Archive for January, 2011

The On-going Saga Of Wiley, My Eastern Shore of Virginia Arabian Horse. Part 4

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It was a very happy holiday season for this Virginia's Eastern Shore horse.

I just can hardly believe that Wiley,  my beautiful Arabian horse,  first arrived on Virginia’s Eastern Shore one year ago last month,   my most unique Christmas gift  ever from my son !   As they say,  how time flies !   Wiley really, really  loves it here on the Shore,  romping around with all his new friends, soaking up the cool breezes off the water,  enjoying the Eastern Shore’s temperate climate,  munching the delicious pasture grasses, visiting friends on other farms because the Eastern Shore really is an equestrian paradise.   At Wiley’s cosy anniversary party,  the guest of honor calmly munched carrots and sugar cubes in his stall while my son and I  toasted his good health with some pretty nice champagne.   But truth be told,  Wiley’s first Christmas in his new home,  a brand-new and spacious barn on a large waterfront farm just south of  Cape Charles, Virginia,  was just about more than the poor little fellow  could handle.  Just trying to figure out which stall buddies to give apples and which stall buddies would prefer carrots was pretty taxing,  plus having to decide whether it was truly necessary to put a bow on them all.  And then having  to decorate his  stall because he didn’t want to seem like the barn Grinch !   Not to mention that the older horses were all  party, party, party  into the wee hours,  keeping Wiley and the other colts up half the night.  It was enough to give a young horse dark circles under the eyes.  Although he loved  all his Christmas gifts,  including a  new  halter and a beautiful new green plaid blanket,  soft and warm as a down comforter,  ( nicely gift-wrapped for him by  Dover Saddlery ),   Wiley still insists that  it’s  lucky that Christmas comes only once a year !   He  thinks the craziest thing is that the barn is already looking forward to the Christmas holidays next year.   But I let him know not to worry,  come next December,  he and I will  face it together.  P.S. If you love horses and are thinking of a move to the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  please    call me at 757-678-5200  and I will e-mail you some data sheets on our great  “horse-friendly”  properties.

Singing In The Rain Here On Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Gene Kelly in "Singing In The Rain" -- One of my very favorite old movies

Well, maybe not exactly singing in the rain, because I have a terrible singing voice, but definitely smiling about the rain !    In a  December post describing  the Christmas 2010 snowfall we had here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  I mentioned that our temperate  coastal climate is definitely one of our area’s great attributes,  one of the many delightful aspects of  our coastal livestyle.   Usually when areas nearby are wrestling around with snow,  here we are having rain.  Being a slender peninsula bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Chesapeake Bay, the proximity of these large bodies of water helps moderate our temperatures in both summer and winter,  so that we  remain  warmer in the winter than nearby areas and cooler in summer  ( plus we get delightful summer breezes blowing gently off the Chesapeake Bay. )  So even though it rained yesterday for most of the day,  pouring buckets from time to time,  light showers in-between,  I was glad to see it.  Not for us the snarled traffic, snow,  slush and 400,000 + homes without power this morning in the Washington DC metro area, with some folks reportedly being trapped last night in a 13 hour commute as described  at .    Not for us the 15 inches of snow that fell in New York City and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, that closed schools, airports, offices, etc.  as reported at .  For us not even the comparatively puny 11 inches of snowfall in Boston which created  massive morning commute problems today.  Nope,  for us yesterday it was high temps in the 40’s and rain !   Sweet, sweet  rain, refilling farm ponds,  recharging aquifers,  giving my car a needed wash,  irrigating the long  line of  dwarf azaleas we planted last fall along our driveway,  pattering on the roof,  a quiet  sound and especially  welcome in lieu of  the snow, snow, snow piling up in other areas.  ( If you’re sick of  freezing cold, snowstorms  and ice storms but like a moderate four season climate, check out our great coastal listings on .  ) So, yes, yes,  yes,  once again our traditional moderate climate has proved true,  no snow for Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  I’m smiling about the  rain,  just smiling about the rain.

