Looking To Buy A Condo In Virginia ? Check Out The Wide Wonderful World of Eastern Shore Condos- So New, So Welcome

by: Marlene email

If you are looking to buy  a condo in Virginia,  the Eastern Shore offers some great condo purchase opportunities  (check out our beach condos, our boating condos and historic buildings converted to condos).    However,  it wasn’t always that way.  When we moved to an  86 acre farm in Northampton County,  at the tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore,   more than 20 odd years ago  ( if I listed the exact number I’d be telling my age which I’m  definitely not planning to do)   not one condo existed here.  People would call from our ads in New York and New Jersey publications and often they would request  information about  condos or  co-ops.  Sorry, we don’t have any condos,  we’d say.  Well, what about  townhouses they’d ask.  Sorry, no  townhouses either.  People would be astonished.  I’m sure that some of the silences on the other end of the phone  meant that the caller was wondering if he had reached Outer Mongolia rather than Machipongo, Virginia  (not that anyone had ever previously  heard of Machipongo, Virginia.) 

Inevitably, the caller would next ask for a description of  the  real estate we did have available.   I’d talk about  the various options — consider a beautiful home on a saltwater  inlet, built on a three acres, with a dock in the back yard,  just waiting for the new owner’s boat to be berthed  along side.   Or a 10 acre waterfront lot ready for a custom home,  located down a quiet country road,  far from the madding crowd.   Possibly  a couple acres right on the beach in a tiny beachfront neighborhood,  more expensive than on an inlet but drop-dead gorgeous.  Maybe a gracious home with a large, shady porch in one of our little  towns, with narrow sidewalks and big oak trees.   Or possibly a farm– not many available but we do have a 80 acre beauty,  perfect soils for cultivation,  with a little woodland  too.  But  we have no condos today.

Well, it sounds like Heaven they’d say,  we’d like to come down next week-end to see  some of these properties,  it doesn’t matter that you don’t have condos.   Great,  we’d say, but  ours is a very rural area and we  should tell you that most people either fall madly in love with the Virginia Eastern Shore  rural lifestyle or they find  it way too challenging — there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.  No problem they’d reply,  we love rural.  So down they would come, hoping to find the perfect property, usually for retirement or for a leisure home.  And then the culture shock would set in — no enclosed malls,  no strip malls  either, no K-Mart  or Wal-Mart, no ATM’s,  “no nothing” some would say,  gotta be Robinson Caruso to live here.  Others would exclaim,  we  just love it here,  we love  your  little towns,  it’s  just like Mayberry, friendly stores, helpful shopkeepers.  I’d enjoy  traveling to  town  for groceries,  pharmaceuticals, etc.  It became clear to us that we should try to help our customers learn,  at home,  in their own armchairs,  whether the Eastern Shore of Virginia was likely to be their cup of tea.   Over time  we finally came to realize  that  ” frame of reference”  was  critical !   What  folks living in Manhattan were  picturing  in their minds when we said  “rural”  was very, very different than the “on the ground”  reality of   the actual  “rural Eastern Shore”  we were trying  so hard to describe.  ( I’m convinced that Central Park  is  rural to many who  live  in a 20th floor New York apartment. )   

At any rate an idea was born – –  my husband and I  would write a little book that we could sell or loan to people who were considering making a trip to the  Shore to look for property,  a book they could read before actually coming to look at property,  a  book with lots of  photos that would  help detail what the Shore was and more importantly, what it was not.   That way customers  could save time  (and we could save time too)  by deciding ,  in their own living rooms,  if   they were likely to  find the Shore too rural or whether they would find it to be just perfect.  With the help of  Dave Temens,  friend,  pilot,  aerial and ground  photographer par excellence, now deceased,  over the period of  about a year and a half  we  wrote, and in 1989  published,   “One  Of  The  Best Kept  Secrets  On  The  Eastern  Seaboard : Virginia’s Eastern Shore.”   This little book offered a look at what it would be like to live on the Eastern Shore as  it was then.   Although it was sold in local shops, our  primary purpose  was to sell it or lend it  free  (just pay round-trip postage )  to folks from out of the area who wanted to consider purchasing property on the Shore.  Over the course of the 1990’s we received literally hundreds and hundreds of letters which basically expressed two very divergent sentiments —  either  “Thanks, we think we will love your area and can’t wait to make the trip”  or  “Thanks so much for the book,  it helped us decide  not to make a  trip down as we think that the Eastern Shore just would  not  be for us.”    And so the book did its job,  helping folks evaluate the pros and cons of our area  before taking the time  and money to drive or fly  here to look at property.

Fast forwarding to the present, ( skipping entirely over  how and when we got   two  shopping centers,  two arts centers,  an expanded full-service hospital,  the renaissance  of the little beachfront town of Cape Charles into a thriving  art mecca even  including a theatre company, a state of the art marina,  various fine dining establishments, a lovely boutique hotel  and the construction of  a  fabulous gated Bayfront golf community,  top rated nationwide, featuring   Palmer and  Nicklaus Signature  golf courses ),  we return to the question of condos.   Want a condo ?     Yes, we can help you !  Welcome to our new wide wonderful world of condos,  but with a twist.  90% of Northampton County is still the same  beautiful rural area,  mostly family farms interspersed by  small water-oriented neighborhoods of single family homes and  lots averaging  1-3 acres.  But in and around Cape Charles,  with its many amenities, we have condos and duplexes too,  in different styles, sizes, prices and locations.  Spacious new condos with beach and boating access,  condos on  golf fairways  and  condos  in the historic district of Cape Charles as a  some  of the larger brick buildings overlooking the harbor were renovated into gorgeous condos, commercial downstairs, lovely waterview residences upstairs, etc., etc..  So now,  when folks call us for real estate information,  we can still offer the lovely waterfront home on 2 acres,  or a fabulous beachfront lot,  definitely gracious homes in our  little towns  and we  still have a few 5 to 20 acre farmettes or  larger  farms plus  the new golf resort homes and lots.   But now,  now when we are asked,  do you have condos ???,   we are pleased to be able to say YES.   Yes indeed, welcome to the new, wide and  wonderful world of  Eastern Shore condos.


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