Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Eastern Shore’

A Glorious New Year’s Day 2014 Trip From Eastern Shore Virginia To Williamsburg, VA’s Historic District

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

CBBTBright, sunny, beautiful from dawn till dusk, New Year’s Day 2014 was simply lovely.  We had planned early on to ring in New Year’s Day in Williamsburg and the weather could not have been more co-operative.  One of the  delights of a trip to the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg in December are the beautiful holiday decorations– the door of each home in the restored area is adored with a unique, handmade wreath.  And since they are all crafted by the residents, no wreath is duplicated.  For about the last ten years we have made an annual pilgrimage on New Year’s Day to enjoy a guilt-free buffet brunch at one of the hotels because afterwards we take a brisk walk through the restored area to work off all those calories !   ( An excellent excuse for sampling several deserts …..)  And the trip from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Williamsburg is so easy,  a glide over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, clear blue waters below,  chop-chop-chop up I-64 E , exit onto Colonial Parkway and, insto-presto, in less than 2 hours it’s napkin in lap, fork in hand, ready to enjoy a luscious lunch.

 

Williamsburg InnLunch this year was an interesting buffet at the always special Williamsburg Inn– in addition to  Southern regional dishes like oyster pie,   seafood fritatta and minced Smithfield ham salad,  a surprisingly excellent offering was a black-eyed pea bisque.  For those not familiar,  it is a Southern tradition that on New Year’s Day, one must eat black-eyed peas – they are supposed to bring good luck for the coming year.  I don’t really enjoy them and the idea of black-eyed pea bisque was initially not appealing whatever. But Hubby tried some, wow, said he, this bisque is really excellent, you really should try it.   So I did…. once, twice and three times a charm !  Couldn’t believe it, that’s how delicious it was, best darn thing on the menu, I shall remember it aways.  Well, maybe not always but at least until next year when I hope they will serve it again !  The desserts were fun, especially the crepe’ station, rich, thin crepe’s filled with Bananas Foster, topped with a little scoop of fabulous ice cream and sliced fresh strawberries, very, very yummy indeed.

Williamsburg Historic area shop 244The weather was  delightful,  a little warmer than usual, about 55 degrees,  so when we started our walk  Duke of Gloucester Street was teeming with folks from all over, tourists wearing their badge passes,  locals,  students from the College of William and Mary which is located just a few blocks away, everyone quite  relaxed, just enjoying the afternoon, strolling down this historic street.  If you love dogs, Gloucester Street is also a “meet and greet” heaven for dogs of all kinds and sizes, as owners leisurely traipse down the street behind their pooches.  This year was an especially great year for ”people walking dog”  watching– a Bernese Mountain dog, Labradoodle, Great Pyrenees, Scottie, Doxie, Boxer, you name it, they were enthusiastically escorting their owners down this four hundred year old street where individuals  like  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both alumni of William and Mary, probably walked their dogs too.   Interestingly, you almost never see aggressive canine behavior there, just doggie curiosity and tail wagging which makes the whole “man’s best friend” scene lots of fun. And to add additional interest to this convivial scene, the  period style carriages were out in force, each drawn by two gorgeous, well-cared for horses, stepping high, coats gleaming in the afternoon sunlight, liveried driver seated high above.  The carriages are apparently hand- manufactured in Austria according to one of the drivers but the wheels themselves are actually handmade at the wheelwright shop right in the Williamsburg Historic Area. Anyway, four or five horse-drawn carriages traveling down the street is quite a sight.

Williamsburg Christmas Decorations 241 This year’s batch of wreaths and swags was interesting as always.  Nearly every home and shop in the Restored Area is decorated each holiday season with a wreath or swag made entirely of materials which would have been available to residents of  the 18th century, basically constructed from fresh greenery pine, fraiser, boxwood, holly, magnolia and decorated with a myriad of dried different flowers, seeds and fruits, no artificial decorations allowed.  To up the ante’ a bit for residents, 1st, 2nd. and 3rd place blue ribbons are awarded and given the obvious amount of  effort many wreaths show, I’m guessing there is a bit of friendly competition every year to win a ribbon.  The effect is so pleasing that every year literally thousands of visitors come each year over the holidays to see the decorations and enjoy a holiday meal in one of the period taverns.  Each Tavern is  gaily decorated for the season, softly lighted by candles with costumed servers offering food authentic to the period– one of the most famous is the King’s Arms Tavern which is famous for its peanut soup,  Game Pye as well as an unusual veggie offering, a rich creamed celery with a hint of nutmeg,  which doesn’t sound that great but which was quite delicious.   There is always something new to see or try in Williamsburg and a visit there is  a great way to kick off the New Year.

