The 7th Annual Grand Illumination And Golf Cart Parade In Cape Charles, VA

December 8th, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_7178The 2017 Annual “Grand Illumination” kicked off the official start of the holiday season in Cape Charles, VA last Saturday evening with the 7th Annual “Grand Illumination” in Central Park. This community event was originated in 2010 by Citizens for Central Park and was hosted for many years by Chris Bannon of Sea Gate BnB ( aka Mr. Cape Charles ) as its delightful Master of Ceremonies. A newish addition to these festivities, the “Golf Cart Parade”, started just a few years ago with 11 participating carts. It grew and grew into this year’s dazzling parade of 33 golf carts, all gussied up, resplendent with lights and ornaments, smiling drivers and laughing passengers. Happy to note that Blue Heron Realty’s cart participated again this year for a 2nd time – – looking good, Blue Heron guys and gals !

By tradition, Christmas carols were sung by the gathered crowd, candles were lit and held aloft by the audience in memory ofDSC_7112 loved ones, hundreds of points of light, quite beautiful piercing the darkness of Central Park. And then, with a flip of a switch by the Mayor, thousands of lights on the Gazebo and on all the Park’s trees glowed brilliantly in the dark, a very Grand Illumination ! Afterwards, a jolly Santa Claus took Christmas requests from dozens of children whose heads would soon, no doubt, be dancing with visions of sugarplums. All this made cheerier under a bright moonlit sky, almost but not quite, the vaunted Super Moon, but very special nevertheless.

 

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THE SILVERY BEAMS OF THE 2017 SUPER MOON ON THE EASTERN SHORE OF VIRGINIA

December 5th, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_7212What appears brighter and bigger and might only appear but once a year ? A Super Moon ! And during the December 3rd the 2017 Super Moon, our moon orbited to its closest distance to earth for this entire year, making this silvery orb appear much brighter and larger than a normal full moon. Here are a few Eastern Shore Virginia Super Moon shots we took that night. From the vivid pink moonrise as it climbed above the horizon in Oyster, VA  to its pearly white aspect and glittering beams high in the sky above Cape Charles, it really was a beautiful sight !  I think Shakespeare said it best – – “How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank ! Here we will sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears. Soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony. “

By the way, soon, another Skywatchers delight ! A Blue Moon is coming – – In just a few weeks, the two Super Moons of 2018 will both take place in January, on the 2nd and 31st. The Moon on the 31st will be a “Blue Moon” as it is the second full moon in a calendar month. So, once in a blue moon … get ready to “croon love’s tune” to your honey by the light of these two silvery Super Moons !

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The 15th Annual Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour. A Real Pleasure, Always !

December 1st, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_6979If an event has been on going for 15 years and counting, it’s a pretty sure bet that its been very successful and is back yearly by popular demand. Such is clearly the case for the traditional Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour held annually on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year was another delight and a terrific opportunity to shop for unique gifts, large or small, for those special people in your life.

From little items like the adorably cute “mismatched” sox from Ten Good Sheep or a bottle of luscious Chardonnay from Chatham Winery to strikingDSC_7004 handcrafted furniture at Windsor Chair to gorgeous paintings and jewelry at Lemon Tree Gallery, plus lots of creative offerings from artists too numerous to mention at the many other venues, Tour 2017 shone with the multi-talents of our many Eastern Shore artists. ( Including that so-cute and so-silky herd from By The Bay Alpacas who gave their wool that others might purchase hand- woven super- soft scarves and more ! )

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And, even though not on the official Tour and time was short, we took a moment, after a quick lunch at the always- delicious Janet’s Cafe in Onancock, to drop in at the gallery of Danny Doughty. We love to check out his latest work and his always elegantly decorated Christmas tree. Wrapped up our day in Cape Charles at Lemon Tree Gallery which has a most impressive collection, showing variety of work from artists all over the Shore. By then, nearly sunset, can’t help myself, it was down to the beach for yet another shot of the ever- photogenic LOVE sign before heading home. Tour 2017 over – – but there is always next year !

 

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From Eastern Shore Virginia, A Holiday Time Travel To The Amazing Williamsburg Colonial Restoration Area

November 28th, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_6870For history buffs, the Eastern Shore of Virginia offers a cornucopia of delights- – our discovery and colonization in the early 1600’s, the trove of Colonial documents in the Eastville courthouse, the repository of the oldest continuous records in the US, the Arlington Plantation historic site, the Pear Valley yeoman’s cottage with a chimney brick dated 1631, our hundreds of historic homes lovingly restored and maintained. So it’s only natural that folks from the Shore feel a special kinship with that amazing re-creation of life in Colonial times, the Historic Area in Williamsburg, Virginia. Especially at the holidays.

