Located In Oyster, VA, This Cozy Waterview Cottage Is Ready For Lots Of Summer Fun 2017 !

May 5th, 2017 by Marlene email

 

Main ArielIf you’ve been searching for a cute little getaway cottage with waterviews, this  cozy and cute 2 bedroom, 1 bath seaside bungalow located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the tiny fishing village of Oyster, VA could be really perfect !  Perched on a knoll overlooking the quaint harbor and priced at just $199,000, it has recently been throughly renovated– new paint, new carpet, new Trane HVAC system, Rinnai water heater, appliances and more. Early risers,  savor your first cup of morning joe watching the sun rise above the shimmering salt waters.  The large covered porch is the perfect place to  relax  and unwind, overlook sleepy Oyster harbor and enjoy watching the boats go by. What could be more fun than a big porch, a comfy lounge chair, a book, a tangy breeze and a cold glass of iced tea spiced with ever-changing views of blue waters and sky ?

 

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Or launch your own boat at the Oyster boat ramps across the harbor and cruise the inlet and out towards the Atlantic Ocean to some of the very best fishing on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Flounders beware !  This is a great location —  tiny Oyster is only about 10 minutes from the soft sand beach in Cape Charles as well as its 2 marinas, Palmer and Nicklaus golf courses, restaurants, shops, art galleries, etc. Good vacation rental potential too. Grab your flip-flops, move right in, this terrific  little cottage is ready for you to enjoy lots of summer fun, 2017 and beyond.

 

 

 

 

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Oyster Sign and Boats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 70th Annual Garden Week on The Eastern Shore of Virginia

May 2nd, 2017 by Marlene email

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Saturday marked the 84th Annual Virginia Historic Garden Week statewide and the 70th Eastern Shore Virginia Annual Garden Week sponsored locally by the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Five beautiful properties were opened for visitors to view both the homes and grounds. It was an otherwise busy day for me at Blue Heron Realty so I had to choose just one.  Because of its waterfront setting and history, I selected Vaucluse House located on Church Neck about 25 minutes from the little historic town of Cape Charles, VA. 

Built circa 1784, Vaucluse was the seat of the prominent Upshur family. By 1829, one of its most notable heirs, Abel Parker Upshur, had expanded their holdings into a grand Virginia plantation.  But young Abel, an attorney, had grander ambitions, becoming a judge and eventually becoming Secretary of the Navy and then Secretary of State, both under President John Tyler. As Secretary of the Navy, Upshur established the Navel Observatory in Washington DC, one of the oldest scientific agencies still in existence today, in charge of the critically Old Naval Observatoryimportant positioning, navigation and timing for the US Department of Defense as well as the US Navy. It also operates the US Master Clock for GPS satellites, all pretty darn important. And Blair House, the official residence of the Vice President,  is located on the Observatory grounds. So young Abel did some really impressive work during his tenure which was cut short when he died in an explosion aboard the new steamship, USS Princeton, during a demonstration cruise along the Potomac River in 1884. In addition to the continuing importance of the Naval Observatory, his legacy also includes 2 navy ships named in his honor, a number of streets plus counties in several states named for him, as well as Mount Upshur in Alaska. 

Meanwhile, back to the 2017 Eastern Shore Garden Tour. The Upshur plantation lands have long been divided off inVaucluse blue aerial looking north 2006to neighborhoods and small farms but the grand old home, Vaucluse, built by Abel Upshur’s father, Littleton, remains proudly centered on a 5 + acre tract overlooking one of  the Shore’s most colorful inlets from the Chesapeake Bay, Hungar’s Creek. The house has been fully restored and a large addition plus a carriage house have recently been added. Of frame construction with brick ends and impressive classical brick chimneys, the main house features the classic superb interior woodwork and design found in grand historic homes from that period.  For the Tour,  each room was decorated with  fabulous original floral arrangement created by Garden Club members for the occasion, designed specifically to complement the colors and attributes of that particular room. Beautiful views of the park- like setting and the blue waters of the inlet create a special harmony between the grounds and the home.  Guarded at the entrance by brick columns flanked by two towering evergreen trees,  Vaucluse’s formal shrub gardens, an herb garden and the fountain garden are just a part of the magic of this property.  A great addition to Garden Week, special thanks to the owners for opening their lovely property to the public last Saturday.  Garden Tour proceeds help fund important preservation projects for more than 40 historic public gardens as well as research fellowships and projects with Virginia State Parks, all to the benefit of the citizens of our great Commonwealth. #VirginiasScenicEasternShore

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The New Cape Charles Farmer’s Market– Fun And Delicious

September 2nd, 2016 by Marlene email

Farmers Mkt. BBQ StandOn the Eastern Shore of Virginia this summer, Tuesday afternoons  from 4 to 6:30 pm are  a special time in the little coastal town of Cape Charles, Virginia — particularly for foodies and farm-to-table enthusiasts.  It’s a time slot  that lots of locals  ( and visitors too ) have set aside for a visit to the brand new Cape Charles Farmer’s Market.   Located on the spacious grounds of the Cape Charles Museum on Stone Road,  the Market takes good advantage of the Museum’s huge grassy front yard so there is plenty of room for venders to set up little tents to display their yummy wares.  Wicker basket in hand, I traipsed from the parking lot over to the vendor area, not exactly sure just what to expect in the way of  variety so I was  pleasantly surprised  to see so many beautiful fruits and veggies on display, some local artwork too, including some new designs from Mama Girl and tantalizing home baked goodies from Cape Charles Confectionery.  But my first stop was at Shore Beef and BBQ, where owner Ron had smoky good aromas wafting from a sizable portable smoker grill hitched to his pickup truck, folks already in line, buying sandwiches and BBQ by the quart, pulled pork, beef brisket plus cooked-to-perfection ribs.

