Posts Tagged ‘Palace Theatre Cape Charles’

” A Victorian Winter Wedding” Was The Theme Of The 18th Annual Cape Charles VA Holiday Progressive Dinner

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

18th Annual Holiday Progressive Dinner Tour brochure Sponsored for the 18th year by the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, and chaired this year by Blue Heron Realty Co. client, Tammy Holloway, owner of  the gorgeous Bay Haven B&B,  the annual Cape Charles  Holiday Progressive Dinner is always a fun event, homes dressed to the nines, holiday lights blazing, food, wine  and lots of good cheer. But what sets the Cape Charles event apart from progressive dinners all across the South (where they are very popular)  is its wonderful entertainment. Due largely to the influence of the Arts Enter ! theatre group sponsored by the historic Palace Theatre,  the Cape Charles Progressive Dinners always feature a special theme and offer entertainment, usually consisting of  numerous vignettes produced by the theatre group, with each home on the Tour playing  its part  in  the  theme. This year’s theme was ” A Victorian Winter Wedding“.  Like the town itself, it is set at the turn of the century,  and  revolves  around the elaborate preparations for the wedding ( fictional) of the Mayor of Cape Charles to the son of a well-liked local  businessman.  The wedding theme was embellished at every stop on the Tour, as each home offered a glimpse of a particular aspect of the extensive preparations for the wedding.  To better set the mood, at each stop the home’s owner,  host and greeters were elaborately costumed in elegant period fashion.  ( One  of the  really clever aspects was that the Mayor’s daughter was marrying the son of one of the town’s foremost businessmen, the builder W. H. Lambertson,  and two of the homes on this year’s Progressive Dinner were  actually built by W.H. Lambertson in the early 1900’s.)


DSC_0434The evening  kicked off  at the striking, art-deco style Palace Theatre, built-in 1941 and now fully refurbished, thanks to the fund-raising efforts of Art’s Enter.  We were in the early group, started at 3:20, ended about 6:00 pm.  In general, organizers have it  arranged so that  ticket holders consist of groups of about 25 and departures staggered about 20 minutes apart.  At the theatre, setting the evening’s theme, we were treated to a short play starring the irrepressible Trina Veber, veteran of many Progressive Dinner vignettes, in the key role of the Mayor’s wife, mother of the bride, anxious to uphold her position as a pillar of Cape Charles society.  Here we learn that although the Mayor is cheap, famous for pinching pennies, his wife has arranged to have the wedding dress purchased and fitted by the most prestigious dress shop in town, whose owner has recently made a buying trip to New York City to secure a variety of lovely but expensive dresses for this high society wedding.  We also learn that so many guests are expected that both the Cape Charles Inn ( in real life also an inn, the Chesapeake  B&B) and the famous ( in real life as well) Miss Mollie’s Boarding House, (where the portrait painter for the official wedding portrait will be staying ), both will be filled with VIP wedding guests.  As the little play ends,  the audience is  left wondering if Daddy isn’t  going to throw a conniption fit when he gets the bill for all the grand wedding preparations. But we shall find out before our evening ends.  While the action is proceeding on stage, Dinner ticket holders are enjoying a  High Tea–  tender tea sandwiches, cucumber dill and  liver mousse with red onion, prepared by Hook-U-Up restaurant’s  fine chef, Tim Brown,  as well as a fluffy, orange-iced cranberry orange scone baked by the Cape Charles Coffee House, served with sweet orange tea.