204 Bay Avenue, Cape Charles, Virginia — An Eastern Shore Virginia Home Renovation Journal

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The Way We Were -- About 1920

Trying to find a  historic  home that was built well and that has maintained all the charm that only time and history can provide is not always  an easy task.  But  that was just exactly what Paul and Kim Chandler were looking for when they asked me to assist them in  locating and purchasing  a historic beach house in the charming waterfront town of Cape Charles, Virginia.  After several trips and eagle-eying a number of  great possibilities,  the Chandler’s ultimately selected 204 Bay Avenue, one of the true  “Grand Dames”  of  Cape Charles.  Built around 1920,  this is a home that had been in the same families for many years– in fact,  the Chandlers are only the third owners of this beautiful property.  

204 Bay Avenue, Cape Charles, VA Getting ready for a face-lift and other cosmetic surgery

Chances are if you have been to Cape Charles you have driven or walked down Bay Avenue.  This beautiful street is embraced on the west  by the Chesapeake Bay and on the east by a line of  the  spectacular historic homes,  the  Grand Dames of Cape Charles,  occupying the choice building spots in the town.  A house on Bay Avenue is the perfect spot for spectacular Chesapeake Bay sunsets and 30 second access to the Cape Charles glistening sand beach.  And one of these  impressive ladies is just about to undergo a much needed face lift.  As with many of the homes in Cape Charles, over the years additions have been made–  for example, on 204 Bay Avenue,   the  portico that is currently attached to the left of the house was not original to the home.  Otherwise, not much else has changed on Bay Avenue since then,  same serene Chesapeake Bay views, same  gorgeous sand beach, same relaxed,  small coastal town feel.

The Grand Dames of Cape Charles overlooking the beach and the Chesapeake Bay

The Chandler’s were kind enough to agree to allow me to blog about the process as they move forward this spring with the actual renovations.  To date,  most of the work already done has involved landscaping.  The grounds,  which were quite overgrown at the time of purchase,  have been tidied,  trees and shrubs have been  pruned , giving a whole different feel to the property.  Vines  were removed which has allowed  sunlight to pour into the house,  making  a big difference to the feel inside.  Just knowing that the first steps have been taken to start this multi- phased project has brought  smiles to the faces of  neighboring property owners !   This Grand Dame is beginning to look quite grand once more.  As work inside starts  moving forward this spring,  I will be posting  some interesting renovation tips and some  “before and after”  photos as we proceed with the 204 Bay Avenue Renovation Journal blog.  And if you are thinking of trying to locate a historic  home  all your own to renovate,  please call  Blue Heron at 757-331-4885 and I will be happy to forward data sheets on some of the very interesting opportunities available at this time.  Or check out some of our  listings of  Victorian homes and historic homes on our website, .

Swing Into This Luxury William E. Poole Designed Home Overlooking The Greens And The Chesapeake Bay In The Bay Creek Golf Resort at Cape Charles, Virginia

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Homes  designed by renown architect William E. Poole are best known for two things– their warm and romantic living environments and the great attention paid to the myriad of  little design details that transform a house into a luxurious home.  I think  the Poole motto,  “Make The Place You Live The Place You Love”  really says it all.  And this exceptional Bay Creek Golf Resort home,  a classical   design  in the southern tradition,  certainly lives up to William Poole’s  fine  reputation as a remarkable  luxury home architect.

Front view of Heron Pointe luxury home at Bay Creek Golf Resort designed by William E. Poole

Located on an over-sized lot in the prestigeous  village of  Heron Pointe at Bay Creek in Cape Charles, Virginia,  this is a like-new home that boasts two excellent views.  To the east,  a stunning view of the  green on the sixth hole of the  Arnold Palmer Signature course.  ( Golf Digest has included   Bay Creek  on it’s “Best Places To Play”  list,  Golf Week on its “Best Courses You Can Play”  so overlooking a Palmer hole is a terrific location.)   The kitchen and breakfast room  are located on the eastern side of the house so you can imagine how beautiful it is at sunrise,  coffee in hand,  watching the sun peek over the  horizon,  pennant waving in the breeze,  green grass set against pink morning skies.  Or if you’re not an early riser,  how about the spectacular sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay from the western side of this beautiful home ?   The elegant full house length front porch is the perfect place for relaxing  with an iced tea,  refreshing breezes wafting by,  watching the setting sun paint the waters in shades of reds and golds.  Featuring 4 bedrooms and 3  1/2 baths,  this luxurious  home is one of the lucky few in Bay Creek Golf Resort that has both a golf course view and a Chesapeake Bay view,  truly a great  combination.

