Posts Tagged ‘Palace Theatre Cape Charles Virginia’

Gorgeous B & B Listed For Sale In The Charming Victorian Beachfront Town Of Cape Charles, Virginia

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Beach blanket and flip flops at Cape Charles VA beach

Cape Charles, VA Was Named One Of Southern Living’s “5 Best Little Beach Towns” In 2012

What better opportunity to marry a  love of fine historic homes with a spirit of entrepreneurialism than operating a B&B ?  And what better place to purchase a gracious Bed and Breakfast  featuring fine Southern hospitality than in Cape Charles, VA  which offers an exciting coastal lifestyle in an intimate small historic town environment ?   Presto,  Blue Heron Realty Co. has just listed a fine opportunity to follow your dream of  both owning a gorgeous historic home and running your own business with this charming 7 bedroom, 8 bath beauty.   Located on the beautiful Southern Tip of  the Eastern Shore of  Virginia, which is the  slender terminus of the DELMARVA peninsula,  bordered on the West by the Chesapeake Bay and on the East by the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia’s Eastern Shore  is a dream location for anyone interested in coastal traditions. And the charming  Victorian town of Cape Charles is the epicenter of  cultural and maritime events on the Shore,  so it’s a terrific place to live a water-oriented lifestyle as well as  to operate a business that takes advantage of these special assets. In fact,  in 2012,  Cape Charles was named by Southern  Living magazine as one of its ” 5 Best Little Beach Towns.”  And we’re also proud to announce that Cape Charles and Blue Heron Realty Co. were  recently chosen by the Home and Garden TV Network  (HGTV)  to be a featured episode, airing in January, 2014, of  its exciting new series entitled “Beach House Bargain Hunt”.

Cape Charles House B & B

Cape Charles House B & B, A Classic Colonial Revival Featuring 7 Bedrooms And 8 Baths

Introducing the Cape Charles House Bed and Breakfast, one of the town’s largest and most opulent homes.  Constructed in 1912 on the highest point of land in Cape Charles, this 5900 sq. ft. classic Colonial Revival was lovingly restored by the current owners. Featured on the well-known HGTV program, “If Walls Could Talk” and a recipient of the coveted Governor’s Award for  B & B Hospitality,  this long-established B & B  has been welcoming guests since 1993.  With 5 spacious guest rooms, each with a sitting area, an en suite bath and individual climate control, Cape Charles House offers guests a great place to just unwind and relax.  Numerous large, sunny windows in guest rooms and in the spacious common areas create a pleasant, light and airy feel throughout. The gorgeous original hardwood floors were hand restored. The original moldings, pocket doors and high ceilings help maintain the integrity, warmth and beauty of this stately historic home. Outfitted with comfortable furniture and plenty of reading material and games, the common rooms include a large dining room with fireplace, a spacious living room with fireplace, a roomy parlor and, of course,  the cheery kitchen with  “never-ending”  self -serve coffee and tea service plus guest  ice maker .

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Gracious Front Porch on Cape Charles House B & B

The Gracious Wraparound Porch- The Perfect Place To Relax, Unwind And Enjoy The Virginia Eastern Shore Slower Pace Of Life

The gracious wrap-around porch is a favorite guest amenity and the perfect place to kick back on a balmy summer’s eve. Filled with pots of blooming flowers and decorated with white wicker furniture, guests love to relax and unwind here, enjoying the refreshing breezes flowing off the Chesapeake Bay just a few blocks away.  The town’s soft,  sparkling sand beach and swimming area is not just a favorite of Southern Living magazine,  it is one of the many prime recreational amenities that attract guests to Cape Charles House year after year.  Golfers fall in love with the two side- by- side 18 hole award-winning Arnold Palmer Signature and the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses located less than 10 minutes away.  The deep water Cape Charles Harbor Marina and the King’s Creek Marina are both boater’s delights– in fact, lots of  B&B guests arrive by boat and golf cart rentals are available for guests to tool around town during their stay.  For Nature enthusiasts and bird watchers, the nearby Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge and the Hawk Observatory at Kiptopeake State Park offer a full range of unique outdoor activities. The Cape Charles Historic Area boasts  vibrant little shops, art galleries, restaurants and the beloved Palace Theater, a lovely venue for live dramatic and musical performances. ( As a matter of fact, some  impressive artists, including  the Virginia Philharmonic Orchestra,  have played at the beautifully restored Art Deco design Palace. Theatre. )   Fine and casual dining opportunities, both  in-town and nearby,  offer a variety of delicious cuisines including luscious local seafood,  the famed steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs  and authentic  Southern-style BBQ.