DSC_0527Off then to the second stop,  a  classic American four square home, one of the many examples in Cape Charles, which the playbill proclaims as home to the Lambertson family whose son is to marry the Mayor’s daughter.  From the owner’s speech before entering the house, we learn that when she purchased the property in 2009, this now-lovely house was in serious disrepair and served primarily as the abode for a large flock of pigeons !  As we walk through and see it now,  the house has been beautifully restored and is a real credit to the efforts of its new owners.  In the theme of the wedding, this house serves as  the elegant dress shop. In an upstairs bedroom several mannequins are dressed with beautiful bridal attire in various stages of being fitted.  ( Kudos to all the efforts of Arts Enter volunteers  in securing the gorgeous period costumes– it must have been a real labor of love.  In fact, it’s  the numerous participants, volunteers all, over 150 of them, that make the Dinner possible. Without them it just couldn’t be pulled off  ! )  Food here was prepared by The Shanty,  a fun new seafood restaurant located right on the Cape Charles Harbor, and featured Oysters Rockefeller and Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque.  Unfortunately, although I live in one of the finest oyster producing regions in the entire country, I’m not an oyster person so didn’t have any— but Hubby and Eldest Daughter assured me they were succulent.  However, I can personally attest that the bisque was absolutely delicious– smooth, creamy with a hint of  char at the finish.  Actually, it was my favorite dish of the entire dinner, especially as I am a devotee’ of butternut squash bisque. Wine accompaniment was  Church Creek Steel Chardonnay by Chatham Vineyard, a fine local vineyard and winery.

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Mayer home 2From there, we were off to the Inn, a walk of a few short blocks. In the Dinner’s theme, the Inn was to provide  accommodations and hospitality for many of the out-of-town guests expected for the wedding and is elaborately decorated for the occasion.. In real life,  the Inn really is an inn, the Chesapeake B&B.  Listed for sale by Blue  Heron Realty Co., it is a gorgeous 2 story historic brick Colonial Revival home which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay and Cape Charles’ soft sand beach.  One of its most stunning features is the arcaded 5 bay brick front porch. For the Dinner,  the owners  had decorated both porch and shrubbery with a stunning display of bright holiday lights, total eye candy.  ( For more information on the features of this extensively renovated property, visit . )  Our group arrived just as the sun was beginning to set, the sky was streaked with soft pinks and violets, absolutely stunning. Prepared by the historic Eastville Inn  in Eastville, VA, the offering here was a rich Rockfish Chowder.  Rockfish is probably the Eastern Shore’s most prized late season fish, mild and firm flesh, perfect for a chowder.  This particular dish is the signature fall-winter dish of the Eastville Inn and includes corn and asparagus, is seasoned with applewood smoked bacon and a touch of garlic and thyme,  served with sweet potato rolls spread with a brown-sugar cinnamon butter.  Yum !

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DSC_0511Next stop, in my opinion, one of the most charming homes in all of Cape Charles, with one of  the indisputably most beautiful front porches in town, curved, graceful  and full house length. Built in 1912 for Cape Charles’ first banker by W.H. Lambertson, whose son ( in the play) is to marry the Mayor’s daughter, this home continues the evening’s  theme as being the home of the bride’s best friend. It is at this gorgeous home  that the bridesmaids and friends will gather to make  decorations and guest favors for the wedding.  The tools and materials for same are seen as ticket holders tour the bedrooms at this house. Food served here was prepared by   Aqua Restaurant, offering fine and casual dining right on the shores of  Chesapeake Bay  at King’s Creek Marina .  A modern update of  a traditional Waldorf salad and a lightly curried chicken salad in a small brioche roll, very tasty, were served, complemented by Italian white wine selected for the occasion by the Gull Hummock Wine and Cheese shop in Cape Charles.