Spaciousness and natural light from the floor to ceiling windows make the great room so enjoyable

From the exterior brick to the interior five piece crown moldings, outside and inside,  top of the line materials and quality craftsmanship  were combined  with luxurious interior appointments  to make this a very special home.  The floor plan, open and airy,  with 10 foot ceilings on the first floor,  allows for casual  as well as formal areas — the formal dining room and library include lovely raised panel wainscoting.  I especially love the large  great room,  its amazing floor to ceiling windows really bring the outdoors in— the natural light is simply wonderful.  A  chef’s kitchen  ( with large center island features custom cherry cabinets,  built-in wine rack, granite counters and a very nice built-in wine cooler ),  stands ready for whipping up sumptuous feasts.  ( All appliances are GE Profile, the refrigerator front panel matches the cherry cabinets. )  Sugar and spice and everything nice plus much, much more can be stored in the huge walk-in pantry.  Spacious first floor master bedroom suite includes custom walk-in closet with built-in dresser, tray ceiling, custom windows with designer shades overlooking the golf course with double shower and double vanities in the bathroom.  Fireplace person ?   There are two.  Particular as to entry foyer  ?    A perfect size,  proceeded by an oversized door with leaded glass surround and overhead fan window.  Recessed lighting throughout.  And much, much more !

The state-of-the-art marina is just one of the many terrific amenities available to Bay Creek Golf Resort homeowners

And did I mention the other terrific Bay Creek amenities available to its homeowners in addition to the world class golf  ?    Miles of glistening sand beaches,  a new state-of-the-art marina,  multiple swimming pools, tennis courts,  amazing landscaping throughout,  shops, fine and casual dining, clubhouse, pro shop,  easy access by golf cart to all the shops, galleries, restaurants, etc.  in the historic town of Cape Charles, Virginia  ?   Truly,  for an alluring combination of  luxury and charm,  golf and water views,  sited on a large lot in one of the nation’s top 100 golf communities,  it would be very, very difficult to beat this elegant 4200 sq. ft. William Poole designed home in Heron Pointe village at Bay Creek Golf Resort  in historic Cape Charles, Virginia !  For more information and a personal tour,  give Blue Heron a call at 757-678-5200 or click  the link,

Reflections On The Tragedy In Tucson And Thoughts On Where To Go From Here

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  as I imagine it must be  everywhere throughout the country,  there is a lot of sadness and reflection about the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona.  It’s hard to believe that it occurred just a week ago this morning because it seems so much longer to me. And perhaps it is so vivid to me because I have family in Arizona and have traveled to Tucson  several times.   I can really see in my mind’s eye the sunny day,  the pleasant temperatures,  probably near 70,  skies so blue,   views of mountains in the distance,  hustle and bustle of a  Saturday morning  at  a  busy shopping center,  grocery carts clattering  to and from the parking lot,  cheerful  people lining up to speak to their representative,  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  “Congress On Your  Corner”,   her  large sign,  inviting  folks  to stop and chat .   And then,  in an instant,  a  gun clip fired its 30 rounds ,  shattering  lives forever,  killing 6, wounding 13,  in the space of only about one minute.

The most public face of the dead,  Christina Green,  just nine years old,  a  9/11 child,  happy, energetic,  such a bright future ahead,  her life cut off almost before it began,  mourned nationwide,  eloquently eulogized by President Obama,  visions of her skipping through pudddles in Heaven.   One of the newspaper stories I read mentioned  that her family had reached out to the New Melleray Abbey whose Trappist monks make caskets by hand from the trees in their forest,  including caskets for children,  which they often donate to the families.  For each casket recipient,  the monks  plant a memorial tree in their sustainable forest.   A tiny bit of  comfort,  a  Christina Taylor Green Memorial Tree in the Melleray Abbey forest.   The public face of the survivors, Congresswoman Giffords. Gabby to her friends,  the main target of the shootings, she was a popular and helpful woman,  recently  re-elected,  just sworn in,  no doubt looking forward to speaking with her constituents at her  “Congress On Your Corner” meeting to be held in the parking lot, now blood-stained, in front of that busy Safeway  supermarket. Her fate now ? Permanent brain damage, the extent of which is as yet unknown. What a travesty !

