Chesapeake is a city located in the extreme southeastern portion of the state of Virginia. It is the second largest city in the state by land mass. The area around Chesapeake contains many square miles of protected forests, wetlands, and farms. For quite some time Chesapeake was considered to be a "bedroom community" to neighboring cities such as Norfolk and Virginia Beach, but recent changes have caused the city to grow and take on its own identity. Several businesses and industries have begun to move to the city, causing it to become more and more financially prosperous and independent of surrounding cities.
The southern location of the city has caused it to have a humid subtropical climate, meaning that summers are hot and humid and winters are mild with frequent rainfall. The most rain falls in the summer months of July and August. Summer temperatures generally stay in the 80's Fahrenheit and winter temperatures rarely dip below 40.
A popular attraction with visitors is the Chesapeake Arboretum. The arboretum houses hundreds of species of local plants and trees. The city is also famous for the Dismal Swamp Canal which runs through the city limits. George Washington originally surveyed the spot for this canal, earning it the nickname of "Washington's Ditch" with locals. It stands as the oldest canal in the continental United States and has been steadily used over the last 230 years. It connects Chesapeake to Elizabeth City, North Carolina to the south.
Chesapeake recently received nationwide attention during the trial of convicted murderer Lee Boyd Malvo in 2002. A grand jury convicted the young man of murder but withheld the death sentence, choosing instead to give the man life imprisonment without parole. The closest airports to Chesapeake are Norfolk International Airport and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Chesapeake Regional Airport is within the city limits but is very small. Most residents of Chesapeake choose to make the short drive to the Norfolk or Newport News airports to travel.
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