magazine. The publication is published eight times a year and covers all of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore of Virginia
''Coastal Virginia Magazine'' was formerly known as ''Hampton Roads Magazine''.
''Hampton Roads Times'' serves as an online magazine for the region.
''Suffolk Living Magazine'' is another of the region's city and lifestyle magazines. The publication is published four times a year and covers the City of Suffolk. Suffolk Publications also produces Virginia-Carolina Boomers, a regional guide for Boomers in the area, which comes out twice a year.
The Hampton Roads designated market area
(DMA) is the 42nd largest in the U.S. with 712,790 homes (0.64% of the total U.S.).
Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006–2007 Season
." Nielsen Media Research. September 23, 2006. Retrieved on September 28, 2007.
The major network television affiliates are WTKR-TV
), and WPXV
49 (Ion Television
15 serves as the region's primary member station of the Public Broadcasting Service
(PBS); WUND 2
– an Edenton, North Carolina
of PBS North Carolina
, a state network
of PBS member stations owned by the University of North Carolina
– serves as a secondary PBS outlet for the area. Area residents also can receive independent stations, such as WSKY
broadcasting on channel 4 from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, WGBS-LD
broadcasting on channel 11 from Hampton, and WTPC 21
, a TBN
affiliate out of Virginia Beach.
service in most Hampton Roads localities is provided by Cox Communications
. Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight, and Southampton are served by Charter Communications. Verizon FiOS
service is currently available in parts of the region and continues to expand, offering a non-satellite alternative to Cox. DirecTV
and Dish Network
are also popular as an alternative to cable television.
Norfolk is served by a variety of radio stations on the FM
dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads area. These cater to many different interests, including news, talk radio
, and sports, as well as an eclectic mix of musical interests.
The Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area
is the largest statistical area in the United States without a professional sports franchise in one of the five major North American sports leagues (NFL
Norfolk serves as home to two professional franchises, the Norfolk Tides
of the International League
and the Norfolk Admirals
of the ECHL
The Tides play at Harbor Park
, seating 12,067 and opened in 1993. The Admirals play at Norfolk Scope
Arena, seating 8,725 or 13,800 festival seating, which opened in 1971. Hampton Roads was formerly home to the ABA Virginia Squires
, alternating between Norfolk and Hampton, as well as Richmond and Roanoke. The Squires folded in 1976, after the league merged with the NBA
competes in USL League Two
, the top pre-professional men's soccer league in North America. The club began play in 2018 and was named USL League Two Franchise of the Year in 2019. They play home games on the campus of Christopher Newport University
. The Peninsula Pilots
play in the Coastal Plain League
, a summer baseball league. The Pilots play in Hampton at War Memorial Stadium
seating 5,125 and opened in 1948.
On the collegiate level, four Division I
programs—two on the Southside and two on the Peninsula—field teams in many sports, including football, basketball, and baseball; three currently play football in the second-tier FCS
, while ODU recently moved up to the FBS
football. The Southside boasts the Old Dominion Monarchs
and the Norfolk State Spartans
, both in Norfolk, while the Peninsula features the William & Mary Tribe
in Williamsburg and Hampton Pirates
in Hampton. W&M is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association
. Norfolk State and Hampton, both historically black institutions
, compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
ODU joined Conference USA
, an FBS football conference, as a full FBS member in 2015. The area also has two Division III
programs, one in each subregion—the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins
on the border of Virginia Beach and Norfolk,
and the Christopher Newport University Captains
in Newport News. The Captains sponsor fourteen sports and currently compete in the USA South Athletic Conference
, but will move to the Capital Athletic Conference
in July 2013.
Virginia Beach serves as home to one soccer team, the Hampton Roads Piranhas
, a women's team in the W-League
, as the Virginia Beach Piranhas
dissolved in 2014. The Piranhas play at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex
. The Virginia Beach Sportsplex
, seating 11,541 and opened in 1999, contains the central training site for the U.S. women's national field hockey
team. The Sportsplex was expanded to accommodate the Virginia Destroyers
, a franchise in the United Football League
which relocated from Orlando
. The Destroyers played in Virginia Beach from 2011 to 2012, and won the 2011 league championship. The North American Sand Soccer Championships
, a beach soccer
tournament, is held annually on the beach in Virginia Beach.
The Norfolk Nighthawks
were a charter member of the Arena Football League
's minor league, af2
. They ceased operations in 2003 after their fourth season. Also, the Virginia Beach Mariners
of soccer's USL First Division
were active from 1994 until 2006.
