Posts Tagged ‘Aqua restaurant Cape Charles Virginia’

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

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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 New Cape Charles Vacation Rental Home, Introducing “Beach Villa”

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Sand beach at "Beach Villa", a Cape Charles VA vacation rental home

Relax on the soft sand beach at “Beach Villa” on Eastern Shore Virginia

We get a lot of calls  here at Blue Heron Realty Co. for a vacation rental home with lots of seclusion but with lots of amenities too and that’s usually  a hard order to fill.  However, we  have just acquired  “Beach Villa”  as a Cape Charles VA area vacation rental.  This exquisite villa style home,  sleeping 10, offers  water views galore plus old world charm and the use of its  37 acres with beautiful Virginia Eastern Shore  Chesapeake Bay waterfront.  Best of all,   Beach Villa offers a gorgeous  sand beach, private to the owners and their rental guests, offering wide soft, soft  sands, glittering in the golden sun, perfect for relaxing under a beach umbrella, book in hand, some sweet Southern-style  ice cold tea in the cooler.  And as you wade from the beach into the Bay, the salty Chesapeake  waters start out quite shallow but  gradually reach swimming depth so bring your mask and snorkel to check everything out.   Surrounded on two sides by a pristine little freshwater lake,  imagine waking up  in the serene environment of this home  to the calls of  seabirds overhead  and  waterfowl out on the lake.  Love jogging ? Imagine the pleasure of making lazy circuits around 37 acres surrounded by such natural beauty.  Surely this is a  vacation opportunity extraordinaire.

Aerial view of "Beach Villa", a beachfront home near Cape Charles VA

“Beach Villa” offers old world charm on 37 acres near Cape Charles VA

With 3 bedrooms and 3 and a half baths plus a day bed in the sunroom, there is plenty of room to catch up on some sleep  in this nearly 4000 sq. ft. home. Large great room with living and dining room groupings plus a   gourmet kitchen make conversation with your group a breeze. The gas log fireplace in the living area is perfect for cool fall evenings.  Sliding glass doors lead from the great room to the spacious fieldstone patio overlooking  beautiful flower beds, the lake and the Bay, the perfect spot for a steaming cup of morning coffee.   Paneled den and enclosed sunroom provide additional space for just relaxing, letting the mind and body unwind in this gorgeous setting.  First floor master suite, so convenient, with a master bath which includes jacuzzi tub with marble surround.   Everything about this home is top of the line, you will not be disappointed by selecting this home for your vacation.

Witcher living room CG              Witcher master CG               Witcher kitchen

Aqua Restaurant at Cape Charles offers fine and casual dining on the Chesapeake Bay

Be Sure To Try The Delicious Seafood At Aqua Restaurant During Your Stay

Nearby amenities include Kiptopeake State Park, Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge and the Rails to Trails jogging/biking trail. The historic little Victorian town of Cape Charles is less than 10 minutes away and offers restaurants, shops, art galleries, marinas,boat ramps, train rides,  special events, holiday parades, etc.,  as well as Palmer and Nicklaus Signature 18 hole golf courses.   The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a terrific spot for a relaxing, low-key vacation, for what we like to call ” Simply Relaxing The Shore Way“.  From A for Artist Galleries to Z for Zesty clam dip,  there is nearly an endless list of things to do and see here on the Eastern Shore.   Savour sunset strolls on the beach,  kayak to our unique off-shore Barrier Islands, charter a deep sea fishing trip, treasure hunt in our antique shops,  attend a live performance at the Palace Theatre, ride horseback along waterfront trails, explore our little coastal towns, visit a local winery,  get wet clamming, enjoy a superb seafood meal at Aqua Restaurant,  see the artifacts of yesteryear at the Barrier Island Museum.  ( By the way, the Tall Ships Cape Charles Festival will be held this year the weekend of June 14-16,  an exciting event for adults and kids alike. Three tall sailing ships will be in port offering open deck tours and day sails, the Navy’s USS  Tornado will also offer tours, individual owners will be there with their sailboats, skipjacks and antique “buy boats”, the harbor will be bursting with great stuff.  Plus loads of other activities  are part of this Festival, it’s a really fun-filled event. )  But whatever you do, memories of your Simply Relaxing  Eastern Shore Vacation  will stay with you forever.  To reserve your week at Beach Villa, email us at easternshorevacations@blueheronva.com or call 757-678-5277.           (Posted  by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Aqua Restaurant- Still Delightful, Delicious, De-lovely

Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Aqua Restaurant in Cape Charles VA

Aqua Restaurant Easter Brunch

Having scheduled the family Easter dinner for Saturday, which came off quite well, including trying a new ( new to  me anyway) version of ham from costco which everyone loved,  an excellent Applewood smoked full length de-boned ham which had been cut in half vertically rather than horizontally,   we had decided that brunch at the “new” Aqua  would  be just the ticket for Sunday.   After a winter’s hiatus, which included a change in ownership, a bit of re-decorating and some staff changes, I was curious to see if  the beautiful Aqua Restaurant, which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia   just re-opened on Friday, had retained its old charm. And more importantly, its fine flair for preparing regional cuisine.  I hoped for the best but feared for the worst as we walked through the door on Sunday but, happily, my fears were for naught as the answer to my first question was a resounding  “Yes, Shelly Cusmina is still the head chef.”   So,  off to a good start in its new iteration, still, as Cole Porter would say, ” Delightful, Delicious, De-lovely.”