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645 Tazewell Ave Cape Charles-VA

Prospective purchasers will really appreciate being able to retreat to the roomy owner’s quarters.  Offering total privacy from the rest of the house, the third floor has been remodeled into an owner’s penthouse apartment, complete with a master and a guest bedroom, an office area, a sitting room and a kitchen.  The owner’s quarters sunny master bedroom overlooks  park-like grounds and includes a huge walk-in closet and a sumptious master bath.  At the end of a busy day, the owner’s apartment provides the perfect place to relax and retire into your own private world. What a great house and terrific town for actually being able to live the  dream of owing a spectacular historic home and being your own boss !!   In addition to the real estate itself, the  purchase price of $695,000 for Cape Charles House B & B includes most furnishings, as well as ownership of the trade name, website domain name, the telephone number, the B&B’s very attractive website  and its valuable guest list.   Financial information is available upon request  by calling the Blue Heron Realty Co.  listing agent team of  Gerry Forbes and Heather Brady,  who may be reached at 757-678-5200.

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A Rollicking Street Festival In Cape Charles For “Benefit by the Bay” 2013

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

DSC_0965Every year one of the Eastern Shore’s primary arts groups, Arts Enter Cape Charles,  holds a major  dinner-dance-auction benefit to raise  funds to pay the mortgage on the Palace Theatre for another year and float  many of its other expenses.  It’s the major fundraiser for this important community arts group and a lot of time and effort goes into planning this event so it will be not only  fun for guests but profitable for the organization. This year’s benefit was  a Street Festival, a Strawberry  Street in Cape Charles, VA festival to be exact.  And  festivals in general are so fun and colorful, the hum of  voices and music blending,  rising, floating above the street, surely they are  the perfect occasions  to get together with family and friends to hang out, let the vibes flow, just have a merry old time.

DSC_0959Guests entered through the front doors of the theatre, which was all decked out for the evening with fragrant  floral arrangements placed in eye-catching corners, then  slipped out the side doors, down a long red carpet and  into the street.  Voila’, overnight a magnificent  transformation of  the first block of Strawberry Street from the usual  blacktop pavement and concrete sidewalks busy with cars and pedestrians into a gorgeous plaza !  Decorated with  leafy  trees in huge,  beautiful pots bedecked with strands of  tiny burnished gold lights,  flower arrangements sporting  a thousand brilliant blossoms, gurgling fountains and dozens upon dozens of  circular tables covered with eye-catching deep rose and teal cloths, the street had become a virtual fairyland of colors, shapes, sounds, textures.

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We arrived about 7 pm, the sun already throwing long shadows and deliciously cool evening breezes were gently blowing off the Chesapeake Bay just 3 blocks away.  Before stepping through to the street, we took a quick whirl  through the Silent Auction site set up in the Stage Gallery, just checking on the  donated artwork there, lots of promising items to review in-depth later in the evening. But now, time to visit with friends over a glass of  chilled Chardonnay and sample from the appetizer table.  I had to check out some of my favorites more than once, including the ice-cold jumbo shrimp served with a very tangy red cocktail sauce.  The cheese tray was also very popular with wine drinkers and beer fans alike, being well stocked with a variety of both soft and hard cheeses and plenty of crunchy multigrain crackers. Dinner was served buffet style on the southern end of the plaza, with a number of grazing stations set up, offering a variety wide enough to satisfy even picky eaters. 