In the aftermath,  as a significant  part of the national  conversation turns now to what might  be done to reduce the prospects of even more such violence and mass murder,  I find myself wondering,  as are many others,  why  is the  sale of 30 round ammunition clips  legal ?    Surely not for killing animals, shotguns and rifles are used for that.   It appears that what it is  just perfect for is killing people, quickly, very, very quickly killing people.   I’ve read that Virginia apparently has some of the most lax gun laws in this country- I have no idea whether or not that is true.  I do know that deer hunting in Northampton County, Virginia  is legal only with a shotgun and shotguns don’t take 30 round clips.  The right to bear arms is guaranteed in the United States Constitution but I don’t think I read anywhere in that document about a guaranteed right to bear a 30 round ammo clip.

 It seems to me that right now,  while intense national attention is focused on this issue,  when Congress seems to be  paying attention as well  ( especially since their personal safety issues might actually trump pressure  from the NRA lobby this time ) , that right now  is the time to try to ban this type of ammunition.  Apparently Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband and son were both gunned down in a shooting spree on the Long Island Railroad some years ago,  is planning to introduce legislation next week  which will limit the sale of this over-the-top ammunition,  which is a huge money maker for the gun industry  but is so devastatingly efficient  in mass killings.  Hopefully, if  it actually gets to a vote, our Virginia representatives will remember the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where the gunman,  using  a semi-automatic Glock handgun and 30 round ammunition clips, both similar to  that used by the Tucson gunman,  killed 32 people,  mostly university students and professors, in Blacksburg, Virginia, also on a bright, sunny morning.   So,  Bravo, Congresswoman McCarthy,  I hope you can gather the support needed to pass this legislation.  I hope the public, both here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and throughout this country, is flooding Congress e-mails  supporting  your sensible measures.   How many more mass murders have to be endured before the rights of the public not to be shot,  rapid-fire,  no escape possible,  can  triumph over the money grubbing of the gun lobby ?   If not now, when ?    IF NOT NOW, WHEN  ???

Where In The World Is The Eastern Shore Of Virginia ???

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Virginia's Eastern Shore has a prime address- the corner of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean

One of the most frequent questions we get from people from out of the area who are responding to  our  ads  is  “Where exactly is the Eastern Shore of Virginia  ? ”   Mother Nature has  created this remarkable little  slice of the earth as a slender peninsula, bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean , on the west by the Chesapeake Bay,  to the north bordered by southern Maryland  with access to  mainland Virginia via the engineering marvels of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel complex   (  ) .   Being at the corner of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is  a truly primo address,  clearly.  But when we moved here  nearly twenty five years ago,  almost nobody I knew had ever heard of  the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  period– except people who lived here, obviously.  About twenty years ago Blue Heron Realty Co.  sponsored  a  “meet and greet”  booth at  the annual Homarama  builder show   in an effort to raise greater awareness  in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area of the real estate possibilities here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  It was funny,  in a sad sort of way— people would stop for a brochure and comment  that  they  had never heard of the Eastern Shore,  although  we are less than an hour away from almost anyplace in Virginia Beach or Norfolk.   That experience  and a few others  like it led us to write a little book  in 1989  (out of print now),  replete with lots of photographs,  about life and real estate on Virginia’s  Eastern Shore.  Back then the Shore was an extremely rural area and definitely not for everyone,  no shopping centers, almost no restaurants, no world class golf,  just exquisite waterfront property.  Having the book enabled us to lend out copies to people who were thinking of coming to look real estate so they could get a feel for the area,   in advance of making a trip,  see if it matched up with their needs,  contemplate whether or not this was an area for them. 