 

 

To me, few things say holiday spirit and Yule tide decoration like the amazing all-natural wreaths and swags to be found on every door of every building in theDSC_6807 Historic Area. So, as often as possible, we try to have our traditional family turkey/stuffing/trimmings Thanksgiving dinner, complete with kids, grandkids and now, great grandkids, on Wednesday evening. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, hubby and I plus Eldest Daughter, etc. have lunch in Williamsburg at one of the old Taverns or at the gorgeously decorated Lodge.

DSC_6791One of the great things about living on the Eastern Shore is its central location- -we are so close to so many great places. So a trip to Williamsburg is a zip, zip of less than 2 hours, easy peasy. But when you arrive, it’s like stepping out of a time capsule, immediately drawn into a Colonial world, complete with horse drawn carriages, sheep grazing on the village green and residents going about their day dressed in long woolen cloaks, beribboned bonnets and tri-corn hats.

But first, lunch. From the many buffet choices, including a savory white bean bisque with fennel and sausage, a DSC_6760delicious roast pork with figs and new potatoes plus a myriad of salads, cheeses and charcuterie galore in between, lunch at The Lodge was truly delightful. The only thing I shall mention about the amazing dessert table is that the gingerbread with custard sauce was divine, exceeded only by the demi-tasse cups of decadent hot chocolate. Enough said, it was great !

DSC_6851But the big event of The Day is always the walk afterwards down Duke of Gloucester Street to see the wreaths. After all these years, I still love it as much as I did the very first time we came. The beauty of the decorations, the pine fragrance of all the greenery, the smoke from the bonfire, the cadence of the horse carriages as they travel down the street, the friendly dogs taking their masters for a walk, the excitement of the kids as the cannon booms, the smiling faces all around – – this says holiday to me.

 

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Looking In The Rear View Mirror, It’s Goodbye Eastern Shore Summer 2017

November 21st, 2017 by Marlene email

Golf carts sunset.brighter croppedDefinitely past time to bid farewell to that sweetest season of sun, sand and fun here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Summer. We clung tightly, reveling in the extra gift of many lovely days of Indian Summer we had this year. But now it’s time to just face it – – summer’s over ! The colorful vibrancy of Autumn is now upon us, with some chilly days in winter soon to follow. But not to worry, just close the eyes and memories of those lazy, hazy, glorious days of Summer 2017 shall ever sweetly spring to mind….  Goodbye Summer….

 

 

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From Pea Soup Fog To Clear As A Bell, A Beautiful Morning For Photos In Willis Wharf, VA.

November 17th, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_5021Up early one morning in late October and decided on the spur of the moment that it might be a perfect Indian Summer day to get some pretty sunrise pictures at the seaside harbor in the tiny Eastern Shore village of Willis Wharf, the picturesque aquaculture capitol of Northampton Co. But about half way down the driveway, I realized that a thick blanket of fog had settled over the landscape. Hmm, to stay or to go ? Decided to go. Although barely peeking over the horizon as I zipped into the harbor, the sun was already engaged in battle with the fog, valiantly trying to penetrate the thick mists hovering over Parting Creek inlet. It took some time, but the sun won, insto-presto, no more fog ! And thus rewarded with a real variety of photos, the early ones hazy and obscured by the fog, the last ones crystal clear, including some with gorgeous water reflections. All in all, an interesting hour in a quaint little seaside village.

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Looking For Waterfront? Consider This Striking Custom Home On Deep Water Near Cape Charles, VA

November 10th, 2017 by Marlene email

Gass aeiral viewAn elegant 4 bedroom, 3 and a half bath brick French Provincial designed by famed architect William E. Poole, this is one of the most impressive waterfront homes on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Features an open and airy floor plan which maximizes its many dramatic water views. Be it sunny blue sky or spectacular hues reflected in the water at sunset, the amazing scenes of Nature viewed through the huge picture window in the great room are inspirational !Meticulous craftsmanship and detail throughout. First floor master suite, cherry floors, vaulted ceilings, chef’s kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, central vac and many, many more upgrades. Great home for entertaining with its huge covered porch overlooking the water ! A boater’s dream, with super easy access to the Chesapeake Bay from the like-new deep water dock with boat lift. Priced at $990,000. Only 20 minutes from the quaint historic waterfront town of Cape Charles offering soft sand beach, 2 marinas and Palmer and Nicklaus Signature Golf courses.

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Oyster, VA — Your Connection To Some Fabulous Seaside Fishing

November 10th, 2017 by Marlene email

For easy access to some great seaside fishing on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the boat ramp in Oyster is a prime launch pad.  And I have come to the conclusion, albeitB1 non-scientific, that there is a reason behind the term “fishermen” because several weeks ago, all the early Saturday morning boats launching from the ramps in this tiny Eastern Shore town were filled with fisher  “men”.   There were a few fisherboys, but not a fisherwoman or fishergirl in sight.  This surprised me because, even though I am not one of them, I know a lot of gals who are fisherwomen, Big Time !  I was in Oyster near dawn hoping to get some good sunrise photos of the harbor and fishing boats heading out to our pristine off-shore Barrier Islands and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, figuring a Saturday morning would offer a good opportunity to photograph a real variety of boats. After watching 7 or 8 boats push out from the ramp, it suddenly dawned on me that the folks in each of the boats were all guys, nary a woman in sight.  Not sure what this shows, if anything at all, except that quite a few guys probably had a great time fishing that Saturday, hope they caught their limits! 