 

” 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 http://www.blueheronva.com/property.php?propid=1516 . )  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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Third Time Is A Charm For The Wallop’s Island VA Launch Of The Antares Test Rocket

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

A quick up date to my recent  post on the scrubbing of  the test  launch of  Orbital Science’s  Antares rocket from the NASA Wallop’s Island Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  The purpose of  this test launch was to demonstrate the commercial viability of this rocket as part of  a NASA program to move  a good deal of the space program into private enterprise.  In fact,  the success of this launch will secure for Orbital  contracts for 8 resupply missions to the International Space Station, missions I believe are now being flown by Russia, which is being well compensated for same I’m sure,  so it will be nice to see that money stay right here in the good ole  US of A.   But the part that still amazes me, astounds me actually,  is that this entire effort is taking place on the northern border of  the Eastern Shore, surrounded by the bucolic bays and salt meadows of the Assateague Wildlife Refuge, being as closely observed by the herd of  Chincoteague  wild ponies as by the throng of national media reporters staged here for this launch.  Because as unlikely as it seems,  something about the  exact physical location of Wallops Island makes it one of the few places in the US  which is perfectly positioned to most easily  thrust a payload into orbit. Who would have thunk it ?

Dinner at Wrights Seafood Dinner At Wright's Seafood Restaurant Near Wallop's Island VA

Seafood Dinner With Hubby & Grandson At Wright’s Waterfront Restaurant Near Chincoteague VA

On Wednesday, after having rushed up to Wallops to see the first lift-off  attempt which was unfortunately scrubbed at T minus 12  ( space jargon for cancelling the whole darn thing 12 minutes before the  witching hour)  because of an umbilical problem (more space lingo meaning the thingamajigg connecting to the back end might fall off too early ),  we spent the rest of the evening having fun with our grandson,  visiting the Refuge and having a seafood dinner at Wright’s.  The flight was rescheduled for Saturday so once again, zip-zip, a one hour drive up to Wallops only to discover  once we got there that it was cancelled again, this time because of  excessive upper level winds  (  space-speak for it’s too darn windy out there).  Why on earth they couldn’t decide that an hour earlier rather than a half hour earlier  is a mystery to me, but there we were again, launchless in Chincoteague.

Antares rocket contrail as seen from our Eastern Shore VA backyard

The Antares Rocket Contrail Photographed From Our Eastern Shore VA Back Yard

NASA’s mission update website showed Sunday as the new  reschedule date, with 5 pm  designated as zero hour.   So about 2 pm on Sunday we started trying to decide whether to make that whole two hour  round trip for yet a third time.  But since it just seemed so windy, leaves were rustling in the trees, the wind chime on the back deck was singing its little heart out,  even our Soleri wind bell was clanging away, Hubby and I both agreed that no way are they doing to launch this thing today.  Ha, talk about famous last words !  We flipped on NASA TV, channel 184 courtesy of Dish,  about 4:30 just to double check.  Voila’ ,  the countdown was pressing on !  I just couldn’t believe it, the mission had not been scrubbed because of  the wind.  And so after two false alarm trips to see the real thing,  we were now going to have to watch it on TV instead of  getting to see, hear and feel the entire experience parked just  across Watt’s Bay from the actual launch pad. Anyway, I got my camera ready because we were pretty sure that if we rushed outside right after liftoff we would be able to see it  by looking northeast across the lawn.  And sure enough, there it was ,  streaking across the sky at a fair clip,  7900 mph according to the NASA commentator.  Got a pretty good picture of the puffy white contrail, would much rather have had one of  the lift-off,  but it was exciting nevertheless. Congrats to all involved, a new day has dawned for  Wallop’s Island, or I should say,  for the the Eastern Shore’s new Mid-Atlantic Spaceport !          (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed  Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134 Wilsonia Neck Dr.,  Machipongo VA )

Aqua Restaurant- Still Delightful, Delicious, De-lovely

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

Aqua Restaurant Easter Brunch

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

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

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

Gorgeous 90 Acre Farm Near The Water For Sale On The Eastern Shore of Virginia– Perfect For Hobby Or Commercial Farming

Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Aerial view of 90 acres farm near Nassawadox  VA

Aerial view of 90 acre farm near Nassawadox VA

For anyone thinking of  buying a farm or little farmette  here on  the Eastern Shore of Virginia and getting  “back to the land”  so to speak,  you’ll be in good company.  For literally hundreds of years,   the  traditional economic engines of the Eastern Shore  have been seafood harvesting, commercial farming and small family truck farming.  In fact,  Northampton County, Virginia  still has some of the most productive farms in the entire state.  But like everything else, things change and some of the smaller farms are being purchased by folks who aren’t planning to make a full-time living in farming but who are interested in getting involved in doing something on the land, even if it doesn’t provide their  full-time living.  Blue Heron Realty Co. has just listed a beautiful 90 +/- acre farm near the water  with exceptional soils and a great  location, a property which would be absolutely perfect for starting a small farm operation.  From raising horses to  planting a boutique vineyard to setting out a few acres of  organic tomates to a raising a small herd of alpacas to becoming a serious beekeeper,  there is a lot of fun and satisfaction that comes with getting back to a simpler life with hobby type farming and this particular farm could help in getting started on that path. ( For more information on this property, go to www.blueheronva.com/farm_for_sale/ )  Obviously a  back to the land life is not for everyone but, as a Realtor, over the years I’ve had a lot of fun and satisfaction helping some very interesting folks, from all sorts of professions, find just the right little farm or farmette here on the Eastern Shore from which to  create a new lifestyle and move in new directions with their life.