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My husband headed for the cold salmon station, the fish prepared by talented local chef  Tim Brown, beautifully decorated with wafer thin slices of cucumber,  served with a dill creme’ fraiche, and accompanied by a colorful cold pasta salad and skewers  of antipasto anchored by chilled asparagus, all very, very nice.  I, on the other hand, elected to head first to the Land & Sea station and the savory plump grilled  chicken breasts and succulent crabcakes awaiting there. One thing about grilled chicken– it’s so easy to end up with something dry and tough !  But this was really excellent,  very tender, great flavor and texture, done about as perfectly as any BBQ chicken I’ve had, with plenty of spicy sauce on the side.  Tossed green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, roasted potatoes and an elaborate fruit tray were offered as sides,  all in all, a tasty summery meal.  For those looking for local seafood, a raw bar station offered  fresh tender little clams and salty oysters from the Broadwater Oyster Co. of Willis Wharf, both served  on the half shell atop deep beds of ice.  Raw seafood is not my thing but this was a very popular station, keeping several servers busy  just popping open the clam and oyster shells. for the ever-present line of aficionados.

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As twilight morphed into darkness, we headed inside for another view of the Silent Auction items in the Stage Door Gallery. Lots of good stuff to bid on– several original paintings including a dramatic oil by Clalia Sheppard, lots of original jewelry, some great autographed items, a number of very collectible records, some dramatic  framed photography including a very striking photo of a blue heron. ( And as it turned out, for which we were the successful bidder.)  As I  had an early meeting the following day,  it was about time for us to call it a night.  Too bad,  as we were leaving the band was starting to really get into its groove and the dance floor was filling up.  Another year, another great Benefit By The Bay. Keep ‘em coming Arts Enter, time soon to start planning Benefit 2014 !

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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)

The 17th Annual Holiday Progressive Dinner in Cape Charles VA Was One Of The Best Yet !

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

A holiday tradition kicked off  17 years ago  by the Chamber of Commerce to help support various  Eastern Shore of Virginia worthy causes,  the annual  Holiday Sampler Tour Progressive Dinner was held last week in Cape Charles.   Entitled “Shake, Rattle and Stroll”,  the theme of the evening was to relax and take a step back in time to the Fabulous Fifties.  Not to dwell on my ever advancing age, but I was alive and be-bopping during the Fab 50′s so it was a nostalgic evening for me.  In fact, I’m guessing that some  of the other cute chicks and cool cats  in our group were also be-bop-boppers ! Who can forget the guys with the Everly Brothers style Brylcreemed  pompadours and  ”Duck Tails” ?   Or  the big bouffant “beehives”  held in place with about a gallon of  hair spray containing who knows what chemicals that enabled it to hold  together for a  week !                                                                                                        Venue # 1, serving the  appetizer course,  was as always, the beautiful Palace Theatre on Mason Avenue. Built in the art deco style 1941, in its day the Palace  was considered absolutely splendid – it has now been restored to its former glory through the enormous efforts of  the Arts Enter  group, right down to the total refurbishing of the plush red velvet seats.  We were met at the door by The King  himself, attired in a white dinner jacket, slicked back long hair and quite possibly a pair of  blue, blue suede shoes.  Unless my eyes were fooling me…..    In the lobby we registered, got our group  badges and moved  down into the  house to  nosh  on some rather tasty appetizers.  From the Blue Bay Crab Co., a Parmesan crab dip on flatbread crackers and from Mallards-On-The-Wharf  Restaurant, a lovely display of  fresh veggies and  fruits served with warm spinach dip,  a savory  hummus and a tapenade of Greek style black olives. Yum !   While enjoying  these goodies we were treated  to a little play staring the ever lively Trina Veber.   In a dream sequence,  Elvis and Roy Orbison  sang and danced merrily around the stage with Trina,  fulfilling the “shake and rattle”  part of the evening’s theme and getting us ready to “stroll” off to Venue # 2.

Venue # 2, presenting the soup course,  was a darling little Victorian home on Peach Street, which has been extensively renovated and treated to brand new kitchen and bathrooms.  First, a tour of the house which was very nicely decorated,  then to enjoy a spicy chicken, shrimp and crawdaddy gumbo,  expertly prepared by Kelly’s Gingernut Pub.   Little Italy Restaurant had prepared the  tasty bruschetta, nicely seasoned, complementing the gumbo quite well.  Venue # 3, site of the salad course,  was the new  Bay Haven Inn on Tazewell Avenue.  Just renovated by our Blue Heron customers,  Tammy and Jim Holloway, this brand new B&B is  the  cat’s meow !   Decorated to the nines inside and out for the holidays,  from top to bottom  this 7 bedroom Colonial Revival  beauty is simply gorgeous and ready for the most discriminating of guests.  A  delicious and sophisticated salad of  roasted local sweet potatoes over roasted apples with arugula, garnished with  paper- thin country ham and aged Gouda was presented by Amy B. Catering.  Served along side was  a trio of imported cheeses from  Gull Hummock  Gourmet Market,  all paired with  a lush rose’  from local winery, Chatham Vineyards.

