Archive for December, 2010

Season’s Greetings From The Blue Heron Realty Co. Crew

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

It’s that time of year again,  the season when just about everybody pauses and takes a time-out from some of the  daily grind  to reach out to help others  who are less fortunate.   And,  as well,  to say thank you and express  appreciation to those who are so important to us,  our family, our friends and of course,  our clients and customers.   The year 2010 has been a very difficult year for many,  not just on Virginia’s Eastern Shore  but throughout this entire country.   However,  hope springs eternal and we are all hoping for a much better year for everyone in 2011.  In the meantime,  we would like to simply say  “Thank- you”  to all those who have listed or purchased property through the Blue Heron Realty Co. crew as well as  to those who have been taken the time to read this blog on life and real estate on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  So from Lemoin,  Marlene,  Montaigne,  Mike,  Gerry,  Heather,  Kay and Lisa in our Machipongo, Virginia  office and from  Dave,  Eva  and Jennifer in our Cape Charles, Virginia office,  thanks so much,  our  best wishes for the holidays and have a very happy,  healthy and prosperous New Year.   See you in 2011 !

From Our House To Your House, Season's Greetings And A Happy And Prosperous New Year From The Blue Heron Realty Co. Crew !

‘Twas A Crisp December Night For The 15th Annual Cape Charles, Virginia Holiday Tour & Progressive Dinner

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Luminaries light the way to "Willow Lawn"

For the past 14 years,  as a fundraiser to benefit  local organizations,  the Cape Charles -Northampton Chamber of Commerce has hosted this wonderful holiday event of open houses and public buildings with  each one,  in progression,  serving its portion of a very festive dinner. (  Which is why,  duh,  it’s called a  “progressive dinner”,  nothing to do with politics here,   just some good old-fashioned holiday celebration.)  And its always been held in the little coastal town of Cape Charles, Virginia,  home to many gorgeous Victorian historic homes,  always dressed to the nines for the holidays .   As we all know,  incredible Christmas decorating is to Victorian as  gliding on the breeze is  to birds —  about the most fun you can have !   This year, however,  the venue for this iconic dinner tour was changed to Eastville, Virginia,  just a few minutes north of Cape Charles.

1793 Courthouse, Clerk's Office and Debtor's Prison On Courthouse Green, Eastville, Virginia

A slight digression.  I’ve always thought it a bit unfair that very early Virginia history is not better known.   ( If asked about the earliest Colonial settlements,   in my experience,  most people automatically say  Mayflower,  Plymouth Rock,  Pilgrims .   But they would lose their Jeopardy Points because the Pilgrims  didn’t dip  their  smelly little toes  ( think 2  month trip,  no jacuzzi )  into the icy cold waters of  Cape Cod  Bay until the winter of 1620.  But by that time,  the Eastern Shore had already been colonized  by the Virginia Company of London,  folks who  were no doubt enjoying our mild climate and the moderate water temperatures of the Chesapeake Bay.  Unfortunately, we just don’t get widespread credit for our early accomplishments.  )   Eastville  itself plays a very big part in the Shore’s history as it was,  and still is,  the seat of Northampton County.   Repository of the oldest continuous land records in the United States,  dating to 1623,   historians and genealogists from all over the country  have come to the Northampton County Courthouse in Eastville to examine the  old wills,  deeds and records of Court proceedings,  all of  which offer amazing insights into life in those  early Colonial times.   But back to the  2010 Progressive Dinner Tour,  held in this beautifully preserved historic town,  where the Tour even included the Courthouse Green where  appetizers were served  in the 1731 old Courthouse which is next to what was once the Debtor’s Prison.  ( In an interesting twist of logic, apparently the colonists believed that the best solution to debt was to lock up the offender rather than leave him free to try to earn the money to pay the debt !  )

Some crisp salad greens, a little goat cheese, sprinkled with cranberries & pecans- Yum !

Groups gathered  by designated reservation times which started about 5 pm,  last Tour about  8:30.   From there it was shank’s mare,  walking onward and upward,  following the paths laid out by brightly glowing luminaries,   to the  seven different venues,  each one featuring  a new and delicious food item and  new musical entertainment.   A special thanks is owed to the staffs  of the historic Eastville Inn,  built in 1780,   for providing the entree as well as to Kelly’s Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles,  Aqua in Cape Charles,  Don Valerio’s and Yuk and Joe’s,  both of Eastville, and the Exmore Diner,  Exmore,   for all their hard work in preparing  the great food featured at  this event–  guys and gals,  you really pulled it off !   And to all those who played or sang their hearts out,  your  music added so much to the entire evening — bravo !   

