VIRGINIA BEACH — Over four centuries a lot of history can be made.
For those who make their way onto Fort Story and to the Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, they’ll have the opportunity to learn a little bit about those centuries of history through the Cape Henry Walking Tours.
The tours began on July 1, said site coordinator Jessica Kinder, and right now the plan is to continue the 30-minute, six-stop tours year-round.
“Four hundred years of significant and important history have happened right here at Cape Henry,” Kinder said. “It’s a great experience for history lovers, lighthouse lovers, couples, and families looking for something to do and learn interesting history.”
She said the tours aren’t just designed for tourists.
“We encourage locals to visit and learn some of the history that has happened in their own city,” she said. “A walking tour and seeing two lighthouses makes the visit worthwhile.”
The walking tours will be offered daily, on the hour, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., from March 16 to Oct. 31. The hours change Nov. 1 and will stop at 3 p.m., through March 15.
“Our Historic Interpreters will be taking guests to the bunker that was built into the dune that the lighthouse sits on,” Kinder said. “There, they will discuss the bunker’s historical significance during World War II.”
Another stop is at Cape Henry Memorial Park, where the interpreters will discuss the First Landing in 1607 and also the Battle of the Virginia Capes – a decisive naval battle between the British and the French near the end of the Revolutionary War.
The walking tours are $10. Guests can purchase a block ticket for $15 which includes climbing the tower (while it’s open) and participating in the walking tour. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead (757-422-9421) and make reservations. However, it is not a requirement.
Also offered are “Dune Talks,” which Kinder said are talks done by Historic Interpreters about the lighthouse and the 50-foot-high ancient sand dune it sits on.
“The interpreter’s knowledge of the lighthouse’s history is limitless and guests can hear as much information as they would like,” Kinder said. “These talks will be moved to ground level when the restoration project begins later this year.”