Pleasure House Point - 1, 2013
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By chance I ended up parked this past Saturday morning beside an area of Virginia Beach known as Pleasure House Point. Pleasure House Point’s local notoriety derives from it being one of the largest, if not the largest undeveloped stretch of waterfront property in the northern part of Virginia Beach, a city that is not so jokingly said to have never seen a waterfront developer it didn’t like.
Pleasure House Point is a 118-acre tract of raw land, maritime woods, marsh and tidal estuary just inside Lynnhaven Inlet, a narrow opening at the southernmost end of the Chesapeake Bay that twice a day replenishes the Lynnhaven River and a series of inland bays. Once upon a time relatives of the Algonquin Indians, I believe it was, lived at Pleasure House Point. Captain John Smith and a boatload of his Virginia Company compatriots explored the area in 1607, where they found “oysters a big as dinner plates.”
But like much of the City of Virginia Beach, in modern times Pleasure House Point came to be owned by a real estate developer who planned to clear the property and build waterfront condominiums. For reasons I’ve forgotten, he sold the property to other developers, who subsequently lost it to the bank at the outset of our most recent economic recession. The City, with foundation and other local support, was able to acquire the property to protect it from future development. Local environmentalists intend to use Pleasure House Point as a living classroom.
Pleasure House Point - 27, 2013
But for now the area’s as untouched, relatively speaking, as when Indians hunted in its woods and fished in its waters. Ancient stands of lives oaks cling close to the earth in order to survive heavy coastal winds. Oysters and blue crabs abound in its creeks. It’s a little rough in places, but an amazingly pristine place given the densely developed area that abuts it.
I didn’t go to Pleasure House Point with any specific photographic expectations. To be honest, because I live on the Lynnhaven River I’ve taken a lot of pictures of marshes and water. I wasn’t anxious to add to that clichéd collection. So instead I turned my camera to the Southern sky, which happened to be particularly lively with jagged jet contrails on Saturday.
Given that I covered no more than a dozen so acres on Saturday at Pleasure House Point, there’s a lot left to explore in the future.
(And yes, I really do have to get serious about using a neutral density filter.)