Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

The 1st Annual Honey Fest At Quail Cove Farms

Monday, July 16th, 2018

IMG_1320Lots of rhythm-keeping, toe-tapping and goody-munching happening over at Quail Cove Farms in Machipongo last Saturday at its 1st Annual Honey Fest. As the talented Side Porch Pickers picked away, wowing the crowd with bluegrass favorites, folks circulated up and down Quail Cove’s attractive new porch, checking out all the goings-on. Plenty of goodies were on offer including lovely little tea & honey flavored Parisian-style macaroons, honey butter, honey flan cakes, honey peanut butter, tasty honey mini-donuts and more. Plus some unique bars of honey and milk soap, very soothing ! And of course, jars and jars and jars of sunshine in a jar, pure golden honey in all sizes. The “Honey Guy” we see at the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market was even there with a little sampling jar of his delectable local Eastville honey. Yum !

Pony rides, a little petting zoo with curious, friendly sheep and a goat plus a bucket of corn to hand-feed them, aDSC_1954 Bouncy House plus an Activities Tent all kept kids involved in the fun. For those who got the serious munchies, Gordo’s Taqueria Truck could definitely satisfy cravings for spicy and delicious. And of course, Quail Cove was doing a brisk business at the inside store featuring the organic and natural foods and produce its famous for, especially their Amish Country cheeses, etc. Thanks Quail Cove Farms, a great idea, a very pleasant afternoon, looking forward to a 2nd Annual Honey Fest next year.

 

 

 

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THE ART AND MUSIC FESTIVAL AT THE BARRIER ISLAND CENTER – – AN ANNUAL EASTERN SHORE MEMORIAL DAY TRADITION

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

DSC_0174The 2018 “Art and Music on the Farm” celebration in Machipongo at the distinctive Barrier Island Center was splendid, as always. Held Saturdays on Memorial Day weekends, this is one of the Virginia Eastern Shore’s most anticipated art events each year and not to be missed if you are looking for a unique gift, large or small, for others …. or, dare I say it, for oneself ! Or if you are a lover of traditional country and folk music, this year’s concerts on the Center’s West lawn were made better by the addition of a large tent to enable listeners to sit and relax in the shade as well as at the numerous umbrella- shaded tables provided. Featuring different music groups each year, interpretations of traditional Appalachian and folk music by the five bands this year were huge hits Saturday.

One of the most exciting aspects of this annual event is the sheer number and diversity of talented Shore artistsDSC_0038 and artisans it brings together in one spot. Sculpture, oil and watercolor painting, jewelry, decoy carving, ceramics, custom stuffed animals, woodworking, floral, pottery of all sorts, papier-mache’ figures, metal work, bronze casting, photography and more, something big or small, for everyone to love. I found an amazing gift for my husband for Father’s Day ( which I shan’t enumerate as he often reads these posts ), a Bethany Simpson painted magnet for my niece, a too-too cute blue and purple stuffed octopus from The Sheep Lady for my little great-grandson as well as some Mama Girl sand dollars for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. ( Thought about a Hogg Island fig tree from Island View Farms but decided to wait until Fall and look for one at the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market so as not have to water it through the summer.)

DSC_0114And what’s a celebration without food ? Nada ! So for all those who got the munchies, plenty of choices on offer. Kitchen Sync was there with lots of goodies including an aromatic jambalaya and luscious fresh strawberries in chantilly cream, the Cape Charles Lion’s Club offered sandwiches and crispy, salty fries, spicy gorditas could be found at the Taco Truck and folks lined up xx sausage tent. Beer, wine and iced coffee/tea/fresh lemonade purveyors offered their sublime chilled liquids of the day. A perfect day and a wonderful time, the weather was lovely, temperate and breezy, blue skies, puffy white clouds, golden sunshine. What more could one ask – – beautiful art, toe-tapping music, good food, cold drink, a stunning venue and a beautiful day, Art on the Farm, 2018 !

 

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OPENING DAY ! SEASON 3 !