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DSC_0529The final home on the tour was Miss Mollie’s  boarding house which was, in real life, Miss Mollie’s Boarding House. Apparently Miss Mollie ran the boarding house for many years after her husband’s death and was known Shore-wide for her famous pound cake. At the house,  a video interview of Miss Mollie, done many years ago for a special Cape Charles history event,  was playing on the VCR– fascinating, a real highlight and I took a quick pic for this blog post.  Miss Mollie died at 101 and in the TV interview I’m guessing she was somewhere in her nineties but still sharp as a tack because when the interviewer, long-time local pharmacist, George Savage, apparently asked a particular question for a 2nd time, he received a  quick retort,  ” Why you already asked me that !”   When George inquired how many of her famous pound cakes she thought she had baked over her lifetime, she guessed she had baked plenty more than a thousand–  which is a heck of a lot of   home baking !  Food served here was prepared by Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, a fun place with  good food located on Mason Avenue in Cape Charles and included a delicious roast beef-Yorkshire pudding canape plus a roastedvegetable tort served in individual tart shells topped with a creamy, buttery sauce.  The piece de resistance’ was a little slice of Miss Mollie’s cake, a rich vanilla pound cake, prepared by Heritage Hall in Nassawadox, baked according to Miss Mollie’s very own recipe.  As party favors,  printed copies of Miss Mollie’s recipe were available for guests to take with them if desired– I took one and intend to try it out for myself.

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DSC_0543Leaving Miss Mollie’s,  it was just a short walk to the Cape Charles Town Library where the theme and the Dinner concluded,  with the penny-pinching Mayor was scheduled to see his daughter modeling her gorgeous, albeit expensive,  bridal gown for the very first time.  Suddenly he forgets the expense of the wedding and realizes that his baby girl is going to be gone, about to get married and move from his home, that it is family, not fortune,  he should be thinking about now.  Thus endeth  the play and also the Dinner,  after  the dessert course, naturally.  A  collaboration between Heritage Hall and Brown Dog Ice Cream in Cape Charles,  dessert was a delectable ginger snap cookie “sandwich” filled with Brown Dog’s heavenly ice cream,  Caramelized Fig and Mascarpone Cheese flavor, easy to hold, delicious to eat. It was the sweet end to a sweet day.  But one more treat to come– Pheiffer Stables, whose farm is  located on the outskirts of  Cape Charles, had brought a holiday-light decorated carriage into town, pulled by Rosie, a lovely patient horse. Horse and driver  stood ready outside the Library,  prepared to ferry  weary Tour members  back to the Theatre.  So aboard Hubby and I hopped,  not  spring chickens any more,  nice to get off our feet after several hours walking  town. So with sleighbells bells ringing,  off we rode to our car,  a perfect end to a  great evening.

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No Need to Be “Reviewing the Situation”- The Palace Theatre’s Production of “Oliver !” Definitely Was A Big Hit

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The Palace Theater Presents "Oliver!"

With a husband,  Youngest  Daughter,  a daughter-in-law and four grandkids in tow,  I set off  Sunday afternoon before last  for the historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles, VA  to see Art’s Enter’s  production of   “Oliver , The Musical” .   And whereas Fagan felt the need to be  “Reviewing the Situation”,   there was no need to review the situation regarding this excellent production — the standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance  was pudding proof  of the audience’s  frame of mind !    No need to ask   “Where Is Love”,  because  it was right there,  in spades,  for the  more than 50 performers,  nearly  30  of them children,  all of whom acted their hearts out.   And after all that wonderful acting,  for the icing on the cake,  or rather the chocolate chip in the cookies,  for a little extra fund-raising,  Luisa Gazzolo had baked a huge  tin of  the most delicious chocolate chip cookies  for intermission sales  at the  concession stand.  ( You can likely  guess whose group munched down on  8 of them ! )


The Palace Theater at Night, a Vintage Feel.

For those who have never been to the Palace Theatre,  it was a very grand art deco style movie theatre when built in 1942, one of the largest and most elaborate between Norfolk and Philadelphia.    In the late 1990’s the theatre, by then quite run down,  was purchased by Arts Enter,  an organization formed by a local  group of artists and volunteers dedicated to the performing and visual arts.  Restoration of this 400 seat  theatre  was a Herculean task involving raising  tens of thousand of dollars  for the refurbishment  but today it is  fully functioning and absolutely gorgeous  as  can easily been seen by clicking on  which has a beautiful picture of the inside of the theatre,  with its 38 x 30 foot hand-painted murals, as its home page.  Literally hundreds of  dramatic, musical and dance  performances have taken place in the revitalized theatre which has been designated a Historic Landmark building and has become the hub around which much of the Northampton County arts community revolves.