Delicious entree, delightful music at the historic Eastville Inn, circa 1780

“Coventon” ,  built in 1795 and owned by the current family for over 100 years,  hosted an  appetizer of taquitos with a very creamy guacamole,  then it was on to “The Little House”,  built in 1882 and renovated in 2005,  where a terrific salad of baby greens  garnished with goat cheese, pecans and  cranberries was served.  A  soup course of butternut squash soup  accompanied by  the traditional southern holiday treat  of  fluffy sweet potato biscuits stuffed with salty country ham were served at the old courthouse complex.  From there to  “Willow Lawn”,   built about 1895 and  named for the  tremendous willow oak tree  standing sentinel on the front lawn,  where a trio of cheeses  were paired with  Chatham Vineyard’s  local crafted wines.  Doubling back  to the beautifully decorated Eastville Inn where  Chef  Charles Thain served a delicious entree of  breast of chicken in a herbed cream sauce  nestled on a bed of Virginia ham with three grain rice and haricots vert on the side.  Onward  to the final stop on the Tour,  “Boxwood”,   built in 1923,  home of the Mayor of Eastville,  named for its lovely boxwood garden.  There a scrumptiously rich dessert  of  triple berry bread pudding  paired  with a lush sweet dessert wine  from local winery,  Holly Grove Vineyards,  and freshly brewed coffee from the Eastern Shore Coffee Company brought this grand dinner celebration to a close.  And so on that crisp December evening,  the 15th Annual Holiday Progressive Dinner Tour proved every bit as  successful as its predecessors,  leaving everyone  who attended looking forward to  the 16th Annual coming next year !

Gone Is The Wind But Dreaming Of A Little Snow

Monday, December 20th, 2010

One of the things I have always loved about the Eastern Shore of Virginia is its great weather- long pleasant autumns and springs,  hot parts of summer and winter quite short.  And fall this year was beautiful,  gorgeous blue October skies,  perfect temperatures most of the time, trees more exuberant than usual in November with their colorful foliage.   The first week of December was nice too– started out in the high 60’s and averaged in the mid-40’s.   But  last week was a proverbial pain in the you-know-what, with temperatures in the mid-30’s and breezy too.   Definitely not my kind of weather at all but sometimes you get  to take the bad with the good.

Sunrise Over The Orchard

And wouldn’t you know it,  these chilly temps and windy days came just as we were waiting for the installer to come back to add a loop to the dog’s invisible fence.  When the fence was originally installed we didn’t run it across the gate area figuring that the gate was so far away from the house that the dogs would never figure out that it was a free zone.   Wrong again,  the two Newfies  figured it all out although it took them a while  to do so.  Naturally they took advantage of this new-found knowledge to sneak a visit to the dogs next door,  next door being about a 50 acre farm so they have a ways to travel to make a visit.  And although our human neighbor loves Pumpkin and Honey,  his dogs are a bit scared of  them.  Pumpkin is now sized more like a small pony than a dog,  Honey a close second.  There is nothing in the world, including food,  that Pumpkin and Honey like better than to meet other dogs and start to play,  making little woofing sounds  and doing the prancing around thing to encourage a game of tag.  However,  to a small dog,  I imagine that the so-called little woofing sounds are more like a deep base barks and the prancing around likely involves having a 150 pound playmate’s  foot land on you somewhere.  So it’s easy to see why our dogs can sometimes be a bit intimidating to their smaller brethren.  In the meantime,  before the installer got  here  ( he does this only part-time so unfortunately,  it was  going to be another few days ) as the person who gets up first,  I was elected to take the dogs out for their first duty call of the day,  usually in my fluffy warm bathrobe,  fleece scarf,  maybe even gloves.  The last couple of days before he came were cold and windy,  unusually windy,  I had been muttering hurry up,  hurry up,  HURRY UP as the dogs dawdled around.   But then Tuesday the wind was gone,  it was just beautiful,  with crisp,  calm air.  Out there about 6:30 am,  the sun was just coming up over the woods,  the sky an azure blue,  punctuated with  small,  fluffy clouds, everything overlaid with a deep, deep pink glow,  just gorgeous.   

