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The Hottest Beach Resorts and Things to Do in Virginia Beach

Beaches of Virginia are so amazing and popular for its ocean breezes. Its calm and luxurious hotels are well loved by couples and families. Hotels and restaurants along the oceanfront are popular in the state of Virginia. It is even listed on the Guinness Book of Records for having the longest pleasure beach in the world.

Even entertainment and some amusement sites are provided for every age. Virginia is truly a well loved vacation destination. Virginia boasts of its wonderful seasonal activities and attractions. Its suites and hotels are great for those seeking to have a relaxing and fun vacation.

Its hotels have comfortable facilities for its guests. Resorts and hotels showcase various warm accommodations. Choosing a particular resort in Virginia would only entail the kind of trip you want. There are places where you can go out for fishing trips. There are also resorts that have onsite golf courses.

Spending a whole week in Virginia Beach will simply add more wonderful memories to your family get together. Some couples are even planning to have their honeymoon here or to have a mere weekend get away after a long period of working.

The suites and hotels Along Virginia Beach offer comfortable accommodations and quality services. Some business travelers can even access their business facilities and conference rooms.

The beaches in Virginia are one of nature’s amazing gifts because of the various attractions it can offer. Developers have put some great and interesting spots in Virginia such as the following:
o Shopping malls
o Fine dining restaurants
o Night clubs
o Gymnasium
o Banks
o Laundry shops
o Surfing Facilities
o Diving Facilities
o Cruising facilities

Establishments around the beach:
o Economy lodges
o Children’s activity centers
o Balconies with ocean views
o Smoking areas
o Internet (Wi-Fi)
o Sauna baths
o Salons
o Parking spaces
o Swimming pools
o Laundry Facilities

For some resorts and hotels, there are onsite restaurants that serve various delectable dishes such as the following:
o American
o Italian
o Chinese cuisine
o and some other native delicacies

Hotels here are surrounded by beautiful sceneries and natural landscapes. Listening to the ocean breeze is priceless. Having a reservation in some hotels prior to going to Virginia Beach is also a good idea because this area gets crowded, especially during the summer season. However, the winter season is also just as crowded. This is since Virginia has several skiing destinations as well.

Here are some of the famous hotels and resorts in Virginia Beach:
1. Doubletree Hotel Virginia Beach
This hotel has 292 rooms, adjacent to the Virginia Beach Convention Center. It is along Oceana Naval Air Station and near the Dam Neck Fleet Training Center. Rooms have cable TV, iron and ironing board, 2 phones, hairdryer, MP3 clock radio and coffee maker.

2. Cavalier Hotel
The Cavalier Hotel opened in 1927. Room types are traditional rooms, superior guest rooms, ocean view rooms, ocean front rooms. It is near the Adam Thoroughgood House, The Old Coast Guard Station, Virginia Marine Science Museum and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, along with Francis Land House, Caper Henry Lighthouses, Oceana Naval Air Station and Mount Trashmore among others.

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Virginia Refinance Loans – Speeding Up the Loan Process

If you are behind on your mortgage payments or need to access the equity in your home quickly, you don’t have to sit around waiting for the Virginia refinance loan you need. There are many ways of speeding up the refinance loan process. Here are a few worth trying:

Choose an Online Lender

Though you can sometimes get a speedy refinance through a local bank or mortgage lender, you will have a better chance with an online lender. Online lenders often work in no documentation loans. This means that you and your lender will not have to waste time sending paperwork back and forth through the mail. Some online lenders may also let you skip steps like home appraisals and income verification. The rate you end up paying on the Virginia refinance loan will be a little higher, but you will save money in closing costs, which can average $2,913.

Be Prepared

If you are in a hurry, you can control the amount of time it takes to get your loan by having certain documents ready for your lender. Most lenders who deal in Virginia refinance loans will want to see W-2s, pay stubs, income taxes, and current bank information. Try to get these documents together before applying so that they will be easily accessible during the loan process.