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SUNRISE AT RED BANK

November 10th, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_4734If you haven’t discovered the newly renovated Northampton County boat ramp at Red Bank, you have missed a treat. Heralded at the end of a long narrow, winding road by a rugged, weathered sign announcing that you have arrived at Red Bank, you notice first the sturdy new pilings topped by shiny white caps that glisten in the early morning light. Nearby, a handicapped parking space is perfectly positioned for rolling right out on thick new planks of the docks. But best of all, a tangy salty aroma and a serene stillness broken only by sounds from Mother Nature greet visitors to this quiet seaside hamlet. As we arrived, the brick red sun had just begun its daily climb, barely peeking over the horizon, its first rays shimmering in the nearly crimson waters. Crystal clear reflections of the piers, boats, trees and nearby buildings began gleaming in the salty waters of the creek. Tide flowing out, seabirds calling overhead, herons strutting the low tide flats, stealthily searching out a tasty breakfast, just another peaceful Eastern Shore morning.

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25 Years Later Still Going Strong- – The C.B.E.S. Annual Eastern Shore VA Bike Tour!

November 3rd, 2017 by Marlene email

DSC_5861The annual “Between the Waters” Bike Tour sponsored by CBES, Citizens For A Better Eastern Shore, is one of the largest eco-tourism events held annually on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This event is capped at 1000 participants and was again sold out this year which marks the event’s 25th Anniversary. The 2017 weekend actually began on Friday afternoon with a “Fun Ride” from Nassawadox into the surrounding neighborhoods. The official Tour start was from Sunset Beach Resort, with the 100 Mile Ride kicking off as the rooster crowed at 7:30 am. We arrived about 8:30 and registration was very brisk for the 25, 40 and 60 mile Rides as folks checked in and picked up their route info. In another corner of the room, raffle tickets were being sold for the original of the striking and vibrant Bethany Simpson painting which was commissioned to represent the Shore for this year’s Tour

Smiling bikers swirled around the room, selecting a treat or two from the complementary snack bar offerings of fruits, muffins, etc., trying to consume a last DSC_6086bit of energy before setting out to travel over hill and dale, traveling the Shore’s countryside. Oops, no hills and dales here, just delightfully flat terrain, easy on the legs, and a marvelous opportunity to enjoy the blue water vistas, serene fields and woodlands, the scenic views of autumn on the Shore.

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We set out to get some photos the 25 Mile Ride which took the bikers, peddling mostly on singles but some tandem bikes too plus a few recumbents, from a Sunset Beach departure. The route wound basically up the Seaside Road scenic byway, eventually to a crossover at Arlington Road with a rest and water break at a farm shed across from a field of ripe soybeans. From there, bikers pushed on past the Custis Tomb historic landmark on the Old Plantation Creek inlet and a pedal through the lovely little Chesapeake Bay neighborhood surrounding it, enjoying picturesque vistas of the Shore’s farms, woodlands and blue waters. The 25 Mile riders then headed south along Seaside Road back to Sunset Beach, then drove to Eastville for lunch. But the 40 Mile riders continued on north, with a rest stop at historic Travis Chapel near the harbor in Oyster, then north to a Rt. 13 crossing at Eastville’s Willow Oak Drive traffic light for lunch.

At picturesque Windrush Farm in Eastville, hungry bikers were treated to a rest and a boxed lunch of delicious assorted wraps, chips and fruit catered by wellDSC_6148 known Bill’s Restaurant in Chincoteague. Music and song entertainment by Nathan Travis & Company as well as plenty of tail wagging from a friendly dog with interesting face markings who was delighted to soak up much petting from just about everyone there. A little medic tent was on-site for those who might need it but fortunately there didn’t seem to be many in need. A volunteer with a pickup truck drove behind the bikers on each route, ready to help anyone with equipment or other problems but, fortunately, it didn’t seem like there were many of those problems either.

Clearly the real stars of this event are its many, many volunteers. I can only imagine the effort and organization it takes administratively to put on a 1000 participant Bike Tour each October. But on the actual day, the sheer number of volunteer “boots on the ground” needed to make the event run smoothly clearly is tremendous. From the Friday Fun Ride, to Saturday’s bustling registrations, pre-start helpers, all the different rest stops, the various lunch venues, etc., cheerful volunteers were there to make sure everything ran smoothly for the four different Rides. And run smoothly it did ! Plus special kudos to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel whose personnel stood out in Rt. 13 for hours on end to assure safe crossings over the highway because nothing can take the fun out of an event like an accident ! Crowned by the evening Oyster Roast, the 25th Anniversary Tour was over and now it’s onward to organizing the 26th !

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