A Little Sunrise Water Colour In Shades Of Pink And Violet

 Zipping  Honey back  inside,  I grabbed my camera,  setting out with Pumpkin  to try and capture the wintry scene.  High overhead,  honking  geese were heading in the direction of our neighbor’s pond– the sounds always intrigue Pumpkin,  although I’m never sure if she can actually see them,  she does love hearing them.   I was a bit late to film the very deepest colors over the orchard but the waterfront  was starting to pink up nicely.  Click, click, click,   then back inside for a hot cup of coffee,  a  pot of  “Machipongo Morning”,  a delicious blend from the Eastern Shore Roasting Company located in Exmore, Virginia.   I  brewed  an extra full  pot  because the weatherman had said  we were going to get an inch or more of actual white flakes before it turned to rain.  Since Northampton County almost always gets  rain instead when nearby places get snow ( the moderating influence of  the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean at our very narrow southern tip), when  the weatherman says snow,  I always want to make the most of  this little treat of  Nature,  by  just relaxing,  coffee mug in hand,  watching the flakes as they fall,  fall,  fall,  knowing  that likely they will be melted and gone by the next day.

Candles And Carols, Lights And Smiles Highlighted The 1st Annual Grand Illumination In Cape Charles, Virginia

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Follow The Luminaries To Find The Gazebo

Newly dedicated this past September,   the Cape Charles, Virginia  Central Park was the site of  the  1st Annual Grand Illumination scheduled for  6:30 Saturday evening,  December 4th.  My granddaughter and I arrived  early after having had a nice afternoon on the Victorian Stroll,  touring three lovely Cape Charles Victorian B&B  historic homes.  ( If you are thinking about buying a Victorian home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  check out our website, . )  Volunteers,  like busy elves, were lighting the hundreds of  luminaries that had been placed on each side of the  Park’s long curved walkways and around the perimeters of the fountain, welcome  points of light gleaming in the falling darkness.   About 6:15  people started to arrive,  eager to participate in this very first Illumination event for the Park, young,  old,  teenagers,  toddlers,  everybody wearing  a smile,  ready with cheery  holiday hello,  heading over to the Gazebo,   following the curving path outlined by glowing  luminaries.

Chris Bannon, Master of Ceremonies, With The Choir

Chris Bannon  ( of  Seagate B&B,  part of the earlier Victorian Stroll ),  dressed in a bright red Santa jacket and hat,  acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Once everybody had gathered round the huge Park gazebo,  organizers passed out candles and a  choir sang a selection of carols,  audience joining in.  It was a pretty chilly night by  Eastern Shore Virginia standards and I hadn’t brought a coat,  just a blazer and scarf,  having not properly accounted for the strong breeze factor.  So  by the time everyone was singing  Jingle Bells,  I was stomping my feet to the beat of the music to keep warm.  Jingle bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp,  Jingle Bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp…  You get the picture.  Fortunately,  my granddaughter had come prepared —  jacket,  beanie,  mittens,  so at least she was toasty warm even as I was doing  jazzercise steps.   The candles were then lit,  in honor of  and in memory of loved ones,  by the  Town Manager, the Chief of Police and a representative of the Cape Charles Coast Guard Station who all came down into the audience to do the honors after being introduced by Chris.

Candles and Carols

Candles burned brightly,  another round of carols was sung,  more jazzercise for me.   Then the big moment was almost there,  time for the Countdown to Illumination,  time to turn on the thousands of lights that had been strung to decorate  Central Park by the Cape Charles Public Works Department.  Mayor Dora Sullivan did the honors ….  5, 4 ,3, 2, 1.  Simultaneously, as instructed,  the audience blew out their candles and as they did so,  Mayor Sullivan threw the light switch.  Voila,  lights shone brightly throughout the Park,  beautiful to behold,  a reward in sparkling  colors,  a gift to everyone there from  “Citizens for Central Park”,  a  group  which worked tirelessly over the years to help make the Park and moments like this possible  for the Town and its residents ! 

Straight From The North Pole, Santa And Mrs. Claus

 With  the dazzling blue lights  decorating the roof  of the  gazebo shining brilliantly above them,  Santa and Mrs. Claus made a  “surprise”  appearance,  even did a little  North Pole style do-se-do for the delighted crowd,  then settled down to visit  with some very excited kids.   Santa dispensed smiles and hugs,  kids shyly whispered their gift requests,  then said goodbye,  smiles on their faces,  candy canes in their hands,  no doubt visions of sugar plums dancing  in their heads.   Candles, carols and candy canes,  lights,  smiles and friendship —  highlights of  the very first of what we hope are many more Grand Illuminations to come at  the Cape Charles Central Park.

