The Best of Norfolk & the Virginia International Tattoo

Discover military and art culture in Norfolk, then experience the nation’s largest military musical celebration at the Virginia International Tattoo, a tradition dating back to 1600.
Rating (4.67)
Program No. 18354RJ
5 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Adapted from a 17th-century European tradition of “taptoe,” a process of notifying innkeepers to turn off the tap and send soldiers back to their barracks, the term “tattoo” now represents a grand display of military music. At the Virginia International Tattoo, the largest one in the U.S., enjoy a range of internationally influenced performances from traditional military displays featuring drums, trumpets and drill to more modern lyrical and theatrical shows. Then, enhance your festival experience by learning more about Norfolk’s local military history with field trips by land and sea to General MacArthur’s Memorial and the harbor that’s home to the world’s largest naval base and America’s Atlantic Fleet. Sans ink and needle, this military and music-filled adventure is sure to leave a permanent impression.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Admire the Parade of Nations from reserved seats before exploring the Scope Arena with event directors for a behind-the-scenes look at the Virginia International Tattoo.
  • Enjoy a Road Scholar exclusive private performance from the decorated Virginia Coast Chorus, an affiliate of the globally-recognized Sweet Adelines International organization.
  • Delve deeper into the art culture of Norfolk with an adventure to the Norfolk Botanical Garden and a docent-led excursion at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

General Notes

Please note that this program utilizes school buses for short trips.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Historic Photos of Norfolk
by Peggy Haile McPhillips
From Norfolk Naval Base, the world's largest naval base, to the Norfolk Southern Railway, one of North America's largest railroads, Historic Photos of Norfolk is a photographic history collected from the areas top archives. With around 200 photographs, many of which have never been published, this beautiful coffee table book shows the historical growth from the mid 1800's to the late 1900's in stunning black and white photography. The book follows life, government, events and people important to Norfolk and the building of this unique city. Spanning over two centuries and two hundred photographs, this is a must have for any long-time resident or history lover of Norfolk!
Norfolk: A People's History
by Ruth A.Rose
With Norfolk: A People's History, Ruth A. Rose takes a fresh look at the people who made Norfolk but who are often overlooked in other versions of the city's history.
Legacy: Walter Chrysler Jr. and the Untold Story of Norfolk's Chrysler Museum of Art
by Peggy Earle
The Norfolk museum that would one day bear the Chrysler name was always a good museum of its kind, home to a respectable collection serving a smallish city. But when Norfolk native Jean Outland married Walter Chrysler, heir to the automobile manufacturing fortune and an avid art collector, the museum found a person with whom its fortunes would be intertwined, sometimes spectacularly, for decades to come. Walter had already established a Chrysler Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts, but in 1971—in need of more space and, admittedly, a fresh start—he relocated the operation to Norfolk. In Legacy, Peggy Earle paints a vivid picture of this provincial museum’s transformation into one of the finest art museums on the East Coast. She also delivers a captivating portrait of Walter Chrysler, a generous and demanding man who found in art patronage a focus not only for his wealth but also for his tremendous energy. Not content to merely admire the work, Walter had a naturally gregarious side and was apt to deal with artists such as Pablo Picasso directly. And yet he was also intensely private. Earle provides readers with a fascinating view of the politics of the museum world, where even good relationships are never uncomplicated. (The addition of the Chrysler collection’s works to the museum was not unanimously applauded by the community; nor was it a foregone conclusion that, upon Chrysler’s death, the pieces would even stay with the museum.) This lively account of the unlikely union between an arts maverick and a city on the cusp of cultural evolution sheds new light on how great art finds a place to call home.

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