Alpaca resting on ground

Raising alpacas can be lots of fun

For example, we recently represented a client who bought a 20  acre parcel from a seller who whose company was promoting and  transfering him to the West Coast.  The seller,  an executive with the  Virginia Beach branch of a large firm  who commuted for 5 years from the Shore to Virginia Beach daily,  had acquired, a couple at a time,  a little herd of  cute, cute, cute  alpacas.  He said that when he first moved to the Eastern Shore he had absolutely no idea that he would get interested in farming and now,  just a few years into it,  the hardest thing for him about the entire move was having to leave his alpacas.  He and his wife had totally fallen in love with being out and about on their farmette,  raising these  gentle,  fleecy beauties had become a life-changing experience !

Horse grazing near Nassawadox VA

Get in touch with your inner cowboy

That really isn’t really unusual  on the Eastern Shore– I know so many folks who have some acreage who are doing  all kinds of  ” back to the land “  things with their property.   The important thing is to have a  parcel of land with rich, well-drained soils  because whether its growing a crop or doing animal husbandry, soil structure and drainage is critical for both crops and pasture lands.  A lot of folks here have horses, some for show, others for breeding. I even know one couple who has built an amazing dressage show ring on their waterfront acreage, complete with bringing a special trainer in from the West Coast to work with their very talented horses.  Lots of other folks here have just a couple  horses and love to participate in the formal Trail Rides sponsored bythe Eastern Shore Trail Ride Association.

Another client who recently purchased about 10 acres of beautiful waterfront is looking forward to managing  a small herd of milk goats when they build on their property.   Their hobby is making goat cheese and cheese making  is a real passion for them.  Not only do they make the soft, creamy goat cheese that has the  lush  tang and is so nice when mixed with herbs but they also make a rich form of  feta cheese, one of my husband’s favorites– give him a little feta, crispy crackers, some salty Greek olives and a glass of  Cabernet , he’s set.  Dealing with goats and making goat cheese would not be my thing but these folks  absolutely are looking forward to it  as their  retirement activity, something with a challenge to keep them active and something to bring them in closer touch with the land.  And  I am looking forward to easy access to a steady supply  of  their flavorful homemade goat cheese !

Open land for cultivating near Nassawadox VA

Rich sandy loam soils perfect for cultivation, pasture, horticulture and much more

Which brings me back to  the excellent 90 acre farm for sale near Nassawadox.  Tremendous possibilities abound for uses for this property.  The soils are BOJAC, the best soil type on the Eastern Shore, rich, sandy, well-drained, perfect for any use whether cultivation, vineyard, orchard, horses, alpacas, honey bees, etc.   You name it,  this is a great piece of property for all sorts of land -based activities. About half of the property is in woodlands, the balance is in open fields.  Location is great,  within 15 minutes of  shopping , boat ramps, beaches, premier golf, medical, restaurants, etc. yet far enough away that you feel that you are out in the country, possibly a twenty first century pioneer, a rare opportunity indeed.    ( Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed  Virginia  agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134 Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA )

 

 

Time To Start Planning Your Eastern Shore Summer Vacation

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Charming Historic Cape Charles

We just finished adding a new house, “Seahorse Retreat“  to our vacation rental roster (see them all at www.blueheronva.com/vacation_rentals/ )  when it occurred to me that planning an Eastern Shore Virginia summer vacation in the near aftermath of a record breaking blizzard on the East Coast is reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood books. Anyone who has read  “The Little House On The Prairie”  series by Laura Ingalls Wilder will likely remember the winter delights described of pouring over seed catalogues, winds howling outside, fire crackling inside, planning the spring garden, imagining the delights of fresh cantaloupe, tomatoes, sweet corn. It was a necessary task but it was also pure, unvarnished pleasure, mentally transporting them to a future time of warm weather, outdoor breezes and chunks of crisp, cool watermelon. Meanwhile, the reality was that Pa would soon have to wade out into the driving snow, through Lord knows how many heavy drifts, to get to the barn to milk the cows, holding on to the rope stretched between the house and the barn so as to not get disoriented, lost and frozen to death within 40 feet of the front door. I loved those books about settling the West,  practically wore them out with re-reading, especially “Farmer Boy”, what a wonderful world it seemed to be.  And I longed to be able to have a big piece of apple pie for breakfast, just like Almanzo almost always did, redolent with sweet spices and covered in heavy cream. But, different time, different place, and in general, pie was not allowed on my childhood breakfast table. ( Happily, now that I am nearly 100, I can have pie for breakfast if I want to. So let it be known that from time to time, for breakfast both Hubby and I do indulge in a thick slice of Kate’s Kupboard’s delicious apple pie, fresh from her warm and cozy Belle Haven, VA bakery, topped with an ample wedge of sharp cheddar, gently heated in the toaster oven, accompanied by a fresh cup of steaming hot vanilla hazelnut coffee. And I won’t even disclose how old I was before it finally dawned on me that I didn’t have to continue to eat the crusts on my bread if I didn’t want to, such is the force of habit of childhood instruction. )