Farmers market peopleMy plan was to make a big circle, check out all the vendors and circle back around again to make my purchases.   And that would have been a good plan if I had brought a bigger  basket and if I had not stopped to talk to a few friends along the way and ended up having a detailed conversation comparing southern style creamed corn recipes.   Who knew that “with or without bacon drippings” could be a major creamed corn issue– but trust me, it is !   ( And for those like myself, not originally from Virginia, south of the Mason-Dixon Line “creamed corn” does not contain a drop of cream, that is to say, dairy cream. Instead, creamed corn is made by cutting the kernels off the cob and then carefully scraping the corn’s own juices, the cream, from the cob with the dull edge of a sturdy table knife into a waiting bowl.  This can be a pretty messy job, best done with the bowl in the sink to avoid corn splatters all over the counter. Now comes the contentious part, cooking the creamy mixture.  Diehard Southerners almost always insist that sautéing in a generous amount of bacon dripping is the only true method. But transplants like myself often prefer olive oil with a bit of butter added at the end when seasoning with salt and pepper.  And so it goes, where it stops nobody knows, the new vs. the traditional.

 

DSC_0227 Farmers Mkt. signs Farmers Mkt. goodies

Farmers Mkt.ProduceContinuing on with my circle, I was captivated by a lovely display of cut flowers– nothing like a gorgeous bouquet to brighten any room, especially at the great farmer’s market prices, finally settled on the cheery sunny faces of a colorful bunch of long stemmed sunflowers.  Further down the line found some local honey, so great on my Mother’s excellent recipe for fresh buttermilk cornbread, eaten warm from the oven and slathered with butter, then honey.  Saunders Orchard cantaloupes looked great, and so low cal as well as delicious.  At Mattawoman Farms, a local CSA,  some vibrant and crisp Swiss chard caught my eye, a rainbow of colors ready to sauté with chopped onion in …..you guessed it,  a little bacon dripping, finished with a little cider vinegar. Yum.  They also had some good looking kolorabi. I have never actually cooked kolorabi, I’ve looked at it, considered it, but never taken the plunge.  This time was no exception, still haven’t worked up to it, next time maybe.  But their Zebra tomatoes were keepers, small red orbs with golden stripes and so were the really ripe small tomatoes from Copper Cricket Farm, displayed in a sizeable bin and priced at ” select a bunch of them  for $3.00″. By that time my little basket was about full but I headed back to the bread tent for a loaf of sour dough, hoping to try a recipe for an Italian tomato and bread salad, panzanella, that I had seen recently in the Washington Post. Doesn’t sound that great but I’m imagining that fresh artisan bread, lovely ripe tomatoes wedges combined with finely chopped garlic and fresh basil chiffonade, everything tossed in a delicate vinaigrette is going to be worth trying, we shall see.  At any rate, when I got there the cupboard was bare and so the poor cook got none.  But there is always next Tuesday and all the other Tuesday’s until October, so sooner or later a loaf of sour dough shall be available and a panzanella shall be made !

 

HGTV FILMS NEW SHOW IN CAPE CHARLES, VIRGINIA– Redux

July 14th, 2016 by Marlene email

HGTV 2016They say that good things often come in threes so I’m looking forward to a next time– but right now we are just enjoying the second time that  HGTV, the Home and Garden TV channel,  has chosen  Blue Heron Realty Co. and the charming little historic  town of Cape Charles to film another episode of its very popular home hunting series, Beachfront Bargain Hunt.   Thursday through Sunday a few weeks ago, Cape Charles was all abuzz as the HGTV crew followed Blue Heron’s agent Eva Noonan and her clients as they hunted Virginia’s Eastern Shore high and low in search of that perfect beachfront bargain !   Unfortunately,  the answer to which house they finally chose and why will just have to wait for this fall when the show airs– so, some pleasant suspense for a few months.

HGTV 2015In 2013 when HGTV first chose Blue Heron Realty and Eva Noonan to film an episode of Beachfront Bargain Hunt, the whole Shore was agog. Several newspapers interviewed Eva and ran multiple articles about the then upcoming show.  I got into the act too, following the HGTV crew as they followed Eva and her clients. It was a pretty interesting couple of days, being on the inside and watching the creation of a national TV show episode as it came together, piece by piece.  Just the technical elements are amazing, it’s truly surprising how much can be accomplished by a small crew.  More or less, a show that attracts millions of viewers is created by a couple of  camera operators, a sound person, a jack of all trades who helps manage equipment, run errands and handles miscellaneous details, plus the director– voila’, a show is born !  And it was interesting to watch Eva and her clients get miked up, just the tinest little clip-on mic is all it takes for the sound person to be able to manage everyone’s conversations from what looks like an accordion  strapped sideways around the waist. Of course, an airplane flying overhead brings everything to a swift halt during outdoor shots.  I was somewhat amused to see that, like an army, a film crew travels on its stomach.  Not sure how they did this time, but back in 2013, the first order of the day as the crew gathered in the morning to get started was steaming hot coffee, and lots of it, plus  donuts of course.  And the second order of the day, a couple hours later, was to pass around the menu from whatever restaurant had been selected for lunch that day and then a brief pause so the crew could order to-go lunches.  No two  hour, 3  martini cocktail lunch here– a half hour break and back to business for these guys and gals.