Friday, May 4th, 2018

DSC_9774It’s official ! As of Tuesday afternoon , Season 3 of the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market has kicked off – 3 to 6 pm every Tuesday, rain or shine, hot or cold, from now until October. Lots of our favorite venders from last year were there including Shore Beef and BBQ whose motto is – – Dinner’s Ready ! Mattawoman Farms had a big display of organic bedding plants for sale plus multiple varieties of beautiful lettuce, carrots, kolorabi, baby spinach. Copper Cricket Farms, Perennial Roots Farms, Hopeton Farm, all were back again with all kinds of veggies, meats, aromatic herbs, preserves and more, all from their Eastern Shore farms. From Pickett’s Harbor Farm, succulent spring asparagus was on offer. Fresh brown eggs were in abundance at many stands. W T Wilkins, aka The Honey Guy, from Old Town Neck was back with his jars of golden nectar. We stopped to talk to him about his bees- – turns out he tends between 12-15 hives with up to 30,000 bees per hive at peak population ! That’s a lot of Eastville busy, busy, buzzy bees making pots of local honey, lucky for those of us who love it. Master Gardeners of the Eastern Shore were on hand with information and advice on how to acquire a Green Thumb and GIY, grow it yourself !

Parisian Sweets was back with lovely homemade French style macaroons in several flavors including a colorful aqua shaded “Birthday” flavor. Birthday in a DSC_9794Cookie- don’t leave the Market without it ! Had hoped for a loaf of flavorful sourdough from Riverside Farms Bakery but they won’t be there till next week, can hardly wait, so wonderful warm, dunked into an olive oil-balsamic dip ! Kitchen Sync, headquartered at the Eastville Inn, returned, some savory soups, salads and a beautiful emerald green pesto for sale. They have a special weekly menu and take orders that customers can pick up every Tuesday at the Market. New this year were Edward’s Seafood, here come the crabs, clams and other tasty items from local waters! Also new, Umm Yummies offering delicious and beautifully decorated cupcakes and cookies. Ummm… Yummy !

DSC_9802So…. don’t forget to mark your calendar. Next Tuesday, when the clock strikes 3, it’s time to grab your market basket and head on over to the Cape Charles Farmers Market at the Museum on Randolph Avenue and fill it with some of the Shore’s amazing bounty. How fantastic is it to have this farm-to-table Market, the opportunity, all season long, to buy everything fresh, fresh, fresh and local ! We love it !

 

 

 

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The Center of the Lower Eastern Shore Universe

Monday, April 30th, 2018
DSC_9722On Saturday April 28th, it really did seem that Cape Charles, Virginia became the center of attention of the Lower Shore Universe. What an absolutely glorious, sunny day for all the events ! The New Roots Youth Garden to kicked off its 2018 growing season with its 7th annual Open Garden event, colorful balloons, flags and wind spinners beckoning folks in at the corner of Fig and Randolph ! Down on Mason Avenue, Cape Charles Candy Company was settling in for its 1st sweet weekend- – as a friend used to say, its just not possible to have too much good candy….. And further on down Mason, after a long, long, long winter, Brown Dog Ice Cream was celebrating Opening Weekend 2018, our fav goodie parlor was packed with ice cream lovers of all ages, plenty of delicious 2 or 3 scoop cones walking out the door and bobbing down the street in the golden sunshine. ( Favorite flavors were on offer plus some new ones including “Asteroid”, although , as usual, I opted for the wonderful milk chocolate, yet resisting the temptation to get more than 1 scoop ! )
But the really big event Saturday was the Eastern Shore’s 71st Annual Virginia Garden Week celebration. This year it was centered primarily in Cape Charles with theDSC_9723 Garden Club hosting Tours of 3 homes in the Historic District and 2 homes in Bay Creek Golf Resort. Leading off in the Historic District was majestic “Bayholme”, one of the grandest of the Grand Dames of Cape Charles. With large classical columns and an imposing portico, it overlooks the beachfront on Bay Avenue. The owner’s well-behaved dog was casually sitting on a prime spot on the front lawn, a keenly interested but aloof observer of the comings and goings around her, a charming snapshot, “Man’s Best Friend”, providing a sweet, quiet vignette in an otherwise busy day. Next, over to Six Tazewell Avenue, which to my eye has one of the most beautiful and shapely porches in all Cape Charles. And I love the motto enshrined on its wall, “Be Kind”, the perfect sentiment for today’s contentious world. Over on Mason Avenue, Tour goers were treated to sights of the Harbor from the Wilson Building’s 4th floor condo. Enlivened by the gentle murmur of street life in the shops and galleries below, it offered visitors amazing views out to the Chesapeake Bay and a chance to revel in gentle breezes and the warmth of a glorious Spring day.
Onward and upward, over The Hump and through the woods to “Tide’s Point”, an imposing new home with a gorgeous entry courtyard, located on a wide finger of Old Plantation Creek in the Plantation Pointe village in Bay Creek Golf Resort. From there, to the Heron Pointe village sited along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, featuring a delightful entrance pond and flowing waterfall, accentuated by a life sized bronze waterfowl sculpture. The garden tour’s open home, “Serenity”, is aptly named, located on a quiet cul-de-sac with views of quiet woodlands and water. Overall, an interesting day, with sunny skies and warm temperatures combining to make it memorable.
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HERALDING SPRING – – THE 39th ANNUAL CHINCOTEAGUE EASTER DECOY AND ART FESTIVAL

