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New Experiences Posted Every Week! Say YES to NEW Adventures!

JOIN US IN BEING SPONTANEOUS ON MOST SATURDAYS!

So many people asked us, “if we don’t have a group in mind, can we still ride The Nature Bus and go on one of your nature experiences?” Our model is primarily for GROUPS up to 16 people. But we heard you! So we put together “Saturday Escapes!”

When we don’t have a private group tour scheduled, then it is your lucky opportunity to hop-on-board! So grab your seat before they are all taken.

Our public tours depart from REI in Town Center, Virginia Beach.

Our Upcoming Tours are listed below:


TOUR NAME: Holiday Spirits with The Nature Bus (Tues, Dec 13) 

DATE: Tuesday, December 13th 

DURATION – aprox. 3.5 hours (ROUND TRIP): 6:00 – 9:30 (ish)

PRICE: $30 per person (purchase your ticket at TheNatureBus.com > Calendar) 

DESCRIPTION: Get into the holiday spirit by hopping on board! Such a FUN way to celebrate the beginning of your holiday season! We will begin by engaging in a creative project – creating a make-and-take holiday craft. A little something you can keep or gift to someone special. Next we will head to the Virginia Beach oceanfront; we will actually drive on the beach boardwalk!!! With the sound of holiday music playing, you will see nautical holiday light scenes. The light displays include fish, crabs, elves, Santa, and more. Come alone, and make new friends OR bring a group of friends/family. Office party? This tour can also be purchased as a private tour for a group of up to 16 on an alternative date of your choice. You can also purchase a GIFT CERTIFICATE to give the “gift of experience” during the holiday season. 

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Venue:  

Address:
350 Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23462, United States


Give the gift of experience!

This is the perfect gift for nature enthusiasts. Select from a gift certificate value of $25, $50 or $100. These can be applied to any one of our Saturday Escape tours; we offer these year round (starting at $25 per person). We have something of interest for everyone! Upon the purchase of one of our gift certificates, we will immediately mail it to you, or to an address you specify. So get yours today!

Some tour examples include: guided nature hikes, bird watching, stargazing, nature painting and journaling, kayaking, white water rafting, visits to the Great Dismal Swamp, Back Bay, the Eastern Shore and so much more!

*December date listed below are only a place-holder for purchasing gift certificates -> does not dictate when certificates can be used.


TOUR NAME: Birding with Award-Winning Guide + Tour CBF Green Building

DATE: Saturday, January 28, 2023

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Princess Anne Recreation Center 1400 Nimmo Pkwy, Virginia Beach, VA 23456

DURATION – approximately 4 hours (ROUND TRIP): 8:00 am – 12:00 noon – (ish) 

PRICE: $45 per person Register and get your tickets at this link:

https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/special-events/Pages/winter-wildlife-festival.aspx

DESCRIPTION:  Join the heated Nature Bus and bird expert James Abbott for a guided walk at Pleasure House Point. The “National Park Service, Excellence in Education Award” was given to James a couple of months ago!  Pleasure House Point is a winter birding hotspot. Almost all of our local waterfowl species can be observed here, as well as wintering shorebirds and songbirds. We will tour the marshes, woodlands, and open water areas.  After our winter walk, hot chocolate and coffee will be served to you inside of CBF’s Living Building Certified Brock Environmental Center. We will be met by a second tour guide, who will show off the behind the scenes of this spectacular building. This is one of the most energy efficient, environmentally smart buildings IN THE WORLD! Visit TheNatureBus.com for more trip details; be sure to click the green button for important information!

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TOUR NAME: Definitely Not Dismal: a history and nature tour

DATE: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Mount Trashmore Park 310 Edwin Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

DURATION – approximately 7 hours (ROUND TRIP): 9:00 – 4:00 (ish) NOTE: This time includes a 1 hour stop for lunch (bring $ for your food and drink) 

PRICE: $75 per person Register and get your tickets at this link:

https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/special-events/Pages/winter-wildlife-festival.aspx

DESCRIPTION: If there were a place that was at once, one of the largest peat bogs in North America, the most important wildlife habitats in Mid-Atlantic region, once over 1.28 million acres of wilderness, listed by Audubon Society as a Globally Important Area, designated as an Underground Railroad Network Freedom Site. Would you go? What if it is one of the top three homes for Black Bears in the East, with more than 200 bird species, 334 plants from 100 plant families? How about if this place was where the poet Robert Frost came to commit suicide, or the place George Washington came to drain the swamp? Or just simply join notable visitors including Poe, Wordsworth, Sir Thomas Moore, Madison, Monroe, and Harriett Tubman? Here’s your chance! Visit TheNatureBus.com for trip itinerary; be sure to click the green button for important information!