Work with a Mortgage Broker

Not shopping around before getting a Virginia refinance loan is nothing short of foolish. If you don’t have time to go from lender to lender to see who has the best deal, you can hire a mortgage broker. Successful brokers work with a large number of lenders and will easily be able to hunt up a good refinance deal for your situation. However, you should be careful when hiring a broker, as broker regulations in Virginia are basically non-existent.

Virginia Home Equity Loan – Refinancing at a Low Interest Rate

The equity in your home is the difference between the value of your home and the balance on your mortgage. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you owe $50,000 on your mortgage, you have $50,000 of equity in your home.

When you have equity in your home, you have a valuable asset. Much like other assets, you can borrow against equity using what’s known as a home equity loan. In most cases, the loan has a low interest rate, allowing you to borrow for a low cost. Since interest paid on a home equity loan is tax-deductible, the loan becomes even more attractive.

A home equity loan provides you with a lump-sum of money that is repaid to the bank over a period of time. It’s important to know that, like other loans, interest begins accruing on the loan as soon as the bank issues the money to you. A home equity loan is different from a home equity line of credit which acts much like a revolving credit account.

If you’re looking for a home equity loan, you might be inclined to simply apply for one at the bank that holds your first mortgage. While it takes some of the hassle out of shopping around, this isn’t the wisest way to get a new loan. It’s very likely that another lender can provide you a lower interest rate. You’d never know if you didn’t shop around for loan quotes.

Because different lenders have different fees, costs, and repayment terms, it’s important to get quotes from several lenders. Each quote should include key information like interest rate, fees, and monthly payment. Getting free loan quotes helps you save money by giving you the information you need to make an educated decision about a home equity loan.

A Primer on Bank Owned Properties For Sale in Virginia

For perhaps the first time in history, bank owned properties are numerous in just about any real estate market. First time homebuyers, investors, and the average homebuyer in the U.S. markets are eager to purchase bank owned property.

On the surface, bank owned properties seem like a great deal. Often, they do offer significant savings. Yet the purchase of a bank owned property, whether it is a short sale or a foreclosure, also comes with specific parameters and cautions for the buyer and the seller. Buyers must remember that a bank owned property purchase is vastly different from the routine property acquisition.

Bank Short Sales Statistics in Southeastern Virginia

Halfway through 2010, there are over 50 bank owned property listings in Williamsburg, James City County, Yorktown, Northern York County and sections of New Kent County and Charles City. In Hampton and Newport News Virginia, there are approximately 175 bank owned homes for sale. In the Northern Neck Counties on the Chesapeake Bay, there are 28 short sales and foreclosures for sale. These numbers indicate the recession is not over. Homebuyers can expect bank short sales and foreclosures to be listed for some time to come.

For property owners who are underwater, or owe more on the home then it is currently worth (and/or cannot afford their present mortgage due to reduction in income, unemployment, or change in life circumstances) a bank short sale may be a viable option.

Bank short sales are a tedious process. Those banks who accepted TARP money, such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo (the former Wachovia) are more inclined to short sale a property. These banks actually have the leverage to take the loss on the loan.

Some banks are not so amicable about a short sale. Instead these banks allow properties to go into foreclosure. Statistically, an average of 75% of short sales are withdrawn or often end in foreclosure. Banks can hold the inventory this way, and wait for property values to increase.

Buyers and sellers need to know that a short sale may take anywhere from four weeks to eight months or more to complete. If a buyer and seller are participating in a short sale, they must be patient.

There are some tricky issues with short sales of properties. To complete a short sale, a good attorney is necessary. The attorney will negotiate with the bank to obtain the best possible conditions for sale of the property. When there is a second mortgage on a property, there is little chance the company will receive any proceeds from the short sale. Since the second mortgage stands to loose the most from this type of sale, the company may hold up the process.

Making a short sale on a property does not ensure the property owner will leave free and clear from financial responsibilities. Mortgage companies may still elect to hold the former homeowner responsible for financial losses even after a short sale is completed. A knowledgeable REALTOR will retain a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that the final contract includes verbiage requesting the remainder of debt owned by the first or second lien holder is forgiven. Inserting this clause may or may not work, but it should be written into the contract.