A Jam Packed Day — The Victorian Stroll And The 1st Annual Grand Illumination In Cape Charles, Virginia

Friday, December 10th, 2010

It’s that time again,  the celebrations of  the holidays  are upon us !   This year,  three of the  Bed and Breakfasts  located in the historic area of  Cape Charles, Virginia offered a new afternoon event,  the Victorian  Stroll.  Entirely fitting of course,  because Cape Charles is Virginia’s prettiest  Victorian coastal town, especially during the holidays.  ( See our listings  of  Victorian historic homes for sale in Cape Charles at )  Throughout town,  eves,  gables and front porches are aglow with thousands of twinkling lights in reds and greens, blues and yellows.  I especially love the strings of  white lights,  they glitter and burn with such intensity.  Also scheduled for early  evening that same day was the 1st Annual Grand Illumination in the newly dedicated Cape Charles Central Park.  So my six year old granddaughter and I decided to do the town pink and go to both events.

Seagate B&B

First off  on our tour was  Seagate B&B,  located just a stone’s throw from Cape Charles’ excellent sand beach. ( ) Proprietor Chris Bannon gave us the grand tour of his lovely home which has the notable distinction of being the  longest continuously operating  B&B  in Cape Charles.  Chris had his entire home dressed to the T  for the holidays but our favorite room was the formal dining room.  Featuring  a library area and lots of antiques, the beautiful  dining room looked as it must have looked in yesteryear,  mantel decorated with pine roping and other greenery, elaborate stockings hung  for Santa to fill,  sideboard festive , classic table set with holiday candles,  plush oriental rug in deep reds gracing the hardwood floor.  And presiding over it all, lounging in her antique chair with soft  red velvet cushions, was Raggedy Ann,  large as life and awfully cute,  keeping a close eye on the nearby Christmas tree, watching for more presents to appear.  Then we said goodbye to Chris,  who was off  to Central Park to help get ready for  the 6:30 Grand  Illumination.

Cape Charles House B&B

Next stop,  Cape Charles House. ( )  Walking into the wide foyer area, we were greeted by Carol Evans, who together with her husband Bruce, operates  this elegant  B&B,  a recipient of the coveted Governor’s Hospitality Award.  Carol said that Bruce had been a bit short of time and hadn’t finished all the planned decorating but the house looked lovely to us,  festive garland strung around the doors, stockings hung beneath the mantel.   The large dining room table featured a luxurious arrangement of magnolia cuttings, the deep green shiny leaves perfect for the season,  tastefully complementing the green wall color.   Upstairs, I especially loved the decor of the   “Thomas Dixon Room”, with its spinning wheel,  dressmaker’s form hung with a 1900’s silk dress  and  ladies’ old fashioned high boot hung from the mantel.   However, the hit of  Cape Charles House  for  my granddaughter was not the great decor or the festive Christmas greenery– no,  it was a huge,  fat and furry white cat asleep on the bed, completely undisturbed by the swirl of people  touring thorough.  When  she decided to pet it,  kitty  just raised his head,  stared at her,  then lay back down again,  completely bored by it all— until suddenly up he jumped,  making  a beeline for the back stairs to the kitchen,  leaving all his admirers behind !

Sterling House B&B

Final stop on the Victorian Stroll tour,  Sterling House  ( ),  run by proprietor Steve Hairfield with  his rescued greyhound, Duelin,  as the second in command.  When we entered the long foyer with its gorgeous  hardwood floors,  Steve was kind enough to ask Duelin to come downstairs to greet my granddaughter.  Definitely it was love at first sight !   Child and dog settled on the sofa to discuss secrets of the season,  lights from the beautifully decorated tree glowing softly beside them.    Steve has a great deal of  Cape Charles artwork displayed and the paintings of scenes from the beach and marina really add to the flavor of  this home where the Chesapeake Bay can be seen from the front porch.  Like Seagate and Cape Charles House,  the dining room at Sterling House was dressed in its best,  decorated for the season and looking  picture perfect,  with greenery, candles, mantel pieces, striking  red tablecloth and poinsettias.  Dusk was well settled as we were leaving about 5:30.  Outside,  the long strings of  bright white lights  sparkled and glowed,  illuminating this striking home and the be-ribboned wreathes hanging from its windows,  a dazzling holiday sight.   And more festivities yet to come at the Grand Illumination later !

