Archive for September, 2012

The 2012 National Book Festival- Part I: Getting There

Friday, September 28th, 2012

What with one thing or another,  it’s been a busy fall on the Eastern Shore of Virginia so we had been on again-off again about going to Washington DC for this year’s National Book Festival, held on the National Mall,  Sept. 22-23,  about a 4 hour drive  from the Eastern Shore.   But I did make hotel reservations,  just in case,  leaving plenty of time for cancellation if need be.  Naturally, it was at the 11th hour,  Thursday the 20th,  that everybody previewed their Friday- through- Monday schedule, thereafter declaring  the week-end a “go”.  This  meant commencing a hyperactive search for books by the authors we love who would be autographing their books at the Festival, checking  to see which books we  already had and which would need to be purchased in route at my favorite Barnes and Noble in Virginia Beach.   There is a book sales  tent at the Festival which offers the latest books from the scheduled authors but that involves standing in a line so I prefer to bring everything with me that I want autographed.  ( Also, if it’s a favorite author, I usually have some of their earlier books which I like to try to get signed as well.) As this was our 5th Festival,  I pretty much had everything down to a science.  Pack the books in a big rolling cooler with a long pull handle– the cooler is a great place to sit while in line, it holds important extra stuff like umbrellas & trail mix,  if it rains it keeps the  books  dry, etc.  In fact,  my # 1 piece of advice to a prospective Festival-goer—- best to come with a  combo chair-storage container- book protecting  cooler on wheels !

I had optimistically planned to leave the Eastern Shore  by 9 am.  Silly me  !  Finally pulled out of the driveway about 11:30 in a two car convoy,  Eldest Daughter and boyfriend in one car,  moi, hubby and two grandkids in another, ready for great adventures on the road.   Which in this case meant a first stop at COSTCO  in Virginia Beach to get  another GPS  because mine was acting a little weird and I would never try to drive in Northern Virginia/D.C. without one.  Which makes me wonder, how did we ever get around without a GPS ?  I still have a couple of old D.C.  map books sitting on the top of a bookcase and I still consider myself  proficient with a map, but really, as heavy traffic zooms by on I-495, with crazy drivers darting in and out,  cars plunging  for off-ramps, crowding in from on-ramps,  all at 65-75  mph,  I just can’t imagine how we ever managed to get anywhere safely and on  time without a GPS  !  Anyway, walked out of  COSTCO about 1 pm but by then the kids were  hungry.  Of course !   So,  off for a quick  lunch at Panera’s about a mile away and finally, about 2 pm, we were actually, definitely,  on the road to D.C.  So much for my original fantasy of a 9 am start !   After about 50 inquires of  “how much longer ? ”  and 2 pit stops, by 7 pm we were checking into our hotel in Arlington,  just a hop-skip-jump across the river from the National Mall, tired, hungry but excited.

For dinner  I had already planned to try Ray’s Hell Burger ,  the very casual burger place that  I had read President Obama had taken Vladimir Putin to for  burgers and fries, figuring that if it’s good enough for the President and the Russian  head of state,  then it was good enough  for the 6 of us.  And the kids love hamburgers.   But what I hadn’t reckoned with was how popular it would be on a beautiful Friday night.  Good Golly, Miss Molly !   Jammed inside, jammed out on the patio, a pretty long  line to belly up to the window and order.  But finally, order we did, snagged a table out on the patio and waited for our food, which arrived surprisingly fast.   The burgers were indeed delish, perfectly char-grilled on the outside, nice and moist inside, snuggled into a top quality bun.  In my case,  also topped with cheddar, grilled fresh mushrooms, grilled sweet red onions, all accompanied by Ray’s excellent homemade  “5 cheese”  mac and cheese, sweet potato fries and crunchy slaw.  Was it worth the wait ??    Final Answer:  Absolutely terrific burgers,  just don’t go on a Friday night unless you’re prepared to wait or unless you are with the President !   By dinner’s end,  we all were  exhausted and totally ready for a good night’s rest before heading across the Potomac River to the 2012 National Book Festival the next day. (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Cape Charles,VA Historic District Condo For Sale

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

In the heart of  the little coastal town of  Cape Charles, VA  lies its charming Commercial Historic District.  The original buildings generally date back to the early 1900’s and  most  have been fully renovated, ready to do  yeoman’s service for another 100 years… at least !    And on the prime western end of the Mason Avenue’s  Commercial Historic District, Blue Heron Realty Co. has three beautifully designed commercial space condos for sale,  ranging in size from 1100 to 1500 sq. ft.    Absolutely perfect for a multitude of commercial uses,  from virtually any type of office office to most retail uses,  these three spaces are very attractively priced, ranging from $120,000 to $150,000.  Each condo offers excellent  street visibility and signage as well as  one of the best  locations in downtown Cape Charles, only 2 blocks to the beach.