DSC_0702Aqua is well known for its  tradition of  delectable Southern-style cuisine for holiday brunches and Sunday’s food definitely did that tradition proud.  If Paula Deen had been there she would have said that they had outdone themselves with  this luscious meal, nary a foot put wrong.  Although Aqua’s regular lunch and dinner menus  are  geared towards fine dining, emphasizing the fresh seafood from our Chesapeake Bay region, its brunches often feature some classic Southern dishes that don’t appear on the set menu, including  some of the best mac and cheese I have ever tasted,  smooth, really creamy.  And an ode should have been  written to the fried chicken, that’s how good it was, crisp  flakes of  crunchy coating, mouthwatering  tender chicken , accompanied by plenty of  spicy Crystal hot sauce. ( You might be a Southerner if you can’t really enjoy fried chicken without an ample sprinkling of  pungent hot sauce,  preferably Crystal or Texas Pete brand. ) And rounding out the “must-have” trifecta of  mac and cheese and  fried chicken is, of course, a mess of  collard greens.  Now the important thing about collards  (besides needing to be cooked until very tender )  is that they must be  “well seasoned” which is a catch-all description for the rich peppery ham flavor that proper collards are supposed to have.   Adding  little chunks of smoked country ham or smoked side meat  is the  best cooking method to give collards the  sort of sweet-salty  tangy flavor that no  holiday table in Virginia is truly complete without.  And speaking of not complete,  light as air  biscuits are also a must serve,  in Aqua’s case,  feather-light sweet potato biscuits.

DSC_0701There was, of course,  a separate omelet station stocked with choices of just about every ingredient one could wish to be added to a fluffy omelet.  I’m not really a breakfast person so brunch for me might as well just be called lunch but Hubby is just about the opposite and prefers the breakfast side of a brunch.  DSC_0676In addition to the omelet station, a huge poached salmon cleverly decorated with cucumber slice “scales” accompanied by a mellow  dill sauce,  pan-fried Yukon potatoes, mini- sausage links,  fluffy blueberry pancakes, bagels and rich  flaky pastries  were available for the breakfast foodies.  Plus  gorgeous fruit trays filled one end of a table, offering a wide selection of fruit including some very tempting strawberries, gorgeous,  vivid red with an amazing bouquet and ambrosial Hawaiian pineapple slices, literally dripping with juice, a whole array of  delights.  It was a lovely event, enjoyed in good company, proving once again that  a meal at Aqua’s is still “Delightful, Delicious, De-lovely ” !     (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7135 Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA. )

Eastern Shore Hospice’s 5th Annual “Corks and Forks” Fundraiser A Complete Success

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The  Hospice and Palliative Care of the Eastern Shore  organization pulled off yet another great fundraiser party a few weeks ago.  Held once again at Aqua, a fine dining restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Cape Charles, VA, the party was just getting into full swing as we arrived.  The great thing about Aqua’s  as a venue for a large party like this is that it is such a beautiful building- from its  long wall of picture windows overlooking the Bay to the amazing translucent bar that appears to be a long stream of liquid gold  to  the fabulous irridescent aquamarine tile covered columns,  Aqua’s offers  terrific ambience for any event. Kudos unlimited to Dickie Foster for building this fine restaurant !

Wine glasses and plates in hand,  we began a slow circuit  of the various food stations, each seemingly with more delicous offerings than the last.  First stop, the Oyster Station.   And not just any oysters, but three wide trays of  ice,  each proudly holding a specific type of Eastern Shore VA  grown beauty.   A  tray of  fat Chincoteage oysters, a tray of salty Seaside oysters and  a tray of tender Bayside oysters,  each  plump and glistening in its briny juice,  ice-cold and with a dash of Mingonette Sauce,  ready to be downed in one great sluurrpp !   My husband loves oysters but I took a pass, concentrating instead on the accompanying sparkling wine from the Scharffenberger Winery in Mendicino, California,  which was also ice cold and absolutely luscious.

Next stop,  the Chicken Satay/Grilled Shrimp Station whose offerings were being paired with  Savigonon  Blanc.  The chicken was grilled to perfection and served with a slightly spicy Thai chili sauce on the side.  The chili sauce was quite good,  although I personally am partial to a peanut sauce with satay,  particularly a sauce made with whole peanuts freshly ground in a food processor rather than made with the chunky peanut butter called for in lots of recipes .  ( However,  if one is in a time crunch,  Smucker’s  brand Chunky Peanut Butter is a top-of-the-line substitute.)   And as my husband was quick to remind me, it’s nice to do things differently from time to time.   Although they were offering both an oaked and a steel vintage of the sav blanc,  I didn’t try either because I was working on my second taste  of the Scharffenberger’s.  It  worked perfectly with the chicken so  I figured,  if it aint broke, don’t fix it……. or some such adage.