Foreclosures

The best way to find a foreclosed property (or a short sale) is to retain a qualified REALTOR in the desired area. This REALTOR will conduct a special search on the MLS for bank owned properties.

Foreclosed properties may be recently vacated, and some may have been left empty for a year or more. Some property owners elect to speak with their lender about their inability to maintain the loan, then voluntarily vacate the property instead of waiting for foreclosure. The homeowner will send the deed and keys to the lender and leave the premises. If a homeowner leaves in this manner, some banks may even forgive the unpaid balance.

Mortgage companies and banks like to privately “extend and pretend.” This means the lender acts as if the loan is performing so they don’t have to declare it as a non-performing loan. If the loan were classified as non-performing, the bank would have to pay more reserve money to ensure the investment. Bank owned properties stand vacant longer in this market for this precise reason

Once the lender takes possession of the property, it has the option to auction the foreclosure at the courthouse. Often these home auctions will only net 50% of the home’s value. If a lender cannot obtain enough money for the foreclosed property through public auction, it may hold it and leave it vacant or put it on the real estate market.

Virginia Home Mortgage Loans – 3 Things to Look for in a Lender

The Virginia housing market is considered to be one of the hottest markets in the country. Home values in Virginia increase much faster than the national average, with the largest gains occurring in Northern Virginia and metropolitan areas like Winchester, Hampton Roads, and Charlottesville.

With most price gains in the double digits, there is no denying that Virginia real estate is an excellent investment. This may be why lenders are more than willing to offer Virginia home mortgages. When trying to decide who to borrow from, there are three particular things you should look for in a lender:

Availability

Though it can be very exciting, buying a home can also be a stressful process. The last thing you want is a lender who isn’t available to answer your questions. When searching for a lender to handle your Virginia home mortgage loan, try to choose someone who is personable and available to you via phone and email. Someone who works with a whole team of lending professionals will be your best choice.

Flexibility

While your first instinct may be to borrow from a traditional bank, this may not be your best course of action. More than half of all mortgages in Virginia that are taken out by borrowers who have a credit rating less that 660 are considered unconventional. Often times, traditional banks can’t offer many unconventional choices. An online lender or broker, on the other hand, usually has a wide variety of creative financing programs to choose from.

Fair Charges

The amount of money that you pay in interest, closing costs, and lending fees will affect the total amount of money that you spend on a Virginia home. Finding a lender who has fair rates and charges will be in your best interest. Take time to get quotes and good faith estimates so that you can make comparisons before accepting an offer.

Olde Towne Portsmouth Virginia Tourist Attractions

Portsmouth Virginia has a wonderful range of activities for people of any age. Visitors to the city of Portsmouth will want to find the Old Towne section which lies on the western bank of the Elizabeth River right across from Norfolk’s waterside.

The Portsmouth Visitor Information Center is a good starting point when visiting. The center is known for its convenient location, friendly staff, displays and abundance of informational brochures. Exiting the back door of the center, visitors will find the famous Portsmouth Seawall with a spectacular view of Norfolk and some of the enormous Naval ships. The first of two Portsmouth ferry stops is right outside the center.

A trip along the walk takes just a few minutes but allows visitors to choose from a wide range of sights, or to include them all. Looking across the Elizabeth, tourists will spot Nauticus, the American Rover, the park at Waterside and other notable points of interest. Traffic on the river may include the ferries, taxis, sailing vessels, tour boats, cruise ships and naval vessels.

As visitors continue along the seawall, they will find more attractions including the Lightship Portsmouth, the Hog Island Fresnel Lens, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, the High Street ferry landing, City Hall and the nTelos Pavilion.

Several attractions in Olde Towne and along High Street are within a few minutes of the Visitor Information Center.

The Children’s Museum of Virginia provides fun for kids of all ages. Exhibits include a planetarium, a rock-climbing wall, a giant bubble-making station, a real fire engine, a city bus and the Lancaster Antique Toy and Train Collection, one of the most notable model train collections in the world. The displays help kids learn about science, nature, art and other subjects in a fun setting. The Children’s Museum of Virginia is located at 221 High Street.

