There’s a section of Virginia Beach that’s been dubbed the ViBe district. As we walked around the area between 17th and 20th streets from the convention center to the hotels along the beach, businesses, civic groups, and the Virginia Beach Arts Center have collaborated to create murals on a number of buildings. School groups have made other murals on walls and fences. Some businesses have been in place for a while, like the old time rock shop with specimen geodes three feet high in the entry, and all kinds of rocks and beads for sale. Coffee shops, restaurants, and a distillery are recent additions, and there’s lots of room for more. Today (April 2), the Old Beach Farmers Market gathered for the first time this year. Only a few brussels sprouts and some kale were available in the fruit and veg department. The selection will expand as we move toward summer, and in the meantime, baked goods, coffee, meat products, jam, honey, and artisan items were available.
The ViBe neighborhood is unprepossessing, with a lot of single story buildings and businesses spaced among parking areas and vacant lots. What’s obvious is the city’s commitment to making this neighborhood into an important part of the city. In the building stage, ViBe is like Freemantle before it became hip, or even Brooklyn in the ’00s. It looks like a good opportunity for the future. We will go back for the third Saturday flea market, to see whether there are some new products at the farmers market, and for the energy of the place.