Archive for June, 2011

Art’s Enter’s 15th Annual “Benefit By The Bay”- A Smashing Success

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Every June  for the past 15 years, one of  the Eastern Shore of  Virginia’s  primary arts groups,  Art’s Enter,  has  hosted a huge benefit party,  “Benefit By The Bay“,  to raise money for the expenses of running the organization and maintaining the historic Palace Threatre in Cape Charles.  This year’s Benefit was, as usual,  a smashing success.  The brainchild of Clelia Sheppard,  one of Art’s Enter’s original founders,  Benefit By The Bay  attracts people from all over who come to enjoy a  wonderful  evening of  delicious food and wines  followed by dancing till midnight under the stars.  And a Silent Auction.  Irresistable !

2011 “Benefit By The Bay” sponsored by Art’s Enter, Cape Charles, Virginia

Although other commitments have prevented us from attending every single year,  my husband and I have been to about 9 or 10 Benefits and they are always lots of fun.  This year was no exception.  In fact,  we enjoyed it immensely, even more so because it was held this year at  Tower Hill House,  a gorgeous historic waterfront estate home which is listed for sale by Blue Heron Realty Co. ( see post of June 15th ).  In case anyone ever questioned it,  the Benefit proved Tower Hill house is a superb home for entertaining.  A huge  white tent on the back lawn,  a small tent for the band,  a bar and appetizer tent near the back porch,  various food serving stations down near the waterfront,  over 300 guests plus catering staff and still plenty of room for more — now that’s a Chesapeake Bay area home  I call truly perfect for  entertaining !

A Balmy Summer’s Evening, Perfect For The Benefit At Tower Hill House

Guests were greeted near the front steps with a glass of champagne and tickets for drinks at the bar,  then it was onward through the entry foyer and out to the long, velvety back lawn,  beautifully dressed for the occasion with  masses of colorful Stelladora and Coreopsis lilies outlining the long, elegant walkway from the house to  the dock.  We were running somewhat  late, no surprise there,  and arrived at the appetizer tent just as the caterer was beginning to clear away but did manage to spear some of the last of the mini crabcakes  and a bit of curried chicken salad– both were delicious.  Eldest daughter, who didn’t run late,  informed us somewhat smugly that  had we been a little less late we could have tried the tuna tartre and the shrimp cocktail as well as some heavenly stuffed puff pastries.  Ah well….

Salad Station and Roasted Pork Station Just Beginning Service

Catering this year was by Johnny Mo, well known here on the Eastern Shore as the “Singing Chef” and proprietor of Mallard’s Restaurant located on the Wharf in Onancock, VA.  ( See our spring post of Johnny at Holly Grove Vineyard. )  A talented chef with an eye for presentation and doing things with an interesting twist, Johnny was surely a great choice for this event.  After finding our table under the tent and stowing purses, etc., we wondered out to the waterfront area where food stations were set up and little lines beginning to form, smiling people having a great time on a balmy spring evening,  waving to friends, lots of happy chatter.  We started out at the Salad Station,  chopped romaine and other salad greens dressed lightly with a tropical vinaigrette and tossed with tidbits of  Mandarin oranges and mango.  I took our salad plates back to the table while my husband stood in line at the  Eastern Shore Seafood Boil Station where a savory  mixture of shrimp, mussels, corn and tiny new potatoes in an aromatic seafood broth was being ladled into bowls,  served with  slices  of crusty French bread for dipping into the delicious broth,  all so very yummy.   I confess– I immediately plotted to later go for a second helping  !   Back at the tent,  others at our table were happily sampling the roasted pork tenderloin with red pepper-raspberry glaze served on mini rolls, which I decided  to try as well….. but only after another helping of  the Seafood Boil.   But the really popular item of the evening was the Pasta Station where you could order penne pasta dressed before your eyes with your choice of pesto, alfredo or marinara  sauce, served with or without slices of  chicken breast which had been grilled to perfection.  I went for the alfredo, my husband for the marinara — we both agreed the sauces were luscious.  As it happened, we were in line just ahead of William Neil, the musical director for the Palace Theatre,  and chatted  a bit about his upcoming gig with Lynn Summerall and the Hotel Paradise Rooftop Garden Orchestra  on July 10th at the Jewish Mother restaurant in Virginia Beach.  A bit of a co-incidence since we had attended the band’s  May 8th performance there and really had enjoyed it immensely. 

