Looking to buy a historic property in Virginia ? Consider purchasing real estate on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the quaint historic town of Cape Charles, perched along the sandy shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Cape Charles today continues in its historic coastal traditions and many of the town’s activities center around its deep water harbor, marinas and its beautiful sand beach. Most of the 500 buildings in the original part of town date back to the late 1890’s and this section of town has been designed as a “Historic District” . In addition, about 10 years ago, the acreage which now comprises the golf resort were annexed by the town and now form its northern and southern boundaries. Most of the new homes built there are of a traditional style and blend well with the homes in the Historic District, creating a harmonious whole from the sum of several parts.
Cape Charles has an interesting history– it was actually created from scratch by a Pennsylvania Congressman, Wm. Scott, who purchased the land which is now Cape Charles after learning that its deepwater harbor was to become the southern terminus of the railroad. ( Obviously, insider trading is not a new phenomena ! ) In 1883, Scott began the process of development, laying out the town as a square, creating a five acre space for a future central park (see the Sept. 11th post on the dedication of the beautiful new Cape Charles Central Park), naming the avenues for famous Virginians (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, etc., ) and the streets for what I’m assuming were his favorite fruits ( Fig, Strawberry, Peach, etc.) and then proceeded to sell building lots. Between the strong economy generated by the new railroad, which ran from Manhattan to the Eastern Shore, and the busy ferry service from the harbor ( which took both rail passengers and cars across the Chesapeake Bay, landing in Norfolk ), Cape Charles quickly became a busy and prosperous waterfront town. Grand homes were built along the beachfront and in the beach blocks, more modest homes further back. By the early 1900’s, most of the lots had been built out, in a potpourri of architectural styles ranging from Victorian, Queen Anne and Georgian to Sears Craftsman cottage style homes, with Gothic and American four square as well. Sadly for Cape Charles, by the mid-1950’s, the railroad retained freight service but terminated passenger service and postal service to Cape Charles. And in the cruelest cut of all, the ferry company moved to a new terminal at what is now part of Kiptopeake State Park, nearly five miles away. Adios, so long, sayonara to Cape Charles, which sank into a slow decline with the loss of its two economic engines.
Fast forwarding to 2010…. With the completion of much of the golf resort and the revival of interest in buying and restoring historic homes in coastal towns, the renaissance of Cape Charles and restoration to its intended glory is nearly complete. And it’s exciting to see a variety of opportunities for people to be able to purchase real estate in the historic area of Cape Charles and to be able to enjoy the ambiance of yesterday in a home which has been restored to its original elegance. This post will feature a lovely restored historic home listed by Blue Heron Realty Co., a marvelous Georgian Revival. Interestingly enough, this home was previously a B&B so the restoration fortunately included adding a private bathroom to each bedroom, the acute shortage of bathrooms being to my mind one of the thorny issues that always has to be dealt with in restorations of historic homes.
Built in 1906, this 4200 square foot Georgian Revival home has been fully restored to its former glory ! Located just two blocks from the beautiful Cape Charles town beach, this home reflects the best traditions of gracious Virginia living. With spacious formal rooms and seven bedrooms plus eight and a half baths, there is plenty of room for private entertaining or it could be returned to its B&B status. The stately entry foyer features the original ceiling medallion with light fixture and original leaded glass windows. Wood floors have been beautifully restored and the 12 inch baseboards have top and bottom shoe molding. The large dining room is light -filled and simply spectacular with four floor-to-ceiling windows, original ceiling medallion and gasolier chandelier. Original carved fireplace mantel adorns the gas-converted fireplace in the spacious living room which also features pocket doors. Warm and cheerful, the gourmet kitchen features Wolf range, Viking hood and side by side refrigerator– everything you would need to fix a fabulous crab au gratin with your fresh- from- the- Chesapeake- Bay lump blue crab. Large Butler’s Pantry, plenty of storage.
Outside, a lovely wisteria-covered pergola and a hot tub as well as a detached office with a sleeping loft create private spaces for work and leisure. Located on a corner lot in the Cape Charles Historic District, this gracious, lovingly restored home is but a short stroll to the beach and a quick golf cart ride to the two marinas, Palmer or Nicklaus golf, little shops, art galleries, the Palace Theatre and fine and casual dining. Could it get any better ? So get ready to live the sweet beach life in the romantic ambience of yesteryear. Priced at $599,995. ( For more information on real estate and historic homes for sale on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, click on the “historic home listings” section of the Blue Heron Realty Co. website www.blueheronva.com .