Cape Charles Beach Sunset.2So, now as then, I am really looking forward to the airing of the new Cape Charles episode, once again seeing the town and the Eastern Shore of Virginia on national TV in all its coastal glory. The whole town had its shiny, best self on display. In fact, the local paper put out a call for volunteers to spiff up the grounds around the Cape Charles museum because of its high visibility on the road into town.  Hopefully, once again this show will generate some great publicity for the town, its interesting blend of yesteryear architectural styles, charming coastal ambience, its sparkling soft sand beach and its spectacular sunsets over the broad waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  No doubt that’s why HGTV decided  that Cape Charles, Virginia was and is still a great place for a “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” !

Escape To One Of Our 11 Cape Charles Virginia Vacation Rentals For A Great Summer 2016

February 23rd, 2016 by Marlene email

I had set out to write this post on vacation rental homes in Cape Charles, Virginia a few weeks ago. Shows how time flies when having fun–it’s now February 23rd but when I started this post on  Valentine’s Day weekend,  Mother Nature had not only brought rain here on the Eastern Shore but delivered  another miserable winter storm to the rest of the East Coast for the weekend–  snow, ice, sleet and freezing  rain !  The usual suspects. Nothing like lots of snow, slippery roads and forecasts of  ice accumulations  to keep a body firmly ensconced indoors, far far from the weather outside that’s frightful. What to do with the extra indoor time on a weekend this time of year ?   Well, might I suggest that a cold/ rainy/snowy day is  a great time to venture into “let’s-select-our-summer- vacation- rental- home” searches, letting dreams of summer fun push away the realities of winter blues.

And if you’re looking for a weekly vacation rental which offers both a relaxed and quiet atmosphere paired with lots to do, might I suggest Cape Charles, VA as a great destination. Coastal traditions, historic towns and tiny villages to explore, soft sandy beaches to relax on, off-shore Barrier Islands to visit, broad saltwater inlets to boat and kayak,  fabulous fishing and crabbing, artist’s studios and antique shops to visit,  seafood restaurants to sample, Palmer and Nicklaus golf to take a swing at– from A for Art Galleries to Z for Zesty clam dip, there is so much to do.  Or… just laz around on the deck,  book in hand, a  iced tea or cold glass of Chardonnay  waiting close by,  letting the tension just slip away like an outgoing tide.  That is the promise of a Simply Relaxing Vacation on Virginia’s Eastern Shore because Virginia’s Eastern Shore is not just a place, it’s a relaxed coastal state of mind !

Which brings us to the list of  the 11 terrific vacation homes offered this year for weekly vacation rental through Eastern Shore Vacations Inc.   ( Use this link to email them  your desired dates and the house you are most interested in at easternshorevacationtime@gmail.com   .  Or call them at 757-678-5277 )   Though the homes vary by size and price, each has a distinctive personality–  historic, waterfront, beachfront, in-town, in the country.  From a ” 1 bedroom cozy nest for two”  through ” 5 bedrooms, sleeps 14″,   there is something for everybody.  ( And a couple are even for sale,  so if you fall in love with it, it could be yours for life !! How cool is that ? )

“SEAHORSE RETREAT”-  1 bedroom, sleeps 2 ( 4 w/sleep sofa )  Base Summer Rate: $795.  /per week. Beach Access,Historic Area

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“PARADISE ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY”-  5 bedrooms, sleeps 14. Base Summer Rate: $3850 /per week. Beachfront, Pool Access

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“DRIFTWOOD BEACH”- 6 bedrooms, sleeps 13.  Base Summer Rate $3600 /per week. Beachfront

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“BAY BREEZE”-  A WEST INDIES STYLE, ACCESS TO BEACH & POOL”- 4 bedrooms, sleeps 12. Base Summer Rate $2200  /per week. Beach Access, Pool Access

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“ALMOST PARADISE”- 4 bedroom, sleeps 12, in-ground pool, Base Summer Rate: $2995. /per week. Pool, Beach Access

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“SEASHELL  COTTAGE”- 4 bedroom, sleeps 11, Base Summer Rate: $ 2300.  /per week. Beach Access, Historic Area

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“SARATOGA PLACE”- 4 bedroom, sleeps 10, Base Summer Rate: $2000  /per week. Beach Access, Pool Access

saratoga_retreat_frontview saratoga_masterbedroom saratoga_kitchen Golf cart with flowers 2011

“SANDY HARBOUR”- 3 bedroom, sleeps 9, Base  Summer Rate: $1550. /per week. Waterfront with dock, Beach Access

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“SUN AND SAND”- 4 bedroom, sleeps sleeps 8, Base Summer Rate: $ 2200. /per week. Beach and Pool Access