The Courthouse Galleries is an art museum which includes two large galleries of exhibits. During Portsmouth’s First Friday events, the Courthouse Galleries often host free musical entertainment. Another special event is the First Sunday of the month when educational programs such as gallery talks and seminars that complement the exhibits are held. The museum also hosts a range of art classes, lectures, poetry readings and book signings. The attraction is housed in a beautiful Greek-Revival building surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and nearly hidden behind massive oak trees that occupy its courtyard. The structure was built in 1846 and served as the Norfolk County Courthouse until 1960. The Courthouse Galleries is located at the corner of High and Court streets.

Lightship Portsmouth Museum is a popular stop in Olde Towne, located at the end of London Street on the waterfront. Visitors to the ship can board and see how the men of the Lightship Service lived during their many months at sea. The Lightship Portsmouth was commissioned in 1915 and has since been restored to its original condition. While in active service, the vessel anchored for months off the coastline, serving Hampton Roads as a vital navigational aid to mariners. In 1989, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum contains exhibits on naval history and local memorabilia The museum was established in 1949 within the nation’s oldest shipyard in Norfolk. The Naval Shipyard Museum was later moved to the Portsmouth waterfront at High Street Landing on the Elizabeth River.

The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum contains two stories of sports and health exhibits. The attraction features information about nearly 300 past and present athletes. Special exhibits include a NASCAR simulator, baseball pitch speed test, and a sports broadcasting simulator. Fitness, nutrition, exercise and sports medicine is showcased in the Training Room. The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame is located at 206 High St.

Located at 221 North St. is Hill House. The four-story 1825 English basement home is furnished entirely with original family belongings. The structure is listed on the Virginia Register of Historic Places.

Newport News Virginia Attractions and Recreation

Visitors to Newport News will find an excellent selection of things to do. This Virginia city lies along the banks of the James River and the port of Hampton Roads. Favorite attractions of the city include museums, theatres, parks, fishing piers, charter boats and other recreation.

Museums

The Mariners’ Museum – USS Monitor Center

The Mariners’ Museum has been designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum, The museum features maritime exhibits from around the world. The USS Monitor Center showcases the “Battle of the Ironclads” display and as well as a full-scale Monitor replica.

Virginia Living Museum

This attraction has nature-related exhibits where visitors learn about animals such as wolves, eagles, sea turtle, fish, frogs and more. Special sections encourage enthusiasts to touch live crabs and fossils and other forms of nature. Living exhibits depict Virginia’s widely varying environments from the mountains to the coast including representations of the Chesapeake Bay and limestone caves. The museum also houses an observatory, state-of-the-art digital planetarium theater, live animals and native plant gardens. Shops include the Wild Wings Museum Store and the Wild Side CafĂ©.

Virginia War Museum

The Virginia War Museum has U.S. military displays including collections of personal artifacts, weapons, vehicles, uniforms, posters and more from 1775 through the present. Galleries include Women at War and Marches Toward Freedom which document the roles of women and African-Americans in the military. The Visions of War exhibit showcases the museum’s outstanding propaganda poster collection. Gifts are offered for sale in The Duffle Bag gift shop.

Theatre

Several venues host theatrical events in or near Newport News. The Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts holds performances in its 1,700-seat concert hall, 500-seat music and theater hall, and 200-seat studio/children’s theater. The Peninsula Community Theater, located in Newport News, offers several plays throughout the year. Their Children’s Theatre also features productions. The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, held annually at the College of William and Mary, presents performances of Shakespeare.

City Parks

Newport News Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. This 8,000 acre park is occupied by wildlife including deer, foxes, otter, raccoon, beaver and more. The Newport News Park is a favorite destination for campers who find a natural setting while being so close to the activities and attractions of Hampton Roads. The park is located at 13564 Jefferson Avenue, just off I-64 (Exit 250B). Newport News Park events and festivals include the Newport News Children’s Festival of Friends, the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife and the Celebration in Lights.

Anderson Park, located at 16th Street and Oak Avenue features ball fields, basketball, beach, boat ramp, historical features, saltwater fishing, picnic shelters, playground, restrooms, and tennis.