Proposed itinerary (subject to change):

  • Leave from Mount Trashmore 310 Edwin Drive, Virginia Beach for the Great Dismal Swamp. Drive through the former swamp on the way along route 58, White Marsh and Desert Roads. A historian, Dr. Bob Baxter, will offer an educational program along the way. A second guide, naturalist Mr. Allen Carter will offer participants information  about the most common birds, animals, and plant species that inhabit the Dismal Swamp. The guides will discuss the various human influences that have impacted the ecology and integrity of the swamp, and the techniques that managers are currently using to restore the natural environment there. Special efforts to reintroduce the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and control invasive plant and animal species will also be mentioned.
  • Railroad Ditch. Begin exploring on several short trails to see exhibits on marronage and discuss the secret island dig sites Dr. Dan Sayers has spent years uncovering. Observe the damage the Swamp has endured from tornadoes and widespread peat fires. Walk boardwalks safely above the Swamp for spotting wildlife and plants. Be introduced to the one of the few old-growth trees still standing. Discuss the lumbering operations.
  • Lake Drummond. Learn of its history. Stop and rest on the pier and perhaps have a snack while pondering how it was created. Unlike most swamps, this one water primarily flows out not in. Why has it been known and sought-after for its dark waters.
  • Washington Ditch. Wander briefly on trails largely on boardwalks over the Swamp. Imagine the perils of enslaved workers digging by hand in thigh-deep snake-infested muddy water a shallow ditch from Dismal Town to Lake Drummond. Consider the dozens of lumbering operations bringing shingles and lumber out of the wilderness.
  • Jericho Ditch. This ditch was a replacement to Washington Ditch and went from Lake Drummond to the village of Jericho. Jericho was the transfer point from canal barges to sea-going ships in the deep Nansemond River. Using old drawings from artist and journalist known as Ponte Crayon, explore the life and travel to Dismal swamp as tourist attraction and for hunting access.
  • Return to Mount Trashmore, Virginia Beach.

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TOUR NAME: Eastern Shore Birding + Lunch 

DATE: Saturday, February 4, 2023

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Bayside Recreation Center 4500 First Ct Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23455

DURATION – approximately 7 hours (ROUND TRIP): 9:30 – 4:30 (ish) 

PRICE: $60 per person Register and get your tickets at this link:

https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/special-events/Pages/winter-wildlife-festival.aspx

DESCRIPTION:  Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, an engineering marvel from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore; they have a slogan over there “You’ll Love Our Nature!”  The Eastern Shore of Virginia plays host to tens of thousands of waterfowl every winter season. This provides opportunities to observe truly spectacular congregations of birds on the water and in farm fields. In early February, in particular, large flocks of snow geese and other waterfowl congregate on the eastern shore as they make their way back north. We will be visiting several protected areas. Join the heated Nature Bus and bird expert James Abbott for a trip through the birding hotspots of Northampton County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We will be mostly on the heated bus, driving the majority of the time, hopping on and off of the bus to view birds at a variety of locations, and with a 1.5 hour break for lunch. Although there is never a guarantee as to which birds we will actually spot, we will go on a search to see and photograph species such as Snow Goose, Tundra Swan, and Brant. We may even have a chance to see regionally rare species such as Ross’s Goose, Cackling Goose, Greater-white fronted Goose, and Trumpeter Swan.  We will visit the beautiful town of Cape Charles for 1.5 hours for lunch (bring $ for your lunch/drinks). In town, there are several dining choices you can walk to along Main Street. There will be time for window shopping and a perhaps you’ll decide to stop at the candy shop. Visit TheNatureBus.con for more trip details; be sure to click the green button for important information!