But, mea culpa, I digress. My original point being that the actual planning of one’s vacation is a necessary task, but one that brings a lot of pleasure. Deciding where to go is certainly the first step and deciding what house to pick is great fun. I want to give a shout out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia as a great vacation place and to Blue Heron Realty Co’s vacation rental homes as the cream of the crop ( Review  them at www.blueheronva.com/vacation_rentals/ )  depending, of course, on the desired atmosphere.  If one is looking for bright lights, loud music, thousands of people on the beach,salt water taffy and souvenir shops every step of the way, Virginia’s Eastern Shore is not the place.

Visit our scenic beaches

On the other hand, if what you’re longing for is a place for total relaxation in a low-key coastal area, with plenty to do if you want to but if you feel like just hanging around the front porch, book in hand, iPad at the ready, then you can count on the Eastern Shore as a terrific place. I can guarantee no bumper to bumper traffic, horns blaring, no overcrowded sidewalks, no blankets 2 feet in every direction from yours on the beach.

Our Pristine Barrier Islands

Just a beautiful, relaxing area, little historic towns to explore, sparkling low density beaches to enjoy, cool blue waters to swim, plenty of boat ramps and fishing piers to try out, miles and miles of coastline to kayak, our off-shore pristine Barrier Islands to explore, the freshest of succulent seafood to savor, Palmer and Nicklaus golf to keep you swinging, horseback riding through country trails to indulge your inner cowboy, an easy pad to launch a Williamsburg/Busch Gardens day trip from if the mood strikes, cute shops, terrific restaurants for fine or casual dining and friendly people. From A for “Antiquing”  to Z for “Zesty clam dip”, you can have a memorable vacation on Virginia’s Eastern Shore,  it’s Simply Relaxing The Shore Way.

Seahorse Retreat

And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to 2 of  the Blue Heron Realty Co.  new vacation rental homes–- “Seahorse Retreat” and “Sun and Sand“. “Seahorse Retreat” is a charming, cozy nest for two, beautifully decorated in a — you guessed it, a seahorse motif.

Sun & Sand

A second floor walk-up unit located right in the heart of the Cape Charles historic district, it offers 1 bedroom with comfy king-sized bed, a well outfitted full kitchen, separate dining room and a living room which opens onto a veranda with views of the Cape Charles harbor. And it’s only about a block to the beach and boardwalk. “Sun and Sand” is a 4 bedroom, 4 full bath West Indies style home of nearly 3000 sq.ft. , with some views of the Chesapeake Bay. Comfortable coastal style furniture, a king sized bed in the master suite, queen sized in the others. Within easy walking distance to a sparkling soft sand beach, it also offers access to a large swimming pool/tennis courts complex and is within 5 minutes one of the Shore’s finest waterfront restaurants. More information on reserving these and other prime vacation rental homes is available on the Blue Heron Realty Co. website, www.blueheronva.com, select Vacation Rentals on the Listings pull-down menu or side navigation bar.    ( Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134 Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA )

The 2012 National Book Festival-Part II: Authors, Authors Everywhere

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Most Of Our Group At The 2012 Book Fest

Pavillion Of The States- So Great !

If you are a book lover, you can’t help but be excited by the National Book Festival held each September  on the National Mall in Washington D.C.   We are fervent book lovers  so the sight and sounds of  so many nationally acclaimed authors giving interviews, making speeches  and autographing their books  is big time fun for us.  Well worth the 4+ hour drive from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to D.C.   The 2012 Festival  was no exception.  Sponsored by the Library of Congress,  held on Saturday and Sunday the 22nd and 23 of  September,  with over 125  authors, poets and illustrators this year,  the highest number in the history of the Festival,  taking  to the National Mall to “do their thing”.  Kicked off  in 2001 by First Lady Laura Bush,  a  former librarian,  the National Book  Festival has become a  big event with an estimated attendance last year of  over 200,000 people and probably a lot more than that this year.   From adults to teens down to little kids,  there is something fun for every reader.  Librarians from each state in the Union come to help staff the “Pavilion of the States”  where  every state has a booth featuring great giveaways for kids including  maps, book markers, stickers, brochures,  etc. about that state.   C-Span brings its  colorful big bus, the better to interview various authors for playback on Book TV.  And  as it has in previous years, once again, C-Span  gave away big complimentary cloth bags, hot pink this year,  for folks to carry their accumulated books and other goodies, a truly helpful  gesture.  Thank-you, C-Span.