And now,  22 years later,  the Shore has changed a lot,  we have amenities galore.   But even in 2011,   many  people still have never heard of the Eastern Shore of Virginia  although they probably recognize the names of some of our little towns,   Cape Charles,  Onancock or Chincoteague  ( the Shore’s  great tourist area and home to the famous annual pony swim and auction  It’s easy to see where we are on the Eastern Seaboard from this  little map graphic– about 3 & 1/2 hours from Philadelphia, about 4 & 1/2 from most of New Jersey,  about 6 hours from New York City,  about 4 hours from the  Washington DC/Baltimore area,  1 & 1/2 hours from Williamsburg, 3 1/2  hours from Charlottesville and from Cape Charles,  less than a  1/2 hour from Virginia Beach and Norfolk.   Our area is really so close to a great many major metro areas– easy for friends and relatives to visit or  to visit them.   Better still,  not only is it easy to get here but when you live here it’s so easy to access wonderful events and attractions in other areas !   The Eastern Shore of Virginia is  “easy trip”  paradise.    Hankering for the mountains ?   Zip to Charlottesville.   Nordstrum’s having a big, big sale ?   Zip to McArthur Center in Norfolk.   Want to visit Capitol Hill,  the Library of Congress,  the amazing National Zoo or go to the annual National Book Festival  ?   Zip to Washington D.C. .   Annapolis Boat Show calling ?   Zip, zip.  Longing  to see Wicked on Broadway ?  Zip, zip, zip, pass go,  have dinner in Chinatown,  then on to the Great White Way.  Like State Fairs  ?   Zip to Richmond,  just 2 & 1/2 hours away.   You get the picture….    Virginia’s Eastern Shore  has a fabulous central location,  with easy access to and from some really great places.

  So  that’s  “Where In The World”   the Eastern Shore is located  — right in the middle of  many of  the good things of  life !

Researching Historic Wellington House In “The Eastern Shore Room” At The Public Library In Accomac, Virginia

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The Wellington House, A Historic Home For Sale

I had been doing  a little research for a customer  who is interested in an amazing  historic home Blue Heron Realty Co. has listed,  the main portion of which is believed to have been built in Colonial times,  possibly as early as the mid- 1700’s.  Named Wellington House, it’s a  beautiful historic brick home, very well preserved,  Flemish bond construction,  located on a wide saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay near Nassawadox, Virginia.  ( For more info,  click on the Historic Homes listings on )  The goal of the research was to glean additional detail  about its origins and history,  possibly even locate a very old photo, ( although a photo is always a lot to hope for) .     As part of the research process,  a trip to the  “Eastern Shore Room”  at the Accomac (main) branch of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Library system seemed in order.

The " Eastern Shore Room" At The Public Library In Accomac, Virginia

For anyone doing detailed research on the many historic homes and buildings located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore as well as general research and genealogical research,  the  “Eastern Shore Room”  is a treasure trove indeed.  A great many very old photos have been donated to the library,  including a collection of fine shots of historic buildings taken in the late 1800’s by Griffin Calahan,  most of  which  have been digitized so that  the  tap-tap of  a mouse will yield a copy to take home with you, no charge.  The library is also  the recipient of the papers from six of the main persons who have done genealogical abstracts here and it contains  all the Eastern Shore abstracts that have been complied as well.  Its  collection of  issues of  local newspapers stretches all the way back to 1881.   The “Eastern Shore Room'” as a separate space to house their burgeoning collections was established in 1976 and is the acknowledged best source,  possibly other than the Library of Virginia or the Library of Congress,  to research topics related to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  A number of  singular items can be found here including  rare photos,  a very rare 1st edition of Sterling’s  “History of  Hog Island'”  and an original  map of   Cape Charles dating back to the time the town was founded, 1886.

Dr. Miles Barnes, Editor, "The Seashore Chronicles"