Huntington Park is located at the intersection of Warwick Boulevard and Mercury Boulevard, near the James River Bridge. This 60-acre park is open sunrise to sunset daily and offers a public beach fronting the James River. A public boat ramp is open all year and accommodates boats with trailers up to 30-feet in length. Fort Fun, a 13,000-square foot playground, is located on a scenic bluff overlooking the James River. Fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout is popular at Lake Biggins from November to March each year. Also located in Huntington Park is the Virginia War Museum which showcases America’s military history from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

Deer Park is located on Jefferson Avenue in the center of the city. The name “Deer Park” originated because white-tailed deer were raised on a game preserve before the land was dedicated as a public park. Deer Park has a playground, ball fields, 13 acres of woodlands and hiking trails. Flowering plants of the park include camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. The park is equipped with picnic shelters for parties, reunions, or picnics.

Whitewater River Rafting West Virginia

About White Water Rafting and History

White water rafting is an exhilarating sport which became popular in the 1970’s and became widely known as a form of adventurous recreation in the decades to follow. Canoeing became a popular recreation in the earlier years which was adopted from Native American Indians who used canoes and early types of kayaks extensively for transportation, fishing and other necessities of daily life. This form of transportation was not limited to North America, but has been utilized by natives all over the world throughout history. Although canoes, kayaks and rafts have been used in various practical ways for hundreds of years, it is likely that none would have imagined the adrenalized form of recreation that is popular today.

This form of extreme rafting is significantly different from canoeing or common river rafting, which involves gentle and relaxed excursions down peaceful streams or rivers. White water is a term derived from roaring rapids which have a characteristic white color from the air bubbles trapped under water which moves at a steady and consistent speed. Typically white water rapids are formed when the water from a river originates in a high elevation then quickly descends to a lower elevation. This causes the water to churn and agitate as it crashes into stony river beds and rock covered banks.

Where most seeking relaxation and the serene sights and sounds of a gentle flowing river when taking a canoe trip; white water rafting requires that an individual be prepared both mentally and physically for an extremely challenging physical adventure. Most who endeavor to embark on a white water journey will seek a professional guide who provides instruction before and during the trip down the river. Utilizing a professional guide and participating with a group in a white water trip does reduce the risk of danger. However, this does not eliminate the fact that white water rafting can be dangerous if one is not prepared for the raging waters.

The Real Estate of Virginia – Based Solely on the Brim Factor

Virginia is a state brimming with history, political savvy, wonderful attractions, great food, and fantastic real estate. There is no shortage of real estate stories about each of these diverse topics, so here are my favorites!

History

One of the most intriguing pieces of historical real estate was owned by one of our founders, Thomas Jefferson. The author of the Declaration of Independence inherited a large estate from his father and built his famous home, Monticello. Jefferson inherited slaves, but freed very few. Those given their freedom the children of famous Sally Hemings, mother to six of Jefferson’s children. In Charlottesville where Monticello is located, affordable homes abound, with hundreds of homes available in the $100,000 to $150,000 price range.

Political Savvy

One of the smartest members of Congress is Eric Cantor, house minority whip. As the member who manages the legislative program of his party, it’s easy to imagine that he lives in Richmond – just a quick train ride to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. In Richmond, real estate can move quickly since it’s also the state capitol where turnover can come in waves. With more than 500 homes currently on the market in the affordable $100,000 to $150,000 price range, homes range from fixer-uppers to those nicely remodeled and move-in ready. Prices are currently rising in Richmond, so sellers must be feeling very optimistic.

Wonderful Attractions

Virginia Beach is one of the loveliest stretches of ocean beauty on the East Coast. Visitors may choose from a variety of beaches to visit, plus they could also go on whale watching excursions, go fishing, or boating. Real estate prices do run high thanks to the great location, but also because of nearby military bases, including Ft. Story and the Naval Station Oceana. If you want to live on the ocean, however, be prepared to pay big. Oceanfront prices average well over a half million, so you’ll have to go to the interior land to find real estate below $290,000.