Onward and upward to what turned out to be, side by side,  my two favorite stations of the evening.   First station offered  an Italian antipasto,  Kalamata olives, fresh mozzerella and chunks of artichoke hearts transformed  into finger food with skewers and also  mini-mini sandwiches,  styled as  “Turkey Reubens”,  wafer thin smoked turkey with a dab of cole slaw, tucked into small wedges of crusty Italian bread, very, very nice.   Next door to that tasty group was a station featuring sausage chunks atop a bed of ratatulle as well as teriyaki meatballs, both very well prepared although I would have enjoyed  a bit more of  the delicious sauce over the meatballs.  The wine paired with the meatballs and sausage was my very favorite of the night-  an aromatic red Zinfandal from the Big Sur region of  California,  Peachy Canyon Vineyard’s  “Incredible Red”, a wonderful pairing,  a wine with plenty of heft to work well with those spicy meats.

By now the sun was almost setting and we moved to Aqua’s outdoor  veranda to sit for a bit, just relax and  enjoy the sunset and the gentle breezes  blowing off the water.  It was an idylic waterfront scene,  the sun slipping deep to the west, despite the cloud cover trying to paint  the Chesapeake’s waters in pastel shades of  pinks and gold,  a few last  boats cruising in off the  Bay, heading for their marina moorings,  waves lapping at  Aqua’s soft sand beach, candles glowing golden on the tables, perfectly lovely,  absolutely.  We waited until the sun had slipped below the horizon before heading back inside for a bite at the  Dessert Station,  a brie en croute with fig preserve and house made chocolate nut clusters,  paired with a late harvest dessert wine. Yummy !  From there, off to peruse the display  of  the  many donated  “Silent Auction” items.

“Corks and Forks” is an important  fund-raiser for Hospice with proceeds going to its Fragile Hearts Children’s Grief Camp,  a camp to be held at YMCA’s Camp Silver Beach this year for children dealing with grief and loss, a truly worthy cause.   And funds are raised not just through the ticket sales  but also through the donations of various items from local artists and the local business community to be sold at the Cork and Fork’s   “Silent Auction”.  This year the prime objets d’ art were  paintings  by well-known local artists  Willie Crocket,  Thelma Peterson and Clelia Sheppard and a ceramic  by Vesna Zidovec.  Other donated items included various types of gift baskets,  getaway packages, concert tickets, jewelrey and  sculpture.   All in all,  something for everyone to be interested in.  The countdown to the end of the auction was lively, with folks darting to enter their latest bids on their favorite items.  Some disappointed sighs were heard  the winners were announced but all in all,  loads of fun for everyone.  This post would not be complete without mentioning the music by the Russell Scarborough Jazz Trio.  I am a big fan of jazz and these three guys can really get down, they are wonderful and added a great deal to this delightful evening,  chalk up another winner by the Eastern Shore Hospice organization !

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Valentine’s Day 2012 On The Eastern Shore of Virginia– Some Dining Possibilities

Friday, February 10th, 2012


 

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so if you want to take your “Babe” out to a special dinner,  it’s  time to spring into action and make those reservations !   Or if you’re  cooking him or her a special meal,  time to decide on the menu.  There are lots of great places  to choose from for a romantic dinner here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore— everybody seems to be having  some wonderful specials for this upcoming  occasion.  Here are a few of our favorite picks:

In or very close to the town of Cape Charles:

Aqua’s Restaurant,  located next to the Bay Creek Marina.  Overlooking the Chesapeake Bay with gorgeous waterviews, very romantic indeed.  Starting  Friday  February 10th through February 14th,  Aqua is offering  a special Valentine menu  which includes a shared appetizer, soup or salad,  an entree and a shared dessert priced at $65.00 per couple.  Lots of choices including  Steak Dianne and a vegetarian entree. For reservations call 757-331-8660.

Kelly’s Gingernut Pub– Located in a renovated bank building  on Mason Avenue,  Kelly’s offers  a fun atmosphere and great food, a favorite of locals.  For Valentine’s,  Kelly’s is offering several specials including grilled Australian lamb with mushroom rissotto  and  blackened Pacific salmon with goat cheese mashed potatoes.  Desserts include chocolate dipped strawberries and  a special Creme’  Brulee.  Yum ! For the full  special menu and for reservations, call 757-331-3222. www.kellysgingernutpub.com

Sting Ray’s–  Also known as “Chez Exxon”,  Sting Ray’s is located in a big red barn- like building right on Route 13   just a few minutes south of Cape Charles.  But don’t be fooled by the rustic exterior– written up by Southern Living magazine,  Sting Ray’s offers delicious seafood and some of the best home style southern BBQ ever !  For Valentine’s  they are offering Lobster Thermador  for just $15.99.  A  petite filet mignon and their famous Crab Imperial is also on the menu.  For the full menu, call 757-331-250. www.cape-center.com

In the town of Eastville:

The historic Eastville Inn, a lovely building which dates back to the early 1770’s,  will be re-opening  on February 8th.  For Valentine’s,   the Inn will be offering a special menu including Surf and Turf  with appetizer, salad, entree and dessert for $59.95 per couple.  Call for details and reservations at  757-678-5270.