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BEACH HAVEN ” – 3 bedroom, sleeps 7, Base Summer Rate: $2100. /per week. Waterfront with Beach

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“BAY COTTAGE” – 3 bedroom, sleeps 6, Base Summer Rate: $1550. /per week. Waterviews, Beach Access

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Three Exciting Beachfront Listings In Cape Charles, VA, Ready For Summer Fun 2016

February 2nd, 2016 by Marlene email

Long walks on a soft sand beach, picking up treasures deposited by the last incoming tide.  Picnic lunch on the screened porch under azure skies and golden sunshine. Languid  summer’s eves on the deck, cool breezes wafting,  moonlight casting sparkling white nets against dark waters, falling asleep to the music of waves gently lapping against the shoreline.  These are but a few of the many pleasures of owning a beachfront home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  And just in time for  summer fun 2016,  Blue Heron Realty Co. has  3 remarkable beachfront homes listed in Cape Charles, VA  on Virginia’s Eastern Shore’s  beautiful Southern Tip.  Very special yet completely different, each home is a place where you can kick off your shoes and revel in the bliss of beachfront living !  To make an appointment to see any of these gorgeous beach  homes, just call Blue Heron Realty Co. at 800-258-3437.

ON A MOUNTAIN AT THE SEASHORE— Well, to call it a mountain is a wee bit of an embellishment but definitely atop 2.7 acres of the highest sand dune formation on the entire Eastern Shore of Virginia  stands this spectacular 4 bedroom, 3 full and 1 half  bath, custom Lindal cedar home offering breathtaking views of  the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This is truly a home that must be seen to properly appreciate its magnificence  inside and out.  Built from the finest Western red cedar and natural stone by one of the Shore’s best custom builders, this home features top of the line materials throughout. Even the laundry room features granite counters !  The focal point of this spectacular home is  the spacious great room, which, because of the post and beam construction, features a huge open span capped by the warmth of a cedar cathedral ceiling and anchored by a dramatic floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace.  The chef’s kitchen, open to the great room,  stands ready for the preparation of everything from whipping up simple midnight omelet to  creating elegant cuisine for a dinner party for 20— and everything in between.   The first floor master  suite features a “sky window” , perfect for laying in bed and gazing up at the Milky Way as one falls asleep.  On the second floor a second master suite plus 2 guest bedrooms fan out from large guest living room, giving visitors a large private space to just relax and enjoy the views tucked away from the activities in the rest of the house. Outside, a full house length deck with its own stone fireplace offers a relaxing space to breathe in the tangy Bay breezes.  Steps with gentle risers and several landings lead gently down to the one of the widest sparkling sand beaches on the Eastern Shore, really comparable to the most beautiful private sand beaches almost anywhere on the East Coast,  part of a mile and a half of private beach shared by very few homes.  Call  757-678-5200 for an appointment to see this extraordinary beachfront home listed at $1,750,00.

Rosen Aerial from West blue water2 Rosen greatroom 7-28-14  Rosen dining area 7-28-14 Adkins beach 6

Perry frontview 10-24-14BIG, BOLD, BEAUTIFUL &  READY FOR THE SWEET,  SWEET  BEACH LIFE !   Open the front door and the eye is drawn through the foyer, through the dramatic great room with its amazing soaring ceilings and out to the sparkling sand beach and shining blue waters beyond, revealing unrivaled views out to the far horizons of the Chesapeake Bay.  Fine craftsmanship and luxurious details have created a stunning beach home with waterfront vistas from virtually every room. The heart of this 4 bedroom, 4 full and 2 half bath  home is its expansive great room with amazing tall elegant columns, dramatic windows and three separate conversation areas, perfect for entertaining either large or intimate groups. Fine finishing details abound including mosaic floor inserts, deep crown moldings and triple tray ceilings. The gourmet kitchen is open to the great room, offering a free flow of  conversation and interaction between the two.  Plenty of  kitchen space, custom cherry cabinets, beautiful granite counters and  high-end appliances are sure to please.   Spacious master bedroom suites on both the first and second floor offer premier views, luxurious baths and plenty of closet space. Two large  guest bedrooms make having stay-over visitors a breeze. A huge media room complete with full room length bar with sink and wine cooler overlooking the water also boasts a large veranda, perfect for enjoying those tangy salt breezes all summer long.  Located in Bay Creek Golf Resort offering such amenities as Palmer and Nicklaus waterfront golf courses, 2 beach areas, tennis courts and pool. Offered at $1,595,000. Call Blue Heron Realty Co. at 800-258-3437 for your appointment to see this very elegant and special beachfront home.