Hampton Roads is from the nearest major sports teams in Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina
. Another significant issue with the area as a sports market is internal transportation. The metropolitan area is split into two distinct parts
by its eponymous harbor; as of 2012, the harbor has only three widely separated road crossings (the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel
, Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel
, and James River Bridge
), each with two lanes of traffic in each direction. In addition, the area has two other major tunnels, plus several drawbridges on key highway corridors.
Hampton Roads previously hosted a successful franchise
in the American Basketball Association
, although it was never a full-time home for that team. Its highest-ranking teams as of 2015 are the Norfolk Admirals
of the ECHL
, the Norfolk Tides
of the IL
, and Lionsbridge FC
of USL League Two
. Virginia is also the most populous state without a major league team playing within its borders, though its northern reaches are served by the Washington clubs—two of which, the NHL's Capitals
and NFL's Washington Football Team
, have their operational headquarters and practice facilities in Virginia. Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder
, through a separate company
, owns two radio stations, WXTG
, in the Norfolk market. The Hampton Roads television market is ranked 42nd
in the U.S.
There have been several failed projects to attract major league teams to Hampton Roads:
* In 1997, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring an expansion hockey team to Hampton Roads, but that initiative failed. The team was going to be called the Hampton Roads Rhinos
* In 2002, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring the Charlotte Hornets basketball team to southeastern Virginia, but New Orleans won the bid for the team, renaming it the New Orleans Hornets
* In 2004, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring the Montreal Expos
baseball team to the metro area, but Washington, D.C. won the bid for the team, renaming it the Washington Nationals
* In 2012, there were talks of the Sacramento Kings of the NBA moving to a proposed new arena
in Virginia Beach near the Oceanfront.
The Hampton Coliseum
, seating 10,761 to 13,800 festival seating, hosts the annual Virginia Duals
wrestling events, and the annual Hampton Jazz Festival
. The arena opened in 1970 and has previously hosted Hampton University
basketball along with NBA
preseason exhibition games.
Virginia Beach is home to the East Coast Surfing Championships
, an annual contest of more than 100 of the world's top professional surfers and an estimated 400 amateur surfers. This is North America's oldest surfing contest, and features combined cash prizes of $40,000.
in Hampton, seating 6,500, hosts stock car races every weekend during spring, summer, and early fall.
The Kingsmill Championship
, an event on the LPGA Tour
, is contested annually on Mother's Day
weekend at Kingsmill Resort near Williamsburg.
In 1998, 2001, 2006, 2010, and 2015 the Hampton Roads Sports Commission
hosted the AAU Junior Olympics
Hampton Roads has hosted many professional wrestling events throughout the years. The Norfolk Scope has served as the site of these events, including Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
's Destination X
, World Championship Wrestling
's Starrcade (1988)
, World War 3 1995
, and WWF/WWE's The Great American Bash (2004)
and the 2011 Slammy Awards
Norfolk Scope was also the site of an infamous episode of WCW Monday Nitro
, where several members of the World Wrestling Federation
stable D-Generation X
literally drove a tank to the entryway of the Scope, thus "invading" the competition. The Hampton Coliseum has also hosted many events, including ''RAW
'', in April 1998, August 2005, May 2007, January 2008, and July 2011, as well as ''SmackDown!
'' and for ''ECW on Sci Fi
'' on December 2006. In January 2008, WWE broadcast its first television show taped in high definition
from Hampton, Virginia.
The Hampton Roads area is also home to at least one professional wrestling promotion, Vanguard Championship Wrestling
, which holds events throughout the region, and has a weekly television show on the local Fox affiliate.
* 2003 Virginia earthquake
* Colonial Williamsburg
* Former counties, cities, and towns of Virginia
* Historic Triangle
* Jamestown, Virginia
* List of people from Hampton Roads
* List of tallest buildings in Norfolk, Virginia
* South Hampton Roads
* Tidewater region
* Virginia Peninsula
* Virginia Port Authority
Hampton Roads Planning District CommissionHampton Roads Transportation Planning OrganizationHampton Roads Transportation Accountability CommissionHampton Roads ChamberHampton Roads Sports CommissionHampton Roads Economic Development AllianceHampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities AllianceHampton Roads Sanitation DistrictHampton Roads Housing ConsortiumNorfolk City Historical Society
– Norfolk Public Library
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Category:James River (Virginia)
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