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

by: Marlene email

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

Seagate B&B

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

Cape Charles House B&B

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

Sterling House B&B

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

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