Perry aerial view arrow Perry livingroom bayviews Perry view from pool table bayviews Beach sunset with houses resizedjpg

adkins front bestTHE “BRIDGE HOUSE ”  OVERLOOKING THE WIDE BLUE WATERS AND SOFT SAND BEACHES OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY — The “Bridge House” offers a truly unique access since the front entryway to  this distinctive beachfront home is across a  dramatic  little bridge which beckons you to leave the all-too- busy-busy world behind and enter this realm of serene waterfront beauty.  Sited high on a unique 3 acre +/-  wooded sand dune which rolls gently down to a gorgeous soft sand  beach and the gentle waves of the Chesapeake Bay,  this 4400  sq. ft. contemporary 4 bedroom, 4 full bath home beach home offers a truly secluded feel.  Once inside, the eye is immediately drawn to the dramatic views of the Chesapeake Bay sparkling below viewed through a full wall of windows and sliding glass doors.  The first floor offers a huge open great room with breakfast, dining and conversation areas presenting opportunities to both socialize or relax in a little intimate corner to catch up on news one-on-one.   Walk out and enjoy nearly the 2000 sq.ft. of decking, a perfect place for a glass of  cold iced tea on a summer’s  afternoon or wowing a crowd with casual outdoor entertaining at sunset !  When you catch a cool summer breeze flowing off the Bay,  you’ll begin to realize what being  “relaxed” really means.  Time to  pour a little mint julep and get started on the new issue of “Southern Living” magazine, just chilling out to your heart’s content !  Not to mention savoring nightly the glorious sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay .  Was life ever better ? ?   But wait till you catch the elevator up to the huge third floor master suite which includes spacious sleeping area, delightful master bath, large library area with built-in floor- to- ceiling bookshelves, a huge sitting area with gas log fireplace and a full-length deck overlooking the broad deep blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay and beach.   WOW !!!  does not even begin to suffice.  Must see to really appreciate !  This spectacular home offers the essence of Virginia coastal living.  Offered at $1,499,000.  Call us today at 757-678-5200 to see this unique and inspiring beachfront home.

Backview with beach cropped Adkins kitchen great room toward dining room Adkins master bedroom

Happy 50th Anniversary, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

April 17th, 2014 by Marlene email
Bridge Tunnel Aerial Sunset

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Connecting Virginia Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach

The idea was beyond bold, beyond audacious even.  Build a Bridge from the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach ?  Across and under the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean for 17 miles ?  Ridiculous, can’t be done. So said the skeptics — and virtually everyone started out as a skeptic.  But thankfully. the skeptics were wrong and on April 15th, the 50th anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was celebrated with a ceremony  held on the Thimble Shoal Tunnel’s Seagull Island, one of the four man-made islands built as part of the tunnel complex, complete with speeches by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe  and Lucius Kellam III, son of Eastern Shore businessman Lucius Kellam, Jr., who was a driving force behind turning the idea into a reality and who served as the Bridge Commission’s Chairman until 1993.  Once opened in 1964, it promptly won an international competition which earned the Bridge the title  ” One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World.”

Cape Charles railroad and ferry stop

Cape Charles Ferry Terminal

Before the Bridge were the ferries, operating originally out of the deep water harbor in Cape Charles, later out of what is now Kiptopeake State Park,  and connecting to the mainland at Norfolk.  A one-way trip took about an hour and a half on a good weather day and whatever if it was not.  In fact, the trip to get from the Shore to the mainland has been fixed into an Eastern Shore colloquialism still used today– “going across the Bay.”  Folks don’t say ” I’m going to Virginia Beach”,  we still say “I’m going across the Bay”, harkening back to the trials and tribulations of getting from here to there and back on a ferry, with the possibility of a sudden storm blowing up out of nowhere, maybe a mechanical problem, who knew what might happen.  It took time and effort and it was an adventure.  ( No Doppler radar for those ferry captains ! ) With a fleet of 5, ranging in size from 68 feet to the 367 foot flagship, SS Pocahontas, the biggest ferries could carry up to 120 vehicles and 1200 passengers per trip.   At its zenith, an estimated 50,000 vehicles per month were using the ferry service.   And  although service was hourly, passenger buses had priority so cars often had quite lengthy waits, with vehicles lined up for long distances along the highway awaiting their turn to board.  Demand was rising and in by 1956 the Virginia General Assembly authorized the Chesapeake Bay Ferry Commission to explore the feasibility of a building a fixed crossing.  The rest, as they say, is history !

Ocean Hiway croppedjpg  Ferry Terminal  Ferry at Night  old cape charles ferry

view of both spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

View of Both Spans of The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

The Bridge Commission reports that since opening over 115 million vehicles have crossed the Bridge, a pretty hefty number. In 1999 a parallel crossing was completed,  expanding the Bridge from a 2 lane facility into a 4 lane facility, including renovated restaurant, gift shop and amazing fishing pier.  And in 2016,  work is expected to begin on an additional tunnel .  But the Bridge is so much more than a stupendous engineering feat,  a collection of 2000 concrete pilings 110 feet long driven into the floor of the Chesapeake Bay supporting 17 miles of roadbed or 4 man-made islands, each the size of five football fields built with 300,000 tons of massive boulders and 1,500,000 tons of sand rising 30 feet above the Bay,  enabling vehicle entrance into tunnels .   The word “bridge” is defined as a structure built to span physical obstacles for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle.  But for the Eastern Shore, “The Bridge“, as it’s called, is so very much more than that,  it’s essentially a passageway between two very different ways of life.

