Posts Tagged ‘VA’

“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)

Kalmar Nyckel- She Sails The Ocean Blue, This Saucy Ship Of Beauty- Part 1, The Reception

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Tall ship Kalmar Nyckel arrives in Cape Charles

Kalmar Nyckel Arrives In Cape Charles

Anyone who loves Gilbert and Sullivan and sees this beautiful tall sailing ship will immediately think of the song  “She Sails The Ocean Blue”  from “H.M.S. Pinafore”  because  this saucy ship’s definitely a beauty and as a reproduction  of  a grand Dutch pinnace  which made four round trips from Sweden to “New Sweden”  (Delaware) in the mid-1600’s,  she sails the oceans blue.   Sponsored in part by Blue Heron Realty Co.  and as part of  the  Tall Ships Initiative of  Cape Charles and Northampton County  (which was  the brainchild of  David Kabler,  broker for  Blue Heron’s  Cape Charles office )  the  Kalmar Nyckel arrived in the deep water Cape Charles harbor on June  2nd and settled right in for a 5 day celebration of  her eagerly awaited trip to  the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  including a Friday evening  on-board reception to be given by Blue Heron Realty Co.  (Click to enlarge the small photos.)


Even the weather co-operated beautifully-  early in the week it had been quite warm,  high temps about 90 but thankfully the wee hours of  Friday morning brought  a cold front  and the day dawned in the low 60’s with refreshing breezes all day long.  I was so relieved because in my role as Chief Cook & Bottle Washer  for Blue Heron’s on-board reception from 6:30 to 8:30 that  evening ,  my biggest worry all along  had been how to keep cold hors d’oeuvres  cold on a warm evening, on deck ,  with no real refrigeration and precious little shade.  We were, of course,  already prepared with lots of  big coolers and special serving trays with ice reservoirs underneath but still, I was really delighted that the high would be only in the  mid-70’s !


The evening kicked off about 6pm with an official  Welcoming Ceremony which included the Northampton County High School Band, presentation of the colors by the Coast Guard,  remarks by Cape Charles Mayor Dora Sullivan  and presentation of  a huge gift basket for Captain Lauren Morgan and her crew.  Then it was  on-board for Blue Heron’s  reception which proved to be a merry time indeed.  The invitations had gone out with Colonial or pirate attire as an optional dress code,  just to spice things up a bit.  Period attire was another of Dave’s ideas ( well, truth be told, Dave had hoped for mandatory but settled for optional )  and it added a lot of  entertainment to the evening.  The Kalmar Nyckel crew also wore their Colonial garb adding to the over-all ambience but I must say that the top prize for guys for the evening  ( had there been one ) would have gone  to local Eastville attorney Bert Turner,  usually seen in a sharp suit and crisp dress shirt,  whose flowing wig,  rakish hat and fancy garb  transformed him so completely into a  fashionable Colonial  pirate  it seemed as if  he had truly just stepped out of  a time machine.  A number of the the ladies had really wonderful costumes as well,  including Irene Henderson,  Sandy Mayer,  Susan Kovacs,  Dianne Appell,  Ann Walker  and  Carol Russ.  Even Cape Charles Town Council members  Bruce Evans and Joan Natali as well as  County Supervisor Spenser Murray got into the Colonial garb spirit,  wearing  period vests,  blouses and breeches.


And if I do say so myself,  the food turned out quite well too.  Planned and executed by Blue Heron’s  “Reception Committee”   headed up by Gerry Forbes and rounded out by Lisa Anderson and Kay Lewis,  these ladies planned and put together an attractive and tasty  array of cold appetizers  including a beautiful centerpiece fruit tray of 3 different types of melons, 3 different types of grapes,  some lusciously ripe Hawaiian pineapple and picture-perfect strawberries, then garnished with kiwi,  cherries and blackberries.   Flanking the fruit tray on either side were trays of assorted cheeses plus bread bowls filled with a most tasty humus as well as chopped spiced tomatoes for bruchetta complimented by  a large relish tray of mixed olives with marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts.  But the most popular item seemed  to be the mini sweet potato biscuits stuffed with country ham,  the contrast of the sweetness of the biscuits and the saltiness of the ham was absolutely perfect and a great accompaniment to the fruit and cheeses.  Early on in the planning stages we did an office wine tasting lunch to decide on the wines, ( yup, everyone  somehow  managed to  just  “happen”  to be at the office at lunchtime that day !  )   A unanimous vote chose a  fruity rose’  sparking wine as the  favorite,  with a dry white sparking wine a close second.  These were served along with Samuel Adams light summer ale on draft which proved quite popular as well.


Entertainment was provided  by the very, very  talented duo of  Carol Russ  on  accordian and Malcolm Russ  on  violin,  whose wide ranging repertoire included many  popular songs like  Red Sails In The Sunset   to  about 15 robust choruses  of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor   vocalized by  Dave Kabler together with the Kalmar Nyckel’s  Captains  Lauren Morgan and  Sharon Litcofsky.  I personally think that the right music can help make or break an evening and the  Russ’  performance was great,  it added so much to the over-all ambience.  A pleasant summer’s eve,  a light breeze blowing,  laughter here and there,  pleasant conversation all around,  good food and wine,  all on-board such a unique venue, a beautiful tall sailing ship.  But because the Kalmar Nyckel  has no real lights on deck,  by previous agreement,  the Captain needed  guests to depart before 9pm,  so too soon it was over.   Malcolm and Carol  played that very beautiful song made famous by Sarah Brightman some years back,  Time To Say Goodbye  and with that  we  all said our good night’s and goodbye’s but those of us at Blue Heron won’t soon forget this special evening.