If you already own a small business or are thinking of starting a business, you may wonder if owning your office or shop space  instead of renting  it offers  many benefits.  My personal opinion is a resounding Yes!   The first and most important is that owning  gives you greater control and stability for your business which results in  better control over your own destiny.  Assuming that you have confidence in  your business, there is a great deal of security in owning rather than renting your business space.  No more big rent hikes !   No need to worry about the possibility of  an  announcement that the landlord is selling the building  and suddenly the terms or even the actual renewal of  your lease is in question.  And  you are not paying off someone else’s mortgage, you are building up equity for yourself so at the end of the day if  you  sell,   your money comes back to you instead of your landlord.   Appreciation in value is important as is the ability to be able to also sell your physical premises should you decide to sell your business which might be very beneficial to the deal.  And any renovations you do over time accrue fully to your benefit, not to the landlord’s.

All three of these commercial units are on the ground floor of an attractive  three story mixed-use brick building constructed in 1901.  The building’s  second floor consists of 2 large residential condos,  the 3rd  floor boasts a 3000 + sq. ft. penthouse  with a double veranda overlooking the town and its colorful harbor.  All three commercial units are currently in use as office space.  the 1100 sq. ft. units are  professional offices– a dentist and a chiropractor,  each of whom rotate between multiple offices,  practicing  one or two days per week in Cape Charles.  Each unit is currently configured with a reception area,  several office or treatment rooms and a bathroom so clearly easy to convert to other types of office use or even retail if desired.

And it would be hard to beat the small town ambiance of Cape Charles if you are looking to open a business in a friendly coastal area.  In fact, the June, 2012 issue of  Southern Living Magazine named Cape Charles as one of its “Best Little Beach Towns“, quite an honor.  As it’s just a short walk to the beach from these condos,  a quick stroll on the boardwalk would be great for keeping the waistline trim.   Drop in at the beautiful Cape Charles Coffeehouse for a quick cup of  coffee on the way to the office.   ( The Coffeehouse  also has a great lunch menu, with one of the best chicken salad sandwiches ever.  And for dessert, don’t miss  Roberta’s luscious coconut cake with cream cheese icing and lemon custard filling.  Absolutely delectable, unbeatable this side of the moon !  )  Or walk  just a half block to Kelly’s Pub for lunch, home of a lip-smacking good char- broiled burger accompanied by the best dill pickles, straight from New York City.  Or try Rayfield’s Pharmacy’s  honest-to-goodness old- fashioned soda fountain lunch counter featuring, among other items,  a really delicious BLT, overstuffed with  plenty of  B and nice ripe T.    And yes, of course,  they do have milkshakes, sundaes, and ice cream sodas, chocolate’s the best !   Banking ?   Walk to the credit union just two blocks away.  Odds and ends ?   If  the hardware store doesn’t have it, just don’t you worry,  they’ll order it.  Need a bottle of  wine for dinner ?  Stop in at Gull Hammock on the way home, where by the way, each  Friday they have a new shipment of Prize’s homemade bread, sinfully good, especially the cinnomon raisin sourdough. Want to take a client to a fine dinner ?  Five minutes away you’ll find Aqua Restaurant  overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, home to excellent  food in a beautiful setting.  Need some decor ideas ?  Try your nearby neighbors at  Best Nest,  209 Gallery or  Stage Door Gallery.  The point being that within Cape Charles’ quaint Historic District, instead of having to let your fingers do the walking,  you can have the pleasure of getting out and about, among your friends, neighbors and fellow business owners,  doing errands and business the old-fashioned way–person to person.  For more information on  buying  your own business condo, call Blue Heron Realty Co., 757-678-5200 or 757-331-4885.

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