Archive for May, 2011

A Quick Trip To Lewes, Delaware To Check Out The Tall Sailing Ship “KALMAR NYCKEL”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Kalmar Nyckel Tall Sailing Ship At Her Berth In Lews Delaware

The Tall Ship “Kalmar Nyckel” At Her Lewes, Delaware Berth

Saturday before last was a very pleasant day,  spent with my husband driving  round trip to Lewes, Delaware  to check out the on-board facilities of the tall sailing ship,  the  Kalmar Nyckel  which is currently  moored at the Lewes Ferry Terminal.  In June she is making a  5  day stay at the deep water  harbor in Cape Charles, VA.  Lots of great activities have been planned around her arrival including a private on-board reception given by Blue Heron Realty Co.,  which is one of the principal  sponsors of  her trip to Cape Charles.   Having been advised that space is very tight,  on the  “better safe than sorry”  theory,  I decided that in preparation for the reception I should see the physical set-up and measure the spaces the ship has to offer well in advance.   And I am sooooo glad I did !   Communication is an amazing thing,  involving bringing one’s own frame of reference  into the equation.  So what I had envisioned as “tight”  didn’t compare to the reality at all.   When translated to space on a sailboat,   of course I already knew  that   “tight”  actually means almost no room whatsoever.  But I had envisioned that it would be quite different on the 143 foot  Kalmar Nyckel —   not at all !   There is no room to set up tables for food or beverages so it was clear that we will  have to make do with  the ship’s various built-ins– the Captain suggested serving beverages from a small chart box in the stern,  food from a flat surfaced 6 ft. by 4 ft. low cabinet near the bow ( which the crew has nicknamed “the doghouse” ),  a real challenge which would have been even more  so on the day had I not previewed  it in advance.  So,  really glad  we made that  5 hour round trip drive to Lewes.  Plus we had time to stop and tour the Lewes Lifesaving Station which was very interesting and then had one of the best brick oven pizzas ever at a little Italian restaurant in Fenwick Island called Mancini’s,  so not all work and no play.

A word or two on the history of the  Kalmar Nyckel.   According to a very informative little book entitled “Mallets, Chisels & Planes”  written by Charles Ireland, Jr., the original  Kalmar Nyckel was used as a merchant ship, an exploration vessel and finally as a warship.   Built by the Dutch in the late 1620’s,  in 1637  she was selected for a special voyage  by the Swedish Crown,  the purpose of which was to explore and colonize  the New World, i.e., North America. She arrived in “New Sweden”  ( now the state of Delaware)  in 1629 and there her passengers established a colony and built a fort.  In 1645 she was re-commissioned  as a warship after having made three more voyages to “New Sweden”.   350 years later a group formed with the express purpose of  creating a foundation to replicate the  Kalmar Nyckel  using  basically the same shipbuilding methods and tools that were used to construct her namesake.  One of the biggest challenges by far was to pull together an architect and the skilled craftsmen with the dedication and capability  to successfully undertake such an arduous and complicated endeavor.

Poster of the events in Cape Charles, VA

Cape Charles Events Schedule

Starting with locating an old shipyard on the banks of the Christina River near Wilmington,  Delaware,  close to the 1638  landing site of the original vessel,  then converting it to become what a 17th century shipyard would have been,  the  Kalmar Nyckel Foundation gathered together volunteers and financial backers plus  an enthusiastic  team of shipwrights and  blacksmiths, sail makers and riggers from all over the globe who were interested in becoming  part of  this  faithful reproduction including her 8 miles of rigging and very ornate decorations and figurehead.   The rest,  as they say,  is history.  And so the first week of June,  this amazing ship,  considered to be the queen of  modern day  tall ship reproductions,  will for the first time sail proudly into the Cape Charles harbor where she will be most heartily welcomed by Dora Sullivan,  Mayor of Cape Charles and other dignataries prior to  Blue Heron’s private reception.   Over that week-end,  the  Foundation is offering tickets for 4 different sailing trips into the Chesapeake Bay of  about 2 1/2 hours each , which should be lots of fun,  as well as offering public tours on the following Monday.   So if you’re nearby, come on down and see what a tall sailing ship from the early 1600’s looks like,  she is  a pretty dramatic and interesting sight,  well worth coming to take a tour.