Fisherman island looking north to the Eastern Shore

Getting Off The Bridge Onto The Eastern Shore of Virginia

The contrast between life on the Eastern Shore on the north side and life in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Chesapeake metro area on the south side of the Bridge could hardly be greater.  On the Eastern Shore,  a slender peninsula barely 3 miles across where the Bridge begins,  Chesapeake Bay to the west,  Atlantic Ocean to the east,  it’s like stepping back 50 years into a land where farming and long-time watermen traditions are still the main economic engines. A land dotted with small historic towns and tiny villages, many dating back to the 1700’s, some even earlier, towns which are reminiscent of Mayberry. But new little waterfront neighborhoods nestled between big family farms are slowly emerging, bringing the energies and talents of folks from all over who have moved here after falling in love with our relaxed, coastal way of life.  But when you travel south over the Bridge, savoring the lovely waterviews, seabirds overhead, maybe even sighting a pod of dolphins or a submarine slipping swiftly through the waters as it returns to the Naval Base at Little Creek, your 15 minute journey thrusts you smack dab into the sights and sounds of  a modern metropolis, which indeed it is. The three city complex ( formerly called Tidewater, currently called Hampton Roads and soon to possibly be renamed Coastal Virginia )  sustains a population of about one million and offers virtually every amenity one could ask for.  Obviously it’s not the Big Apple,  but  large shopping malls, great restaurants ( including several fabulous Italian bakery/deli shops that I love ),  an international airport, excellent medical facilities including a world-class hospital and an associated medical school, a wide variety of cultural facilities including a symphony hall, an opera house and numerous museums.  Sports lovers will appreciate the  sports arena, a baseball park with a Baltimore Orioles farm team and a hockey team,  even a new 10,000 seat soccer stadium .  And for me, my unofficial “home away from home”,  4 jam-packed- with- the- latest- goodies Barnes and Noble bookstore choices calling out to me like the Sirens on my every trip across the Bay.

Harbor Park Aerial  Norfolk-Harrison-Opera-House-e1360597486304  Nauticus  MacArthur Mall Interior

And therein lies part of the wonder of living on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  the ability, in a 15 minute time span, to move virtually effortlessly between two very different worlds.  I’ve had a major operation at that world-class Norfolk hospital, we’ve enjoyed many performances at Harrison Opera House,  the Wells  Theatre’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” is great,  my grandkids loved “The Lion King”

Cape Charles  Southern Tip Aerial Photo

Home Again To The Beautiful Southern Tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore

production at Chrysler Hall.  Every year my eldest grandson waits in great anticipation for the Norfolk Tides baseball season to start at  Harbor Park and the battleship  USS Wisconsin moored alongside the Nauticus waterfront museum awaits the fulfillment of my promise to the grandkids to take them all for a deck tour this summer… and  the beat goes on and on and on.  BUT… after the fun, after the chicken tikka marsala with garlic naan at Saffron Indian Bistro,  after a Macy sale at MacArthur Center Mall, after the “Jersey Boys” musical at Chrysler Hall, after the Cherry Blossom Festival at Redwing Park,  etc., etc., etc.,  it’s always so great get back on The Bridge, to return home to our serene, relaxed feel, our slower pace, to the Eastern Shore’s  pristine, natural  beauty, its friendly atmosphere, the peace and quiet.  And that is the magic of ” The Bridge ”  — making possible the amazing “have your cake and eat it too”  eclectic lifestyle that those of us living on the Eastern Shore are so lucky to have.   So, thanks Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel– and Happy 50th Anniversary !

Ready, Set, Go— Now Is The Perfect Time To Lock In Your Week At A Cape Charles VA Vacation Rental House

March 21st, 2014 by Marlene email

SnowflakeIt probably seems a bit counter-intuitive to be planning reservations for a warm, sunny summer vacation in the midst of all this cold, snowy weather which seems like it has been making East Coast life miserable for eons.   Or maybe not.  Definitely planning can take the mind to a better place, sort of like warming one’s hand on a hot cup of cocoa on a cold winter afternoon brings a smile to the face, it just feels good. When I was a child, my mother used to pull out her seed catalogues on a wintry Sunday afternoons and work on her garden plan. Not that she had such a huge garden but she had it organized down to a T– what needed to be rotated to a new spot, what plants complimented the other, where to stick insect repelling marigolds, she planned it all in detail, usually changing her mind numerous times before she was satisfied.  But it seemed to me that she enjoyed working on her garden project most on a really cold, miserable day– and in Ohio, unlike on the Eastern Shore,  there are a whole lot of really cold, snowy, icy winter days !  Just like back to the future, she was mentally transported  from winter’s wind and ice to the cool  days of Spring, outdoors in the sun, in her garden.

Simply Relaxing The Shore WayBut, I digress, my point being that planning one’s vacation is a task  that offers a lot of fun in the execution.  Just deciding where to go is key and offers lots of opportunities for on-line exploration of  lots of great places– for instance, not that I’m biased of course, the Eastern Shore of Virginia.   Naturally a lot depends on the type of vacation one is looking for.  If its  bright lights and  loud music, then the Eastern Shore isn’t the place. But if you’re looking for a quaint, restful area with lots to do,  the Shore is a great place to enjoy a unique coastal vacation experience.  Not only can you enjoy our pristine natural beauty, there is nearly an endless list of fun things to do, from “A” for artists galleries to “Z” for zesty clam dip.