Venue #4, making a splash with the fish course,  was  an interesting  home on Monroe Avenue.  Built in 1906,  back in the day it  served as a boarding house for teachers from the then nearby Cape Charles School.  Currently a leisure home for its owners,  who plan to retire to Cape Charles in the future,  it too was all gussied up for the holidays.   From the  attractive new waterfront restaurant on the Cape Charles harbor, The Shanty, came  seasoned haddock nuggets  served with  rich and creamy 3 Cheese  Mac & Cheese from Hook-U-Up  restaurant on Mason Avenue, both very nicely done.

Venue # 5, offering the evening’s entree’, was a unique home  also on Monroe Avenue.  It  actually consists of two separate adjacent  homes, both built in the 1920′s, which were then combined  into a single home via a  breezeway which connects the two.  Painted  a sunny yellow, this home was outlined with  lots of cheerful outdoor lights and looked lovely. Lots of great decorations inside including a display cabinet  filled with a large collection of colorful wooden Nutcracker  figures, large and small,  from all over the world. I happen to love and have a much small collection of Nutcrackers myself which I pull out and tuck all over the house for  the holidays.  Here we were served  a chicken pot pie  with a side of poached apples from the Exmore Diner.   The apples were served hot and featured a hint of maple and cinnamon,  very pleasing, both chicken and apples pairing well with the Chardonnay from the local winery, Holly Grove Vineyards.

From there we were off for dessert and coffee to Venue # 6,  the Cape Charles Coffee House,  whose holiday display windows, complete with an antique train set,   are always among the finest in town.    The Coffee House is a fabulous place for breakfast and lunch and is home to some of the best cakes on the planet.  Let me just say that Roberta’s  coconut layer cake with lemon filling and  cream cheese coconut icing is simply heavenly, the best ever.  Alas, that was not to be our dessert.      But  the next best thing was being served– homemade ice cream ! For some unfathomable reason, I love ice cream more  in cold weather than in hot weather. But truth be told, I can enjoy  really excellent ice cream at virtually anytime and this was from Brown Dog Ice Cream, a new gourmet ice cream shop on Mason Avenue.  Brown Dog makes their ice cream  in small batches  so it’s always delightfully fresh.   Anyway, it was  ” make- your- own ice cream sundae, which was fun.   A  choice of  three  flavors of ice cream were set out and then each person helped  themselves  to toppings.  I chose the  chocolate and skipped the toppings, just savoring the deep chocolaty flavor, following  my sundae  with a chaser  of   Nicaraguan coffee,  piping hot, steam rising from the cup.   Perfect !   And then it was over,  another fine time had by all.  We had shaken,  rattled and strolled through this quaint little  town, admiring lights and decorations,  enjoying the  moveable feast,  having lots of fun  in a good cause at  2012  Holiday Sampler Progressive Dinner in Cape Charles, Virginia. (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

A Dramatic Presentation of the Early History of the Eastern Shore of Virginia At The Palace Theatre In Cape Charles, VA

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Chief Debedeavon and his tribal warriors appeal to the heavens

Demonstrating the incredible strength of our volunteer spirit here on Virginia’s  Eastern Shore, members of our community, including myself,  came together this November, 2012, for the production of “Piece of Eden” in the historic Palace Theater in downtown Cape Charles, Virginia.Written by long-time resident of our town,  Jean Collins,  and adapted for the stage by our very talented Sheila Cardano, this epic musical drama reenacts the significant events and politics of the 17th and 18th centuries which  not only are the foundations of our country but also the basic principles of  American liberty and democracy. Few people realize the importance of the Eastern Shore of Virginia in not only providing sustenance for the early Jamestown Colony but also the Eastern Shore’s role in saving that colony from annihilation by the Powhatan Native American tribes in the massacre of 1622.  If truth be told, Jamestown would have been wiped off the face of the earth if the “Laughing King” of the Eastern Shore, Indian chief Debedeavon, had not warned the colonists of the western shore of Chief Powhatan’s plan to poison their wells and attack their settlement. The Eastern Shore’s Indian chief’s timely and courageous action prevented the massacre from achieving its objective of killing all 1100 settlers; as it was,  more than 350 were murdered during the massacre but Jamestown survived as the capital of Virginia. Who can begin to speculate about our nation’s history if the Jamestown settlement had been completely wiped out?