(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Coming Full Circle- Lynn Summerall And The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra

Saturday, May 28th, 2011
The band seated together for a promo photo

The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra- Together Once Again !

It isn’t often that one can start a brand new career twice  in the exact same venue but that is what  the Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra did Sunday night a few weeks ago at the  Jewish Mother restaurant’s brand  new location at Hilltop  in Virginia Beach.  Taking a few minutes out to speak with me after the band’s last set for the evening,  Lynn Summerall,  its musical director,  reminisced a bit  about the orchestra’s debut in 1992…. at  Jewish Mother,   albeit in the restaurant’s  previous Atlantic Avenue location !   This was the band’s first performance since 2001  and Lynn had a lot of fun joking about getting everything down pat for this performance because in essence this is the beginning of a new career– getting the band back together,  playing a few gigs part-time.,  really just having some fun. (  Like  Jake and Elwood in  “The Blues Brothers”,  they’re putting the band back together but the mission more like having  some fun.  I should mention that the band will be playing at the Jewish Mother  again on June  12th and July 10th,  with more in the works after that,  possibly a  “second Sunday”  kind of thing. )

Lynn Summerall, Becky Livas and the Hotel Paradise Orchestra take a well-deserved bow

I am completely in love with the music of the 1930’s and 1940’s– in fact, when I think of popular music,  that’s what comes to mind for me,  the great sounds of  orchestras like the Dorsey brothers,  Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw,  Harry James, Count Basie.  ( I’m probably telling my age  but I am particularly partial to music which actually includes more than 5 notes and a real variety of instruments,  not just 3 guitars,  a drum and a keyboard !  )  Lynn Summerall’s  group specializes in  20’s  and ’30’s  swing music and on Sunday night the audience was wowed with a number of old favorites including  Guy Lombardo’s  hit recording  “Someone To Watch Over Me” ,  Cole Porter’s  “Begin The Beguine”  ( a personal favorite of  my husband )  and  that lovely old tune, “Stormy Weather”,  so beautifully sung by Becky Livas, the orchestra’s original vocalist back in the day.  ( If you live in the Hampton Roads area you will  remember  Becky Livas,  well-known from her news work at  TV Channel 13  some years back. )   Summerall himself treated us to a fast-tempo vocal  of  “Yes, Sir That’s My Baby” and got a huge round of applause for his efforts, then sent folks into peals of laughter by telling the story of the customer who had just come up to him during intermission to suggest that he not wear black suspenders under his white tux jacket next time.

Couples dancing to the Hotel Paradise Orchestra music

Dancing Once Again To Those Smooth Sweet Sounds

Co-incidentially, I had heard about this performance during pledge week on our favorite  radio stations,  WHRO/WHRV ,  the National Public Radio stations broadcasting from Norfolk, Virginia.   Lynn Summerall’s  “real”  job is manager of volunteers for the station and copies of  a  Hotel Paradise Orchestra  CD entitled ” Bye Bye Blues”  were on the gift selection list for a pledge.  During that program it was mentioned that the band would be reuniting for its first live performance in 10 years on May 8th at the Jewish Mother. ( In fact, he indicates that the full-time responsibities of his job at WHRO  were what made him give up the band.)   I made my reservation that night and  was glad that I had done so  because  Sunday the place was packed,  fortunately they had valet parking.  One of the great things about this kind of music is that it is so eminently danceable and a number of  couples were dancing– in fact,   one couple,  Jane  and  Ed Martin,  who had noticed me taking photos came up later to tell me that they used to go to the Chamberlain Hotel in Hampton,  (so fabulous in its day,  now divided into luxury apartments ),  to dance to the live music of the Hotel Paradise  Roof Garden orchestra which had played there quite frequently.  The Martins  were thrilled to be dancing once again to lilting tunes from this old familiar orchestra,  hadn’t imagined they ever would again until they heard about this performance.  They are delightedly looking forward to the June and July performances,  as am I.     P.S.  Talk about a small world and only 6 degrees of separation,  Lynn mentioned that although they had never played a gig on the Eastern Shore  he knew all about the renovation of the historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles,  that in fact William  Neill  ( who is the musical director for the Palace )  will be playing  in the orchestra’s  June performance.  ( see the  April, 2011  post on Art’s Enter’s   production of   Oliver !  The Musical  at the Palace Theatre which mentions  Neill’s  outstanding work ).  Just another good reason for me to be there on June 12th, reveling in those  smooth, sweet sounds !