PBS: Double The Flavor, Lucky Twice Over – Reflections On Public Broadcasting On The Eastern Shore of Virginia

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Normally  PBS  has some especially great musical performances as part of  their pledge efforts,  offering  CD’s and/or DVD’s of the performances as part of their thank-you for a pledge.  Watching Saturday night’s special pledge period program,  Folk Music Rewind,  brought back memories of  a lot of stuff I hadn’t  thought about  for quite a while.   I guess my college years were just about the heyday of the folk music movement and like everybody I knew on campus, I  loved  that  music.  More than that,  the 60’s  folk music wasn’t just a reflection of changing times and changing philosophy,   it was helping shape social  and political opinion,  not just on college campuses,  but all over the country.   As one of the program’s commentators said ,  this is music that actually changed the world.   Who can forget songs like  Bob Dylan’s  Blowing in the Wind  or Pete Seegar’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone?  ( I hadn’t thought about those songs for years and years but,  surprisingly,  words and melody  were still tucked away in the ole noggin. )  And  Peter, Paul and Mary’s rendition of  If I Had A Hammer ?   Or Bobby Darien’s  Simple Song of Freedom,  which came later of course,  after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.   Watching  that program Saturday night was  like having a wave wash over me,  bringing  my college days back in living color —-  the concerts,  the gab-fests,  trudging through mile -high W. Lafayette,  Indiana  snow in the freezing cold  ( it’s the  bad weather capital of the mid-West)  to get to an 8 am class,  humming the latest  songs,  going to rallys,  signing petitions,  eating pizza or Stromboli while studying til midnight,  cramming for exams,  the  luscious chocolate ice cream cones sold at  the agriculture building  (addicted to chocolate even then),  playing bridge till the wee hours,  meeting kids from all over the country,  the intensity of it all.   And in the background of everything,  the folk music that was  an integral part of our lives,  a generation that thought it could make a difference, that we could overcome injustice,  volunteering for the Peace Corps,  marching for civil rights,  demonstrating for peace. 

All these memories were brought back in an instant  by this one  great show,  so thanks PBS,  we love your programming.   I can’t even begin to count the wonderful,  commercial- free  shows  sponsored by PBS and their affiliates that have engaged and entertained us over the years,  Masterpiece Theatre,  NOVA  (,  Antiques Roadshow,  Frontline,  Nature,  everything Ken Burns,  Mystery,  the BBC comedy lineup on Saturday nights,  Great Performances  ( ),  American Experience,  America’s Test Kitchen, I could go on and on and on and on,  but I won’t.   Well, one more—- let no one forget PBS’ superlative children’s programming !    Who doesn’t love Cookie Monster ?   And it’s so easy to  just go on-line to buy a copy of an especially good program through their   website.

So that’s why I think that on the Eastern Shore of Virginia we are so lucky,  doubly lucky in fact,  to have PBS and NPR programing broadcast  from stations in two directions.  To the south,  from Norfolk,  WHRO  tv  ( )  and on the radio, its two stations, WHRV fm and  WHRO fm (mostly classical music) .  To the north,  from Salisbury, MD. , WCPB tv  (,  on the radio as WSCL fm.   It’s amazing that while so many other areas aren’t even able to receive clear transmissions from any public broadcasting  station,  on the Eastern Shore,  we have two opportunities.   When we’re in the car,   about the time WHRV fades out driving  north,  WSCL  just kicks right in.   I mean,  what would life be without  NPR’s   Morning Edition,  All Things Considered,   Prairie Home Companion  ( It’s been a quiet week in Lake Webegon,  Garrison Keilor’s  hometown…..),  Splendid Table,  Science Friday  (which I love but hardly ever have time to listen to ) etc., etc..   Or on Saturday mornings,  if I’m in the car,  Click and Clack, The Car Guys …   I could really care less about car mechanicals,  just want my car to  run run run,  but those guys are so funny and the call-in questions so zany, one  can’t help but love the show,  sort of  like the long-gone TV series  Coach— I  don’t care for football  but Hayden,  Luther and Dauber were some funny, funny guys.   So at my house we are definitely thankful to have two public broadcasting stations.   And  for those of our readers who are  thinking about buying  Eastern Shore Virginia real estate  ( ) but are  afraid they might not be able to  get their daily fix of   Fresh Air,   fear not.  Like Spearmint,  we’ve got  double the flavor,  double the  fun.