Savor sunset strolls on our uncrowded beaches, feel the exhilaration of  kayaking our to our string of off-shore Barrier Islands. Charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing expedition.  For golfers, the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Signature courses which front along the Chesapeake Bay in Cape Charles offer opportunities to challenge your game on some of the most beautiful waterfront courses on the entire East Coast.  Or check out our museums and art galleries, treasure hunt on the beach or in one of our antique shops.  Get wet swimming, clamming or crabbing.  Explore our quaint little towns, visit a vineyard and winery, check out our Wildlife Refuges or State Park.   Or just chill out on the porch, gentle breezes blowing, book in hand, letting  the stresses of everyday life disappear.  And at Blue Heron,  we call this “Simply Relaxing The Shore Way.”

Beach chairs tide out

Sunset with Bikes and people on deck 6a Surfer golf cart Seagull close resized

Edwards 002This year the Blue Heron Realty Co. vacation rental department is introducing a new vacation rental home, “Seashell Cottage“,  located   just a quarter block off the soft sand beach in the little Victorian town of Cape Charles, VA.   Seashell Cottage offers 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths plus a 3 rd floor loft overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.  Its open floor plan, comfortable furniture and close proximity to the beach make this a great vacation home.  And the wrap-around porch is perfect for outdoor dining and soaking up the dazzling sunsets.  Check it out at www.blueheronva.com, click on the Vacation Rental section under “Listings”  and  give us a call at 757-678-5277 to reserve your vacation week at one of our great vacation rental beach homes.  From a cozy in-town cottage to a beach home on acreage in the country,  the Blue Heron Realty Co. vacation rental agents can help you select the best home for your needs and budget.

 

4 Great Places In Cape Charles, VA To Take Your Sweetie To Dinner On Valentine’s Day

February 13th, 2014 by Marlene email

Happy Valentines DayIf you’re looking for a great place to enjoy a romantic Valentine’s  dinner,  you definitely couldn’t go wrong by trying one of these 4 terrific restaurants  located in or around the quaint Victorian town of  Cape Charles, VA.   Menu info and phone numbers for reservations are included.  So pick your favorite, make a reservation and take your Sweetie to Valentine’s dinner in this lovely little beachfront town by the  Chesapeake Bay.

 

 

Aqua 1.Aqua Cape Charles’ only  fine dining bayfront restaurant,  Aqua overlooks the majestic Chesapeake Bay. Dinner here at sunset is a sensational choice. Unfortunately, sunset comes a little early in February but Aqua is lovely after dark as well.  In addition to  its elegant decor,  starched white linens and superb service,  for Valentine’s Weekend , Aqua is offering several special entrees including a luscious sounding Stuffed Lobster,  slow baked Prime Rib and  Chicken Piccata.  And one of the succulent appetizers, Southern Oysters and Grits, sounds like a mouthwatering version of one of my  personal favorite’s,  shrimp and grits.  Chef Shelly Cusamina  has been the head chef at Aqua for a number of years and prides herself on featuring fine food with the freshest of ingredients, locally procured when possible.  Especially for Valentine’s evening,  a live jazz band will be playing.  Located at 900 Marina Village Circle near the King’s Creek Marina. Call 757-331-8660 for reservations.

Hook Up Gourmet 2.Hook-U-Up Gourmet– Located at 227   Mason Avenue right  in the heart of the Cape Charles,  Hook-U-Up is quite the eclectic restaurant.  By day, a purveyor of savory pizza and gourmet sandwiches.  By night, on Tuesdays, it is a Bistro serving elegant and delicious food, a  bit of a continental flair  right  in the Cape Charles Historic District.   And once a month, a special Wine Dinner, offering, as a friend who attended one recently told me,  “some of the best food I’ve ever eaten”.  High praise indeed and well-deserved for talented  Chef and owner, Tim Brown,  who is going all out on Valentine’s  Week-end  with both a prix-fixe and an  a la carte menu available.  The prix-fixe sounds tantalizing, Artichokes stuffed with Lump Crab or Baked Brie in Phylo with Orange Preserves among his appetizers, an Arugula and Watercress salad,  Chateaubriand with Black Truffle and  Béarnaise sauces for the entree’.  The sweet for your sweetie is  almond and black cherry tart with espresso ice cream, ambrosial no doubt.  Highlights of the a la carte menu include  Beef Wellington,  a “Surf and Turf” consisting of a  Petite Filet+ Lobster Tail+ Lump Crab  and  a  Flounder Meuniere.  For reservations, call 757-331-2275.

Kings Creek Inn 3.  King’s Creek Inn– With its long views down King’s Creek and out to the Chesapeake Bay beyond, King’s Creek Inn is another beautiful location for dinner.  Offering their “Fireside Feasts” on Friday and Saturday evenings all winter long,  they are cooking up something special indeed for Valentine’s Day week-end.   Dining by a crackling fireplace is always romantic, in addition, all the ladies will be receiving a long-stemmed rose to help celebrate the evening.  Entrees will include Filet of Sole stuffed with Lump Crab, a Surf and Turf,  Lamb Shanks slow roasted in wine and Chicken stuffed with Brie and Cranberry.  Dessert sounds delightful, their signature Chocolate Mousse Cake or a Truffle Cheesecake, yummy.  Located at 3018 Bowden Landing just outside town. Call 757-678-6355 for reservations.