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Now Showing, The Bay Creek Golf Resort’s Spring Bloomers !

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Week before last I made a quick trip to Bay Creek Golf Resort in Cape Charles, VA to take some photos of a new golf home listing there and was excited to see that  the  “Spring Bloomers”  show is  well underway.  It’s my favorite time of  the year at Bay Creek,  an amazing golf community built along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay featuring  show quality landscaping,  the time when the profusion of vibrant colors there is just absolutely wonderful, total eye candy.  The color begins with a large sculpted bed of  red annuals at the entry sign and just keeps on going from there,  on and on and on,  so just when you think you’ve seen everything,  something new turns up as you round a corner.  Living in a home in one of the 10 little  villages at Bay Creek in the spring  is sort of  like being at the Philadelphia International Flower Show,  gorgeous bloomers everywhere  you turn,  the ultimate floral color palette  ( FYI,  the 2012  Philadelphia Flower Show theme is “Hawaii, Islands of Aloha”,  I’m sure it will be spectacular !  )

The drive from the entrance towards the gatehouse is punctuated by a dramatic water feature,  a striking,  nearly lifesize bronze sculpture of a small  boat with a waterman, his son and their Labrador dog.   This  close knit group,  shown pulling in crab pots,  portrays  a centuries old scene of  a lifestyle  of  working the waters along  the Chesapeake Bay,  crabbing in spring and  summer,  oystering in fall and winter.  Landscaped with grasses and accented by a channel marker with an osprey nest atop,  this is my very favorite Bay Creek design,  it just feels so  “Eastern Shore Virginia”  as you pass by,  a vivid reminder and a tip-of-the-hat to the Shore’s  long coastal traditions.

Once through the gate,  the full force of the landscaping is accomplished by having single lane, one way roads with wide medians dividing the two lanes,  the medians actually being miles of  landscaped  beds planted with dozens and dozens of  varieties of  trees together with understory designs of  perennial shrubs,  flowers and ground covers.  The landward side of each lane is bordered with long rows of  trees,  pin oaks, pines,  crape myrtles and magnolias to name just a few,  most of which  which are surrounded by their own colorful beds including  a long row of  huge and absolutely gorgeous peoneys just beyond the gatehouse.   Additional flower power throughout is provided by the numerous varieties of  bulbs and annuals.  The superstars of spring,  the azaleas and camillias,  there  seemingly by the  thousands,  just doing their thing,  blooming  away,  a riot of  hot pinks and bright lavendars,  splashes  of brilliant orange here and candy apple reds there,  everything in lovely contrast to the various hues and textures of green foliages.   And beyond it all,  the cool blues of the Chesapeake Bay and sugary white sands of  its beaches complete the delightful rainbow of colors that greet Bay Creek’s  homeowners every spring.   So,  if  a Chesapeake Bay home offering a golf, beach and marina lifestyle surrounded by such natural beauty appeals to you, check out our website, for currently available properties.


(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

204 Bay Ave, Cape Charles, VA: A Historic Home Renovation Journal, Part 2

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Well, things have really come along on the renovation of 204 Bay Avenue since my last post.   For those who are new to our blog,  204 Bay Avenue is one of the “Grand Dames” of  Cape Charles, VA.   Built in 1912, she overlooks the  Cape Charles beach and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.  Now she  is in the process of being restored by her proud new owners,  Paul and Kim Chandler, who were quite excited last year to find their dream Chesapeake Bay historic home for sale right on  Cape Charles’  beautiful  waterfront.