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

DSC_9302Saturday was such a beautiful and warm day, compared to most of what we have shivered through this March, that on the spur of the moment Saturday afternoon we decided to take a ride up to Chincoteague, VA to attend the Annual Chincoteague Decoy and Art Festival which is traditionally held the Friday and Saturday before Easter. The 2018 event was the 39th Annual, a real testament to the popularity of this delightful show which provides an important opportunity each Spring for local and national carvers, artists and photographers to exhibit and sell their works. And for art enthusiasts, it offers a wonderful chance to meet the artists and, in the case of some of the many carvers, observe them at work. It can be fascinating to watch someone with talent in the process of converting a plain old lump of wood into a work of art ! Attendees also have the opportunity to vote for the show’s “Best Carver” and “Best Artist” and to bid at two silent auctions.

Unfortunately, the show closed at 4pm, and we were running late, so we didn’t have as much time to tour the exhibits as I would’ve liked. DSC_9306But it was loads of fun nevertheless. We did stop and watch Russell Fish carve for a bit, I love his work and our decoy collection at the Machipongo office of Blue Heron Realty Co. includes one of his striking carvings, a tall pelican perched on a set of 3 pilings. My husband and grandson got to chatting with carver Bob Gray about his two horned grebes, one shown before molting where it presents with drab black and white feathers and one after molting where its white plumage becomes a riot of colorful orangish red. Nature is so amazing ! In the course of looking around, my husband found a walking stick he liked, my grandson discovered an interesting old poster depicting the off-shore Barrier Islands and at the “Silent Auction” table, I fell in love with a small framed print of a colorful waterfront scene painted by local artist, Grover Cantwell. So we each left with our own little treasure, icing on the cake.

DSC_9351After a quick bite at Bill’s, a favorite Chincoteague restaurant, we took a moment to admire a quiet garden spot across from Bill’s, complete with a colorful full-wall sea life mural, dedicated to “Miss Ruby Lee”. I’m not sure exactly who Miss Ruby Lee was, but clearly, as the dedication scroll proclaims, she was much beloved by the Islanders. From there, we were off to a leisurely drive through the Assateague Wildlife Refuge. There’s always something unique to see at the Refuge and, once again, we were not disappointed. But the most unique sighting Saturday was not some interesting wildlife or a wild pony come to town, no, it was a person sitting in chair, stock still.

Dressed in a camouflage jump suit covered completely by netting stuffed with twigs, leaves, pine needles, looking for all the world like a pileDSC_9417 of yard debris, this patient photographer was zeroing in on two great white egrets fishing in the shallow blue stream, using a camera sporting one of the longest lenses I have ever seen, also in camouflage colors. ( A treat to watch, quite interesting, maybe on assignment from National Geographic or some other Nature publication.) In Tom’s Cove, a flock of tiny ducks was out in full force, foraging away. Cearly something totally yummy to ducks was stirring about underfoot because they ducked and dived and dived and ducked, just munching away, ignoring us completely. The last stop on the way out was …. Island Creamery ! In Cape Charles, we are lucky to have the ever-delicious, ever-amazing flavor combinations offered at the now-famous Brown Dog Ice Cream Shop. And on Chincoteague they have Island Creamery, also home to some excellent ice cream, of which we quite enthusiastically partook, the sweet conclusion to our lovely Spring afternoon adventure.

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“Festive Friday” In Cape Charles, VA”

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

DSC_7598Happily, there is still one more chance to experience a “Festive Friday” in Cape Charles this season ! Still one more chance, on December 22nd, to enjoy the beautiful and cheery shop windows along Mason Avenue and down Strawberry Street, all dressed to the nines for the holidays. Maybe shop for a unique piece of art at Lemon Tree or Ellen Moore Gallery, enjoy a savory gourmet dinner at Hook-U-Up or a steaming cup of hot chocolate at the popular Cape Charles Coffee House, sample the smooth balsamic vinegars at Drizzles, select your New Year’s Eve champagne at Gull Hummock, visit with a friendly agent at Blue Heron Realty, browse the gift shop at the beautiful, newly re-opened Northampton Hotel, check out the international offerings from Voiajer, take a horse and carriage ride and so much, much, much more ! You might even take time to drop in at the “North Pole” to tell Santa or Mrs. Claus ( aka the ever-effervescent Trina Veber ) what you want, what you really, really want, for Christmas this year ! And so, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight !

If you’ve never, ever been to a “Festive Friday” in Cape Charles, you probably don’t realize that it is so much more than just a few merchants staying open late each FridayDSC_7503 evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At its heart, it is the culmination of the hopes, dreams, efforts and financial investments of a myriad of individuals, businesses and organizations who believed that Cape Charles could rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of its post-ferry, post- railroad, essentially “post-everything” economic doldrums and become, once again, the dynamic little coastal town of its yesteryear, with well cared-for homes and bustling shops, a spirit of civic pride and a sense of fun. And not to get too, too sentimental, but when you think back to the near-derelict homes throughout town and the boarded-up stores along Mason Avenue that were still in existence even 5 years ago ( farewell McCrory’s and BeLo, hello Strawberry Station), the Cape Charles transformation from down-at-heel to sparkling restoration is truly inspiring.

DSC_7510So “Festive Friday” is the actualization of those aspirations rolled into 2017, into lots of happy folks strolling down the street at 8 pm on a windy, cold December Friday evening, beautifully decorated shops serving smiling customers, clever street performers doing their entertaining thing, lively songs of the Christmas carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, delicious gourmet dinners and free holiday movies at the Palace Theatre. And, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus, greeting excited little kids eager to shyly whisper their Christmas wishes. “Festive Friday” is truly like a 1000 points of new light, illuminating historic downtown Cape Charles, amazing and wonderful!!

 

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The 15th Annual Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour. A Real Pleasure, Always !

Friday, December 1st, 2017

DSC_6979If an event has been on going for 15 years and counting, it’s a pretty sure bet that its been very successful and is back yearly by popular demand. Such is clearly the case for the traditional Eastern Shore of Virginia Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour held annually on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year was another delight and a terrific opportunity to shop for unique gifts, large or small, for those special people in your life.

From little items like the adorably cute “mismatched” sox from Ten Good Sheep or a bottle of luscious Chardonnay from Chatham Winery to strikingDSC_7004 handcrafted furniture at Windsor Chair to gorgeous paintings and jewelry at Lemon Tree Gallery, plus lots of creative offerings from artists too numerous to mention at the many other venues, Tour 2017 shone with the multi-talents of our many Eastern Shore artists. ( Including that so-cute and so-silky herd from By The Bay Alpacas who gave their wool that others might purchase hand- woven super- soft scarves and more ! )

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And, even though not on the official Tour and time was short, we took a moment, after a quick lunch at the always- delicious Janet’s Cafe in Onancock, to drop in at the gallery of Danny Doughty. We love to check out his latest work and his always elegantly decorated Christmas tree. Wrapped up our day in Cape Charles at Lemon Tree Gallery which has a most impressive collection, showing variety of work from artists all over the Shore. By then, nearly sunset, can’t help myself, it was down to the beach for yet another shot of the ever- photogenic LOVE sign before heading home. Tour 2017 over – – but there is always next year !

 

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The 2nd Annual Northampton Agricultural Fair Was A Resounding Success!

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Put together oyster speed shucking, antique tractors, a petting zoo, the Side Porch Pickers band, Lion’s Club burgers and some guys and gals throwing cast iron skillets with all their might and what do you get ? The Annual Northampton County Agricultural Fair, of course ! Bigger and better than last year, The Fair Season 2 featured something for everyone and everyone was clearly enjoying the Fair. So many organizations and sponsors contributed to making this a wonderful event including ANEC, whose big bright yellow rig flew the flag at the entrance, the U.S. Coast Guard, The Nature Conservancy, Farm Bureau, VIMS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Shore Beekeepers Guild, Virginia Cooperative Extension, ES Community College and the Eastern Shore Library , to mention just a few. And a number of local artists and artisans came and set up shop for the day, with numerous unique creations for sale. ( We came away with an interesting Robert Bridges yard decoration, a very colorfully painted wooden rooster – – that doesn’t sound very exciting but I’m pretty sure the friend who is going to get it for her birthday is going to absolutely love it ! )

A lot of effort was expended to create numerous kid-friendly activities including face painting, a big bouncy house, pumpkin painting, sand box, hay rides, etc.DSC_5745 The little petting zoo was also very popular, and featured some very relaxed sheep who just kept on grazing midst the rough and tumble of being hugged, poked and petted by small and noisy strangers. Nearby, two sweet, patient cows just kept looking at folks with “what the heck is up with all this commotion ” expressions, letting out a soft moo or two every once in a while just to join the conversation.