 

Kelly's Pub Cape Charles 4.  Kelly’s Gingernut Pub– Offering great food in a unique and casual atmosphere. Located at  133  Mason Avenue in the center of Cape Charles, in what was once a historic brick bank building, now lovingly renovated by owner Gene Kelly.  Try the cozy seating section called “The Vault”,  located in what was once, duh,  the bank’s vault.   Kelly’s combines  a fun atmosphere with excellent pub-style food plus some excellent chef’s specials for dinner on week-ends.  For Valentine’s Day, among other offerings,  Kelly’s will present  Oysters Rockefeller, Crab Claw & Shrimp Cocktail,  Three Cheese Ravioli in a Crab and Cream sauce, Surf and Turf as well as a Grilled Rib- eye Steak with Portobello Mushrooms.  Cheesecake with Berries for dessert.  Call for more info at 757-331-3222

 

A Glorious New Year’s Day 2014 Trip From Eastern Shore Virginia To Williamsburg, VA’s Historic District

January 28th, 2014 by Marlene email

CBBTBright, sunny, beautiful from dawn till dusk, New Year’s Day 2014 was simply lovely.  We had planned early on to ring in New Year’s Day in Williamsburg and the weather could not have been more co-operative.  One of the  delights of a trip to the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg in December are the beautiful holiday decorations– the door of each home in the restored area is adored with a unique, handmade wreath.  And since they are all crafted by the residents, no wreath is duplicated.  For about the last ten years we have made an annual pilgrimage on New Year’s Day to enjoy a guilt-free buffet brunch at one of the hotels because afterwards we take a brisk walk through the restored area to work off all those calories !   ( An excellent excuse for sampling several deserts …..)  And the trip from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Williamsburg is so easy,  a glide over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, clear blue waters below,  chop-chop-chop up I-64 E , exit onto Colonial Parkway and, insto-presto, in less than 2 hours it’s napkin in lap, fork in hand, ready to enjoy a luscious lunch.

 

Williamsburg InnLunch this year was an interesting buffet at the always special Williamsburg Inn– in addition to  Southern regional dishes like oyster pie,   seafood fritatta and minced Smithfield ham salad,  a surprisingly excellent offering was a black-eyed pea bisque.  For those not familiar,  it is a Southern tradition that on New Year’s Day, one must eat black-eyed peas — they are supposed to bring good luck for the coming year.  I don’t really enjoy them and the idea of black-eyed pea bisque was initially not appealing whatever. But Hubby tried some, wow, said he, this bisque is really excellent, you really should try it.   So I did…. once, twice and three times a charm !  Couldn’t believe it, that’s how delicious it was, best darn thing on the menu, I shall remember it aways.  Well, maybe not always but at least until next year when I hope they will serve it again !  The desserts were fun, especially the crepe’ station, rich, thin crepe’s filled with Bananas Foster, topped with a little scoop of fabulous ice cream and sliced fresh strawberries, very, very yummy indeed.

Williamsburg Historic area shop 244The weather was  delightful,  a little warmer than usual, about 55 degrees,  so when we started our walk  Duke of Gloucester Street was teeming with folks from all over, tourists wearing their badge passes,  locals,  students from the College of William and Mary which is located just a few blocks away, everyone quite  relaxed, just enjoying the afternoon, strolling down this historic street.  If you love dogs, Gloucester Street is also a “meet and greet” heaven for dogs of all kinds and sizes, as owners leisurely traipse down the street behind their pooches.  This year was an especially great year for “people walking dog”  watching– a Bernese Mountain dog, Labradoodle, Great Pyrenees, Scottie, Doxie, Boxer, you name it, they were enthusiastically escorting their owners down this four hundred year old street where individuals  like  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both alumni of William and Mary, probably walked their dogs too.   Interestingly, you almost never see aggressive canine behavior there, just doggie curiosity and tail wagging which makes the whole “man’s best friend” scene lots of fun. And to add additional interest to this convivial scene, the  period style carriages were out in force, each drawn by two gorgeous, well-cared for horses, stepping high, coats gleaming in the afternoon sunlight, liveried driver seated high above.  The carriages are apparently hand- manufactured in Austria according to one of the drivers but the wheels themselves are actually handmade at the wheelwright shop right in the Williamsburg Historic Area. Anyway, four or five horse-drawn carriages traveling down the street is quite a sight.

Williamsburg Christmas Decorations 241 This year’s batch of wreaths and swags was interesting as always.  Nearly every home and shop in the Restored Area is decorated each holiday season with a wreath or swag made entirely of materials which would have been available to residents of  the 18th century, basically constructed from fresh greenery pine, fraiser, boxwood, holly, magnolia and decorated with a myriad of dried different flowers, seeds and fruits, no artificial decorations allowed.  To up the ante’ a bit for residents, 1st, 2nd. and 3rd place blue ribbons are awarded and given the obvious amount of  effort many wreaths show, I’m guessing there is a bit of friendly competition every year to win a ribbon.  The effect is so pleasing that every year literally thousands of visitors come each year over the holidays to see the decorations and enjoy a holiday meal in one of the period taverns.  Each Tavern is  gaily decorated for the season, softly lighted by candles with costumed servers offering food authentic to the period– one of the most famous is the King’s Arms Tavern which is famous for its peanut soup,  Game Pye as well as an unusual veggie offering, a rich creamed celery with a hint of nutmeg,  which doesn’t sound that great but which was quite delicious.   There is always something new to see or try in Williamsburg and a visit there is  a great way to kick off the New Year.