Last winter her grounds got a good facelift,  trees and shrubs were pruned and shaped,  flower beds, weeded, etc.  Now that spring has fully sprung,  the  Chandler’s  contractor has  begun to  tackle  the  exterior of the house– after standing proud for 99 years in all sorts of weather, she is ready for some serious TLC.

With the nice weather,  a good deal of  noticable construction on the exterior has taken  place over the last few weeks.  The once elegant  portico is now well on its way to recovery and restoration to former glory.   It was an extensive process during which the entire top of the portico was removed, completely re-framed and then the the exterior dentil moldings were put back into  place.  Porch railings were removed in order to reinforce the floor joists and to rebuild parts of the floor of  the full house length porch.  Once that is completed and the railings are re-installed,  the porch will be  ready to re-assume its proper role as the gracious place from which to wave to neighbors, watch the walkers-joggers-bikers enjoy an evening’s outing along the waterfront and enjoy glorious Chesapeake Bay sunsets,  ice cold glass of  tea in hand.


Inside, it’s getting busy as a beehive as well.  The rear bathroom, which was not original to the home,  has been completely gutted and is awaiting …..well, awaiting everything from tile to fixtures to painting !   On the second floor, the bathroom has also been gutted and trim is being primed.


The new HVAC has also been installed.   The kitchen has been prepared to receive its new makeover but the kitchen red0 will take place  towards  the end of the entire renovation.  The second floor bathroom has already been gutted and the trim has been primed.


So the 204 Bay Avenue renovation is going well,  this grand historic home  is getting her much needed face lift  inside and out,  getting ready for her new glory days, getting ready to live into the 22 century !

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Blue Waters, Green Fairways, Golden Sands– Check Out This Fine Lot In Bay Creek Golf Resort, Cape Charles, Virginia

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Itching to hit the links and swing into some great Eastern Shore golf ?   What better way to enjoy a  relaxed  golf  lifestyle than to build a custom home on this large lot for sale overlooking a deep green fairway just minutes away from the shining blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the soft golden sands of Bay Creek’s several  miles of  beach  ?   In 2010,  Bay Creek Golf Resort,  a waterfront golf community currently comprised of  10 separate residential villages centered around an  18 hole Arnold Palmer Signature course and an 18 hole  Jack Nicklaus Signature course,  was chosen as  one of the top 50 golf resorts by GolfWorld and it was  the 12th ranked resort course in the US,   great praise indeed.   Located in one of  Bay Creek’s  most beautiful villages,  Heron Pointe,  this lot has a view of one of the little lakes  and its lovely waterfall which features a stunning large bronze sculpture of a blue heron ( of course, what else ) standing on a bronze log  in a  little pool just below the waterfall,  a special custom commission by the developer.

As one of the most upscale villages at Bay Creek,  Heron Pointe is home to a number of  luxurious properties.  Located in the area of  Bay Creek Resort where the Chesapeake Bay and Old Plantation Creek intersect,  it is the neighborhood where the influence of being surrounded by water is felt most vividly–  most of the Heron Pointe lots have some  saltwater views or front on one of its several freshwater lakes.  Indeed,  several of the most talked-about waterfront holes of  Bay Creek’s  Arnold Palmer Signature Course wind through Heron Pointe,  including  the famed holes # 1 and #3,  which have been called some of the finest golf holes  in Virginia.  Hole #1 is so impressive– as you look down the long,  long  fairway you see what appear to be  large white “petals” of  a  huge flower lying on the ground near the approach to the green.  A pretty tricky flower however,  sort of like a Venus flytrap,  because once you get caught in one of these  sand  “petals”  it can be quite difficult to get out,  as I’m sure as many a Bay Creek golfer will attest !    