Bidding Begins At The Silent Auction

Back under the tent,  dessert trays were being passed,  beautiful fruit kabobs of watermelon, honeydew and pineapple chunks,  deep red juicy strawberries dipped in chocolate or my personal favorite,  a delicate chocolate mousse made with Godiva chocolate.  Who could ask for anything better ?  Meanwhile,  inside the house  the  spacious formal living room was becoming a beehive of activity,  the Silent Auction would soon be going strong,  bidders circling around the room,  increasing their offers,  all bids to be in by 9;30 pm, winners to be announced the following day.  Each year generous local businesses and artists contribute a wide variety of  items to be sold at the auction as part of the fundraising.  This year over 100 entities contributed a myriad of items,  a huge variety of goods,  services and artwork ranging from a day at the spa to  a beautiful original watercolor by Clelia Sheppard,  to the  worthy cause of  supporting Art’s Enter’s efforts to enrich lives on the Eastern Shore through the arts.


Because of an early appointment the next day,  we left shortly after Art’s Enter’s School of Dance performed a selection from Hansel & Gretel  entitled “Fire Dance”.   The band was just getting  going again, the stars were shining brightly,  a balmy summer’s evening,  perfect  for dancing cheek to cheek.  Chalk up another great Benefit By The Bay !

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

Sailing On A 17th Century Tall Ship- A Video Of The Kalmar Nyckel Day Sail From The Cape Charles Harbor

Monday, June 20th, 2011

The Kalmar Nyckel is a reproduction of  a 17th century  Dutch tall ship with three very tall masts and eight miles of rigging which make her a most  impressive sight  as she cuts through the water.   Kalmar Nyckel’s  total sail area is over 7000  sq.ft. — to get an idea of  what really means,  consider that the average US house is about 2200 sq.ft  so  she  sports three houses worth of sails !   Wow !    At any rate,  as an element  of her visit to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and her 6 day stay in Cape Charles’  new marina, sponsored in part  by Blue Heron Realty Co. ,   my husband and I as well as several other family members took a day sail from the Cape Charles harbour well out into the Chesapeake Bay,  a real experience indeed and memorialized in this video.  Passengers had an opportunity to see the crew climbing high up into the rigging and to experience for themselves the crew numbers and physical strength and effort it takes to operate such a ship as they participated in hoisting the sails,  pulling to the rhythm of the seaman’s chantey,  “Bully In The Alley” .   An impromptu “Man Overboard” drill was ordered  by  Captain Lauren Morgens when a crew member’s  big straw hat was blown overboard.  So a  “Hat Overboard”  rescue was attempted with the aid of a little motorized Zodiak but it was clear to everyone that in the 1600’s when someone went overboard,  rescue was pretty much hopeless because a ship under sail would be so far away from the critical area  before a lifeboat could be manned and rowed to the spot.  Our crew was great and everyone had time to answer questions.   I think I peppered Helmswoman Ellen Carter with a million queries about daily life aboard such a ship for the crew of about 20, mostly volunteers,  with a paid crew of 4.  From cast-off to tie-up,  everyone had a great  time,  learned a lot about  trans-ocean travel 17th  century style and stored some  good memories.

Purchase Your Slice of History- Historic Tower Hill House Near Cape Charles, Virginia Is For Sale

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011


Front View Of Tower Hill House

As it  has since 1746,  this elegant 5500 sq. ft.  historic Virginia waterfront home, now for sale,  one of the finest on the Eastern Shore of Virginia since  it was built,  stands sentinel over  King’s Creek,  a broad saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay just a few minutes east of Cape Charles, VA.   Remembering the roads of those early days, or rather lack of them,  it’s easy to see why the location of Tower Hill was so desirable.  When you stand on the rolling rear  lawn and look down the inlet,  you can actually see the Chesapeake Bay in the not-too-far distance.  Since travel by boat was one of the most common means of travel on the Eastern Shore in the 1700’s,   the fact that Tower Hill was on a deep channelled inlet with such a close connection to the Bay, ( which functioned as the interstate highway of  that day ) meant that its owners had exceptional access to shipping and receiving goods and  hosting important visitors.  This would have given them many financial advantages and increased social status.  Being in the Shore’s very southern tip was advantageous then as well because of  easy access to the Atlantic Ocean  and to commerce with the nearby Yorktown and Williamsburg,  which were already  important towns.  Then,  as now,  it was location, location, location and this  site’s superior physical attributes as well as its natural beauty  explain why the original owner invested what would  have then been a small fortune into the construction of this majestic brick manor home.     And Tower Hill still has a most superior location,  being less than ten minutes to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel connecting the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach and Norfolk and only about five minutes to the beaches, golf  and other special amenities in  the historic town of Cape Charles.