The 2010 Thanksgiving Weekend Open Art Studio And Vineyard Tour— An Eastern Shore Of Virginia Tradition

Monday, December 6th, 2010

 Thanksgiving weekend marked the  8th annual self guided tour of some of the Eastern Shore’s  numerous art studios and vineyards.    From Cape Charles on the southern tip to Chincoteague on the northern tip,  the welcome mat and refreshments were out for all those folks interested in seeing  artist’s demonstrations and in purchasing direct from the studio.  It was  the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with the many artisans who live and work  on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.   As elsewhere, Thanksgiving week-end is a busy time here on the Shore,  with visitors from far and near coming to celebrate the holiday.   The Studio Tour is the perfect opportunity to get out and about,  to see lots of nooks and crannies on the Shore,  following  the easy directions from the down-loadable brochure.   It’s sponsored by the Eastern Shore Artisans Guild  (  ), an organization founded about 15 years ago to promote the arts here on the Shore and to provide opportunities for their members to exhibit and market their  work.  The Open Studio Tour has been a raving success for both visitors and artists,  it’s  a great way to start the Christmas shopping season and select  some unique gifts.

I usually visit the venues  on the southern tip because they are closest to my office and home but I decided this year to spend  Sunday afternoon touring some of the studios I have never visited that are further north on the Shore.   So my 8 year old grandson, who has an artistic bent,  and I  set out mid-morning  to visit five studios:  High Point Glass Works,  Maurice Spector Sculpture,  As The Wood Turns,  Carole Meyers Pottery and The Art of The Needle.   Since closing time had been set at 5 pm,  we would have  plenty of time to see all five if  we didn’t dawdle too much,  although I’m an infamous dawdler.

The Art Of Glass Blowing

Our first stop was High Point Glass Works  (  near the little town of  Harborton, Virginia ,  where artisan Ken Platt was busy creating a lovely glass ornament.  My grandson was fascinated by the hiss and glow of the flame and Ken was kind enough to invite him to put on a pair of  special tinted glasses  and come over to get a close up view and explanation of the process.   As anyone,  and especially a curious  8 year old would be,  he was absolutely delighted  to get this special peek into the art of glass  blowing and particularly  loved watching the addition of the yellow color into the glass.  A steaming cup of hot spiced apple cider and a cookie kept me occupied while watching from the sidelines.

Maurice Spector Sculpture Guest Artisans

And then we were off to Maurice Spector Sculpture  (,  also near Harborton,  whose  gallery is full of interesting pieces.  I especially loved a large free form wooden sculpture,  lying in repose on the back deck  overlooking  PungoteagueCreek,  it reminded me of a tawny sea lion.  Several other guest artists were in attendance with their own display tents,  showing  a variety of intricate decoy carvings and cast bronze sculpture.  Some colorful 17 inch ceramic plates by artist David Crane were especially interesting, handsomely  glazed in gorgeous deep blues and greens — I had my eye on one that was an inset for a table but I would prefer the wall hanging version,  thinking of it as a birthday gift for a friend.   As we left Maurice  had  just put a another  batch of oysters on the grill for visitors– they were begining to smell mighty, mighty good !

Carol Meyers Pottery Studio

Next up,  Carol Meyers Pottery,,  whose work studio overlooks  the water on Smuggler’s Cove.  She had a large variety of wheel thrown raku fired pots and some very nice vases and bowls on display but I was looking for one of her signature cookie jars  for a daughter who has recently started to collect  them.  The cookie jars and teapots are hand-crafted and are quite whimsical– I settled on a sweet little lamb !   By now,  time was getting a bit short and we still had two more places to visit before the closing bell.   So off we went,  looking for The Art of the Needle.

