Posts Tagged ‘Holiday events in Cape Charles Virginia’

“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)

Candles And Carols, Lights And Smiles Highlighted The 1st Annual Grand Illumination In Cape Charles, Virginia

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Follow The Luminaries To Find The Gazebo

Newly dedicated this past September,   the Cape Charles, Virginia  Central Park was the site of  the  1st Annual Grand Illumination scheduled for  6:30 Saturday evening,  December 4th.  My granddaughter and I arrived  early after having had a nice afternoon on the Victorian Stroll,  touring three lovely Cape Charles Victorian B&B  historic homes.  ( If you are thinking about buying a Victorian home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  check out our website, . )  Volunteers,  like busy elves, were lighting the hundreds of  luminaries that had been placed on each side of the  Park’s long curved walkways and around the perimeters of the fountain, welcome  points of light gleaming in the falling darkness.   About 6:15  people started to arrive,  eager to participate in this very first Illumination event for the Park, young,  old,  teenagers,  toddlers,  everybody wearing  a smile,  ready with cheery  holiday hello,  heading over to the Gazebo,   following the curving path outlined by glowing  luminaries.

Chris Bannon, Master of Ceremonies, With The Choir

Chris Bannon  ( of  Seagate B&B,  part of the earlier Victorian Stroll ),  dressed in a bright red Santa jacket and hat,  acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Once everybody had gathered round the huge Park gazebo,  organizers passed out candles and a  choir sang a selection of carols,  audience joining in.  It was a pretty chilly night by  Eastern Shore Virginia standards and I hadn’t brought a coat,  just a blazer and scarf,  having not properly accounted for the strong breeze factor.  So  by the time everyone was singing  Jingle Bells,  I was stomping my feet to the beat of the music to keep warm.  Jingle bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp,  Jingle Bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp…  You get the picture.  Fortunately,  my granddaughter had come prepared —  jacket,  beanie,  mittens,  so at least she was toasty warm even as I was doing  jazzercise steps.   The candles were then lit,  in honor of  and in memory of loved ones,  by the  Town Manager, the Chief of Police and a representative of the Cape Charles Coast Guard Station who all came down into the audience to do the honors after being introduced by Chris.

Candles and Carols

Candles burned brightly,  another round of carols was sung,  more jazzercise for me.   Then the big moment was almost there,  time for the Countdown to Illumination,  time to turn on the thousands of lights that had been strung to decorate  Central Park by the Cape Charles Public Works Department.  Mayor Dora Sullivan did the honors ….  5, 4 ,3, 2, 1.  Simultaneously, as instructed,  the audience blew out their candles and as they did so,  Mayor Sullivan threw the light switch.  Voila,  lights shone brightly throughout the Park,  beautiful to behold,  a reward in sparkling  colors,  a gift to everyone there from  “Citizens for Central Park”,  a  group  which worked tirelessly over the years to help make the Park and moments like this possible  for the Town and its residents ! 

Straight From The North Pole, Santa And Mrs. Claus

 With  the dazzling blue lights  decorating the roof  of the  gazebo shining brilliantly above them,  Santa and Mrs. Claus made a  “surprise”  appearance,  even did a little  North Pole style do-se-do for the delighted crowd,  then settled down to visit  with some very excited kids.   Santa dispensed smiles and hugs,  kids shyly whispered their gift requests,  then said goodbye,  smiles on their faces,  candy canes in their hands,  no doubt visions of sugar plums dancing  in their heads.   Candles, carols and candy canes,  lights,  smiles and friendship —  highlights of  the very first of what we hope are many more Grand Illuminations to come at  the Cape Charles Central Park.