Rear View Of Tower Hill and Grounds

Built of  brick in a blue tip  Flemish bond pattern,  the Tower Hill House  architecturally is  classic Georgian style with its attention to symmetry, balance and proportion.  Other period details include a chimney at either end of the home,  side-gabled roof,  paneled  front door with  pilasters, crown and  an overhead transom.   6-pane small dormer windows are inset on the top floor.   Fully restored in  2001,  Tower Hill House retains all the charm of a truly historic home but the 2001 restoration has  now outfitted this fine home with all of  today’s modern conveniences as well,  pretty much having your cake and eating it too.

Elegant Foyer With Raised Panel Wainscoting

The approach to Tower Hill House is most impressive– professionally landscaped, with a brown pebble circular driveway edged withcobblestones and lined with mature crepe myrtles and magnolia trees.  Walkways of  Tuscan red pavers and foundation plantings bridge  the space between the driveway and the 6 curved brick steps with gentle risers and black wrought iron hand rails. A deep landing brings you to the double leaf  front glass panel door with glass surrounds and an elaborate crown supported by detailed pilasters  opening  into the formal foyer with the kitchen and dining area accessed on  the left  through double French doors. The formal living room is accessed on the right also through double French doors.  It is the central foyer which first introduces one to the real beauty of this historic Eastern Shore home. Quite large,  with high ceilings,  raised panel wainscoting and elaborate moldings throughout, the foyer provides the first views of the water through double French doors leading to full  length rear porches overlooking the inlet, the dock  and on out to the Chesapeake Bay.  It is immediately apparent that this home was restored  with loving care, using fine materials and talented craftsmen. The  workmanship is outstanding.

Kitchen Fireplace Is A Focal Point

The charming kitchen with large dining area  features a 12 ft. ceiling and original brick  fireplace with a slate hearth. Floors are wide board pine, gleaming in the diffused natural light from the room’s many deep set windows.  As this home served as a B&B for several years,  the Vulcan stove with professional hood make whipping up a gourmet meal a snap.  Kitchen island with lots of storage space and new GE built-in appliances including refrigerator with custom panels to match the  extensive cabinetry.   This is a dream kitchen, great for entertaining,  with plenty of  room to add a love seat, stuffed chairs, etc. to complete it as a special  gathering place for owners and guests.   And speaking of guests, this home was the site of the 14th as well as the recent 15th annual Benefit  By The Bay and proved itself  twice over as a splendid place to hold a  party with over 300 in attendence !  (More on the Benefit in a future post.)

Elegant Formal Living Room

The gracious formal living room is especially notable with deep set, floor to ceiling windows which flood this lovely room with natural light, and,  since it is one room deep,  windows are on both the east and west side of the room.  Five piece crown moldings with dentil  woodwork,  fireplace with elaborate surround, 8 panel wooden doors with brass hardware add to the charm.  This is a very restful room with lovely views out to the water, and,  as the home has an east-west orientation,  is a great place to enjoy the spectacular sunsets over the water.  Smooth,  green  lawn  rolls gently down to the water,   dotted with mature shade trees including a huge oak which must be several hundred years old.   Colorful  landscaping all around this home is certainly part of its overall ambience .

Tower Hill offers 2 Master Suites

Upstairs,  the  2 master bedrooms each have French doors leading a  private balcony overlooking the water and  the impressive dock,  which will accommodate several boats.  With a total of 5 bedrooms  and 6 and a half  baths,  clearly there is plenty of room for personal guests or  to restore  the B&B usage.  Each bedroom features a fireplace with carved mantel and a slate or marble hearth,  4 piece crown moldings and  deep set windows with window seats.  Luxurious bathrooms abound, each with enclosed custom tile shower and claw footed tub.  On the 3rd floor there is a special window package which brings in  lots of light  including restful  natural light in the stairwell.