The curator of all these valuable and unique  papers is Dr. Miles Barnes.  I asked Dr. Barnes how long he had been with the library and was surprised to hear  “36 years” ,   as he looks so young.  ( I’m guessing his parents never had to wonder what he was going to be when he grew up,  having started at the library part time as a mere boy ! )  In partnership with the University of Virginia,  Dr. Barnes has published a fascinating project on  railroads and how they  transformed the Eastern Shore.   He  is also an editor of  a book about  the Virginia off-shore Barrier Islands entitled “The Seashore Chronicles”,  which I highly recommend as most interesting reading.  (  In fact,  it was so interesting I bought a copy as a gift for Eldest Daughter, who also loves historical books,  and asked him to sign it  for her. )   The library’s collection of Eastern Shore items has grown so substantially they can no longer be housed in the one room.  Like the Lone Ranger,  a  local bank,  Shore Bank , has come to the rescue of the library, ( whose current building is now over 45 years old ),  with the donation of five acres of land  adjacent to Shore Bank’s headquarters in Onley, a prime location.   Funds to construct  the planned new 30,000 sq. ft. building will be raised from private donations, grants and  from foundations.  ( Funds can be donated now to the Eastern Shore Public Library Foundation . )  Obviously this is an exciting time for Dr. Barnes and the “Eastern Shore Room” .  Because of  current space constraints,  parts of the collections are scattered now in five different locations within the library but can  be all pulled together in the new facility.  Then,  having talked his ear off and also having  been lucky enough to locate  a photo of  Wellington House taken in the late 1800’s  in the archives of the Calahan Collection,  ( which Dr. Barnes kindly not only printed but  copied the file to  a CD for me ),   it was goodbye,  you’re awesome,  see you again soon,  to the “Eastern Shore Room”.

Start Your Coastal Lifestyle In This Like-New Condo At The Bay Creek Golf Resort In Cape Charles, Virginia Listed At Just $199,000

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Bay Creek Golf Resort's Private Beach For Residents And Guests Only

If you are thinking of  starting your coastal lifestyle with a care-free Virginia condo,   “The Fairways”  at  Bay Creek Golf Resort in Cape Charles, Virginia may be just the place for you.   With Fairways Condos’  prime location  within the Resort,  just a hop, skip and jump from its  gorgeous  sand beaches or the clubhouse and within walking distance  to the tennis courts and swimming pools,   you could be enjoying the many great Bay Creek amenities without giving a  thought to lawn mowing,  leaf bagging,  landscape watering or unclogging the  blasted gutters !  Nestled between the up-scale single- family home villages of Plantation Pointe  located on Old Plantation inlet  and  Heron Pointe located along the Chesapeake Bay,  The Fairways Condominiums are a great opportunity to enjoy a vacation home,  retirement home or full-time living  without any responsibility for the actual maintenance outside your own four walls,  the  popular condo  “Lock It and Leave It”  concept.

Arnold Palmer Hole # 1, Overlooking The Chesapeake Bay And The Lighthouse At Bay Creek Golf Resort

And did I mention the exciting  Bay Creek waterfront golf,  the Arnold Palmer 18 hole Signature course  and its companion course,  the 18 hole Jack Nicklaus Signature  course,  listed by  Golf Week, Golf World and Golf Digest  as among the top US courses ?  A Fairways  condo is also a great way to begin Living Green and enjoying  the  “Golf Cart Life”.  In Cape Charles,  this  includes not only the cart paths within the  Bay Creek  community but also the town itself as Cape Charles is one of the very few towns in Virginia where electric golf carts are street-legal.   “Park the Car,  Use the Cart”  is the watch word of many residents– zip on over to the Marina,  zip to Aqua’s for lunch,  zip to Rayfield’s Pharmacy to pick up your prescription and maybe grab a milkshake at their old-fashioned soda fountain,  zip to Sullivan’s for some office supplies,  zip to Cape Charles Medical Center for an appointment with much loved Doc  Dalessio,  zip to Stage Door Gallery to see their latest art exhibits,  zip to Kelly’s Pub for a carry-out of their delicious  Fish&Chips dinner,  zip, zip, zip– no gas, no oil, no fumes,  just the quiet and relaxed electric  Cart Life.

Looking Across Lake To Fairways Condos

You can acquire this great Beach-Golf-Marina-Pool-Tennis-Clubhouse-Cart Life-Coastal Lifestyle  with this  3 bedroom, 2  bath condo listed at just $199,000, making it the most attractively priced condo at The Fairways.  In excellent condition,  this spacious 1500 sq. ft. home with 2 car garage features an open and airy floor plan.  Numerous upgrades including  fireplace,  corian counters, etc.  Being sold fully furnished,  just walk right in, sit right down, this condo truly is a terrific buy.  And as an added bonus,  with a purchase now you will be there  in time to enjoy the spring beauty of the incredible  landscaping installed throughout  Bay Creek Golf  Resort.   Featuring  literally thousands of  flowering plants and bulbs including camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, primroses, columbine, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths,  all of which  will  be putting on their showiest show of the year,  the Bay Creek Spring Bloomers are the  resident’s delight,  an amazing  profusion of  colors and shapes,  wonderful to behold.  So give Blue Heron Realty Co. a call at 757-678-5200 for more information on this terrific condo buy– and don’t miss  the 2011 Spring Bloomers show !   Be there or be square !


