Archive for the ‘Odds and Ends’ Category

Cloudy Then Rainy. Yet the 2018 Artisan’s Guild Holiday Tour Was Still Great

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

DSC_3666From Cape Charles to Onancock, 43 talented Eastern Shore Virginia artists and artisans threw open their studio doors, welcoming the world to enter and discover the unique items on offer during the 16th Annual Artisan Holiday Tour this past Friday and Saturday. It may have been cloudy and then rainy outside but inside the many stops on the 14 studio plus Chatham Vineyard self-driving Tour, it was cozy, friendly and warm. Unfortunately, because of a late start we didn’t make it to every location….. but there’s always next year !

We kicked off at the Milby Barn Studio at Chatham Flower Farm located in Painter where we were greeted by Kate Meyer, likely humorously known as the Painter of Painter. ( Also the hostess of the recent and hugely successful Farm-to-Table dinner which we unfortunately missed.) From there forward to Maurice Spector’s studio featuring unique wood and stone sculptures. Mo hosted 4 other artists at his waterfront home including David Crane, Miriam Riggs, Marty Burgess and Guy Shover. Oysters were on the grill, smoke drifting, aromas tempting, totally relaxing.

Onward to By The Bay Alpaca Farm, one of my perennial favorites. Their alpacas are so cute- – when you pet them they are delightfully warm and luxuriously soft and silky ! Definitely the place to stock up on alpaca sox, perfect stocking stuffers for anyone on your List who fights cold feet all winter ! From there we were off to the tiny town of Harborton where Windhorse Barn and Studio overlooks Pungoteague Creek. Painted a whimsical shade of fuchsia , the Barn hosted multiple artists and offered a blazing fire pit surrounded by plenty of chairs to enjoy it.

After a lunch break at Janet’s Cafe in Onancock, (home to one of the best roast beef sandwiches on the entire Shore), we stopped in at Danny Doughty’s studio. ( Danny and his work were honored earlier this year at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Pubic Policy. ). Located above the Red Queen Gallery, Danny’s was not on the official Tour but we are huge fans of his work and wanted to see what new pieces were hanging on the walls of his large and light-filled gallery. Plus he always has a spectacularly decorated Christmas tree ! Well, this year the tree was “Under Construction” but Danny’s fabulous new art work definitely did not disappoint, including a large Ballard Fish company commissioned painting on which he is currently putting the finishing touches.

Just a few blocks over, the Vesna Zedovic studio. Vesna’s mirrors, framed with a surround of hand-cast pottery tiles of sea creatures or butterflies or flowers are really amazing. We’re lucky to have a small collection of beautiful her red clay tiles stretching back many years to when we first saw her pottery at the former Old Thyme Garden and Gifts in Weirwood. Vesna is still going strong nearly 30 years later although working primarily in white clay now.

By then the rain was really doing its thing but nobody seemed deterred as we rolled up to the Ker Place Museum where Gertraud Fendler’s sea glass jewelry, David Farlow decoys and Diana Davis watercolors were being shown as part of the Tour. In addition, the Museum itself had a featured exhibit of Shore WW I memorabilia, pretty interesting. And then to our last stop of the day, the historic Onancock School with its numerous exhibitors. We took a moment to watch carver Brad Bradach work on one of his miniature decoys before slipping over to see what Bobby Bridges, Billy Crocket, Elizabeth Hunt and Laura McGowan were showing. Everybody had beautiful things on offer, unique, one-of-a-kind art, perfect for a distinctive holiday gift for a Special Someone or possibly, dare we say it….. a holiday gift for oneself ! And then, all over, time to go home after a long but delightful day ! But definitely ready to do it all again next Thanksgiving !