Stephen Charlton leads the settlers in the first protest against unfair taxation.

Piece of Eden” also portrays the peoples who made important contributions to our early history, especially the Native Americans. Living amongst us today in our community are the descendants of the Indians and the early colonists who shaped the foundation of our nation. Names like Opecancanough, Fox, Custis, Savage, and Charlton as well as the Indian tribes, Machipongo and Occohannock,  who inhabited the Eastern Shore before the arrival of the colonists, are threaded throughout the play. Authentic costumes worn by the actors and the lively portrayal of  the cultural life of early colonial times effectively bring to life the characters who made history here on the Shore.  Portrayed on stage is a portion of  the very first play acted on American soil in our town of Pungoteague titled “Ye Bear and Ye Cub”.   “Piece of Eden“  also incorporates scenes from  historic meetings of the colonists with the Indians including the spreading of the small pox disease,  the timely warning of the impending Jamestown massacre, the flight of  Virginia’s early governor from Jamestown to the Custis family estate of Arlington  during Bacon’s Rebellion, Northampton County’s letter of grievances which was the very first protest in the colonies against taxation without representation  and the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the courthouse steps in Eastville in 1776.  And lo, these many years later, Eastville is still the Northampton County seat.

The Declaration of Independence is read from the Northampton courthouse steps on August 13, 1776.

Over the week of November 15-20, 2012, our enthusiastic cast and crew played five performances of “Piece of Eden” to interested  and appreciative audiences. Our last performance was held at 9:30am to accommodate all of the  fourth grade students in the County as they   are now studying Virginia history in their classrooms. The actors were able to greet the audience members after each performance and I heard many wonderful comments, such as ”I never realized how important the history of the Eastern Shore is to the founding of America.” When one considers the impacts of such an enormous production, it is astounding to think of the educational, social, economic and cultural benefits that accrue to our community. Who knows what impressionable children may gather from seeing this spectacular and educational play?  Or what decisions a new visitor to our area may make when they see such creativity and cohesiveness demonstrated by the members of our community?  The Palace Theater,  owned and operated by our own Arts Enter Cape Charles,  is undoubtedly a most important resource to our community and well deserves the  generous support it receives.

A proud and grateful cast takes their bow!

If you’ve never been involved in a little theatre group it is not easy to appreciate what goes into a production of this magnitude, especially for a non-profit entity as Arts Enter Cape Charles. Approximately 3600 hours were dedicated by more than sixty individuals to write this original play and it’s music,  perform original musical scores, design and build elaborate sets, operate audio and lighting programs and fixtures, design and sew dozens of the amazing period costumes and rehearse the many scenes performed by actors of all ages from five to seventy-five years.  And the support of family and friends in time, effort and funding was crucial as well. Such spirit of generosity and involvement really is a big part of what makes our small but vibrant community so special. Only in a small town like Cape Charles can  amateur actors  such as myself  realize their dream of acting on the live stage when their lack of  professional talent and experience would preclude such an opportunity in a large metropolitan area’s  drama groups.  I am enormously grateful to have that opportunity  and am especially appreciative of  being able to join the company of  fellow thespians,  enthusiastic individuals who hail from all over the country and who so generously give of their time and energy, enabling   productions  such as “Piece of Eden“  to become a reality.

“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)

Art’s Enter’s 15th Annual “Benefit By The Bay”- A Smashing Success

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Every June  for the past 15 years, one of  the Eastern Shore of  Virginia’s  primary arts groups,  Art’s Enter,  has  hosted a huge benefit party,  ”Benefit By The Bay“,  to raise money for the expenses of running the organization and maintaining the historic Palace Threatre in Cape Charles.  This year’s Benefit was, as usual,  a smashing success.  The brainchild of Clelia Sheppard,  one of Art’s Enter’s original founders,  Benefit By The Bay  attracts people from all over who come to enjoy a  wonderful  evening of  delicious food and wines  followed by dancing till midnight under the stars.  And a Silent Auction.  Irresistable !