Out Of The Kitchen And Onto The Door— Williamsburg, Virginia Holiday Decorations

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

What do apples, lemons, pomagranates and boxwood sprigs have in common ?    They are all part of the grand Colonial Williamsburg tradition of decorating the doors in the Historic Area with wreaths, sprays and swags that  glow with the colors of   citrus fruits and apples, brilliant reds, yellows and orange set against the dark waxy green of  boxwood or pine sprigs.   And not just fruit laden wreaths appear– in the many years that we have visited Williamsburg, Virginia  during the  Christmas season we have seen a tremendous variety of  herbs,  dried plants, cinnamon sticks, seed pods of all kinds, magnolia leaves, etc. all used to create  the delightful door decorations which  grace the  Historic Area homes each year.   One of the most memorable was a very large wreath decorated with just about every type of shell that is common to our coastal area– oyster shells with mother-of-pearl interiors showing,  pink scallop shells,  swirled whelk shells, ribbed clam shells, dark bearded mollusks, long razor clams,  tiny periwinkles combined with boxwood, holly berry sprigs and long pine cones to create a  really  interesting decoration, one that really commemorated our magnificant  Atlantic Ocean-Chesapeake Bay region.

Just about every year we make a day trip to Williamsburg over the holidays.  It’s a relatively short drive from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, about an hour and a half or so depending on traffic,  and is such a holiday treat.  ( Actually, one of the nice things about living on the  Eastern Shore of Virginia  is how many fun events are so near by and easily accessed.)  Normally we make a  day out of it,  leaving  the Eastern Shore  in time to have lunch at  The Cheese Shop or The Trellis before walking down Duke of Gloucester Street to see all the creative displays.  Everything on every single wreath is natural, no plastic red apples, no golden styrofoam pears, no water-proof  ribbons, no silk ivy — it’s back to the basics,  real items,  things that were actually grown on land,  sea or air ( lots of feathers sometimes). 

This year was no exception,  the decorations looked terrific.  A bit pressed for time, we ducked into  The Cheese Shop for a quick bowl of  potato and leek soup  (definitely a favorite Colonial recipe)  and one of  their delicious Smithfield ham sandwiches before setting out to view this year’s crop of  decked out doors.  Pineapples, the traditional symbol of hospitality in Virginia, were in plentiful supply on both wreaths and swags.  Several wreaths featured the tiny but very sweet Virginia apple called the Lady Apple,  pale yellow  with a rosy blush.  A very clever wreath decorated with large lemons featured a clay pot below, looking for all the world like a miniture lemon tree affixed to the door.  But our very favorite decoration this year was a simple but elegant wreath of  fraser fir with an overlay of a wreath made from puffs of raw cotton,  dried cotton bolls and stalks,  burlap swags plus  pink pods of some type,  all  fashioned together most ingeniously.   Tracking  back towards Merchants Square we did a quick look-see into  the holiday windows in some of  their unique shops– the  Toy Shop and the Pewter Shop looked especially grand this year.  And then zip-zip,  back home to the Eastern Shore after having enjoyed immensely yet another holiday trip to Williamsburg.



Be Careful What You Wish For……..

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Last year  ( actually a  few posts ago ) I was bemoaning the brisk breezes off the water but hoping for a little snow.   Ha !   As my father often said,  be careful what you wish for because your wish might come true.   And did it come true,  in spades.  On Christmas Eve Day,  Don Slater,  my favorite weatherman at WAVY tv 10 in Norfolk, Virginia was forecasting that the whole East Coast was  in for a whopper,  that  instead of blowing out to sea as previously thought,  the storm would be blanketing most of  North Carolina with up to 6-8 inches and would then work its way towards us,  bringing 4 inches, maybe more.  Although I was already re-thinking my  little wish,  I’m sure many a child here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore  was gazing  out the window,  thinking  WOW,  bring it on !  ( And at our house, definitely our two Newfies,  Pumpkin and Honey,  had visions of snowflakes dancing through their heads. ) 