Book Signings Underway

The Festival has two over-arching  components– the speeches given by the authors about their work and  the book signings by these authors after their speeches. Fortunately, all the author presentations are videotaped and made available on the Library of Congress website so it’s easy to watch your favorite author’s presentation at a later date in the comfort of your  own home.  Which leaves the book signings as our favorite part of the day.  The hard decision is selecting  which authors  to pick for the signings.  Each author will usually only sign 2 or 3 books and the lines are long so it’s hard to meet many authors in a day.  Especially when several authors you are trying to see are doing their signings in nearly the same time frame, figuring out how to juggle the lines is essential.  Definitely helpful to be there with a group so that multiple people can be standing in the lines  for  different authors. This year we were  lucky to be able to meet and get books signed and personalized by six different authors, about max we could manage and still have time for the States Pavilion.  Actually, when I look back on it, getting all six  was amazing because our first selected author’s signing,Gail Tsukiyama,  didn’t start until 11 am and the last selected author, Jeffery Toobin, didn’t start until 4:00 pm so that we actually did 6 authors in about 5 hours, less than an hour in line per person.  Of course,  there were a couple  authors whose books I brought with me, ever hopeful,  but convinced  that  their lines would be impossibly long.   Sure enough,  they were- Thomas Friedman and Patricia Cornwell had lines so monster that they might just as well have reached from the Washington Monument to the moon  they were so impossible.  I had brought 2 books by each of them,  just in case I was wrong in my predictions– but sadly  their books never left my  combination  “chair- book storage-weather protector,”    my big, long-handled,  rolling cooler on wheels !   (  Advice: Going to a Book Festival ?   Never leave home without your big, rolling cooler. )

Gail Tsukiyama Signing Her Latest Novel

First up for us was Gail Tsukiyama, author of  the delightful novel,   Street of 1000 Blossoms, also one of the authors invited to the very first Book Festival.  We were in second place in her line which meant that  she and we  were still bright- eyed and bushy- tailed.  Having brought several copies of her brand new book, A Hundred Flowers, as well as two copies each of her previous bestsellers, Women of the Silk and  The Samurai’s Garden, she was naturally inquisitive as to why we had so many duplicate copies.  Gifts, I said, Christmas gifts  for friends and relatives.  And  I’m sure they will not only enjoy her books but will also love her handwriting, it  is so beautiful, a striking Chinese calligraphy style hand,  the most elegant handwriting of any  autograph in my collection.  Since going to  my first Book Festival some years back, I have found that a personalized signed book from someone’s favorite author or about someones preferred subject matter is really a wonderful and unique gift.   And  unless the lines are just crushingly long, most  of the authors at the Festival are quite willing to write personalized  messages in the books they autograph and the volunteer staff  hands out little Post-Its so you can write out the message you want included as the author signs the book’s title page.  I’ve also found from experience that it’s a bit hard to decide on the perfect inscription while standing in line so over the years I’ve come to the point where decide which book is for whom and them I write out the inscription I want for them on my own Post-It, all ready to go beforehand. No doubt it reduces spontaneity but, on the other hand,  after one has stood for 3-4 hours in various lines in baking hot  ( 90 degrees this year) or damp drizzle ( year before last) , spontaneity may be somewhat over-rated.

Stephen L. Carter, Author, Philosopher, Professor

Next up, Stephen L. Carter. A super- interesting fellow… professor of law at Yale Law School and author of numerous non-fiction works on legal, political and moral issues.  For whatever reason, in 2002 he decided to turn his hand to fiction with his debut novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, which was a New York Times best seller.  He has since written four more striking novels, his latest being The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln.  They have all been can’t- put- them- down- once- you- start  books. In fact, I have introduced so many people to Dr. Carter’s novels I think that I should get a commission, but really, they are all terrific !  My favorite is New England White, a blockbuster of  a book, a suspense novel about politics set at an Ivy League university.  I’ve heard him in various discussion panels on cable news where he  always  was very knowledgeable. At the Book Festival he was quite personable,  making a humorous comment as he signed our books, 3 books per person times the 3 of us as we sort of all stood at the table together.  So I am pleased to say that I now have a signed,  personalized first edition copy of each of his novels plus 4 extra copies of Lincoln  to give as gifts.