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TOUR NAME: Relationship of Winter Ecology on Birds

DATE: Sunday, February 5, 2023

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Mount Trashmore  310 Edwin Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

DURATION – approximately 4 hours (ROUND TRIP): 8:00 am – 12:00 noon – (ish) 

PRICE: $45 per person Register and get your tickets at this link:

https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/special-events/Pages/winter-wildlife-festival.aspx

DESCRIPTION:  Hop on board The Nature Bus for a unique experience. Our guide will be Dr. Shawn T. Dash, a Chesapeake Bay biodiversity specialist! Not only will we see birds, but we will learn more deeply about their lives in winter, as we explore the ecology of wintering plants and animals. We will explore some of the unique habitats of First Landing State Park, both the forested areas and the Chesapeake Bay beach. Our morning will be filled with expert driven explorations of winter’s natural history of the region, spotting and enjoying the behavior of wintering waterfowl and resident bird species. We hope for the possible opportunity to glimpse Common Eiders or Razorbills. The variety of habitats allows views of wintering ducks, spotting numbers of migrant songbirds, and beholding the key assemblage of year around classics. Visit TheNatureBus.com for more trip details; be sure to click the green button for important information!

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TOUR NAME: “Rustic Elegance”  Because YOU Deserve This Getaway! 

DATE: Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023  (rain-date Sept 30 + Oct 1st) 

DURATION (ROUND TRIP): Saturday 8:00 am – Sunday 7:30 pm  Please arrive 15 min. before departure at REI to board the bus. Return time is traffic dependent. 

PRICE: $350/person (Overnight trip; all meals included; read description and itinerary to realize how much value you will get for this ticket price. You will truly be surprised!) 

(purchase your ticket at TheNatureBus.com > Calendar) 

DESCRIPTION:

Imagine the setting! Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge is fifty acres of fresh air, grass, flower fields, a pond, horses, with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop. Beauty at a truly elegant farm! At this get-away a wellness expert, Christa, will host our group. Partake in food, nature, photography, flower arranging, meditation, and so much more. 

The food will be “a beautiful experience” prepared by a chef who will welcome you with tables “dressed” like you see on Pinterest. You’ll want  your camera ready to capture yourself delighting in freshly prepared “eat the rainbow” meals, dressed with tablecloths, candlelight, fresh flowers and twinkle lights. All of your freshly-made meals are included in your retreat price. The chef and hostess will interact with our group with stories about how healthy fresh food is the fuel for ultimate wellness. You will even have a Vietnamese Garden Roll workshop! Food is a wonderful vehicle to get to know other people; a great way to bridge from strangers to friendship. Envision yourself creating sweet new friendships (that may end up lasting a lifetime:) 

This get-away is all about “nourishing yourself” –  Nourish your body with colorful healthy and delicious foods; nourish your creative mind with flower picking + arranging, nature photography and shin-rin yoku “forest bathing” a nature sensory walk. Nourish your soul with joy, wine and laughter. 

The wellness host will help us learn different ways to rest our bodies + mind and help us discover which approaches work best for each of us. She will teach us a simpler form of meditation that is attainable all day throughout the day as needed. Leave this retreat feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, and also take these simple skills home with you to use on our own.

Pamper yourself. Let’s check-in with ourselves. Go ahead and sign up! Give yourself permission to get off of the work/societal treadmill for these special 32 hours and enjoy pure rustic elegance. Allow total immersion in an itinerary filled with activities designed to allow you to relax and be gently creative and peacefully social.

 

Detailed Itinerary:

SATURDAY, Sept. 16

8 am – Depart from REI/Town Center. Drive to Free Union, Va – just outside of Charlottesville (we will stop half way to stretch our legs, use restroom, and snack).

12:00 – (Noon-ish) arrive to a fabulous “spread of food” waiting for you. Think “Pinterest-Style” Rustic Elegance! After this beautiful meal, you will have some relaxing downtime, a short guided meditation by our host, giving yourself permission to fall asleep/nap on a yoga mat under the maple trees.

2:00  – we will take a sensory nature walk.