The Weather Outside Is Frightful, Inside It's So Delightful, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

The snow actually started  just as we were sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day.  It had already been a  long but exciting day, starting with the arrival of  Group One consisting of two “big kids”, two little kids and two brand new puppies for brunch  ( everybody had a wonderful time, the puppies were adorable ),  moved on to phone calls to those far away,  a  visit  from those having dinner elsewhere, then on to Group Two for  dinner.  Actually, at our house,  Christmas dinner is always a  simple affair,  unlike Thanksgiving where my eldest daughter thinks dinner isn’t complete without at least six or seven different side dishes, including  the always mandatory homemade mac and cheese  and collard greens  ( I’m not originally from the South but have taken well to the Southern notion that collards,  cooked with a little bit of country ham for seasoning,  are a  “must”  on Thanksgiving ). Offerings of  pecan pie,  pumpkin pie and possibly coconut cake tempt one from the dessert table.   The Christmas menu in contrast is quite simple and always the same– roast beef,  twice-baked potatoes,  a green veggie,  a big green salad,  cheesecake  and pecan pie for dessert.  Potatoes and pies  made ahead,  salad greens washed, spun dry and popped into Tupperware  ahead,  mushrooms for the peas or green beans all sauteed,  everything tucked into the refrigerator,  the  cheesecake courtesy of  The Cheesecake Factory,    my world- famous, well,  family-famous,  port wine gravy started a day ahead so flavors can marry overnight— absolutely no cooking to do on  The Day,   just pop the roast into the oven and finish the gravy.   But back to the snow,  which started  just as we were  getting settled into dinner.

Pumpkin and Honey, The Snow Dogs

I flipped on the outside lights so everyone could enjoy the sight of  big,  fat flakes slowly drifting down—  they were indeed big fat flakes but they were not slowly drifting,  they were pretty much twirling and swirling at a pretty rapid rate,  giving me my first clue that  Slater’s  forecast might be right on the mark.  It was a beautiful sight though,  large white flakes set against the night sky.  Snow is a  rarity on the southern tip of the Virginia Eastern Shore– usually if  it snows nearby,  it  just rains here because of the moderating influence of having the Chesapeake Bay as  our western border and the Atlantic Ocean as our eastern border– it just doesn’t get cold enough.   But not Christmas night– it was cold,  it was snowing,  it was sticking !   I think it is hard for people from areas where lots of snow is simply routine to fathom how on earth a few inches of snow can snarl up an entire region.  But if you seldom have snow then you seldom have snow tires,  snow chains are unheard of  and you have no practice driving over snow and ice.   And your municipality has very little snow removal equipment.   So trust me when I say that 4 inches of snow here closes schools, offices and the county– it’s an official Snow Day,  break out the hot chocolate and marshmallows !  So if you’re still braving winters in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and other icy places but are considering real estate on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, relax, take heart,  usually it warms up right away,  within a day things are generally back to normal. 

Dawn, Clear But Chilly

But not this time– according to official reports, this was our biggest snow in nearly a quarter of a century and it was the 7th largest snow on record in Norfolk !  As everyone was saying their goodnights on Christmas it was snowing hard and by the time we woke up on the 26th it was just about a white-out.  The Newfies were so excited,  they dashed out,  practically did summersaults  in the snow,  raced around wildly,  then plopped down in a  little drift,  just chilling out !  Dawn on the 27th brought bright pink skies over a thick blanket of  dry white flakes.   By the end of that storm Cape Charles, Virginia  had officially had about 7-8  inches  of the cold white stuff and it was pretty clear that  it wasn’t going to disappear overnight.   However,  I was prepared to relax and just enjoy it– office closed, new Christmas book at my elbow ( autobiography of Mark Twain) —- let it snow, let it snow. let it snow !  (  Of course the forecast of  50 + degrees for Thursday was very comforting !  )  And  when I saw the snow totals from New York City (23  inches)  and parts of New Jersey (26 inches)  and Cape Cod– well,  let’s just say that I felt pretty doggone lucky to be here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  where our  mere 7-8 inches was  one for the record books.   But I will be a bit more careful next time about wishing for snow— because we might actually get some !