2011 “Benefit By The Bay” sponsored by Art’s Enter, Cape Charles, Virginia

Although other commitments have prevented us from attending every single year,  my husband and I have been to about 9 or 10 Benefits and they are always lots of fun.  This year was no exception.  In fact,  we enjoyed it immensely, even more so because it was held this year at  Tower Hill House,  a gorgeous historic waterfront estate home which is listed for sale by Blue Heron Realty Co. ( see post of June 15th ).  In case anyone ever questioned it,  the Benefit proved Tower Hill house is a superb home for entertaining.  A huge  white tent on the back lawn,  a small tent for the band,  a bar and appetizer tent near the back porch,  various food serving stations down near the waterfront,  over 300 guests plus catering staff and still plenty of room for more — now that’s a Chesapeake Bay area home  I call truly perfect for  entertaining !

A Balmy Summer’s Evening, Perfect For The Benefit At Tower Hill House

Guests were greeted near the front steps with a glass of champagne and tickets for drinks at the bar,  then it was onward through the entry foyer and out to the long, velvety back lawn,  beautifully dressed for the occasion with  masses of colorful Stelladora and Coreopsis lilies outlining the long, elegant walkway from the house to  the dock.  We were running somewhat  late, no surprise there,  and arrived at the appetizer tent just as the caterer was beginning to clear away but did manage to spear some of the last of the mini crabcakes  and a bit of curried chicken salad– both were delicious.  Eldest daughter, who didn’t run late,  informed us somewhat smugly that  had we been a little less late we could have tried the tuna tartre and the shrimp cocktail as well as some heavenly stuffed puff pastries.  Ah well….

Salad Station and Roasted Pork Station Just Beginning Service

Catering this year was by Johnny Mo, well known here on the Eastern Shore as the “Singing Chef” and proprietor of Mallard’s Restaurant located on the Wharf in Onancock, VA.  ( See our spring post of Johnny at Holly Grove Vineyard. )  A talented chef with an eye for presentation and doing things with an interesting twist, Johnny was surely a great choice for this event.  After finding our table under the tent and stowing purses, etc., we wondered out to the waterfront area where food stations were set up and little lines beginning to form, smiling people having a great time on a balmy spring evening,  waving to friends, lots of happy chatter.  We started out at the Salad Station,  chopped romaine and other salad greens dressed lightly with a tropical vinaigrette and tossed with tidbits of  Mandarin oranges and mango.  I took our salad plates back to the table while my husband stood in line at the  Eastern Shore Seafood Boil Station where a savory  mixture of shrimp, mussels, corn and tiny new potatoes in an aromatic seafood broth was being ladled into bowls,  served with  slices  of crusty French bread for dipping into the delicious broth,  all so very yummy.   I confess– I immediately plotted to later go for a second helping  !   Back at the tent,  others at our table were happily sampling the roasted pork tenderloin with red pepper-raspberry glaze served on mini rolls, which I decided  to try as well….. but only after another helping of  the Seafood Boil.   But the really popular item of the evening was the Pasta Station where you could order penne pasta dressed before your eyes with your choice of pesto, alfredo or marinara  sauce, served with or without slices of  chicken breast which had been grilled to perfection.  I went for the alfredo, my husband for the marinara – we both agreed the sauces were luscious.  As it happened, we were in line just ahead of William Neil, the musical director for the Palace Theatre,  and chatted  a bit about his upcoming gig with Lynn Summerall and the Hotel Paradise Rooftop Garden Orchestra  on July 10th at the Jewish Mother restaurant in Virginia Beach.  A bit of a co-incidence since we had attended the band’s  May 8th performance there and really had enjoyed it immensely. 