Silk On Silk, The Art Of The Needle

When we walked into  the  little studio at  Art of the Needle,   barely big enough for artist Jean Loeffert,  the two of us and two other visitors,   I got the most delightful surprise of the day.  If I knew more about art and anything about embroidery, I could write a better description of her stunning work.   Although she also displays a bit of  inexpensive handmade costume  jewlery and some bejewledspiders hanging on silken threads,  this cosy, light filled studio is home to some of the most beautiful needlework  I  have ever seen !   Jean characterizes her work  as  “painting with thread”  and it truly is.   Her  “canvases”  are pieces of beautiful silk cloth,  in different colors and textures,  upon which she hand embroiders in the most intricate detail and in the Japanese style,  beautiful birds, flowers and other designs.   All this is done  in silk thread,  beautifully colored,  glowing silk designs  upon glowing silk backgrounds,  with magnificent  framing.   Aside from the fantastic blue silk kimono embroidered with an absolutely stunning silvery egret,  one of  her most striking pieces is a heron,  standing very tall,  head elevated,  wings outstretched , beautifully framed,  a work Jean indicated took her nearly a year to complete.  To me,  this is museum quality contemporary art !   And she makes delicious coconut chocolate chip cookies as well…….

As The Wood Turns, Let The Chips Fly !

Our last stop was at the  gallery of the Hoovers,  “As The Wood Turns”,  near Parksley, Virginia.  It was nearly 5 pm by the time we got there,  the Hoovers had already swept up the wood shavings  and were about ready to close.  However,  they kindly offered to give us a demonstration so my grandson could enjoy seeing  how it’s done.   Bruce showed us some of the various interesting wood  he has collected,  lots of  interesting shapes,  streaks, swirls  and burls.  After pulling on his tight fitting work shirt with elastic at the wrists and waist   ( so clothing  can’t  get caught in the machinery),  he cranked up the lathe and started turning a lovely piece which is destined to be a salad bowl.  And the chips started to fly !   Like  a spray of water from a hose,  the chips flew in an arc as he worked,  landing,  by design,  in one particular corner of the room.  ( Bruce doesn’t believe in letting the chips fall where  they may– he wants the chips to fall where he wants them to fall. )  Once  he really got started with a little more of the actual shaping of the bowl,  wood chips became  wood curls,  long and aromatic,  piling up on his chest about 6 inches deep before gravity pushed them to the floor.   Afterwards, we looked at some of his completed work,  lovely teapots, bowls, even cups,  all made from woods with exotic features.  Bruce’s guest artist was Billy Crocket,  a well-known decoy carver  who was showing,  among his other work,  a very, very  handsome specked trout which looked like it could just swim away any second.  And then,  as they say,  all good things must come to an end,  including the 2010 Thanksgiving Open Studio Tour.  So we headed homeward,  visions of  artwork dancing in our heads.

If You Want To Purchase A Boating Property But Love Horses, On The Eastern Shore Of Virginia You Can Have Both !

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

It seems like more and more,  we are getting  calls from people who are looking for boating real estate on Virginia’s Eastern Shore but who want a property where they can have both a boat dock  in their backyard and horses on the property  as well.   Now in most areas this simply is not possible.  But  on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  we have a number of opportunities  to buy properties where you can do just that.  I think one of the unique aspects of purchasing property here is that,  unlike so many other waterfront areas where the land has been chopped up into quarter acre lots, or even smaller in many cases,  on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  many of the available waterfront parcels range from three to six acres in size,  and some are even larger.   These properties with acreage present the perfect scenario for having both a boat pier and a horse on the same property.

Take for example a ten acre parcel we have listed not far from Nassawadox, Virginia.  A  beautiful property,  it features wide water views and easy boating access to the Chesapeake Bay within 10-15 minutes of the property.  The best place to site  a custom home would be at the top of the knoll,  looking down towards the water.  This would offer terrific views and the access to a boat dock would be down a gently sloping path to the shoreline.   A pristine property,  this waterfront acreage is a perfect purchase for a boat lover .   And for a horse lover too  !

Partially wooded and partially open,  this parcel offers  easy conversion of the open area to  good horse pasture.  Fortunately, on this parcel,  as on most of the land in Northampton County,  the soils are excellent sandy loam soils which offer top notch  drainage — nobody wants their horse to have wet feet !   The property also has good depth which keeps the horses  away from the house and away from the water.  ( An important factor in helping maintain clean water would be  keeping  the nutrients from the horse patties from entering the water. )   Attractively priced at $399,000,   this property is ready for a beautiful custom home,  a backyard boat dock  and ,  if desired, offers room for a horse barn and pasture.  So if you want to purchase a boating property but you love horses too,  on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  you won’t have to choose– you can have them both !   ( Take a peek at the  Farms and Farmettes   listing section on our web page, ,  to see other  real estate opportunities including beachfront properties where you can also have a horse. )