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THE CREPE MYRTLES OF CAPE CHARLES

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

DSC_1659A thousand sprays of blossoming color, fluttering in the wind. That’s the essence of the amazing crape myrtle tree, Eastern Shore Virginia’s gorgeous summer jewel, blooming brightly along highways, down country lanes, in yards large and small, lining driveways, gracing avenues, the focal point in many a landscaping plan. But I think nowhere on the Shore does it make its presence felt more beautifully than in the historic town of Cape Charles, where street signs proclaim the names of famous men and herald summer fruits and the soft sand beach beckons. But from July through September, for those heeding the call of their inner arborist, the crape myrtle becomes a center of attention. Their lacy blossoms dance enthusiastically in the breeze, flaunting deep magenta, brilliant shades of lilac and crimson, counterpoint to lively Natchez whites, together a symphony of spectacular color radiating out from Bay Avenue to Fig Street, from King’s Creek to Plantation Creek, literally along all points of the compass. Once again, in Summer 2018, the crepe myrtle reigned supreme

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WINDOW SHOPPING ON A SERENE CAPE CHARLES SUMMER EVE

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

DSC_1268I long for more calm summer nights, more peaceful and quiet moments, more serene memories. Does anything feel more gentle or tranquil than a balmy summer’s evening outdoors, touched by soft salty breezes carrying sounds of murmured conversation and light laughter ? On an evening like that I love to window shop in Cape Charles. Everything closed, including late lingerers at the Brown Dog Ice Cream Shop shop, lights already dimmed, just a few folks out on Mason Avenue, strolling leisurely, holding hands, walking dogs or shepherding children. A couple cars driving to Kelly’s Pub, a few heading back to the hotels from The Shanty, a golf cart headed for the beach loop around Bay Avenue, one or two people at the LOVE sign, taking photos in the fading twilight, a murmuring couple sitting side by side in the sand, savoring the last moments of sunset. Otherwise, all quiet on the Western front. And in that peaceful instant, in that tiny sliver of time between the end of a busy day and the hush of nightfall, you’ll find the perfect time to window shop in Cape Charles.

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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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ONCE AGAIN, THE CAPE CHARLES 4th OF JULY PARADE WAS A REALLY HUGE SUCCESS !

Monday, July 16th, 2018

DSC_0854The Cape Charles Independence Day Parade is always a marvelous combination of local pageantry, creative floats, colorful banners, fire company trucks with air horns blasting a loud ” howdy”, antique tractors, vintage cars, high stepping horses, kids on bikes, motor scooters, skateboards, resplendently decorated golf carts and energetic marchers representing local organizations, clubs and individuals. And this year was no exception ! Led by the Color Guard from the VFW, marchers enthusiastically paraded down Bay Avenue and over to Mason Avenue, tossing candy, colorful strands of beads and even a few yellow rubber duckies to all the kids and appreciative spectators lining the streets cheering them on !

And the Parade within the Parade, the Golf Cart Parade, was truly amazing this year, with the mostDSC_0909 participants I’ve ever seen ! Golf carts, dozens, dozens and dozens more, were dressed to the nines, red, whites and blues galore, flags of all sizes, balloons, Pom-poms, streamers, banners, signs, Uncle Sam top hats. Creativity shone everywhere. With golf carts being street-legal in Cape Charles, lots of Town residents have their very own electric golf carts and a little friendly competition among neighbors has resulted in some fancy and fantastic cart entries, all the better to enjoy this annual Parade ! Can hardly wait till July 4th, 2019 !

 

 

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Bravo To All Those Who Made The Palace Theatre’s Recent Dance Production of “The Legend of A Tree” Possible !

Friday, June 15th, 2018

I’m not sure why I was surprised. But I was expecting just your standard dance recital, nothing special, the “clap for everyone’s child and go mad for one’s own” version. Sunday matinee at the Palace Theatre in Cape Charles, there to cheer on my youngest granddaughter, Jessica, who we knew was going to be a “bluebell”, whatever that entailed, knowing that she had been working really hard on her performance. Running late, we slid into our seats just as the house lights faded and the stage set was revealed. A simple set but striking, a painted backdrop of an enormous tree at the edge of a beautiful park. And the audience mood came alive as the music cued, the narration began and the lead dancer appeared on stage in lovely costume. From there the audience was pulled headlong into a spirited performance by the Mara Ifju Dance Company of Shelia Cardano’s “The Legend of A Tree”, gliding gently into its fantasy world of peaceful meadow, pirouetting tulip, daisy and rose, dancing bluebells, cyclamen, honeysuckle, twirling sunflowers and, of course, the “nolia” tree.