3:00 – Following our walk, we are heading 15 min away to Hark Vineyards; sip wine, view the mountains, and enjoy the local food truck offerings. Hark closes at 6pm. We will head back to our venue, Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge. 

6:30 – 8:30 Down time; nap or explore the farm acres (pond, horses, an more)

Evening – We will gather around the campfire back at Cedarmere for “adult s’mores” all set out waiting for you. The sky is so big there in the countryside making for ultimate stargazing (weather permitting). Feel free to de-cork adult beverages if you brought some with you. Light rain? We will move inside the barn for crafting with dry flowers (make and take home project). Tuck yourself into bed at your Cedarmere bedroom when you want to call-it-a-night. The Nature Bus will take others to your hotel/B+B if you are staying off-site.

SUNDAY, Sept. 17

7 am – (if your B&B/hotel has breakfast included, ask them if you can partake at 6:45) The Nature Bus will pick you up from your hotel/B&B between 7:15-7:30 to head back to the retreat venue, Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge (25 min away). There will be coffee, tea, muffins and orange juice to snack on when we arrive (official breakfast will be served at 9am).

8am – We will “harvest flowers” that you will need for your flower arranging bouquet! These MUST be picked early in the morning before the sun dries them. Pick them while they still have dew on them.  Pick flowers, set them aside, and sit down to a lovely breakfast.

9 am – Breakfast of quiche, bagels, and fresh fruits. While eating, the host will give instructions on how to “condition our flowers” so they will be preserved for up to 2 weeks. After breakfast, we will engage in conditioning our flowers, then leave them marinating until later in the day. Time for the next workshop!

10:30 – 12:30 Meditative Nature Photography. This is truly Christa’s favorite thing to share. Using your cell phone (no fussing with aperture, lighting, focus, etc), learn how to tap in to your innate ability to mediate by framing photos with your phone. The phone camera helps us gain an understanding about ourself and our surroundings. She will help you analyze the composition of your beautiful photos. Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge is the perfect place to take breathtaking photos! You will gain a whole new thought process, gaining the benefits of meditation while taking photos (another skill to take home with you 🙂 All of this creativity will certainly make you hungry. Lunchtime is next.

12:30 – It is time for your most special meal at Cedarmere, which will truly be magical and delicious. Again, you must think “Pinterest-Style” dining at the elegantly set table in the meadow. Be sure to use your new photography skills to capture this stunning table. The goal of this meal is bonding through friendship. You will partake in Christa’s famous Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls experience. Participants engage in making, chopping, creating. It is a special art form, a discipline of sorts, to roll the spring roll “beautifully.” The lunch foods, plus the spring rolls, will dazzle your eyes with color and you will feel you are eating the rainbow of health. Share your new skills with loved ones back home.

2:30 – 4 – The final activity is the ‘Snip and Sip’ workshop. Wine can help you be more creative! Begin with a 5 minute guided meditation to help ground you before you begin to arrange your conditioned flowers. Learn to work with the flower in the way it is. Let the flower guide you, rather than forcing it to go a certain way. Through flower arranging, we can learn to work with life with the way things are instead of trying to change the things around us. You will make + take your flower creation home with you. Limited space on the overhead racks in the bus, so our final product will be a mini-arrangement made out of your freshly picked peonies, other woodland materials (moss, birch bark) and placed in a whimsical vessel. The skills you learn can be used to make a larger one once you are back home.

4:00 – 4:30ish – before we hop back onto The Nature Bus to head home, is a time set aside for socializing with your new friends, while the chef will serve “heavy hors d’oeuvres.” This is also a special time for the “retreat closure,”  for saying our goodbyes to the wonderful hostess and chef and sharing our thoughts and feelings about our time together.

4:45 – We will make our journey back to Virginia Beach. We will stop mid-way for a 15 min stretch our legs, use the restroom, and then carry on. Depending upon the traffic, we should be back at REI/Town Center around 7:30ish, feeling grateful for having this opportunity to relax and unwind in such a unique way.  Love an Peace to all of you ~ Suzanne XOXOX 

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Venue:  

Address:
350 Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23462, United States

Keep informed about upcoming nature experiences that you won’t want to miss!