Room For Toys For Everyone

A Home For Your Boat

Downstairs in the finished full- house- length brick walled basement,  the large wine cellar has custom wrought iron gates, an extensive wine rack and large wine cooler.  Lots of ornate wrought iron throughout the entire area.  Another portion of the basement features a large “walk-in”  wood burning fireplace  and a bar area with a wood burning stove.  Plenty of room for pool table, card tables and other toys  including  a large screen  TV  — it’s a great “play” room,  for sure.  Includes open beams throughout the basement,  floors of brick or tile and a full bath located just off the wine celler area.  Like the rest of the house, the basement  is totally wired for music throughout.

Ready for some time at the beach ?  It’s  only about five minutes from Tower Hill house to the glistening sand beach in Cape Charles.  For golfers, the new signature Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus courses designed around shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and Old Plantation Creek  provide challenging golf in a simply beautiful setting.  In fact, the # 3 hole on the Palmer course was voted the  “Number #  1 Golf  Hole in Virginia”  so it’s clearly  pretty special.  Plus 19th hole relaxation at the Coach House Tavern  is always a treat– it overlooks the driving range and practice putting green so you can watch your friends trying to improve their handicaps a point or two,  always fun.  All the other amenities of Cape Charles, from fine and casual dining to shops to theatre add so much to the lifestyle and pleasure of owning the Tower Hill house.   And without a doubt,  the Tower Hill house is one of the finest historic waterfront homes on the entire  Eastern Shore.  It offers history and elegance in a gracious waterfront setting,  close to so many special amenities.  For an appointment to see it for yourself,  call Blue Heron Realty Co., 757-678-5200.



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

Happy Trails… Taking An Eastern Shore Trail Ride

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Getting Ready For The Eastern Shore Trail Ride

A few weeks ago a friend and I dropped in on the spring Eastern Shore Trail ride to speak to a few of the folks who had come out for that Ride.  I was interested in learning  where the riders  were coming from and in taking a peek into a couple  of the live-in  horse trailers  ( when I say “live-in” I don’t mean just for the horses, I mean for the owners !)  At any rate,  when we  arrived most of  area was already set up,  trailers parked,  horses happily munching away on what I’m assuming were tasty chunks of  hay, etc.  I’m not sure just how many people or horses were there that afternoon but the  official  Eastern Shore Trail Ride web page (  indicates that the Rides are limited as to the number of  participants, with only 250  previously registered horses and riders allowed.

On The Trail, A Very Comfy “Home Away From Home” For Both Horses And Riders

One of our first stops was at the handsome trailer of  some folks from up near Farmville, VA,  about 3  hours away,  who were just settling down with several friends to prepare what smelled like a scrumptious dinner.  They were kind enough to invite us to take a peek inside– surprisingly roomy,  with a bunk over the hitch area, cute kitchen with  a little  stove and microwave, built-in table with a window, a  bathroom that included a shower with skylight plus a satellite dish on the roof,  nearly all the comforts of home.   And the horse’s digs were great too !  After our peek into  their  “home away from home”  they were kind enough to then introduce us to a nearby friend, a  nice fellow in a 10 gallon Stetson,  hailing from from the mid- part of Virginia,  sitting on a robust 16 hand horse  ( showing my age again,  but he really reminded me of Hoss  from Ponderosa )  who had a  unique wedding last November … he and his bride,  a veterinarian who has more than 20 horses, were actually married in the saddle !  Definitely wishing  Happy Trails to them !

All the way from N.J., Grilling Corn, Potatoes, Shrimp And Steak On The BBQ

Walking on down the line,  we met 2 couples who had driven all the way from New Jersey to participate in this Ride,  their first time to come to the Shore.  I was curious and when I inquired as to why they would drive so far to ride their horses,  they indicated that they were really interested in seeing Virginia’s Eastern Shore and that the prospect of being able to ride their horses along a private beach was most intriguing to them. ( Lots of info on the trails, etc. plus an application to attend can be found on the official Eastern Shore Trail Ride website. )   They too were just beginning  to cook an aromatic meal over the fire,  corn on the cob and baked potatoes wrapped in foil already cooking,  with shrimp and steaks primed to  pop on the grill,   a great trail dinner for sure.  Walking back towards the car, we passed a sort of  “saddlery on wheels”,  with all kinds of items that might be needed by the riders on the spur of the moment, doing a brisk business, everybody laughing and talking in anticipation of the big ride the following morning.  It all seemed like a lot of fun to me and clearly the folks who were participating were looking forward to some happy  times on the trail.  And all for a good cause as the proceeds benefit  Northampton County Fire and Rescue Company 16.