Great Food

The Red Panda Restaurant is one of the most popular Chinese dining experiences in the state of Virginia. With locations in Winchester, Manassas, and Harrisonburg, the variety of food served is as delightful as the variety of real estate in these towns. You can get my favorite Chicken Lo Mein for $6.25… a fair price for great food. Just as affordable are the homes in Manassas where commuters to Washington, D.C. often buy because of the lower prices.

Fantastic Real Estate

My favorite real estate pick in Virginia today is a four-bedroom, 1850 square foot new construction home in Newport News, Virginia. Priced at $86 per square foot, this great buy is available for $159,900. You can find it by searching trulia.com.

Hampton Roads – Virginia

The name “Hampton Roads” originated nearly four hundred years ago when Virginia was a British Colony. Hampton Roads refers to both a body of water and the region of land bordered by the Elizabeth and James Rivers, the Western edge of the Chesapeake Bay and the Waterfronts of Virginia Beach and Sandbridge.

The waterways of Hampton Roads create one of the world’s biggest natural harbors. The area is occupied by the United States Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, NASA, Marines, and Army facilities, shipyards, coal piers, and hundreds of miles of waterfront property and beaches, all of which contribute to the diversity and stability of the region’s economy.

Hampton Roads is populated by seven cities and a host of smaller communities. The seven cities are Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Chesapeake, Hampton, Virginia Beach and Suffolk. The region is an extremely popular vacation and tourism destination and is within a few hours of Richmond, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Norfolk

Norfolk consists of a mixture of the old and new architecture. Much of the the waterside area has undergone renovations with modern shopping and dining locales but the area still retains many of the older buildings which lend character and historical significance to the neighborhood. Visitors are taken aback by the centuries old churches which occupy the downtown area. Norfolk’s waterside is striking, with its population of banking centers, luxury hotels, fine dining, museums and parks.

Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a community along the Elizabeth River. Portsmouth is closely connected with Norfolk, both physically and in spirit. It’s tunnel is known for traffic backups although local residents take a variety of paths around rush hour traffic. The city is a mix of shopping, museums, historical buildings, industrial complexes and residential neighborhoods. Portsmouth has a waterside park which is extremely popular among residents.

Newport News

Newport News is one of the independent cities of Hampton Roads, Virginia. It lies along the James River waterfront to the river’s mouth at Newport News Point. Newport News contains the U.S. Army base at Fort Eustis and other military bases and suppliers. Fort Eustis, and other military installations have a huge impact on the city’s economy. The harbor and miles of waterfront attract the shipping and boating industries. Another asset of the city is Newport News Seafood Industrial Park, off interstate 664. The harbor is said to be one of the busiest small ports in the East Coast.

Chesapeake

Chesapeake is a another city in Southern Hampton Roads. The community is a mix of urban areas, forests and wetlands, including a substantial portion of the Great Dismal Swamp. Chesapeake is the third largest city in Virginia in terms of population. Chesapeake is bordered by Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

Hampton

Hampton, one of the oldest cities in the USA, lies between Norfolk and Newport News. Hampton is home to Fort Monroe, Langley Air Force Base, NASA Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air and Space Center, and a host of other business and industrial complexes. The city also contains residential areas, historical sites, and waterfront access.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state of Virginia. Thousands of tourists visit every year on vacation, attracted by miles of hotels, top-notch restaurants and shops. Virginia Beach is known for its mild seaside weather. With over 200 sunny days a year, bikinis, flip flops and shorts are worn for much of the spring, summer and fall. Virginia Beach tourists visit the resort in summer to swim and sunbath, but the city has become a year round attraction with world class fishing, boating, festivals, shows and other events.

Suffolk

Suffolk is located in the heart of southeastern Virginia. The area offers family attractions, accommodations, shopping, arts and recreational activities. Suffolk hosts a range of events and festivals including the Suffolk Peanut Festival, Nansemond Indian Tribal Pow Wow, Taste of Suffolk Downtown Street Festival, Great Dismal Birding Festival and others. The area around Suffolk is known for peanut production. Planters’ Peanuts was established in Suffolk beginning in 1912 and peanut processing remains a major industry for the city.