Waving At Marine One As It Departs The White House

I must confess that  the Stephen L. Carter book signing alone would have made the whole trip worthwhile for me but still to come were several more, Robert Caro ( whose 4 tier line was so long he would only sign one book per person ),Tony Horowiz, Michael Connelly and Jeffery Toobin. By the end of the day we met and gotten books signed  by all four of those gentlemen. ( Toobin, who is the author of two books about the  U.S. Supreme Court,  was very  funny and quite down- to- earth, wise cracking that there was just about nothing he loved more than folks who buy multiple copies of his books.)  It was really a wonderful day.  We had lots of goodies for the kids from the States Pavilion, we had met 6 terrific authors, we had watched  the flags surrounding the Washington Monument flutter smartly in the breeze, we had waved gaily to Marine One, the President’s helicopter,  as it  passed overhead on it’s way to the White House just  a couple blocks away, not sure if the President was inside,  but we waved mightily anyway.  And for icing on the cake, we still have all the videotaped author speeches to look forward once  are added to the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival website,  http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/    What more could one ask from the National Book Festival except to hope to be there again next year, ready for more fun and more authors !

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

Tomatoes, Butterbeans, Corn and Peaches– All Waiting For Me At Pickett’s Harbor Farm Market

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

We love the Pickett’s Harbor Farm Market just south of Cape Charles, Virginia anytime but this year especially.  The Eastern Shore of Virginia has lovely rich, loamy soils and we always plant a decent sized garden  but this year our  garden got off  to a very rocky start.    Late, late, late getting it in and then short of time to tend it.  On top of all that, the black filter cloth we always put down in long rows over the entire garden space to eliminate most of the weeding  turned out to be dark grey and worthless.  The weeds grew underneath it  like, well, weeds and we ended up tilling the whole thing under, okra included,  and  just started over again.  So now we have a second-time-around  garden,  started in late June when anybody with a lick of sense knows that a really successful garden needs to be planted at least by the end of April.

Stage right,  enter  Pickett’s Harbor Farm market,  now the star for obtaining our fresh produce for cooking wonderful only-in-the-summer  meals.   Because no self-respecting person who loves Southern Cooking  can do without the essential fresh ingredients for same. Summertime cooking  calls for, no actually demands,  fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, from one’s own garden or at least grown locally,  red globes of  flavor, thick slices of which grace the dinner table almost every summer’s eve.   And butter beans,  little teeney cousins of  the big green or speckled limas,  sweet,  melt-in-the-mouth, one of my husband’s favorite summer treats, so very, very much better fresh than frozen.    And corn, fresh sweet corn,  Silver Queen variety our favorite.  Who can say enough about luscious sweet corn, steamed and eaten fresh off the cob, accompanied only by sweet cream butter, pepper and a little salt, or salt substitute as the case might be.    Or grilled, slathered with lime butter or Mexican style crema.  (  However, the South certainly doesn’t have a lock on a love of sweet corn.  If you really want to hear someone wax truly elequently  about the marvels of  fresh corn,  just listen to an NPR  Garrison Keillor “Prarie Home Companion” show in summer.  Inevitably,  part of  his stellar shows  in summer will be devoted to enumerating the wonders of  Minnosota’s  sweet corn, picked from the garden and shucked just minutes before popping it into its steam bath. )

But  maybe best of all is the delectable dish you achieve by combining  those marvelous three — homegrown tomatoes, fresh butter beans and fresh sweet corn, the  Three  Amigos of  Summertime Southern Cooking.   Succotash, one of summer’s greatest ever veggie combinations !  However, for this dish to be at its zenith,  it is essential to milk the corn.  For those who have never milked corn  (let alone a cow),  the procedure goes like so:  First, put on an apron. ( This is fundamentally important.  Trust me,  you’ll see why once you get started. )  Next, make sure you have removed absolutely all the silk from the shucked corn ear because nothing spoils a heavenly bite of succotash more than having to pull  strands of corn silk from one’s mouth.   Then,  with a sharp paring knife,  gently slice down the cob, cutting off the top half of the kernels, turning  until you’ve done the entire cob.  This is best done in a deep bowl, with the cob’s  butt end pointed downwards and resting against the bottom of the bowl.  Now for the milking– take a  spoon and run it down the cut kernels,  pushing firmly against the cob, to get all the rest of the corn and the corn milk.  Do this twice to make sure you’ve gotten every drop  that  cob has to give.  This is a bit messy and I always put the bowl into the kitchen sink while I’m cutting  and milking,  the better to keep most of the  flying bits of corn off the apron and confined to the sink for easy clean-up.  Everybody prepares  their succotash according to a  family tradition. I like to cook the butter beans with a small bit of smoked ham or bacon until almost done, then add very ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped,  a little savory or basil  and then the corn, proportions for the dish being about 50% butter beans, 20% tomato, 30% corn.   Cook until  mouth-meltingly tender, maybe a bit of butter added at the end, pepper and salt to taste.   Sublime, and when served with classic Southern fried chicken, a triumph !

