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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)

Winter Water Warriors– Chilling For Charity, The Cape Charles, Virginia “February FREEZE” !

Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Dashing into the Chesapeake Bay in February for Habitat for Humanity charity event

Out They Go! Cape Charles, Virginia's "February Freeze" charity event for Habitat for Humanity

Last  Saturday  (February 12,2011)  I decided that if I wasn’t brave enough to sport my bathing suit in 50 degree weather and go for a dip in 42 degree  salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay,   that the very least I could do was to  support those who were brave enough.  This was the 15th Annual  “February Freeze”,  a winter splash  from the Cape Charles beach into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay  to benefit  The Eastern Shore  Branch of  Habitat for Humanity.  Cape Charles’  beachfront was buzzing with both participants and spectators,  all laughing and chattering away, waiting for the start gun.   Since it was low tide at the start time,  I was able to stand out on a small sandbar,  wrapped in  a  heavy jacket and armed with my  camera and video Flip,  and look  back at the winter water warriors standing at the ready at  water’s edge… waiting  and freezing,  freezing and waiting.    Clearly,  they don’t call it the “February Freeze”  for nothing !   I just couldn’t even imagine myself standing in the  wind,  on the beach,  in my bathing suit,  much less actually getting  wet.  The official Dip was to take place at noon but I think the actual start time ended up being 12:10 pm.  One might think a only ten minute delay was pretty punctual but not when you are properly dressed,  in a bathing suit,  for the Dip,  but not for the actual weather, which that day included winds blowing at 15  knotts !

Victor Abrahamian takes a shallow swim in the Chesapeake Bay at Cape Charles for Habitat for Humanity charity event

Victor Abrahamian wows the crowd watching from the beach with a full body swim at the 2011 Cape Charles "February Freeze"

From start to finish,  the 2011 February Freeze took  just about  two minutes.  Last to leave the water was Victor Abrahamian , no surprise,  Victor having been a swim coach for 44 years . Victor was looking forward to really getting wet,  and proceeded  to wow the crowd by taking  a shallow swim as he made his way back to the Cape Charles beach.    All in all,  about  44  brave souls participated,  winter water warriors each and every one of them,   raising  over 4,700.00  dollars from this charity event for Habitat for Humanity. Eastern Shore Habitat for Humanity And each participant  who raised over $ 35.00  was rewarded with a delicious and steaming hot lunch.     What a great cause but what a crazy event !   Yet as I left the beach Saturday, I thought to myself,  possibly,  just maybe,  next year.  We’ll see.    Maybe…

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, .

The Hen House

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Here Chicky Chicky Chicky

You probably have never thought about having a few chickens but if you have thought about it  you have probably wondered … how does one get chickens,  and more importantly,  what kind of chickens should one get ?   Are they all the same ?   Do you need a rooster if you just want eggs ?   You will have so many questions once you decide to get started.   I can share my limited knowledge and perspective on the topic but  I am by no means a chicken expert.  (As a long time subscriber to that  amazing magazine,  Mother Earth News,  ( )   we have put into practice many of their tips on sustainable living and going green.  (I’ve been reading some of their suggestions  on raising  chickens at home for years.)   At any rate,  we  now have a few chickens  and we  enjoy having chickens,  that’s the long and the short of it.  

For us,  everything  “chicken”  started with some friends giving me a dozen eggs from their little farm, “Shoestring Farm”,  located on Church Neck.   (On Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  a  “Neck”  is a protrusion of land surrounded on two sides by broad saltwater inlets from the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean.   A  “Neck”  is  named for one of  its  bordering inlets,  in this case for the Church Creek inlet from the Chesapeake Bay.)   My husband cooked these colorful brown eggs  the next morning for Sunday breakfast.   WOW,  I remember thinking,  I didn’t know that eggs had actual FLAVOR.   That was it for me,  I was sold on having fresh, flavorful eggs which did necessitate getting some chickens to lay them !   My husband ,  who also reads Mother Earth News ,  had wanted to get some chickens for years and I had always said  NO.  I’m a light sleeper and the thought of a chicken waking me up at 4:45 am was not in my plan.  (My mother had chickens and her rooster would crow at the full moon, at the rising sun, at just about everything and anything.  Ummm,  NO THANK YOU,  not for me.)  Also, I didn’t  think  noisy chickens  would help us stay in the good graces of our neighbors either.  We live in a lovely home,  with a huge back yard situated on nearly  two acres,  in  beautiful waterfront neighborhood.  Absolutely none of our neighbors have chickens,  maybe never saw a  live chicken either !  However, research revealed  that if I wanted laying hens that I didn’t need to have to a crowing rooster,  which solved the “waking me at dawn”  and the  “annoying our neighbors”  problems.  I figured if  I addressed it with enough finesse,  my husband would give up the rooster idea and settle on a compromise acceptable to me  (and the neighbors)  —  laying hens or nothing,  so…. laying hens it is.