In the town of Onancock:

Mallard’s on the Wharf–  A cozy waterfront restaurant located in the historic Hopkins Store  right on the Onancock Harbour overlooking the colorful Onancock Creek inlet.  Especially gorgeous at sunset with boats heading in and out from the Chesapeake Bay,  Mallard’s is home to  Johnny Mo,  ” The Singing Chef “.  This year Mallard’s is offering  “Valentine’s  Dine and Demo”  where Chef  Mo demonstrates  the preparation of  the exact four course menu being prepared in the kitchen.  Johnny Mo recently returned from a stint as a guest chef in Jamaica  so the dinner theme  is Jamaican but the special menu details will not be available for a day or two.  Call for reservations and more details -757-787-8558. www.mallardsllc.com

Inn and Garden Cafe’–  A luscious sounding  five course meal starting with an appetizer of  that famous aphrodisiac, Oysters Rockefeller,  followed by Cream of Leek soup,  followed by Goat Cheese with arugula and a Cranberry reduction, an entree of FiletMignon with Lobster Thermidor and, for dessert, Creme’  Brulee infused with Grand Mariner.  Wow,  sounds scrumptious,  priced at $45. per person. Call 757-787-8850 for reservations. www.theinnandgardencafe.com

 

The Charlotte Hotel– As usual, an Oh so very cleverly designed menu with lots  of delicious choices including an appetizer of  heirloom cheddar tartlett with sweet pepper escabeche,  a wild mushroom stuffed breast of chicken with gorgonzola and red wine risotto and a warm cherry tart with almond ice cream,  all items priced a la carte.  For reservations call 757-787-7400.  www.thecharlottehotel.com – their Valentine menu can be viewed on-line.

Planning to cook for your honey at home ?  Haven’t decided on a menu yet,  maybe use a little help, a few suggestions  ?   Click on www.splendidtable.publicradio.org  on Sunday, Feb 12th  and they will have their Valentine menu and recipes ready to download.  Splendid Table,  heard here locally at noon on Sundays on NPR,  bills itself as ” the show for  people who love to eat “, which  pretty much describes everyone in my family,  including moi.  Not only does  Splendid Table  feature great interviews with a wide and diverse variety of folks involved with food,  including chefs, farmers, vintners, cookbook authors, etc., etc.,  it  also offers wonderful recipes  and suggestions for jazzing up old recipes,  on-air and on the website.  Last year I cooked their Valentine entree — Feast for Lovers–  roasted pork tenderloin with black olives and orange.  It was scrumptious and my husband also loved the leftover pork sliced for a sandwich the next day.  If you’re cooking but don’t want to bake,  call the Corner Bakery, 757-757-4820. They are featuring  a melt-in-your-mouth heart-shaped  cake for 2 and also giant chocolate covered strawberries.  Yellow Duck  Bakery Cafe’ , 757-442-5909 also has wonderful sweets for your Valentine sweetie as does Kate’s Kupboard  757-442-7437,  Kate’s is also home to some totally awesome dinner rolls.

So make your reservation,  grab your Honey by the hand,  say “I’ve  got you,  Babe”  and have a  wonderful, wonderful  Eastern Shore Valentine’s  dinner. 

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

ttp://youtu.be/EUtofZzEnbA

 

“Echoes Of The Past”– The 16th Annual Holiday Progressive Dinner In Cape Charles, VA

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Every year for the last decade and a half, the Northampton County VA Chamber of Commerce has sponsored a wonderful holiday event– the Holiday Progressive Dinner in Cape Charles, VA  (although the 2010 Dinner was held in Eastville, VA ).   This delightful event features a “soup-to-nuts”  meal progressively served at about 10 historic  Victorian homes and sites throughout the town.   The Chamber outdid itself this year by including  even more entertainment — seven theatrical vignettes recreating a visit in 1886 to Cape Charles by US  President Grover Cleveland  were added to the normal fare of excellent food and musical entertainment. Eldest Daughter, Middle Daughter,  a friend and I had tickets for the earliest group, the “Santa Group”,  with a kick-off  time of 3:30 at  Art’s Enter’s Palace Theater.  There we received our red badges, programs and started off with the evening’s first appetizer, a chili-glazed beef  kabob with Virginia peanut dipping sauce.   Then, a quick and easy walk  to Site # 2, the Bay Creek Railway Car, a fully restored vintage car originally used between 1915 and 1940’s, where  Vignette # 1 began,  a  cordial conversation between Alexander Cassatt  ( brother to the famous painter, Mary Cassatt) and Wm. Scott, founder of Cape Charles, as they prepared  to board for a railroad  trip from Cape Charles to New York.   Then,  boarding the railway car ourselves, we sampled our second appetizer, a rich Scottish smoked salmon with tomato aioli and creme fraiche, served on dill focaccia,  prepared by Aqua Restaurant.  Although I am not a huge fan of smoked salmon, this was moist and melt-in-the-mouth luscious, a 4 star.