DSC_5755Special events included an impressive antique tractor parade, a baking contest with some luscious looking pies and sweet potato biscuits to be judged, an oyster shucking contest and my personal favorite, the cast iron skillet throwing contest. Congrats to the oyster shucking champion, Buck Doughty, and lady’s skillet toss blue ribbon winner, Helene Doughty and Patrick Long, men’s skillet toss winner. Long shall they reign- – or until the 3rd Annual Northampton Ag Fair next October anyway !

 

 

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The 2017 Eastern Shore Virginia Birding and Wildlife Festival

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

DSC_5254For the past 25 years, on the first weekend in October, excited Birders throughout Virginia and nearby states flock to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to celebrate the annual Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival. As migrating birds fly south each fall, they are funneled into the narrow tip of the Shore so Northampton County is a truly critical part of the Atlantic Flyway. Each fall literally millions of songbirds and thousands of raptors migrate through our area, taking advantage of an important opportunity to feed and rest before continuing their long and difficult journey south. ( And not just birds, this is the time of year when beautiful clouds of butterflies, the gorgeous orange and black monarchs, float through on their way to tango in Mexico for the winter. )

The Festival headquarters were at Kiptopeke State Park and offered numerous activities including hikes, an DSC_5273evening “owl prowl”, bird banding, hawk observatory, kid’s craft activities, hay rides, information booths sponsored by numerous environmental groups — plus a surprise appearance by a stalwart Smokey the Bear ! The fascinating “Flight of the Raptor” show featured such fine feathered friends as Scooby Doo, a great horned owl, and Salim, a Lanner falcon. It was quite interesting to see these magnificent birds swoop and chase the lures presented to them by their trainer, and being carnivores, then munching on the attached rewards of raw chicken. Learned several interesting raptor facts … The leather hoods covering the birds heads are placed there by the falconer to help the birds relax. ( Who knew birds needed R&R ? ). Harris hawks work together to hunt their prey and are called the “wolves of the sky”. Peregrine falcons are some of the fastest birds on the planet and can reach an amazing 300 mph as they dive. Unlike most other birds, the raptor males are smaller, therefore faster than the females, making them more suited to their role as the hunters while the larger females are busy protecting the eggs in the nest. If a hawk is on the ground when it catches it’s prey, it spreads its wings around its catch to keep it safe from interlopers, called “manteling”.

DSC_5083Also integral to the Birding Festival fun are the wonderful boat tours originating from the harbors in Willis Wharf, Oyster and Wachapreague which meander out to the Barrier Islands to observe the shorebirds. Offered by various local tour captains, including Broadwater Bay EcoTours, Seaside Ecotours and Eastern Shore Adventures, these trips offer a fine vantage point to enjoy waterfront bird watching and present a unique opportunity for visitors to observe and photograph the many species of marsh, wading and shorebirds found in the marshes lining our waterways and out on the Barrier Islands.

 

 

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4th ANNUAL “ART ROCKS THE INNS” IN CAPE CHARLES, VA WAS A BIG SUCCESS

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Bay Haven 1This past weekend, art lovers on Virginia’s Eastern Shore were treated to the 4th Annual “Art Rocks” walking tour to discover the many creative treasures to be found on the gracious porches and grounds of the 5 Bed & Breakfast inns in Cape Charles. Part of the annual Cape Charles, VA “Harbor For The Arts” Festival, “Art Rocks The Inns” featured numerous local artists showcasing their work on the porches at Alyssa House B&B, Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, Cape Charles House B&B, Fig Street Inn and Sea Gate B&B. Attendees traveled between venues not just by car but by bike, golf cart and shank’s mare, and lots of oohs and aahs could be heard over the beautiful art pieces being shown at every Inn. Even Foster, the brown dog mascot of the famous Brown Dog Ice Cream, winner of many awards, came to support the arts.

Lots of art mediums were represented— from painters, potters and photographers to weavers, jewelers and Fig Street 4carvers, plus lots of other artisan types, including copper working and garden art. A myriad of beautiful original creations were on display and available for purchase at each venue. Food “art” was available from Parisian Sweets, which makes gorgeous and delicious handmade macaroons and Bay Haven’s famously colorful homemade chow-chows were on display, along with some juicy looking heirloom tomatoes. Thanks to innkeepers Kathy Glaser, Tammy and Jim Holloway, Bruce and Carole Evans, Donna and Greg Kohler and Chris Bannon for hosting this charming annual event and to the many accomplished artists who participated, it was definitely a delightful afternoon and many who attended when home with a new treasure!

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