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

Kalmar Nyckel– Part 2, The Day Sail. She Sails The Ocean Blue, This Saucy Ship Of Beauty.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Kalmar Nyckel

Waiting To Board Kalmar Nyckel

As part of  her 5  day stay in the Cape Charles harbor,  the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel offered several opportunites for the public to board the ship for deck tours as well as four different day sail trips for up to 49 passengers per trip out into the Chesapeake Bay.  We had selected  the Sunday  10:30 am  time slot for our sail but Sunday dawned dark andovercast, skies threatening a serious downpour at any time.  The Eastern Shore  definitely needs some rain so I didn’t feel but so bad but  hoped it would clear up in time for the trip which included  my husband, daughter, son-in-law and youngest granddaughter as well as myself.  But when we arrived at the dock the crew informed everyone in line on the pier  that the Captain was still monitoring the weather to decide if it would be a go or no-go.   Fortunately it began to clear and  the crew allowed us to board, everyone excited to sail on a ship which is a faithful reproduction of  an early 1600’s Dutch pinnace.  Boasting  about 8 miles of rigging,  three enormous masts and nearly 7,000 sq.ft. of  sail, the Kalmar Nyckel is a most impressive ambassador of goodwill for the state of Delaware.  It is near what is now Wilmington that her namesake first landed, on behalf of the Swedish Crown naming  the area “New Sweden”,  the first of four round trips she would make from Sweden to “New Sweden”  before she was refitted as a warship in 1638.

Heave, Ho ! Hoisting The Top Sails

It didn’t take long to get underway.  Her big diesel engines fired up, ( no, they didn’t have engines in the 1600’s  but hey, some things are too important to do without,  even in a faithful reproduction),  many orders issued from the bridge to the crew,  mooring lines were cast off and away we went for our 2 1/2 hour adventure. As we left the Cape Charles harbor, 5 or 6  yachts leaving the Bay Creek Marina waved as  they passed, surprised I’m sure to see this ornate beauty in their home waters.  As the ship got further out into the Bay the winds started picking up and the crew made ready to hoist the sails,  enlisting the help of  passenger volunteers to do so.  First came the instructions, terms like  “avast”, “ease” and “haul” were demonstrated and practiced.  Then it was time to hoist  the topsails, the main top and the fore top, and this was done just as in the days of yore,  pulling to the rhythm of an old sea chantey, in this case a tune called “Bully On The Deck”  which has a rather captivating beat. ( I found out later that the term “bully” in sailor parlance means inebriated. )   The winds were with us and the sails filled nicely,  speeding us along.

Man overboard drill

Impromptu “Man Overboard” Drill

It was the wind, blowing pretty well by then,  which initiated an inpromptu little training drill much to the surprise of both the crew andpassengers.  I was on the upper deck,  standing just behind the Captain,  taking some photos when a gust  swept  a wide-brimmed straw hat right off a crew member’s head and sailed it smack into the water.  When the Captain saw that she decided right then and there to conduct an unscheduled  “man overboard”  drill.  In a matter of seconds alarms sounded,  crew moved into various positions,  on the upper deck  “spotters'”  grabbed binoculars and trained them on the hat,  job one being to keep the “man”   in sight at all times, especially difficult to do as the ship begins its  turn back towards the overboard area.  On the lower deck,  crew threw out life preservers which in the event of a real problem are an effort to send  a number of  flotation devices out towards the victim in hopes that one will be grabbed.  All passengers on the lower deck were  asked to move towards the bow.  The rubber Zodiak , which is secured to the stern,  was lowered into the water, engine started and the 2nd mate and another crew member set out for the  rescue.  Meantime,  designated crew members were busy counting passengers, counting crew and talleying numbers to make sure everyone was accounted for,  that only one  “man”  had gone overboard.   All of this was done  quickly and efficiently,  the Captain issuing rapid orders, crew quickly carrying them out.   Unfortunately,  the hat drowned.  But the drill came off very well,  the Captain being quite pleased with the opportunity to carry off a surprise drill  and the passengers excited to participate and see how well it all worked.  The Zodiak was resecured at  the stern and  the journey continued on.

