Updated: Sep 19, 2020
By Sean Crumpacker | Contributing Writer
The Sunset Grill is a great place to sit outside and grab some dinner with friends! Photo by Sean Crumpacker.
College is meant to be an exciting first taste of freedom for many students transitioning from the high school experience to campus life. For most incoming freshmen, settling into the Old Dominion dorms this year has been a daunting experience largely affected by COVID-19. But even without constant campus activities, there is still a lot nearby for students to do. A bike would be a great investment for those looking to get out more, but there are always LIME Scooters spread across campus to take off with.
One of the best spots on campus to kill some time with a socially distanced group is Whitehurst Beach, located on the campus’s western border. Due to COVID-19, it is always a great idea to hang out outdoors when you can, and ODU’s waterside features a scenic view with plenty of spots and swings to sit. Students regularly play volleyball in the sand by the water, and the pier makes for a nice walk or evening spent fishing. Whitehurst Beach’s hours are sunrise to sunset.
Across Hampton Blvd, a wide variety of small restaurants and gift shops await a day’s adventure. The small, community-driven establishments are a fun way to pass time and hang out with friends in a safe, socially distanced environment. Although students should take care while crossing the main street or venturing out at night.
One great example of a unique and welcoming establishment is Norfolk’s Sunset Grill located as 4027 Bowden’s Ferry Road. Just a short walk from campus, this warm and hospitable seafood restaurant is the perfect place to unwind with great food, live music, and an open mic night every Wednesday. There are plenty of hidden restaurant gems in the areas surrounding campus for students who go looking.
The Barry Art Museum located at 1075 W 43rd St is an art display within a reasonable walking distance from the dorms that is open free-of-charge to visitors. ODU students can become a member of the museum for free and receive invitations to exclusive events. The museum has hours every day of the week except Monday, but group tours can only be as large as ten individuals due to the pandemic.
Sometimes a walk through a park is the best cure for an over-stressed, overworked student. Although campus still has some nice routes for walks, Lafayette Park and the neighboring Virginia Zoo (3500 Granby St) are two great locales for students interested in nature. However, it is worth noting that the Virginia Zoo is not currently offering any student discounts for tickets due to COVID-19.
Even though activity is limited with the pandemic, there is still plenty students can do to shake up their routine on and around campus. Getting to know the area around ODU is an important part of settling in and adjusting to the college experience, COVID or not.