This place where we live in southeastern Virginia has had quite a few names through the years. For many years, we were in Tidewater. Our AAA baseball team the Tides used to be the Tidewater Tides! Sometime in the 1980’s, Tidewater fell out of favor, and those with influence changed the name to Hampton Roads. What in the world is Hampton Roads?
A place with many names
The term "Roads" (short for roadstead) indicates the safety of a port; as applied to a body of water, it is "a partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor." In 1755, the Virginia General Assembly recorded the name "Hampton Roads" as the channel linking the James, Elizabeth, and Nansemond Rivers with the Chesapeake Bay.
You may have also heard the term the Seven Cities. That unfortunately excludes our friends in Williamsburg, Franklin, Gloucester, Yorktown, and other fine parts of the region. Coastal Virginia began to take hold just a bit in the 2010’s.
It’s all a bit confusing, right??
A new regional identity
In 2019, a group of civic leaders thought so, too. After all, Hampton Roads never really took hold. Most people from this part of the country say they are from Norfolk-Virginia Beach or something akin to that. This group conducted extensive surveys and concluded in December 2019:
So now we’re the 757! Or we are Hampton Roads, or Coastal Virginia, or Tidewater, or whatever you feel most comfortable saying.
Mostly, we just call it home.
No more FOMO
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