Steering the Kalmar Nyckel

Helmswoman Ellen Carter At The Whipstaff

On the homeward leg I had the opportunity to talk a bit to Ellen Carter who is in her fourth season of volunteering on the Kalmar Nyckel.   She was at the helm,  steering a course back to the Cape Charles harbor, keeping one eye on the whipstaff, another on the modern electronic depthfinder and course charter,  ears perked  for the Captain to issue orders but still able to tell me a bit about the ship and life on-board.   The helm on the Kalmar Nyckelis not the  big round wheel that one traditionally thinks of– rather, it is a 6-7 ft. long pole, about  4-5 inches in diameter,  called a “whipstaff”.  Connecting through a yoke into the tiller, which in turn moves the ship’s rudder, it’s  called a whipstaff because a sudden, unexpected movement of the rudder will cause it to whip to one side or the other with great momentum– definitely don’t want to daydream on  helms watch !  Ellen told me that the rudder weighes about 3200 pounds but that even though a lot of force may be needed to push the whipstaff in one direction or another, because of its length,  the helmsperson has about  40 to 1 mechanical leverage.  Otherwise it would take Godzilla to steer the ship !   And to think that they had all of that all figured out in the early 1600’s !

Captain and Mate speak

Aye, Aye Captain

I was interested in the day-to-day aspects of life on board. Ellen indicated that topside Kalmar Nyckel  is a faithful reproduction of her namesake but that below decks the crew has pretty comfortable modern quarters.  The Captain, 1st and 2nd Mates and Steward are paid crew, on board for about 8 months of the year and have their own quarters.  10 bunks off the galley and 10 more off the saloon  provide spaces for the rest of the approximately 12-20 person crew ( depending on the venue) which is all- volunteer. According to Ellen the food is very good and the cook tries to cater to special diets-i.e., vegan, Kosher, etc., plus  there is plenty of good strong coffee  and  even bundt cake for dessert sometimes.   The days of hard tack with  a dram of rum are apparently long gone !   Too, too  soon we were dousing the sails and heading into the channel,  the journey was about over but the memories will linger on.


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


Kalmar Nyckel- She Sails The Ocean Blue, This Saucy Ship Of Beauty- Part 1, The Reception

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Tall ship Kalmar Nyckel arrives in Cape Charles

Kalmar Nyckel Arrives In Cape Charles

Anyone who loves Gilbert and Sullivan and sees this beautiful tall sailing ship will immediately think of the song  “She Sails The Ocean Blue”  from “H.M.S. Pinafore”  because  this saucy ship’s definitely a beauty and as a reproduction  of  a grand Dutch pinnace  which made four round trips from Sweden to “New Sweden”  (Delaware) in the mid-1600’s,  she sails the oceans blue.   Sponsored in part by Blue Heron Realty Co.  and as part of  the  Tall Ships Initiative of  Cape Charles and Northampton County  (which was  the brainchild of  David Kabler,  broker for  Blue Heron’s  Cape Charles office )  the  Kalmar Nyckel arrived in the deep water Cape Charles harbor on June  2nd and settled right in for a 5 day celebration of  her eagerly awaited trip to  the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  including a Friday evening  on-board reception to be given by Blue Heron Realty Co.  (Click to enlarge the small photos.)


Even the weather co-operated beautifully-  early in the week it had been quite warm,  high temps about 90 but thankfully the wee hours of  Friday morning brought  a cold front  and the day dawned in the low 60’s with refreshing breezes all day long.  I was so relieved because in my role as Chief Cook & Bottle Washer  for Blue Heron’s on-board reception from 6:30 to 8:30 that  evening ,  my biggest worry all along  had been how to keep cold hors d’oeuvres  cold on a warm evening, on deck ,  with no real refrigeration and precious little shade.  We were, of course,  already prepared with lots of  big coolers and special serving trays with ice reservoirs underneath but still, I was really delighted that the high would be only in the  mid-70’s !


The evening kicked off about 6pm with an official  Welcoming Ceremony which included the Northampton County High School Band, presentation of the colors by the Coast Guard,  remarks by Cape Charles Mayor Dora Sullivan  and presentation of  a huge gift basket for Captain Lauren Morgan and her crew.  Then it was  on-board for Blue Heron’s  reception which proved to be a merry time indeed.  The invitations had gone out with Colonial or pirate attire as an optional dress code,  just to spice things up a bit.  Period attire was another of Dave’s ideas ( well, truth be told, Dave had hoped for mandatory but settled for optional )  and it added a lot of  entertainment to the evening.  The Kalmar Nyckel crew also wore their Colonial garb adding to the over-all ambience but I must say that the top prize for guys for the evening  ( had there been one ) would have gone  to local Eastville attorney Bert Turner,  usually seen in a sharp suit and crisp dress shirt,  whose flowing wig,  rakish hat and fancy garb  transformed him so completely into a  fashionable Colonial  pirate  it seemed as if  he had truly just stepped out of  a time machine.  A number of the the ladies had really wonderful costumes as well,  including Irene Henderson,  Sandy Mayer,  Susan Kovacs,  Dianne Appell,  Ann Walker  and  Carol Russ.  Even Cape Charles Town Council members  Bruce Evans and Joan Natali as well as  County Supervisor Spenser Murray got into the Colonial garb spirit,  wearing  period vests,  blouses and breeches.