Meadow Noonan and Susan Kovacs with Strawberries for Sale

But back to Oliver !    With so many different group scenes,  lots of the actors played several different characters or became part of the crowds, including  David Kabler from Blue Heron’s Cape Charles office who played in several crowd scenes as well as playing the part of  Dr. Grimwig,  whose poor advice was responsible for Oliver being kidnapped near the end of  Act II .   Meadow Noonan,  daughter of  Eva Noonan  from our Cape Charles office,  was part of  the  “thief crowd”  and the barmaid group,  also  looked  quite lovely as one of the two Strawberry Sellers in Act II.  Susan Kovacs,  co-director of the production together with Clelia Sheppard,  played several parts including one wearing  a salt and pepper colored wig which so cleverly changed her appearance that I kept wondering if  it was  Susan or not.   After the performance I ran into Susan in the lobby and told her  that in the wig I just couldn’t decide if it was her or not.  We both had a laugh when she told me that her husband,  Paul,  had seen the play twice but had not recognized her in that particular wig either ! 

"Oliver's" Cast Received a Standing Ovation

Being a musical,  it does without saying that in addition to voice,  the underlying instrumental music was crucial to the production.   A truly superb performance was given by  Art’s Enter’s musical director,  Bill Neil on the piano accompanied on violin by Shelia Sheppard Lovelady,  daughter of  Clelia Sheppard.   Oliver !  is an approximately 3 hour long production which means there is a lot of  ivory tickling and violin playing — Neil and Lovelady got a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show.  From the very opening scene to the end of the play,  most of the musical numbers also involved substantial and well-done choreography, overseen by Amy Watkins.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that when the cast came out to take their bows,  the applause was thunderous,  everybody jumped to their feet to show the many folks who had put in countless hours in  rehearsal,  set construction and costume creation just how appreciative they were of all that effort,  the results of which became another of  Art’s Enters’  very successful  productions.  Can’t wait for the next one.    P.S.  At the end of the show, Clelia came out on stage to ask the audience to help support Art’s Enter financially by attending the 15th annual “Benefit By The Bay”  party,  the backbone of  Art’s Enter’s annual fund raising,  being  held this year on June 4th  at Mariah’s,  a beautiful historic home overlooking King’s  Creek.  Tickets are still available,  call 757-331-3669.  Hope to see you there.

Planning To Feed My Murder Mystery Addiction At The New Play At The Palace Theatre In Cape Charles

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

For better or for worse,  I’m addicted to murder mysteries.    No point in trying to deny it because an entire room,  a very spacious room even,  that was planned as my husband’s home office with space for my books,  CD’s and DVD’s  has now evolved into  my library with space  for my husband’s desk and file cabinets  at the far end,  by the full wall of windows.  ( Well,  at least I let him keep  the windows, which are  floor-to-ceiling,  south-east  facing and overlook  our beautiful rolling lawn,  bird feeders,  trees and  pretty sunrises.  I feel that makes things even-steven but I don’t think  he really agrees. )   Six tall bookcases,  books I’ve already read but  want to keep stacked at least two rows deep,  books I’m planning to read sitting on my  “read this next”  table,  about 30% of which are murder mysteries or courtroom dramas,  not the gory ones,  just the good, old-fashioned sleuthing- through- clues to find the bad guys kind.   ( I think I could probably write a book,  a thick, heavy tome,  about the books that I love…. I do read a lot of non-fiction too but let’s face it — not as much fun !  Currently reading   “The Immortal World of Henrietta Lacks”,   fascinating but  not nearly as satisfying as a John Grisham thriller.  )   Two tall bookcases of DVD’s including,  more or less,  the complete sets  (or working towards  complete )  of  most of  BBC’s great mystery  series.  (Let me recommend  as an absolutely  “must view”  website. )  Inspector Morse,  Foyle’s War,  Sir Peter Wimsey,  Rumpole,  Prime Suspect,  MidSomer Murders,  Last Detective,  Poirot ad infinitum,  Sherlock Holmes,  P.D. James,  etc., etc. (all  on the dramatic side) on stand-by  on the shelf,  ready to be watched or re-watched at a moment’s notice.   Plus  light and humorous  favorites like Hamish McBeth  (was TV John a delightful character or what ? ),  Campion,  the new(ish)  Miss Marple series staring  Geraldine McEwan  ( BBC’s best Marple ever ),  Rosemary and Thyme,  Hetty Investigates  and the wonderful  series we are currently viewing,  Pie In The Sky…. impatiently waiting for UPS to deliver Series 3  ( which was originally shown in the U.K.  about a thousand years ago  but  just  released in the  U.S. on DVD September 7 th,  why on earth BBC  waits  so long I can not  imagine. )   Anyway,  hopefully Monday.  What  the mystery lover’s  life would be like without the British Broadcasting Corporation —  well, I shudder to think !  (  We love British comedy too but  no space  for that commentary  now —  except to say that anyone who doesn’t practically fall right off  the sofa laughing while  watching  Black Adder,  Faulty Towers or  Vicar of Dibley simply doesn’t  have much of  sense of humor.  Watching an episode of  Father Ted  is like eating potato chips– you cannot stop at  just one !  )  But enough already about BBC videos.

