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Exploring Virginia 2007

It's history time in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads corner of Virginia, which seems like a good excuse to go visit their beaches, try out the fishing and see the sights.

Look for "Signature Events" at the top of the home page for Jamestown 2007 to see the major events all year long, even after the big May 11-13 festivities, and then click on "Calendar" for more details.

Celebrations aside, you'll want to see the real thing. The Jamestown Settlement is down the Colonial Parkway off Interstate 64 between Richmond and Virginia Beach. Click on "Jamestown Settlement" in the left column to access sections on history, exhibits and ships. Head back east on the Colonial Parkway to the Yorktown Victory Center, commemorating the battle that ended with the surrender of the British to American and French forces commanded by George Washington.

To see what archaeologists have learned, visit Jamestown Rediscovery and click on "What Have We Found." If you have time for online exploration, Virtual Jamestown shows you images, maps and documents about the settlement.

Between Jamestown and Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg keeps early American history alive, and the exhibits and horse-drawn carriages might even keep your kids entertained. Click on "Explore & Learn" to see what you can visit, and to sample the multimedia shows. And if you're looking for gifts, or colonial-style somethings for your home, stop in "Shop Online." Next, try Visit Williamsburg to look up creature comforts and theme parks in the neighborhood.

But it's not all about history. Keep heading down I-64 and out I-264 to Virginia Beach and click on "Outdoors & Sports" to get close to the area's famous beaches, water sports, fishing and boat tours. While you're on that page, look for the "Birding Guide" for tips on prime watching areas, including the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge which sprawls over 111,000 acres. Too much time outdoors? Try the guides to nightlife, museums, dining and more shopping. And if you need help coordinating your budget and arrangements, check out "Packages" for combos centered on family fun, golf, weekend getaways and even dolphin watching.

Don't ignore the neighboring city of Norfolk, which touts its eclectic dining and arts scene, along with the Navy's huge Naval Station Norfolk. If you're looking for a central base for your exploration of the region, consider the local hotel guide and travel packages. And from Norfolk, edge over to Portsmouth to explore the waterfront and Olde Towne.

When you need a break from cities, head north on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Virginia's Eastern Shore. On your way, you can stop at one of the four artificial islands and fish from Sea Gull Pier, which allows you to wet a hook 3.5 miles from shore without a boat.

On the Eastern Shore it's time to slow down and enjoy the small towns inland and on the water, beaches and wildlife preserves. Look for "Tour the Shore" for descriptions of communities and unique places such as Tangier Island and Chincoteague, best known for the wild ponies brought from neighboring Assateague Island.

For more things to see and do in the area, visit Virginia's tourism home, click on "Virginia Map" at the top of the page, and then click on the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area to access the Tidewater/Hampton Roads region.