Next,  a walk to the fully restored vintage 1950’s ranch home on Monroe Avenue owned by Tom and Kathy Bonadeo for the pasta course. a pasta primevera in alfredo sauce, prepared by Little Italy Restaurant.  The pasta was accompanied by sparkling cider or nice local wines from Holly Grove Vineyards in Franktown,VA   and the very pleasant musical entertainment by Sarah Scott, flautist.

From there  we were off to another home on Monroe Avenue, the well-known Kellogg House, a Flemish bond brick Colonial Revival, definitely one of the finest homes ever built in Cape Charles. Vignette # 2, starring Blue Heron’s own David Kabler,  told the story of  the exciting news of President Cleveland’s impending visit. Afterwards, a broth-based vegetable crab soup prepared by Machipongo Clam Shack was served,  piping hot and very tasty, quite welcome after our little jaunts around town.

Off next to  the newly opened Fig Street Inn,  located at the corner of Tazewell Avenue and Fig Street.   Originally built by one of Cape Charles’ prominent families, the Wilson family, owners of the town’s first department store, this home is located on land purchased from the estate of Cape Charles founder, Wm. Scott. The house needed substantial renovation when purchased by the current owners and they have done a marvelous job, it looks just resplendent  dressed in its holiday finery.  The Vignette here starred  Trina Veber  ( AKA Mrs. Santa from the Grand Illumination presentation) and  Linda Spence,  society ladies getting ready to meet their husbands and hear more news about President Cleveland’s  Cape Charles visit.  Afterwards,  a salad course of mixed greens with almonds, feta and cranberries was served, tossed with a tangy apple cider dressing,  everything crisp and tasty, prepared by the Exmore Diner, an Eastern Shore landmark.

From the Inn, a quick walk  up Tazewell Avenue to the home of  Mr. and Mrs. Dan Dougherty, built on land purchased directly from  Wm. Scott in 1883.  This lovely home still retains one of the original hitching posts remaining in Cape Charles and lo and behold,  a real live horse, a miniature, was hitched there, quietly nibbling at the grass and in general ignoring all the fuss around it.  Wines from Chatham Vineyards, a fine local winery, were served with a trio of cheeses and apple  slices in a pretty presentation  from  Gull Hummock Gourmet Market, located in in downtown Cape Charles,  after the Vignette which featured  Thomas Dixon and Wm. Fitzhugh, both prominent in Cape Charles society, planning a hunting trip out to our Barrier Islands which would likely include President Cleveland.

And a zip-zip across the street brought us to the beautiful Tazewell Avenue 1920’s home of  Mr. and Mrs. John Schulz. Mr. Schulz , a former Navy pilot, employee of Voice of America and foreign correspondent has many unique art pieces from around the world which he was kind enough to expound upon for our group.  After a tour of the home we were treated to music of the season played by the dynamic duo of  Malcolm, on violin,  and Carol Russ, on accordion.  It’s always a treat to be nearby when Malcolm and Carol play.  ( In fact,  they added greatly to the ambiance of  Blue Heron’s period- attire party aboard the tall ship Kalmar Nychol this past June. )  The  entree’ was served here,  a succulent  presentation of braised duck in a port wine reduction accompanied by goat cheese mashers and asparagus spears,  expertly prepared by Kelly’s  Pub located on Mason Avenue in historic downtown Cape Charles.

And last but not least,  dessert at Heyward Hall,  individual apple rum cakes, expertly  prepared by Amy B. Catering,  served with aromatic coffee brewed by the Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Co., both enjoyed while being entertained by the mellow harmony of  Eastern Shore’s own  Acclaim Barbershop Quartet.  And then who should stride out on the stage to deliver a strong  “thank-you for your hospitality” speech ??   You guessed it,  the final Vignette of the evening featured President Grover Cleveland  congratulating the gathered Cape Charles citizens on their vision and foresight in developing the railroad and planning for the new steamer which would carry passengers and rail cars across the Chesapeake Bay.   With that speech, the  2011 Progressive Dinner Tour concluded for the “Santa Group” although about 10 or so later groups, presumably named after his reindeer, were wending their way through.   It was a lovely night, the food was great, as was the entertainment– and we managed to work off  at least a few calories as we strolled from site to site on a beautiful December’s evening.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

A Round Of Golf At Bay Creek Golf Resort And Lunch At Aqua’s- Father’s Day 2011

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Golf Courses At Bay Creek Golf Resort

Father’s Day at our house is usually a fairly energetic affair, with kids, grand kids and dogs all  around.  A lot of the food is usually grilled-  last year,  beef fajitas,  grilled veggies  and Mexican style grilled corn served with black beans and a huge salad.  Plus a truly luscious  pineapple upside-down cake ( with vanilla Ben and Jerry’s, of course )  for dessert,  one of  the best I’ve ever eaten.  But this year two kids were out of town and one had another event.  So,  as Monty Python would say,  now for something different.  The result was a decision to play the front nine holes of  the spectacular waterfront Arnold Palmer Signature  course at the Bay Creek Golf Resort  community and then have lunch at Aqua restaurant,  which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay at Cape Charles.   This wouldn’t seem too unusual except that my husband doesn’t play golf  and I only play  occasionally anymore so the only people playing golf would be Eldest Daughter and Middle Daughter,  along with their respective  boyfriends.  But this was fine,  we both enjoy the beauty of the course and  watching the kids work on improving  their game.  About a thousand years ago,  before I had any children,  I played golf  several times a week,  had  a single digit handicap and was serious about the game.  Five kids and a real estate business later,  I’m just an old duffer but I still enjoy being out on the course, watching the kids play, zipping around in the golf cart, taking a few photos,  just enjoying the beautiful waterviews,  the amazing Bay Creek landscaping and the fresh salty breezes.