With my compromise  agreed  to,  we were ready to select our chickens.   That was the next  big question.  What chickens do I get and where  on earth does one get chickens ?   Surprisingly, it turns out that  there  are literally hundreds of chicken breeds for a home chicken enthusiast  to choose from,  different breeds for different purposes.  My  interest was in eggs so I wanted Pullets (all female chickens) and they need to be sexed.  Yes, that is an actual occupation.  Someone looks at the little parts and says boy or girl,  unfortunately,  not always with 100% accuracy.   (Most large online hatcheries have a full time “sexer” and I ordered my pullets  online   And how do they arrive ?   Believe it or not,  through the US Postal Service…yep, they call you and say “your chicks are here,  PLEASE COME GET THEM ! ”  And so we picked up our   fluffy little baby chicks  who cheep- cheep-cheeped so cutely all the way home.  The next step in your egg husbandry adventure  is what to do once you actually get these  cute, fluffy little baby chicks  home … but that’s next for the next post,  so  bye for now.

An Evening Under The Stars At Chatham Vineyard In Machipongo, Virginia

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Chatham Vineyard and Winery

I’ve always wanted to take some time and visit Chatham Vineyard and Winery up on Church Neck in Machipongo.  Chatham is quite unique in that the vineyard and winery,  which opened about ten years ago, are  part of  a large Eastern Shore  of Virginia waterfront farm called Chatham Farm which  includes  a  spectacular federal period  brick home built in the early 1800’s.  According to their website,  Chatham Farm has been a working farm for over four centuries.  So… a lot of history in each  bottle of their wine. 

 Well, last Saturday I finally made the the time and was so glad that I did.  Chatham has a number of special events each year including  “Corks and Forks”  which I think sounds very tasty.   Anyway, we  bought tickets to the kick off event of the  Chatham  Summer Concert Series.  Dinner , which started about 7 pm,  was delicious !   Savory grilled chicken with various cold salads and fresh picked corn on the cob,  well  prepared by local Chef Terry Flynn.  Of course  the  wine was great too.  Chatham specializes in a full bodied merlot but on Saturday night  they served a well chilled sangria  made especially for the event.  My husband and I both agreed that it was really fantastic.  

The after dinner entertainment on Saturday night was performed by the Tom Larsen Blues Band.  The band was billed as  “dynamic, original and exciting , an energetic and danceable show” — it definately lived up to its reputation.  Tom Larsen  completely engaged the audience with his creative guitar playing.  To demonstrate his  guitar  talents  he used as a guitar pick, among other things,  a wine bottle, a chair leg ( with the chair still attached) and even a flip flop.  My son especially enjoyed the guitar tricks,  thought they were  the best part of the evening.

All in all it was good music, good food and good fun. I can safely say a good time  was  had by everyone.  Children were off the leash for the night, running through the fields, flying kites, playing tag,  dancing and just generally kids being kids, culminating in  a carefree evening under the stars with  family and friends.  My family and I  are certainly looking forward to Chatham Winery’s  next event.    (  )

Kiteboarding in Cape Charles Is On My Bucket List

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Whenever I’m in town with my kids we usually take a few  minutes  to stroll the Cape Charles boardwalk because something interesting is always going on there . You just never know what you’ll get to see but chances are if there is a good wind,  chances are you’ll see some folks kiteboarding off the Cape Charles town beach.  Getting to watch the athletic grace of kitesurfing at sunset is unexpected treat.

Kiteboarding in Cape Charles

The terms “Kiteboarding” or “Kitesurfing”  are used  interchangeably when discussing this internationally popular sport. ( Here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia it’s always referred to as Kiteboarding. )  If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching  someone kiteboard, it’s done by using  a huge colorful kite that looks like a skydiving parachute to harness the wind and lift yourself up onto the board and just sail off. With speeds of up to 50+ miles per hour it’s definitely not for the faint of heart ! Kiteboarding is a great alternative for locations like Cape Charles that do not have the super big waves needed for conventional surfing. 

The picture shows Erin Harvey having a great time Kiteboarding off the Cape Charles beach.  After watching several exciting sessions, my sons and I agree that we are all interested in learning to Kiteboard !  Erin has assured me that I can  do it, though I must admit I’m a little more than apprehensive about it.  I suppose that is what taking instruction is for and it really does it look like fun.  Definitely on our  bucket list.

Sailing on the Schooner DELIGHT In The 2010 “Parade of Sail”

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The little tall ship schooner DELIGHT, which has been a fixture for 20 years on the Chesapeake’s horizon off the town beach in Cape Charles, will be the lead vessel in Norfolk’s annual Harborfest Parade of Sail for 2010. For a front and center grandstand seat to view this spectacular annual parade, visit Norfolk’s Town Point Park on Friday, June 11.  The parade starts at noon as the fleet of harbor tugs blasts their steam whistles and sweep the sky with their powerful plumes of sea spray from their fire hoses. If you love sailboats,  Harborfest is an event not to be missed.

Harborfest’s  Parade of Sail  this year was particularly poignant for her Captain and owner,  Dave Kabler,  and her regular crew which carried her through the parade waters into her slip at Waterside Marina.  This was her last year under Capt. Dave’s command as she has been sold to a new owner from Baltimore, MD.  The DELIGHT has sailed in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race  since 1995, winning her class twice.  Known all over the Bay for her sweet, traditional lines,  DELIGHT was built 40 years ago in the East River of Mobjack Bay in North Carolina  by Thomas E. Colvin who also designed her.

Schooner DELIGHT leads the Parade of Sail for Harborfest 2010