Cape Charles VA, Named A “Best Little Beach Town” By Southern Living Magazine, Is A Great Place For A Relaxing Vaction

by: Marlene email

There is a reason why the June, 2012 isssue of  Southern Living Magazine names  Cape Charles, Virginia as one of  their “Best Little Beach Towns“– because it REALLY  IS !    I know, I know, that’s a non sequitur.  But Cape Charles really is the best little beach town in Virginia  and we  invite you to decide for yourself  if you agree with Southern Living and moi.  To that end,  I want to introduce you to  Cape Charles’ newest vacation rental– Seahorse  Retreat, presided over by Sindbad, the biggest, baddest, most bejeweled seahorse I’ve ever seen and his friends.

Located in the heart of the historic area, Seahorse Retreat is a second floor unit in a lovely historic brick building, circa about 1900.  Truly a cozy haven for two,  it features a beautifully decorated living room furnished with overstuffed, comfortable furniture,  dining room with seating for four and a  bedroom featuring a brand new and totally comfy king- sized bed, deliciously soft sheets, fat down type  pillows.  A  full  kitchen with dishwasher,  built-in microwave and ceramic top range completes the ensemble. ( Well, of course,  there’s  also a bathroom.  What to say about a bathroom ?   It’s there,  it works, the bathmat and shower curtain are both a seafoam color  matching the fun painting on the wall, etc. …..)  But the piece de resistance is the veranda. Step through the door onto the veranda and you enter the world of small town coastal living as on the sidewalk below,  folks are taking leisurely strolls down Mason Avenue to shops, to galleries, to restaurants,  to the beach.  Personally, I find people watching  lots of  fun !   And as the veranda overlooks  the Cape Charles harbor,  it’s perfect for relaxing at sunset,  as everything from a big yacht to a little Boston Whaler  glides  into port  at twilight from a day out on the Chesapeake Bay.  ( Boating is such hard work but someone has to do it….. )

Although Seahorse Retreat has already been booked through April, 2013, I might mention that in general, Fall really is a great time to visit the Eastern Shore so check out our other Vacation Rentals at In fact,  October is one of  my favorite month here,  blue, blue skies, huge white puffy clouds, soft sea breezes, still warm but not hot, Indian Summer usually nearly until Thanksgiving.   Starting right after Labor Day things get a bit quieter but there’s still more than plenty to do.  The beach, of course,  ( that’s why it’s  the  “best little beach town”  ).  The Cape Charles town beach features sparkling, soft sand, the better to relax in a beach chair,  feet bare,  book in hand, ice cold tea in the cooler.   Tide pools for beachcombing and wading, swimming perfect further out, a long boardwalk for just strolling– just a few of the reasons why the Cape Charles beach is so great.

At the tail end of the Boardwalk you’ll find a long handsome fishing/crabbing/boat watching  pier.   Of an evening the pier is lighted and the reflections of these many small lights mirrored in the waters below, together with the  moonlight which casts a net all around, nearby channel markers blinking bright red or green,  the  lights in the homes along Bay Avenue twinkling a soft yellow in the distance, tangy air tinged with salt, all synthesized into a lovely experience.  Actually, the pier at night is really one of my favorite places in Cape Charles, quiet but with always something interesting doing on–  fish or crabs  plopping into a bucket, the very last boats of the evening steaming in to the harbor, way out on the Chesapeake Bay maybe a big cargo ship or cruise ship, lights very faint on the horizon,  passing by on its  way from  Norfolk to Baltimore, snatches of soft conversation or laughter echoing across the water.  Definitely, when you visit, do not miss a walk out on the pier in the evening.

A to Z, from antiques to zesty clam dip, there is so much to do on the Eastern Shore of Virginia it’s hard to even know where to begin.  Festivals, birding, wine trail, boating, biking, deep sea fishing, crabbing, clamming, horseback riding, kayaking, visiting museums and wildlife preserves, and the list goes on.  Within the town itself, visit the cute little shops, full of  unique gift items  or stop in at Best Nest, a favorite of mine and  the go-to place for nautical home furnishings and decorations.  Four art galleries offer a tremendous variety of  local art–  from paintings to sculptures to lovely jewelry and more, you’ll find something that cries out,  take me home, take me home with you !  Over at the Marina Village Shops you’ll find  the art studio of  Thelma Peterson, one of the Shore’s most renown painters,  famous among other things for  her paintings of the Coast Guard stations, now gone, but which long stood proud out on our off-shore  Barrier Islands.  What’s the most fun way to get to the Marina Village Shops ( and Aqua Restaurant right next door, but we’ll come to that later) ??  By golf cart, naturally.

Cape Charles is the only town I know of  in Virginia where golf carts are street-legal within the town limits. Nothing like seeing the town from the low & slow, green & lean perspective of a golf cart.  It’s easy to rent one for just a day or for your entire stay.  Of course, the reason the Cape Charles was granted this privilege was that two of the best golf courses on the East Coast are located on the Eastern Shore, the  Bay Creek  18 hole Arnold Palmer and 18 hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses. So if you’re a golfer, a great treat is in store because although these fabulous  courses are private, for a limited time the public can pay greens and cart fees to play them.

And then there is our regional food and wine, led by fine dining at Aqua Restaurant whose seafood is second to none.  Located at Marina Village Shops, Aqua is right on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  Dinner at Aqua at sunset is a mighty fine thing and you won’t want to miss it or their luscious crab cakes and Eastern Shore style clam chowder.   Clear at the other end of the spectrum is The Shanty,  located right on the new marina in Cape Charles’ harbor.  Brand new and a replica of the old-fashioned crab shacks of old,  The Shanty is the place for steamed Chesapeake Bay hard shell blue crabs- order by the half or full dozen. Served with corn on the cob and an excellent cole slaw plus a roll of paper towels to mop up the juices,  the crabs are the star of the show.  And they offer a mighty fine grilled burger as well.  Another favorite is Kelly’s Pub, owned by Gene Kelly who offers great pub food all the time, live music most week-ends and absolutely the Shore’s best  St. Paddy’s  Day menu. Slainte’.

So if you’re looking for a terrific vacation spot, away from the “bright lights-loud music” crowd, consider  Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Call us at 757-678- 5300  about a weekly vacation rental for next year at cozy Seahorse Retreat in historic downtown Cape Charles.  Now taking  bookings  for availability starting May 1, 2013. (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Comments are closed.