Putting Out On Arnold Palmer Hole # 1

Sunday dawned overcast,  looking suspiciously like rain and riding around in a golf cart in the rain is definitely not my thing.   But the hour- by- hour weather report indicated only a 10% chance of  precipitation  before 3 pm so we decided to go with the forecast  but bring rain jackets and umbrellas,  just in case.  By the 10:45 am tee time the sun seemed trying to peek through, not very hard,  but trying nevertheless.  The Palmer hole # 1 is a spectacular hole, a par 5,  459 yards,  heading straight west, with a green which is nearly right on  the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s my favorite hole, one of the longest and one of the most beautiful,  with a pristine natural feel,  the water,  the sea grasses, the shorebirds overhead and of course its  flower petal shaped massive sand trap,  creatively  designed  pits of deadly sparkling grains of ground rock that can easily cost an extra stroke or two.  And the impressive replica of Old Plantation Light  standing sentry over the green and the Bay, watching for fudgers and sailors.  Or maybe not.

 

Three Balls Sailed Over The Water But The Fourth Went Plop ! I Shall Not Say Whose…

By hole # 3  however,  the sun was definitely shining and the little wavelets along the Bay were shimmering, a lovely sight.  This is a tricky hole because of  its  water features — it’s easy to lose a ball or two here.   It was especially pretty that Sunday, the tall pines on the far side of the green reflected in the waters of the pond,  a flock of pelicans sailing by skimming just above the waves in the Bay.   As for the golfers in the group,  on this par 4,   336 yard hole– let’s just say  that three balls sailed nicely over the pond and onto the green but some body’s ball,  we won’t mention whose,  went plop and promptly sank.    And then on hole #4, overcast again and the beginning of a  sprinkle.   To make a long story short, the weather went wacky,  alternating between periods of sunshine and showers until we wrapped up after the ninth hole,  everybody starving and ready to slip over to Aqua’s for lunch.

A Fine Father’s Feast At Aqua

On holidays and special occasion days,  Aqua  usually has  something out of the ordinary  and for Father’s Day they offered a very nice brunch buffet accompanied by specially priced Mimosas.   Lots of gorgeous fruit,  an omelet station with a wide choice of  ingredients,  some excellent home fried new potatoes with onions and ever so much more  for the breakfast lover.  For those ready for lunch, a carving station with a delicious grilled flank steak  and  a honey ham  accompanied by an especially flavorful mango salsa stood at the ready,  as well as  BBQ  ribs which were exceptional,  slathered with a particularly  tasty sauce,  enlivened with a subtle touch of cumin.  Goodies from nearby trays of relishes and grilled veggies,  including a delicious cold eggplant,  made a pleasing plate together with the ribs and a top notch ceasar salad.  Needless to say,  everyone found more than enough choices they really enjoyed and nobody left hungry, an understatement for sure !   One of the nicest things about eating at Aqua’s,  aside from the food,  is the lovely interior and the great views out to the Chesapeake Bay from the wall of windows which wrap around on three sides.  Sunday was no exception,  cloudy or not, the water was  beautiful as always and  we  enjoyed  watching boats come and go from the marina.   “The Present”,  a special Father’s Day gift that the kids all chip in together to give, was  presented,  especially lovely this year,  then ’twas time to head for home and a little walk with the dogs.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

“Corks & Forks”- The 4th Annual Fundraiser On Eastern Shore Virginia

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

My husband loves to tease me-  he always says that if an event has the word  “Fork”  in it,  I’m sure to be interested.  Well, that’s probably true,  and especially true for the wine tasting fund-raiser which we attended Saturday evening.  Now an annual “foodie” event,  “Corks and Forks”  this year benefited the  truly worthy project  of the Hospice of the Eastern Shore,  the establishment of  the Fragile Heart’s Children’s Camp to help Eastern Shore Virginia children aged 7-14 who are struggling with loss and bereavement, www.hpces.org .

Aqua’s Restaurant in Cape Charles,  with its spacious, open layout  and gorgeous views from the long wall of windows overlooking the Chesapeake Bay,  was the  absolutely perfect venue for this year’s event,  I don’t think there could have been a better choice.    Tables `were beautifully decorated with large candles  and bouquets of yellow tulips.   Aqua’s nearly full-room length bar,  glowing with large bowls of  fiery candles floating above large sea shells,  (a theme which nicely complemented the restaurant’s location along the sandy Chesapeake shoreline ),  served as  the  MicroBrewery  Station as well as the official Cheese Station,  which  included a particularly delicious Danish blue as one of the selections.

