Friday morning, July 3rd, we arose, ready to continue northward through the Deep Creek Draw Bridge and Lock at the 8:30 opening. Unfortunately, a small recreational vessel wanted to come through from the north. That means we had to wait an additional forty-five minutes to an hour for them to come through the lock and bridge. Fortunately, we had little distance to cover today, so the wait was not all that difficult to endure. Robert, the Deep Creek Lock operator is one of a kind. He brought us coffee and strawberry yogurt filled with strawberries and bananas while we waited in the lock. He blew on our shofar and his conch shells for a while. He also waxed eloquent on the history of the Dismal Swamp and gave us information on the must see places in Norfolk while we are there. It was a joy to meet him. We’ll likely see him again in a few months as we head southward.
After transiting the lock, we only had nine nautical miles to cover. As we made our way up the south branch of the Elizabeth River, we had several bridges to pass through, including three lift bridges, which have not been very common along the ICW. Before long, we passed the Naval Shipyard and Portsmouth off to our port side. And finally, we crossed the bay and made our way into Norfolk where we had reserved a slip at the Waterside Marina for the weekend of the 4th of July. Two helpful dockhands were ready to help us tie up to the dock around 11:30 a.m.
We had established reaching Norfolk by the 4th as a goal several weeks ago. It was nice to pull into the city just as we had hoped. We quickly checked into the marina and, by 12:15, were catching the Elizabeth River Ferry over to High Street Landing in Portsmouth. Robert (the lock operator) had recommended we catch a meal and movie at The Commodore Theatre, a historic movie theater on High Street in Portsmouth. The Art Deco style building was built in 1945 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The artwork has been painstakingly reworked. The chandeliers are made of Italian leaded crystal. Large murals along the sides of the theater were repainted and enhanced. The huge screen and state of the art sound system makes it a wonderful movie-watching experience. The lower floor has numerous dining tables and comfortable chairs for its patrons. The food was actually quite good. And the movie was also very enjoyable, Jurassic World. After the movie, we caught the ferry back to the Norfolk side of the river where we relaxed for the rest of the day.