Bidding Begins At The Silent Auction

Back under the tent,  dessert trays were being passed,  beautiful fruit kabobs of watermelon, honeydew and pineapple chunks,  deep red juicy strawberries dipped in chocolate or my personal favorite,  a delicate chocolate mousse made with Godiva chocolate.  Who could ask for anything better ?  Meanwhile,  inside the house  the  spacious formal living room was becoming a beehive of activity,  the Silent Auction would soon be going strong,  bidders circling around the room,  increasing their offers,  all bids to be in by 9;30 pm, winners to be announced the following day.  Each year generous local businesses and artists contribute a wide variety of  items to be sold at the auction as part of the fundraising.  This year over 100 entities contributed a myriad of items,  a huge variety of goods,  services and artwork ranging from a day at the spa to  a beautiful original watercolor by Clelia Sheppard,  to the  worthy cause of  supporting Art’s Enter’s efforts to enrich lives on the Eastern Shore through the arts.

 

Because of an early appointment the next day,  we left shortly after Art’s Enter’s School of Dance performed a selection from Hansel & Gretel  entitled “Fire Dance”.   The band was just getting  going again, the stars were shining brightly,  a balmy summer’s evening,  perfect  for dancing cheek to cheek.  Chalk up another great Benefit By The Bay !

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

Coming Full Circle- Lynn Summerall And The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra

Saturday, May 28th, 2011
The band seated together for a promo photo

The Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra- Together Once Again !

It isn’t often that one can start a brand new career twice  in the exact same venue but that is what  the Hotel Paradise Roof Garden Orchestra did Sunday night a few weeks ago at the  Jewish Mother restaurant’s brand  new location at Hilltop  in Virginia Beach.  Taking a few minutes out to speak with me after the band’s last set for the evening,  Lynn Summerall,  its musical director,  reminisced a bit  about the orchestra’s debut in 1992…. at  Jewish Mother,   albeit in the restaurant’s  previous Atlantic Avenue location !   This was the band’s first performance since 2001  and Lynn had a lot of fun joking about getting everything down pat for this performance because in essence this is the beginning of a new career– getting the band back together,  playing a few gigs part-time.,  really just having some fun. (  Like  Jake and Elwood in  “The Blues Brothers”,  they’re putting the band back together but the mission more like having  some fun.  I should mention that the band will be playing at the Jewish Mother  again on June  12th and July 10th,  with more in the works after that,  possibly a  “second Sunday”  kind of thing. )

Lynn Summerall, Becky Livas and the Hotel Paradise Orchestra take a well-deserved bow

I am completely in love with the music of the 1930′s and 1940′s– in fact, when I think of popular music,  that’s what comes to mind for me,  the great sounds of  orchestras like the Dorsey brothers,  Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw,  Harry James, Count Basie.  ( I’m probably telling my age  but I am particularly partial to music which actually includes more than 5 notes and a real variety of instruments,  not just 3 guitars,  a drum and a keyboard !  )  Lynn Summerall’s  group specializes in  20′s  and ’30′s  swing music and on Sunday night the audience was wowed with a number of old favorites including  Guy Lombardo’s  hit recording  ”Someone To Watch Over Me” ,  Cole Porter’s  “Begin The Beguine”  ( a personal favorite of  my husband )  and  that lovely old tune, “Stormy Weather”,  so beautifully sung by Becky Livas, the orchestra’s original vocalist back in the day.  ( If you live in the Hampton Roads area you will  remember  Becky Livas,  well-known from her news work at  TV Channel 13  some years back. )   Summerall himself treated us to a fast-tempo vocal  of  “Yes, Sir That’s My Baby” and got a huge round of applause for his efforts, then sent folks into peals of laughter by telling the story of the customer who had just come up to him during intermission to suggest that he not wear black suspenders under his white tux jacket next time.