 

Picking up a glass and plate at the entrance,  we  swirled along with the crowd towards one of the five Wine Stations  that had been spread out  around the restaurant,  offering  plenty of room for guests to flow among them,  picking up a nibble here and a taste of  another wine over there.  In total,  fourteen different Virginia wines were included in the tastings,  with Chatham Vineyards in Machipongo as the Eastern Shore appellation’s contribution to the evening,  with owner Jon Wehner serving as the event’s wine consultant.   We started at the Cabernet Franc Station, which featured wines from Chatham, Philip Carter Winery and Barren Ridge Winery, enjoying a taste of each and then a half glass of  the Chatham to accompany the food.  Offerings at the Cabernet Station  included beef tenderloin sliders plus one of my three absolute favorites of the evening,  mushrooms stuffed with an intriguing mixture of andouille sausage,  roasted tomatoes, garlic and bread crumbs,  absolutely delectable.  Wandering on to the  Chardonnay Station,  we  tried a lightly oaked vintage from Varitas Winery,  located near Charlottesville, VA ,  served with my second favorite food of the evening,  a  creamy and delicious butternut squash bisque garnished with cinnamon-honey creme’  fraiche.   Quite a delectable  pairing.   Also served at the Chardonnay Station was  smoked whitefish on focaccia,  which my husband particularly enjoyed.

Before continuing on to the Merlot Station,  we stopped to peruse the  many items on the Silent Auction table– a diverse collection of donated services and travel packages as well as many beautiful items  by local artists,  including  a lovely original acrylic, “Water Lilies”   by  Thelma Peterson .   Also by Thelma was an  original watercolor,  sure to enliven any room,  the  very colorful  “Oysters Caribbean”,  a  special  “Corks and Forks”  auction item.  Other interesting art items included a handcrafted leather handbag by well-known local artist,  Miguel Bizzotto,  a  William Turner sculpture entitled “Bronze Otter” and a small table topped with a  marble mosaic  donated by New Revenna.  For sports lovers,  there were several bidding opportunities including  a Sky Suite at Perdue Stadium, large enough for 20 people,  to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds, ( a  Single A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team),   a fishing trip for two on board the Miss Jennifer,  plus assorted fishing gear for the trip from Eastern Shore Outfitters and  a  round of  golf and lunch for four  at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club in Melfa, VA.

From there,  we pressed  onward  to the Merlot Station,  where vintages were presented from ChathamRosemont Winery and Veritas Winery.  Merlot is among my husband’s favorite wines,  although not mine,  and he enjoyed a tasting from each winery,  enjoyed them all.  Nearby, a separate carving station for  grilled pork tenderloin served with a fig demi-glaze was doing a brisk business,  the pork was fork  tender and paired well with both the sauce and the wines.  I especially enjoyed the  offering of  asparagus wrapped in puff pastry,  local asparagus  grilled to perfection,  the puff pastry  buttery with just the right crunch,   number three on my top food picks of the evening. For seafood lovers,  the nearby Viognier Station was the place to be,  with plump Virginia’s  Eastern Shore seaside oysters the stars of  that  Station.  Served on the half shell,  deliciously chilled,  nestled into a deep bed of  crushed ice,  these meaty local oysters  are prized for their briny zing,  a perfect balance of sweet meat and salty liquor.  I’m not really a fan of oysters,  my husband prefers them in a rich stew rather than au natural,  but for those who love a freshly opened raw oyster,  these were prime.   Along with the oysters,  the Viognier Station offered pastry cups stuffed with a very tasty shrimp salad and crunchy crostini topped with goat cheese and a chutney of  olive-artichoke-roasted peppers.   The Barboursville  Vineyard Viognier was especially fine,  I’ve bought it several times when I’ve visited their winery outside Charlottesville, VA ,  near the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Definitely not to be missed,  the final station was,  you guessed it,  the Dessert Station.  Featuring a luscious chocolate torte and  a very light angel food cake served with a blueberry liquor sauce,  it was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening.   Both a red and  a white dessert wine were available for pairing- I tried a taste of both,  liked  them both.  Although in general I prefer red wines,  I usually like a very sweet white dessert wine best,  no exception here,  my husband and I both found the Barren Ridge Vineyard’s  offering  quite destinctive and delicious.    Bravo !   Hats off  to Aqua’s  Chef Shelly Cusmina and her talented staff,  the food was delicious,  they really did a superb  job !   And the ambience of the entire evening could not have been as interesting as it was without the delightful live music of the Russell Scarborough Jazz Trio.   I’ve read that the Trio has been voted as  “Jazz Artist of the Year”  by several regional magazines and it’s easy to see why.  Reminiescent of the George Shearing Trio,  their  mellow  music and  elegant piano added so much to the entire event,  helping make the 4th annual  “Corks and Forks”  one of the  most successful  to date .