Located just beyond the flower petal shaped sand traps is the elegant  reproduction of  Old Plantation Flats Light,  built by Bay Creek in 2004 as a a replica of  the unusually shaped original 1886 lighthouse which stood in the  Chesapeake Bay near Cape Charles for many years.   Sited in a small freshwater lake at the very edge of the Bay and the beach, this impresssive  reproduction features an antique  fog bell from a retired buoy and a new Fresnel fourth order lens.  One can stand on the lighthouse deck and by gazing east,  overlook  much of  Heron Pointe.  A glance south nets a great view of the  # 2 green on the Palmer course,  located just at the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, overlooking  the broad sand beaches.  Certainly the lighthouse is  a great place to stand and watch the ships go by on the horizon,  a grand place to enjoy the spectacular sunsets over the Bay. 

 And for the icing on the cake,  from this Heron Pointe lot it’s only a few minutes to the Chesapeake Bay marina,  clubhouse,  pool, tennis courts and the many other golf community amenities.  All this and a chance to enjoy the special beauty of the Eastern Shore comes as a complete package,  gift-wrapped and topped with a spectacular bow,  with the purchase of  this spacious 3/4th acre building lot in Heron Pointe,  most attractively priced at $149,000.  Visit the Blue Heron website and see more golf properties as well as beachfront,  boating,  historic and town & country properties at .

Wander Down Dogwood Lane and You Will Discover This Elegant Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Home

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Wander down Dogwood Lane near Belle Haven, VA  in the springtime  and  you will see it is well-named,  profuse with beautiful clumps of its namesake trees, pink and white  flowers set against a backdrop of  the broad blue waters of Occohannock Creek,  a saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  And gently rising  from a  gorgeous wooded setting is this elegant contemporary  home,  inspired by the architectural traditions of  Frank Lloyd Wright.  Perfectly integrated into its wooded waterfront homesite,  it maintains  the essential elements of  Wright’s   “prairie”  style,  the low horizontal lines of the home,  very open  interior spaces,  nearly flat roof lines with overhanging eaves,  bands of horizontal windows as well as clerestory windows, a central chimney  and solid craftsmanship.  But  a very special and unique architectural element has been added to this particular prairie style home,   an element which brings it into perfect harmony with the coastal traditions of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  

Designed by the architect son of the original owners,  this home is reminiscent of a ship,  the center portion of the home symbolizing  the stack and the brick terrace towering over  the shoreline as the prow.  It is a very attractive design,  different, bold and exciting.   One of  Wright’s central tenets was that  a “good building is not one which hurts the landscape but rather one which makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built.”  Certainly this property qualifies in every sense,  the home  looks completely natural  and in tune with the site,  almost as if it had been grown from the land itself,  the deep colors of the California redwood exterior blending in perfectly with the surrounding trees and colorful flowering shrubs,  each complementing the other and providing an attractive contrast to the blues of the waterfront beyond.

The  history of the creation of the “prairie” style architecure  is quite interesting.  At the turn of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright and a group of like-minded architects were striving to come up with an alternative to what they perceived as the over-embellishment and fussiness  of the then-prevailing European styles like Victorian, Tudor, etc.  They wanted to create something which had cleaner,  more simple lines.  By designing long homes with low silhouettes,  horizontal lines and open interior spaces they were creating homes designed to be built on large lots,  in more  open spaces.  These new styles  contrasted sharply from the tall narrow homes with closed in interiors so popular in cities at the time.   When Wright wrote an article about a  home he had just designed in the new style and entitled it  ” A Home in A Prairie  Town”,  a name and a  style were born.