Rarely have I initially expected so little of a performance and been surprised by enjoying it so much as with this program. From beginning to end, we loved it !IMG_9379 Music was key and the selections were perfect, familiar classical passages from Chopin, Beethoven, Bizet and Vivaldi, a little modern touch of Michael Jackson, but my personal favorites were pieces featuring the unique and haunting flutes from the Andes region of South America, a captivating sound. The choreography was well suited to the music selections and to individual dance talent. All the costumes were beautifully designed and so evocative of each flower. We especially loved the tap number, glitzy with bright green bowler hats contrasting with dark wardrobe, danced to the signature tune from A Chorus Line, “One”. And who wouldn’t have been captivated by the tiny Sunflowers, twirling in golden petals, and the teeny Fox and Rabbit, so cute !

DSC_0338_1So bravo, bravo to the Mara Ifju Dance Company and all its dancers ! You were great ! And hats off and thank-you to all the support staff, volunteers and donors who make a program like this possible. From countless hours spent on choreography and costume design to music recording, live piano accompaniment, scenery, make-up, lighting, sound, stage manager and crew, box office and more, It Takes A Town to create a production like this ! And isn’t the Shore fortunate to have this amazing Theatre and so much local talent to perform there, lucky, lucky us !

 

 

 

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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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The Noble Steed – – Eastern Shore Spring Trail Ride 2018

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

DSC_9903If dogs are known as “Man’s Best Friend”, what are horses ? Asking this question of some of the folks at the Eastern Shore Virginia 2018 Spring Trail Ride elicited quite a variety of answers. My horse is: My big baby… My partner in fun… Time consumer in a saddle… My sidekick in adventures… My noble steed. But clearly the folks at the Trail Ride all had one big ( a half ton big ! ) thing in common- – an evident love of their horses ! We met folks who had traveled from near and far to attend this by-registration-only event. A photographer from Chincoteague, busy splitting kindling for her fire pit, a group of riders from outside Philadelphia who mugged for the camera, a fellow from Smithfield who was petting Cookie, his tiny dog, who barked at us as only little dogs particularly love to do, folks from Maryland feeding a beautiful Tennessee Walker, 2 ladies from Jersey busy with grooming. And the beat goes on.

Sponsored as a fundraiser to benefit Northampton Fire and Rescue and hosted by Mr. John Smith, the landowner, these popular bi-annual Eastern Shore DSC_9915Trail Rides are held each Spring and Fall. And it doesn’t take long for the limited registration slots to close, so if you’d like to join a Ride, check out the website and be sure to apply by the exact dates indicated as it fills up, zippity zip, within a just a few days.

DSC_9943Participants start arriving on Friday, pulling everything from “horse mansions” on wheels with deluxe owner accommodations to single horse trailers with owner’s tents packed in back of the pickup. ( After all, it’s not the house, it’s who is in the house that really counts ! ) Saturday is the big day, the opportunity to enjoy an entire day of the Shore’s coastal ambiance as riders and mounts leisurely travel extensive trails winding through beautiful waterfront farms and woodlands, past pristine ponds and planted fields, across roads, over dams and sandbars, splashing along beachy shorelines. At the end of the day, the Fire Company hosts a big BBQ, after which things begin to settle down. Everywhere, fire pits glow in the twilight, murmured conversations carry on the breeze, horses nicker softly, moonbeams cast a pale glow as horses and riders settle in for a peaceful night of sleep under the Shore’s starry, starry skies.

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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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