After spending the day enjoying the lush green pastures of a small-town park somewhere in northeastern North Carolina, Kevin Coughlin and I found ourselves racing to make it to Virginia to check out the scene at the famed Virginia Beach.
Pulling up to the shoreline, we saw no end in site to the continuous rows of storefronts and hotels that line the banks of the Atlantic at Virginia Beach. Phish lot was a small market compared to the commercial materialism that was flaring up on this modern coast. A far cry from the beauty and solitude that is the Outer Banks, NC. This place was seething with beach bums instead of wharf rats, as Phish lot would have provided.
Every business sold the same basic trinkets one may find at any beach shop; shell necklaces, free hermit crabs (if you buy the tank), t-shirts with profane sayings, Virginia Beach sweatshirts, and signs to hang on your wall mimicking the no swearing postings one finds all over town. Slightly ironic that the stores sell shirts that say, "She wants the D," yet it is clearly posted that one should not swear in the streets. What a strange place.
The plan was to find Coughlin a clean t-shirt, for he had dirtied the fourteen I had packed for him already and to purchase a comfortable dress for me to jive in at the Phish show in Portsmouth, VA. Asking a tattooed man with a gentle smile, piercings, and shaved head that worked at a airbrush kiosk, Coughlin and I were directed to a boutique a block west off of the main drag.
The store was called, Half Moon and it was exactly what Coughlin and I needed after roaming for a steaming ten blocks of Virginia Beach's concrete jungle. The large wooden building was cold inside and smelled of nag champa. This place must have been the Mecca of any hippie wandering through Virginia Beach on their travels.
A great relief to Coughlin and I, our dog Pig Pen was allowed access into the Half Moon. It was far too hot to leave him outside or back at the car. Half Moon had the charm of Phish lot condensed in to an air-conditioned farmhouse covered in Grateful Dead graffiti. As we browsed, Bob Marley's, "Get up, Stand up," echoed into our souls. We picked through Grateful dead t-shirts of all sorts, classic vinyl records in a room all to their own, hula-hoops, pins, crystals, and all kinds of handmade clothing for women. A Heavenly place to find anything one needs to look funky and feel good about the cause that you are supporting. Money in the hands of local artisans, Coughlin and I are all about it.
Coughlin and I found just what we needed at the Half Moon. Coughlin got a 'Steal your face' t-shirt that had a rainforest morphing into the skeleton's face and I was blessed with a super comfy green dress adorned with leaves and butterflies. The head at the counter was a red haired dready, (someone with dreads), who was kindhearted and gave out a calming vibe. Before we left, some pins caught Coughlins' eye. It was a full set of "Wizard of Oz" Phish pins, only $60 for the all four. We were already hurting for money so, there was no way we could make it happen, but they sure were snazzy.
The ten-block stride back to the car seemed faster than the journey to the Half Moon. Though still hot and bothered, Coughlin and I were glad we had been successful in our mission to find clothing for the Phish show at Portsmouth, VA. We pushed Pig Pen unwillingly into the car and blasted the AC stat. Off we were to discover all the wonders of Portsmouth, VA.