Couples dancing to the Hotel Paradise Orchestra music

Dancing Once Again To Those Smooth Sweet Sounds

Co-incidentially, I had heard about this performance during pledge week on our favorite  radio stations,  WHRO/WHRV ,  the National Public Radio stations broadcasting from Norfolk, Virginia.   Lynn Summerall’s  “real”  job is manager of volunteers for the station and copies of  a  Hotel Paradise Orchestra  CD entitled ” Bye Bye Blues”  were on the gift selection list for a pledge.  During that program it was mentioned that the band would be reuniting for its first live performance in 10 years on May 8th at the Jewish Mother. ( In fact, he indicates that the full-time responsibities of his job at WHRO  were what made him give up the band.)   I made my reservation that night and  was glad that I had done so  because  Sunday the place was packed,  fortunately they had valet parking.  One of the great things about this kind of music is that it is so eminently danceable and a number of  couples were dancing– in fact,   one couple,  Jane  and  Ed Martin,  who had noticed me taking photos came up later to tell me that they used to go to the Chamberlain Hotel in Hampton,  (so fabulous in its day,  now divided into luxury apartments ),  to dance to the live music of the Hotel Paradise  Roof Garden orchestra which had played there quite frequently.  The Martins  were thrilled to be dancing once again to lilting tunes from this old familiar orchestra,  hadn’t imagined they ever would again until they heard about this performance.  They are delightedly looking forward to the June and July performances,  as am I.     P.S.  Talk about a small world and only 6 degrees of separation,  Lynn mentioned that although they had never played a gig on the Eastern Shore  he knew all about the renovation of the historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles,  that in fact William  Neill  ( who is the musical director for the Palace )  will be playing  in the orchestra’s  June performance.  ( see the  April, 2011  post on Art’s Enter’s   production of   Oliver !  The Musical  at the Palace Theatre which mentions  Neill’s  outstanding work ).  Just another good reason for me to be there on June 12th, reveling in those  smooth, sweet sounds !

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

The Palace Theater In Cape Charles Rehearsing The Musical “Oliver !”

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Rehearsing "Consider Yourself" Number At Palace Theatre, Cape Charles

The Cape Charles’  theater season is winding down with Art’s Enter’s  blockbuster production of  the hit Broadway musical  “Oliver !”  at the Palace Theatre in the Cape Charles historic area.  After almost two months of rehearsals so far,  the cast and crew are now fine tuning their art to be ready for Opening Night on  April 2, 2011.  I’m so proud to have been  included in this production as the cast is full of truly experienced thespians who really know their stuff !   Having never before acted on the stage  in my whole life,  this season, my debut season,  has been an incredible experience for me.  I was first introduced to the Palace’s  amateur theatre group by Eva Noonan,  a  follow Realtor at  the Blue Heron Realty Co.  Cape Charles office  and a 10 year veteran of  Palace Theatre productions.  Shortly thereafter I was in my very first play,  “The Two Mrs. Carrolls”,  a murder thriller taking place in the south of France during the roaring twenties.  I had tried out for a part unsuccessfully but the director was compassionate enough to actually write-in a small part just for me especially to keep up my interest in theater.  It turned out to be quite a wonderful experience although,  to my horror,  the video made on the play’s opening night  revealed my complete lack of acting skills.  ( I can tell you that watching a video of one’s first acting efforts is a truly humbling experience ! ) 

Rehearsing "Pick A Pocket Or Two" For Palace Threater's Production Of The Musical "Oliver !"

 Nevertheless,  I accepted the role of Dr. Chasuble in Oscar Wilde’s classic  “The Importance of Being Earnest”,   Palace  Theater’s  second production of this season.  After  my debut  experience in  “Mrs. Carrolls”,  I learned a few lessons in humility and accepted the proffered advice of my fellow actors when it came to shaping my role.  I rehearsed my lines relentlessly,  using long walks down my 1/2 mile driveway out in the Eastern Shore countryside  as my personal  “stage”.  (  By the time the play was over I think I could have recited all my lines in my sleep,  backwards !  )  It must have been hilarious to hear me coming down the country lane,  repeating my lines with an aristocratic British accent!   Remarks from members of the audience who had seen my first production sounded like rave reviews of my performance  and I have been  pronounced the  “most improved actor”  of the season so far.  Now, with  “Oliver !”  in the making,  I have much more confidence than ever and, unbelievably,  I am actually learning how to sing and dance,  although I don’t think Michael Crawford has anything to worry about from me…… just  yet.  From murder mystery to 19th century British satire to a Broadway musical in just one season, what an experience !   What fun this has been,  what an incredible pleasure it is to have become part of  the  thriving, dynamic arts community here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,   they really welcomed me and made me feel at home.   Like  the Artful Dodger,  they said  Consider Yourself One Of Us !    ( Check out  the Palace Theatre and Arts Enter at www.artsenter.org )

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.  )