And if I do say so myself,  the food turned out quite well too.  Planned and executed by Blue Heron’s  “Reception Committee”   headed up by Gerry Forbes and rounded out by Lisa Anderson and Kay Lewis,  these ladies planned and put together an attractive and tasty  array of cold appetizers  including a beautiful centerpiece fruit tray of 3 different types of melons, 3 different types of grapes,  some lusciously ripe Hawaiian pineapple and picture-perfect strawberries, then garnished with kiwi,  cherries and blackberries.   Flanking the fruit tray on either side were trays of assorted cheeses plus bread bowls filled with a most tasty humus as well as chopped spiced tomatoes for bruchetta complimented by  a large relish tray of mixed olives with marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts.  But the most popular item seemed  to be the mini sweet potato biscuits stuffed with country ham,  the contrast of the sweetness of the biscuits and the saltiness of the ham was absolutely perfect and a great accompaniment to the fruit and cheeses.  Early on in the planning stages we did an office wine tasting lunch to decide on the wines, ( yup, everyone  somehow  managed to  just  “happen”  to be at the office at lunchtime that day !  )   A unanimous vote chose a  fruity rose’  sparking wine as the  favorite,  with a dry white sparking wine a close second.  These were served along with Samuel Adams light summer ale on draft which proved quite popular as well.


Entertainment was provided  by the very, very  talented duo of  Carol Russ  on  accordian and Malcolm Russ  on  violin,  whose wide ranging repertoire included many  popular songs like  Red Sails In The Sunset   to  about 15 robust choruses  of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor   vocalized by  Dave Kabler together with the Kalmar Nyckel’s  Captains  Lauren Morgan and  Sharon Litcofsky.  I personally think that the right music can help make or break an evening and the  Russ’  performance was great,  it added so much to the over-all ambience.  A pleasant summer’s eve,  a light breeze blowing,  laughter here and there,  pleasant conversation all around,  good food and wine,  all on-board such a unique venue, a beautiful tall sailing ship.  But because the Kalmar Nyckel  has no real lights on deck,  by previous agreement,  the Captain needed  guests to depart before 9pm,  so too soon it was over.   Malcolm and Carol  played that very beautiful song made famous by Sarah Brightman some years back,  Time To Say Goodbye  and with that  we  all said our good night’s and goodbye’s but those of us at Blue Heron won’t soon forget this special evening.

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

The Kellogg House For Sale, My Children’s Home…Part 2

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The Kellogg House at 644 Monroe Ave., Cape Charles, VA

Arguably the finest house in the historic Chesapeake Bayfront town of  Cape Charles, Virginia , the Kellogg House at  644 Monroe Avenue, remains for my children their cherished residence,  full of childhood memories.  From elementary school-aged children to high schoolers,  this house was the center of their universe  for eleven years.  Having spent over 4,000 nights there,  I have a unique appreciation for its particular special history, qualities and features completely aside from the special amenities in Cape Charles such as the great town beach,  Palmer and Nicklaus world class golf courses and a new state-of-the-art marina.  And believe me, there hardly was a morning that I did not awaken with the feeling of how privileged I was to live in such a fine old home!

She never fails to impress a new visitor that crosses her threshold.  From the moment one stands

Grand Entrance Portico at the Kellogg House

 on the sidewalk out front gazing up at her parapets, this grand lady calls, welcoming one to climb the granite steps to the front portico supported by pairs of twin Doric columns.  A great big door with lionshead knocker guards the entrance that is lined with leaded glass-paned sidelights and fan light above.  Dropping the bar on the knocker sends a resounding clap echoing down the entrance hall and up the grand staircase.  My memory recalls the kids bounding down the stairs  to answer the door,  ready for friends and play.