As magnificant inside as out,  the interior of this home gleams with the rich polished redwoods,  accented by soft recessed lighting, pointed up by the use of interesting ornamental lamps throughout.  This is a bold house,  a house that is quite modern, a house that requires contemporary furnishings and modern art.  Actually, the house itself truly is a work of art– it’s clear that a great deal of thought was given to the visual appeal of each design detail,  even down to where to place the most interesting boards, the ones with the most intricate swirls and grains,  installing them in locations where the most beautiful boards would be at eye-level.   Shapes have been elevated to an art form in this home,  a small powder room with a 12 foot ceiling,  a short entry corridor opening into a rectangular great room overlooking a triangular patio, an intricate dining room with its focal point being a triangular shaped fireplace projecting into the room,  the kitchen a long, sleek galley with a pass-through into a long corridor overlooking the water which links the dining room and the great room.  The  bedrooms comprise a complete wing of the house,  long bands of windows suffuse soft  light throughout  the wing’s hallway,  the master bedroom placed at the end to allow for a private little deck which overlooks the woods of the front yard.  The tray ceiling of  the master bedroom blends down into a unique redwood triangular shape embossed panel  above the bed and the same panel is replicated in the bathroom, perfect for contemplating while taking a long bubble bath. 

This is a house that is so amazing inside that it could be easy to ignore the outside grounds if they too were not spectacular.  Two huge oak trees anchor the mature landscaping, with hollies, azaleas, camillias landscaped through the pines and dogwoods, right  down to the shoreline along Occohannock Creek,  a tidal saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay offering shimmering blue views.

  The dock on the property is perfect for small boats and kayaks,  and the  inlet offers easy access to the Bay and all sorts of fishing, crabbing, etc., all in only about 15 minutes.   The front approach to the home has been landscaped with small white stones which the owner has raked into a labyrinth design,  the contours of the white stones in sharp contrast to the dark pebbles of the circular driveway beyond.   This incredible home is absolutely perfect for anyone seeking a strong contemporary feel in a waterfront environment and is attractively priced at $549,000.  (More info at )


Wiley, My Eastern Shore of Virginia Arabian Horse. The On-going Saga, Part 6. Wiley Lands In “Time-Out”

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
My Arabian horse Wiley working on the lunge line

Wiley On The Lunge Line, Buffing Up Those Abs

Everyone has heard that old expression, “boys will be boys”,  it’s been used for eons to excuse rascally behavior from boys in  just about any age group.   And I’m of the opinion that this holds true for young boy horses as well !   For the first time ever,  Wiley now finds himself in  “time-out”  and he’s missing out on lots of  horse play. It all started when Wiley and my son, Chris,  were continuing  to prepare for the first Region 15 show of the season to be held in Raleigh, NC.   Down on the farm near Cape Charles,  Wiley was working on the lunge line,  doing sweeps of the ring to continue building  up his chest and  hind quarter muscles which lost a bit of their tone over the relaxing winter spent with his buddies in the pasture during the day and horsing around in the barn at night.  But now it’s walk, trot, canter, walk, trot, canter around and around the ring,  buffing up and practicing  voice commands as well.

Wiley my Arabian horse in his new braids

Wiley Sports His New Hairdo

In fairness to Wiley, there were several other  horses around and a fair amount of noise.  And Wiley was feeling pretty good about himself,  sporting his new haircut,  complete with handsome braids,  and  some “six pac” abs from the prior weeks of training,  showing a bit of attitude.  Well, in the excitement of the moment, Wiley lost his good judgement and before he realized it,  his mouth was on Chris’s arm.  Oh,oh, that’s a definite no-no !  And bad horses get put into “time-out” and on  restriction after that.  They don’t get the excitement of traveling to shows, they miss getting to meet  all those  pretty new fillies and the fun of  hooking up with last year’s show buddies.  Yup,  it’s no fun at all being left in the barn while all your stall mates are out of town,  living it up in Raleigh, complete with room service and in-stall showings of  “Seabiscuit”, “Secretariat” and “Black Beauty”. Poor Wiley, but  “no pain, no gain”  and  I’m sure he  has learned his lesson and will be  getting  it together before the next show.   P.S.  For those of our readers who are considering buying a horse property here on the Eastern Shore,  Blue Heron has just listed a beautiful 13 acre waterfront farmette,  with 1500 feet of shoreline with deep boating water, absolutely perfect for horses,  check it out at and click on boating properties.