So naturally I’m really looking forward to seeing  the  latest production this week-end at the Palace Theatre,  ” The Two Mrs. Carrolls” ,   a mystery,  produced by Art’s Enter.   A word, or three,  about  Art’s Enter,  actually headquartered in Cape Charles’  historic Palace Theatre,   and its successful efforts  to bring  the visual and performing arts in the southern tip of  Virginia’s  Eastern Shore under one roof.    Lucky !  Fortunate !  Favored !   That is what Cape Charles is to have  Art’s Enter as a vibrant  part of  the town and its culture !    And flipping to  the other side of  that coin,  that’s what Art’s  Enter (   )  is to have  the  love, support and participation  of the people of  Cape Charles.  So,  a synergistic  relationship,  benefiting all.   This truly amazing arts group,  headed up by Co-Directors  Clelia Sheppard and Mary Ann Roehm,   has brought such well known organizations as the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Opera Company,  both headquartered in Norfolk,  to the Palace Theatre for performances.  (  It tickles me no end that the Virginia Symphony Orchestra,  which has performed at many national venues including  the world renowned Carnegie Hall,  has actually also performed,  several times even,  here on the Eastern Shore at the  Palace Theatre.   Thanks Clelia and Mary Ann — you’re amazing ! )  And  dozens and dozens of other high quality vocalists, dance companies and orchestras  recently including the Cab Calloway Orchestra,  David Leonhardt Jazz Group and Lee Jordan-Anders have lit up the Palace’s  stage.  

It is also  a beehive of activity for the Eastern Shore  of  Virginia’s  growing thespian community,  providing a wonderful theatre season right here in our own community.  The  performances last season included an evening of one act plays,   “The Wizard of Oz”  and  “A Christmas Carol”.   In addition  to  “The Two Mrs. Carrolls”,  the 2010-2011 theatre season at the Palace Theatre also  features   “The Importance of Being Earnest”  and  “Oliver”.    But  for all of us at Blue Heron Realty Co. ,  the icing on the cake  for  the performance of   “Two Mrs. Carrolls”  is that two of  the actors on-stage are  Blue Heron agents !   Maestro, drum roll,  please !    Eva Noonan,  an agent in our Cape Charles office,  an effervescent gal  who  has performed in a number of Art’s Enter’s  previous plays,   takes the lead role in  “Carrolls”.   And David Kabler, our Cape Charles managing broker,  will be making his stage debut.   And so this week-end I will not only be feeding my mystery addiction at the Palace Theatre,  I will be on hand  to enthusiastically  applaud two of our own.   Break a leg,  break two legs even,  Eva and Dave !!!!!