Friday, December 8, 2023

Within about a 20-minute drive south of the Oceanfront is a hidden gem some tourists may overlook

Sawdust Road is a coffee shop and art gallery that opened last month in Pungo (Southside Daily/Rami Yoakum)
Sawdust Road is a coffee shop and art in Pungo. (Southside Daily/Rami Yoakum)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Tourists who visit in the summer are typically looking to enjoy the beaches in the resort area and can miss the agritourism site for fresh, homegrown fun in what is affectionately known as “the county” by long-time residents here.

A trip to the “southern-most” rural community of Pungo can be “transformative and relaxing,” said Teresa Diaz a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Locals and visitors alike can enjoy a morning at the beach, followed by a short drive and find themselves immersed within 23,000 acres of farmland,” she said.

Rich with farm stands for fresh dairy, “u-pick” groves, and restaurants in restored cottages, this quaint area is ideal when looking for those homecooked comfort meals.

Diaz recommended The Bee & The Biscuit for their fresh “pie of the day,” and family-owned Margie & Ray’s Seafood Restaurant, Crab House, and Raw Bar which “has become known as one of the top seafood establishments in the southern end of Virginia Beach.”

Talking agriculture without referencing the Virginia Beach Farmers Market, and what Diaz called an “agritourism gem,” would be negligence.

“For 25 years, local products have been available at this year-round open-air market featuring fresh local and regional produce, a butcher shop, a dairy store, one of the first organic grocers in the area, a florist, candy and bakery, specialty garden shops, a restaurant and more,” she said.

RELATED STORY: It’s farmers market season. Here’s a list of local ones to visit

The market has free family-friendly events, but this time of year is even more active with “Hoedowns” every Friday evening between April and October.

Horses, pigs, and cows are common in Pungo where farms are passed from generation-to-generation allowing the area to offer attractions you won’t typically see at your average beach town, Diaz said.

And, with an economic impact of more than $136 million in 2018 and 30 different varieties of fruits and vegetables grown right here, Diaz said agriculture is “vital to our existence.”

“[Agriculture here] provides many things we eat, use and wear on a daily basis, and is increasingly contributing to fuel and other bio-product industries,” she said.

For more information about things to do and see in Pungo, click here.

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