What's New in Newport News?
Bourbon Micro-Distillery To Open Downtown – A bourbon micro-distillery will soon be opening in downtown Newport News in a 30,000 sq. ft. building near Newport News Shipbuilding. In a nod to the Battle of the Hampton Roads, the business is called Ironclad Distillery. Its location – in a 102-year-old former dry goods warehouse at 124 23rd Street – is near the site of the famous battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (also known as the Merrimack). Bourbon production will start with six small 26-gallon boilers and stills after the business receives its ABC license. The bourbon will age in wooden American white oak barrels. Given the distillery’s proximity to the humid, brackish air of the nearby James River, the bourbon is expected to have a “unique flavor.” Future plans call for a tasting area, tours of the micro-distillery operation, a distillery store, and a partnership with The Mariners’ Museum/USS Monitor Center to better tell the story of the ironclad vessels that made wooden battleships obsolete and hastened the end of the Civil War.
Out With The Old And In With The New – When it was dedicated on Nov. 17, 1928, the James River Bridge ranked as the longest span in the world. In the early 1980s, when the bridge was replaced, part of it was converted into a fishing pier – at that time, the longest fishing pier on the East Coast, measuring just shy of 3,000 feet. In late December 2013, the City of Newport News closed the pier and eight months later began building a new one. The first section of the pier, which extends 900 feet, opened in May 2015. The pre-cast concrete fishing pier is 24-feet wide at its base and transitions to 12-feet in width for the remainder of the pier. The second section, to be completed by the end of August 2015, will extend the pier to 1,252 feet and include a floating dock and gangway. Future plans for the pier call for another 1,400 feet to be added, for a total of 2,652 feet upon completion.
New Event Incorporates City’s Ideal Geography! Take a tour of Newport News – marathon style! The city’s first full marathon, called the Newport News One City Marathon, debuted in 2015 and will make a comeback in March 2016. Runners will again begin their journey in the stunning setting of Newport News Park and then run the entire 26-mile length of the city – the magic number for a marathon! On the course, participants will experience the very best Newport News has to offer: the beautiful campus of Christopher Newport University, the historic James River, the picturesque Mariners’ Museum Park, the streets of Historic Hilton Village – plus more – before making their final approach toward the world-renowned Newport News Shipyard, where the finish line awaits at Victory Arch. The race will be followed by the “One City, One Celebration” in Victory Landing Park.
An Expanded and Enhanced Exhibit – The U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis now features an expanded exhibit on Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. The 5,000 sq. ft. gallery took more than 18 months to complete and features new artifacts, along with interactive audio and visual technologies. Because the previous gallery was only 1,200 sq. ft., its storyline had ended in 2010 in Afghanistan. The expanded gallery tells the story of Transportation Corps soldiers through these conflicts, transitioning from Desert Shield and Desert Storm through a chronology of 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. It highlights the changes, challenges, and hazards that were faced by U.S. Army soldiers.
New Tennis Operations Center Opens at Huntington Park Tennis Center – Newport News has a new tennis operations center at its Huntington Park Tennis Center. Located at 340 Hornet Circle, near the James River Bridge, the center’s new 5,108 sq. ft. building includes lockers, bathrooms, showers, a pro shop, a conference room, and a multi-purpose room that will be used by officials for tournaments. The Huntington Park Tennis Center offers many activities on its 20-lighted outdoor hard courts. It has been the site of the regional and state USTA Junior and Adult tournaments and also the site of the AAU Junior Olympic Games tennis competition. Its seating capacity is 150 at each of the three main courts. The area also features a 60-acre park with a public beach and public boat ramp, a rose garden, ball fields, and Fort Fun, a 15,000 square foot playground overlooking the James River. A concession stand is open in the summer months at Huntington Park Beach, where you will also find the Crab Shack Restaurant at the foot of the James River Bridge.