Mr. Eucebius Milton Kellogg completed the construction of this magnificent house in 1928,  two years after sinking the massive foundation that supports the impressive  brick and steel structure of the home.  I understand that 6 months was spent on this foundation,  driving contiguous pilings deep into the footprint upon which the concrete footers were poured.  As the basement is at ground level,  mounds of earth were piled high up against the front walls,  giving the impression from the street the home is built on a  hill.  Mr. Kellogg was a railroad tycoon and wanted his final home to last for centuries! Walls three and four bricks thick stand upon the poured footers and threaded throughout each of the three floors of the home are 12″ steel I-beams. No big, bad wolf is going to blow this house away!

Massive masonry fireplace and French doors in living room

Great, big, formal spaces lend an air of elegance and are finished with architectural moldings, up to five pieces hand-fitted together.

In the center of the outer wall of the living room is a grand masonry fireplace with stone mantel and carved insert  in French script.  On either side of the massive fireplace,  a fireplace that warmed my cold feet on many winter nights, are big French doors offering easy access to the Spanish tiled Florida room.

This sun porch has these incredible horizontal stacking windows that open up great expanses of screened airflow. And on the other side of the great center hall is a wonderful dining room with a centerpiece

Dining room with mahogany china cupboard

 that is a beautiful, handcarved, solid mahogany china cupboard. For excellent service, right behind the dining room is the best butler pantry I have ever seen, with floor to ceiling wooden and glass cupboards and an original, five foot long  porcelain sink. The back hall has another fantastic gem that never fails to amaze,  a floor to ceiling Frigidaire ice cream cupboard,

Floor to ceiling ice cream cupboard in back hall

 magnificently refinished to attract the attention it deserves. Two sets of back stairs lead down to the basement and out into the back yard. The great kitchen also has the same type of stacking windows as the Florida room and allows for wonderful ventilation while preparing and cooking food. Between the kitchen and the dining room and just off the butler pantry is another little surprise, a charming, tiled breakfast room surrounded by six paned, double hung windows that bring the soft morning light and outdoors inside. And off the dining room is a cute, little tiled screened porch, one where I often slept on an army cot during hot summer nights.

Yes, the kids sounded like herds of elephants trampling up and down the grand, cantilevered staircase, a sound that took me years to get used to, but that I miss so much now that they are grown up and on their own. These wonderful stairs always amazed me by their seemingly weightless suspension, but how graceful they

Wonderfully engineered cantilevered grand staircase

are, appointed with a beautiful mahogany bannister with curled end at the bottom. At each of the three floors is an access door that opens to the laundry chute for conveniently making soiled, and in the case of lazy children, not so soiled clothes disappear down to the laundry room in the basement.

The suite of rooms on the second floor tell an interesting story about an elderly couple whose children had all left home before they designed and built this house. Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg had two daughters that they raised in the home at 653 Tazewell, just a hop, skip and a jump from the location of this, their new  Monroe Avenue mansion. There they lived for thirty-five years before moving into this home,  their final place of residence. Settled into their dream home in 1928, Mr. Kellogg occupied one half of the second floor in a large bedroom served by a built-in wardrobe with glass paned doors and a bathroom with shower finished with subway tile. This was heated by a radiator hidden behind a massive iron screen ornamented with two

Master bedroom with built-in wardrobe

 hundred flur-de-lis. The other half of this floor was occupied by Mrs. Kellogg, a suite of three rooms – one a corner bedroom with attached tiled bathroom with full sized tub and pedestal sink and same flur-de-lis radiator screen. The middle room was clearly her full sized dressing and sitting room and passing though that past a huge cedar closet is the sleeping porch for those hot summer nights before the age of air conditioning. And outside that is an outdoor patio as high

Sleeping porch at the Kellogg House

as the tops of the huge crepe myrtles in the back yard – a perfect place for sunbathing!

The third floor was clearly designated for two servants to live in, with two identical bedrooms and a full bath with huge tub between the two. All three of these rooms are served with identical dormers with curved-topped French windows that peak out over the street scene far below. The curved plaster-on-lathe ceilings are so gracefully formed, yet the floors here are only common heart-pine while the two more formal floors below have beautiful oak hardwood.  I could continue on and on with more details about this unique and beautiful home but  I shall save the rest for a future post.  However,  should you be interested in making an appointment to see this splendid and lovingly constructed historic Cape Charles home, please give Blue Heron a call at 757-331-4885  or email me at