Playtime At The Palace In Cape Charles, Virginia

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Once again we’re looking forward to play time at the historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles, Virginia.   ( See  September, 2010 posts  about Arts Enter’s  first play of  the  2010-2011 season,  a mystery entitled The Two Mrs. Carrolls . )   This season’s second production by Art’s Enter is a long-time thespian favorite,  The Importance Of Being Earnest  by Oscar Wilde.    Interestingly,  this clever farce,  subtitled  A Trivial Comedy For Serious People,  was  first performed about 1895 and has been kicking around ever since.   It was  even made into a movie about ten  years ago,  staring Rupert Everett,  Judi Dench,  Colin Firth  and Tom Wilkenson,  some of my favorite British actors,  ( Dench especially for her role in the long running BBC series  As Time Goes By  and Wilkenson as Gerald in the hilariously poignant  film,  The Full Monty  ).  According to the Palace’s advance ad,  George Bernard Shaw once said that Earnest  was the funniest play ever written.  It is indeed a very witty piece of  writing,  a romantic comedy full of clever turns of phrase.  I find it  pretty amazing that a play which is now  115 years old is still capturing  the imaginations of theatre groups all around the country  ( take a quick peek at some of  the U Tube clips of  recent  productions of  Earnest,   especially the clips from  South Coast Repertory.  )

Getting ready for lunch at Aqua restaurant

So we  are planning for a late lunch today at  Aqua’s Restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay near the marina and then off to the theatre for the  3:00.pm matinee.   I’m looking forward to the Cobb Salad at Aqua.  Unbelievably,  next Wednesday,  as part of an over-all menu revision,  I’ve been told they are taking their  absolutely delicious Cobb Salad off  the menu although it’s their most popular salad and,  in my opinion,  their best salad,  assorted field greens layered with corn kernels,  an entire sliced egg,  crunchy bacon, perfectly ripened avocado,  long crisp cucumber slices,  tender grilled chicken,   topped with a creamy Parmesan pepper dressing.   I’m just asking……. What sense does it  make to remove one of your most popular luncheon dishes just because it’s been there nearly since opening day ?    Their hamburger has been on since opening day as well —  but I’d just about bet the farm that the  same hamburger choices are  going to make an appearance on the new menu !   ( I think we need a revolt,  maybe a  “Committee for the Retention of the Cobb Salad at Aqua”.  )   My daughter will be likely be having the fish sandwich and clam chowder,  safe and secure that fish sandwiches will probably always be on the menu !  Anyway, we all truly enjoy Aqua’s atmosphere and scrumptious food and shall cling to the hope that maybe next spring the  beloved Cobb Salad shall re-appear on their menu.

After lunch,  it’s off to  the  theatre.  We  are especially looking forward to seeing David Kabler,  broker for Blue Heron Realty Co.’s  Cape Charles  office,  who is playing the role  of   the vicar,   Dr. Chasuble.    This is Dave’s second stage role,   having made his debut at the Palace earlier this year in the part of   Frank Updyke  in the Art’s Enter production of  the  Two Mrs. Carrolls .    So it should be a good day,  a farewell  Cobb Salad  followed by playtime at play time in the little town of  Cape Charles’  beautifully renovated Palace Theatre.   (  P.S.  I might mention that  Wilde is also  known for  his short stories,   particularly the beautiful  The Happy Prince    and  the ironic  The Nightingale and the Rose,  both of   which can be read on-line at  www.shortstoryarchive.com/w/oscar_wilde.html    I first read Oscar Wilde when I was in school,  having  received as a gift  a book which was a collection of  his short stories and some of his poetry.   The stories have stuck with me ever since.  )

My Customer, My Hero!

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Wednesday night, September 9, 2010, in the fabulous AQUA restaurant perched on the Chesapeake Bay shoreline in the historic Town of Cape Charles, Virginia I was  enjoying a wonderful, relaxing  dinner with my customers to celebrate a full day of touring the most incredibly beautiful waterfront properties on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Little did I know that my last bite of rice might be truly my last bite,  ever !   We three had been completely engrossed in happy conversation about the events and places of the day, and especially the sunset walk along the beautiful beach in the little neighborhood of  Bay Ridge.  I swallowed a small spoonful of rice and tried to wash it down with a sip of water only to find that it lodged in my trachea!  Suddenly,  without warning,  my world turned upside down when I gasped for breath and not a molecule of air could pass into my straining lungs!   Richard and Eileen knew immediately that I was in trouble.   Unable to talk,  I could only signal my crisis by grabbing my throat,  bulging my eyes  and pounding my chest.  Eileen asked me if I could talk and I desparately shook my head while Richard quickly grasped the nature of my emergency, wrapped his strong arms around my chest from behind and administered five quick hugs of the Heimlich maneuver.  Finally, on the fifth hug I expelled the blockage and sank back into my chair,  taking my first breath in what felt like an hour but only proved to be about a minute or so.  Granted a new lease on life,  I have determined here to share this experience in the hope that all who read this blog will learn how to perform the Heimlich hug.  Check out instructions on the Heimlich  webpage at  www.heimlichinstitute.org/page.php?id=34  .  Take it from me,  you’ll never know when you might use it  and believe me when I say that it is truly a lifesaver !