A Jam Packed Day — The Victorian Stroll And The 1st Annual Grand Illumination In Cape Charles, Virginia

Friday, December 10th, 2010

It’s that time again,  the celebrations of  the holidays  are upon us !   This year,  three of the  Bed and Breakfasts  located in the historic area of  Cape Charles, Virginia offered a new afternoon event,  the Victorian  Stroll.  Entirely fitting of course,  because Cape Charles is Virginia’s prettiest  Victorian coastal town, especially during the holidays.  ( See our listings  of  Victorian historic homes for sale in Cape Charles at )  Throughout town,  eves,  gables and front porches are aglow with thousands of twinkling lights in reds and greens, blues and yellows.  I especially love the strings of  white lights,  they glitter and burn with such intensity.  Also scheduled for early  evening that same day was the 1st Annual Grand Illumination in the newly dedicated Cape Charles Central Park.  So my six year old granddaughter and I decided to do the town pink and go to both events.

Seagate B&B

First off  on our tour was  Seagate B&B,  located just a stone’s throw from Cape Charles’ excellent sand beach. ( ) Proprietor Chris Bannon gave us the grand tour of his lovely home which has the notable distinction of being the  longest continuously operating  B&B  in Cape Charles.  Chris had his entire home dressed to the T  for the holidays but our favorite room was the formal dining room.  Featuring  a library area and lots of antiques, the beautiful  dining room looked as it must have looked in yesteryear,  mantel decorated with pine roping and other greenery, elaborate stockings hung  for Santa to fill,  sideboard festive , classic table set with holiday candles,  plush oriental rug in deep reds gracing the hardwood floor.  And presiding over it all, lounging in her antique chair with soft  red velvet cushions, was Raggedy Ann,  large as life and awfully cute,  keeping a close eye on the nearby Christmas tree, watching for more presents to appear.  Then we said goodbye to Chris,  who was off  to Central Park to help get ready for  the 6:30 Grand  Illumination.

Cape Charles House B&B

Next stop,  Cape Charles House. ( )  Walking into the wide foyer area, we were greeted by Carol Evans, who together with her husband Bruce, operates  this elegant  B&B,  a recipient of the coveted Governor’s Hospitality Award.  Carol said that Bruce had been a bit short of time and hadn’t finished all the planned decorating but the house looked lovely to us,  festive garland strung around the doors, stockings hung beneath the mantel.   The large dining room table featured a luxurious arrangement of magnolia cuttings, the deep green shiny leaves perfect for the season,  tastefully complementing the green wall color.   Upstairs, I especially loved the decor of the   “Thomas Dixon Room”, with its spinning wheel,  dressmaker’s form hung with a 1900’s silk dress  and  ladies’ old fashioned high boot hung from the mantel.   However, the hit of  Cape Charles House  for  my granddaughter was not the great decor or the festive Christmas greenery– no,  it was a huge,  fat and furry white cat asleep on the bed, completely undisturbed by the swirl of people  touring thorough.  When  she decided to pet it,  kitty  just raised his head,  stared at her,  then lay back down again,  completely bored by it all— until suddenly up he jumped,  making  a beeline for the back stairs to the kitchen,  leaving all his admirers behind !

Sterling House B&B

Final stop on the Victorian Stroll tour,  Sterling House  ( ),  run by proprietor Steve Hairfield with  his rescued greyhound, Duelin,  as the second in command.  When we entered the long foyer with its gorgeous  hardwood floors,  Steve was kind enough to ask Duelin to come downstairs to greet my granddaughter.  Definitely it was love at first sight !   Child and dog settled on the sofa to discuss secrets of the season,  lights from the beautifully decorated tree glowing softly beside them.    Steve has a great deal of  Cape Charles artwork displayed and the paintings of scenes from the beach and marina really add to the flavor of  this home where the Chesapeake Bay can be seen from the front porch.  Like Seagate and Cape Charles House,  the dining room at Sterling House was dressed in its best,  decorated for the season and looking  picture perfect,  with greenery, candles, mantel pieces, striking  red tablecloth and poinsettias.  Dusk was well settled as we were leaving about 5:30.  Outside,  the long strings of  bright white lights  sparkled and glowed,  illuminating this striking home and the be-ribboned wreathes hanging from its windows,  a dazzling holiday sight.   And more festivities yet to come at the Grand Illumination later !