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

The Kellogg House For Sale, My Children’s Home…Part 2

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The Kellogg House at 644 Monroe Ave., Cape Charles, VA

Arguably the finest house in the historic Chesapeake Bayfront town of  Cape Charles, Virginia , the Kellogg House at  644 Monroe Avenue, remains for my children their cherished residence,  full of childhood memories.  From elementary school-aged children to high schoolers,  this house was the center of their universe  for eleven years.  Having spent over 4,000 nights there,  I have a unique appreciation for its particular special history, qualities and features completely aside from the special amenities in Cape Charles such as the great town beach,  Palmer and Nicklaus world class golf courses and a new state-of-the-art marina.  And believe me, there hardly was a morning that I did not awaken with the feeling of how privileged I was to live in such a fine old home!

She never fails to impress a new visitor that crosses her threshold.  From the moment one stands

Grand Entrance Portico at the Kellogg House

 on the sidewalk out front gazing up at her parapets, this grand lady calls, welcoming one to climb the granite steps to the front portico supported by pairs of twin Doric columns.  A great big door with lionshead knocker guards the entrance that is lined with leaded glass-paned sidelights and fan light above.  Dropping the bar on the knocker sends a resounding clap echoing down the entrance hall and up the grand staircase.  My memory recalls the kids bounding down the stairs  to answer the door,  ready for friends and play.

Mr. Eucebius Milton Kellogg completed the construction of this magnificent house in 1928,  two years after sinking the massive foundation that supports the impressive  brick and steel structure of the home.  I understand that 6 months was spent on this foundation,  driving contiguous pilings deep into the footprint upon which the concrete footers were poured.  As the basement is at ground level,  mounds of earth were piled high up against the front walls,  giving the impression from the street the home is built on a  hill.  Mr. Kellogg was a railroad tycoon and wanted his final home to last for centuries! Walls three and four bricks thick stand upon the poured footers and threaded throughout each of the three floors of the home are 12″ steel I-beams. No big, bad wolf is going to blow this house away!

Massive masonry fireplace and French doors in living room

Great, big, formal spaces lend an air of elegance and are finished with architectural moldings, up to five pieces hand-fitted together.

In the center of the outer wall of the living room is a grand masonry fireplace with stone mantel and carved insert  in French script.  On either side of the massive fireplace,  a fireplace that warmed my cold feet on many winter nights, are big French doors offering easy access to the Spanish tiled Florida room.

This sun porch has these incredible horizontal stacking windows that open up great expanses of screened airflow. And on the other side of the great center hall is a wonderful dining room with a centerpiece

Dining room with mahogany china cupboard

 that is a beautiful, handcarved, solid mahogany china cupboard. For excellent service, right behind the dining room is the best butler pantry I have ever seen, with floor to ceiling wooden and glass cupboards and an original, five foot long  porcelain sink. The back hall has another fantastic gem that never fails to amaze,  a floor to ceiling Frigidaire ice cream cupboard,

Floor to ceiling ice cream cupboard in back hall

 magnificently refinished to attract the attention it deserves. Two sets of back stairs lead down to the basement and out into the back yard. The great kitchen also has the same type of stacking windows as the Florida room and allows for wonderful ventilation while preparing and cooking food. Between the kitchen and the dining room and just off the butler pantry is another little surprise, a charming, tiled breakfast room surrounded by six paned, double hung windows that bring the soft morning light and outdoors inside. And off the dining room is a cute, little tiled screened porch, one where I often slept on an army cot during hot summer nights.

Yes, the kids sounded like herds of elephants trampling up and down the grand, cantilevered staircase, a sound that took me years to get used to, but that I miss so much now that they are grown up and on their own. These wonderful stairs always amazed me by their seemingly weightless suspension, but how graceful they

Wonderfully engineered cantilevered grand staircase

are, appointed with a beautiful mahogany bannister with curled end at the bottom. At each of the three floors is an access door that opens to the laundry chute for conveniently making soiled, and in the case of lazy children, not so soiled clothes disappear down to the laundry room in the basement.

The suite of rooms on the second floor tell an interesting story about an elderly couple whose children had all left home before they designed and built this house. Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg had two daughters that they raised in the home at 653 Tazewell, just a hop, skip and a jump from the location of this, their new  Monroe Avenue mansion. There they lived for thirty-five years before moving into this home,  their final place of residence. Settled into their dream home in 1928, Mr. Kellogg occupied one half of the second floor in a large bedroom served by a built-in wardrobe with glass paned doors and a bathroom with shower finished with subway tile. This was heated by a radiator hidden behind a massive iron screen ornamented with two

Master bedroom with built-in wardrobe

 hundred flur-de-lis. The other half of this floor was occupied by Mrs. Kellogg, a suite of three rooms – one a corner bedroom with attached tiled bathroom with full sized tub and pedestal sink and same flur-de-lis radiator screen. The middle room was clearly her full sized dressing and sitting room and passing though that past a huge cedar closet is the sleeping porch for those hot summer nights before the age of air conditioning. And outside that is an outdoor patio as high

Sleeping porch at the Kellogg House

as the tops of the huge crepe myrtles in the back yard – a perfect place for sunbathing!

The third floor was clearly designated for two servants to live in, with two identical bedrooms and a full bath with huge tub between the two. All three of these rooms are served with identical dormers with curved-topped French windows that peak out over the street scene far below. The curved plaster-on-lathe ceilings are so gracefully formed, yet the floors here are only common heart-pine while the two more formal floors below have beautiful oak hardwood.  I could continue on and on with more details about this unique and beautiful home but  I shall save the rest for a future post.  However,  should you be interested in making an appointment to see this splendid and lovingly constructed historic Cape Charles home, please give Blue Heron a call at 757-331-4885  or email me at