But a post on Pickett’s Harbor Farm’s summer produce  would definitely not be complete without an Ode to Peaches.  Not the half green, rot before they ripen,  little things found in  the grocery store.  No, I’m talking about the sweet, juicy beauties grown right there on the farm,  rows and rows of peach trees, laden with fruit, beautiful  peaches slowly ripening,  glistening in the sun, to be picked only when completely ready.  And the aroma !   Does anything smell sweeter,  more appealing,  than a basket of ripe red peaches, their tantalizing deliciousness just wafting upward ?   I think not.  All winter and all spring, I wait for peaches.  And when they finally come in, about the beginning of July,  we make the first of many  “peach runs”.  Eaten whole with juice dripping down the hand, swimming in ice cold milk atop breakfast cereal, sliced in a dish with vanilla Haagen Dazs and a drizzle of brandy, served over shortcake and topped with raspberries and whipped cream, made into a cobbler with a few fresh blueberries,  layered in a deep-dish peach custard pie— let me count the ways that our family loves the fabulous peaches, Sugar Baby watermelons,  juicy cantalopes and all the other produce expertly  grown by the Nottingham family– Tammy,  W.T. , Josh and the rest of the  gang.   We  love you guys,  thanks so much,  summer just wouldn’t be the same without Pickett’s Harbor Farm Market !    (www.pickettsharborfarms.com ) (Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Little City By The Sea- Lunch In Wachapreague, VA

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Wachapreague, Virginia, AKA  “Flounder Capitol of the World”,  AKA  “Little City By The Sea”, is also the home to  the  Island House Restaurant,  one of  Virginia Eastern Shore’s most picturesque waterfront dining spots.  Located on our seaside, along  the salty banks of  a deep inlet from the Atlantic Ocean,  not far from some colorfully named towns like Horsey, Painter and Modest Town, Wachapreague is a tiny Victorian-era  town.  Tiny as in population 232 per  the last census.  Although it’s  known East Coast-wide  for superb  fishing and its super-popular annual “Marlin Catch and Release“  tournament,  for my husband,  its main claims  to fame  are  the fabulous crabcakes and elegantly presented , fresher than fresh, soft shell crabs served at the Island House.

Which brings us to last Sunday, a  sunny and warm but not too warm day, perfect for a little drive and a late lunch.  And  hubby had a hankering,  a hankering that he felt could only be satisfied by a  sauteed lightly in butter,  aromatic with “Old Bay” spice,  flecked with tiny pieces of chopped parsley,  served only when golden brown,  delicious to the very last morsel, big fat crabcake from the Island House.  Served with  the crunchiest coleslaw ever, fresh green and purple cabbage sliced paper-thin,  their creamy house slaw dressing drizzled on top, self-toss at the table,  making their coleslaw the best  around these parts.  And who was I to deny such a hankering,  I who could so easily envision some of their  sweet potato wedges,  deeply orange, sprinkled lightly with sugar, an appetizing  aroma  wafting up from a  smidgen of cinnamon  ?    Yep, let’s do it.

The sea and seafood and the visitors who come for  same are  the lifeblood of Wachapreague, thus the little marine-oriented businesses you pass driving in on Main Street– the  bait and tackle shops, a detached garage converted to a colorful ocean-going kayak  shop,  a couple of  bed and breakfasts,  a quaint little general store, decorative decoys painstakingly handcarved. Down the little side streets,  a mixture of Victorian homes and traditional style cottages,  some for sale.  And along the shoreline facing Atlantic Avenue,  a busy marine railway, a large public boat ramp, a big private marina,  the smaller Town marina,  the weathered cedar-sided Coast Guard station and VIMS, the renown Virginia Institute of Marine Science,  which has pioneered so many of the state-of- the- art  clam and oyster aquaculture practices used not just in Virginia but nationwide.

And of course, smack-dab on  the inlet’s shores stands the  Island House Restaurant, tall and proud, sporting weathered cedar shingle siding, ready to delight the senses.  And not just taste but sight, smell and feel.  An al fresco lunch on one of  its multi-level waterfront decks yields not just a delicious meal but a chance to bask in the sun, soft and tangy sea breezes tickling across the skin,  fish jumping and  geese honking as they head down the inlet, boats passing to and fro as they return to or launch from the boat ramp,  shorebirds soaring and calling nearby, the  faint glitter of sand on Cedar Island far away.   We especially love the sight of  boats in the distance as they travel the narrow channel which winds through the great swaths of deep green marshland,  creating the optical illusion that  they are not really floating in water but  instead actually glide  along on the  grass itself.  This is  because, as you gaze towards the horizon, you can no longer see the blue inlet waters, only the great salt meadows of  fertile  green marsh grasses stretching on and on and on,  a truly beautiful sight, and as   boats  head back in from the Ocean they seem to be just sliding across the grass, white on green,  towards  port.  But enough about fish and geese,  boats and marshgrass,  lunch was served,  time to savor those crabcakes and sweet potato wedges.

