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


by: Marlene email

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

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

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

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

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

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