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

“Art & Music on the Farm”–The Barrier Islands Center’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Eastern Shore of Virginia’s Barrier Islands Center  marked its 10th  anniversary with a walloping big  day- long celebration billed as “Art & Music on the Farm”.   Kudos to all the planners, the festival  was beautifully executed and great fun for all who attended.  A little history is likely in order here for those not familiar with Virginia’s chain of pristine off-shore Barrier Islands,  given world class status by the United Nations who has named it as one of  its Biosphere Reserves.  Stretching along Virginia’s  Atlantic Ocean coast  from Chincoteague, VA  all the way south to Smith Island at the convergence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay,  these barrier islands have a rich history as homes to hearty watermen,  destinations for tourists and hunters, outposts for Coast Guard stations and locations for lighthouses  as well as sheltering a singular diversity of  plant and animal life.  Except for Cedar Island, which still has a few remaining summer homes accessible only by boat trip,  most  of the remaining Islands have been purchased by the Nature Conservancy, 14 islands in all, some with romantic names like  Parramore, Rogue and Revel.  Purchased to  preserve them from development, the Conservancy’s protection has allowed the wildlife to flourish, especially critical for the many species of shorebirds and waterfowl that are now able to safely nest there.  It was to protect  the unique heritage of these  unique Islands that the Barrier Island Museum was established in 2002.  Located in the little hamlet of  Machipongo, VA , it has truly met its mission statement.  In the last 10 years, over 7500 artifacts from those by-gone days  have been collected for preservation and display at the Museum and the adjacent Almshouse Farm but the Center has ventured well beyond that initial mission, establishing itself as a place for classes for all ages, a lecture series,as well as a hands-on resource for local schools to teach young  children about the history and culture of the Eastern Shore .  ( Visit them at   www.barrierislandscenter.com  )

So Saturday’s anniversary celebration brought together the important 3 “F“s– Fun, Food and Fiddling and the equally important  2 “S” s-  Shopping and Sipping.    Under the leafy shade provided by the  Center’s  huge broad oaks, tables were set up for rest, dining or just enjoying a glass of wine from the tents set up by two local vineyards,  a tall cold glass of freshly brewed  iced coffee from Eastern Shore Coastal  Roasting Co. booth or perhaps a frothy pint from  Wendell Brewery’s travel truck.   Lots and lots to see, do and hear– from 40 little tents filled with local artists,  several booths bursting with flowers and colorful shrubs from local nurseries  to a sound stage set  for the 4 different musical groups set to perform.  We arrived just as the  Carribean group, Ban Caribe,  was finishing  its toe-tapping opening number to much applause, “we”  being husband,  daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons.    Right off the bat,  the boys gravitated towards  the little sheep pen where a freshly shorn mama stood in the shade with her sweet-faced tiny  lamb, carefully people watching  the people sheep watching.   From there,  we made our way over to the  Kids Activity Tent staffed by patient volunteers who helped the kids get started on making  their creative picture project while I drifed towards the Appleseed Nursery area which was doing a brisk business from their  colorful display of cut sunflowers and blooming perennials, so winsome to the eye.

                      

But it was the incredible  artwork  that  was the main focus of the day– some of the most famous artists on the Eastern Shore of Virginia  were there, works displayed  in  individual little white tents,  so many different creations,  a myriad of  art mediums.  Local painters like Thelma Peterson,  Mary Ann Clarke, Marty Burgess and Jack Richardson,  potter Elizabeth Hunt, sculpter  Maurice Spector,  metal artists  Copper Creations and Buck Doughty,  fine furniture craftsmen   Windsor Chairs, ceramics wizzard David Crane  and so many, many other fine artists and artizans were on hand, showing and selling  their unique creations.  Pungo Mills was there with their stone ground cornmeal, Chatham Vineyards was offering samples of  its  fine wine,  Machipongo Trading Company was madly selling cones of  delicious “Marsh Mud”,  the  super-delicious,  ultra- chocolate ice cream made homestyle by The Creamery.  Inside the Museum,  in the blissfully air-conditioned lecture room,  a  “Blues Workshop”  featuring the Harris Brothers was scheduled from noon to 1pm, followed by “Recollections from the Bay: Lives and Lore of Menhaden Fishing”  offered by the Northern Neck Chantey Singers.  Later in the day the well-known old time string band, Whitetop Mountain Band, was scheduled to appear out in the bandstand, see a video of that band below.  Out in the parking  lot,  a  sweet little collection of vintage cars caught a lot of eyes,  including my husband’s,  who has a real nostolgia for yesteryear automobiles.  All said,   having  enjoyed the 3 “F” s   as well as the  2 “S“s,  we set off for home, a few treasures in hand,  the end of a lovely Eastern Shore Day.

                     

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