2012-2015: A Record of Cape Charles News in the Wave

The Cape Charles Wave was published from July 2012 until July 2015. It remains online as a record of local events that occurred during those three years. Every story published in the Wave may be accessed by clicking on the various tabs at the top of the page.

The most-read stories over those three years are now featured permanently on our front pages, in order of popularity. Ironically, although a primary goal of the Wave was to inform voters on local issues, not a single political issue featured in the top 10 stories. Instead, real estate got by far the most attention — Aqua/Oyster Farm in particular. Even our little feature about the storybook cottage gas station eclipsed any reporting about local elections or any other town issue.

The story we had the most fun writing only placed #20. CLICK HERE to read it.

#1 Story
Aqua Restaurant Becoming Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery

Cape Charles' preeminent restaurant retained its original name of Aqua even after ownership changed.  Now the name is changing and so is the theme to more family-oriented, less expensive dining with more emphasis than ever on fresh seafood -- especially oysters. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles’ preeminent restaurant retained its original name of Aqua even after ownership changed two years ago. Now the name is changing and so is the theme to more family-oriented, less expensive dining with more emphasis than ever on fresh seafood — especially oysters. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

February 2, 2015

The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery is coming to Cape Charles, part of a newly branded complex called The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek. If you’re thinking that the name Kings Creek is familiar, you’re right!  This is the new name for the Aqua Restaurant and the Kings Creek Marina.

Big changes are underway to the restaurant, marina, weddings and event center, and villas. The plan is that rebranding will bring many more people and especially families with children to Cape Charles this coming season and afterwards.

So what’s with the Oyster Farm concept? Marketing consultant Hope Lawler explains that Robert Occhifinto, who bought the property two years ago at a foreclosure auction, plans to create a very large oyster farm. Oyster cages measuring 20 inches in diameter and 6 feet long, each with 10 compartments, will be suspended from the sides of the docks. The oysters they produce will be called “Kings Creek Salties.”  The idea is to have an interactive, festival-like environment right on the docks with raw oysters available to eat, hands-on demonstrations of oyster growing, oyster shucking, shucking contests, oyster bakes, BBQs, and bands. [Read more…]


#2 Story
NJ Entrepreneur Buys AQUA, Marina, for $4.6 Million

Click the PLAY button above to watch the auction. Buyer Robert Occhifinto is on right. (WAVE video)

Cape Charles Wave

December 29, 2012

Five bidders signed up for the trustees’ auction yesterday in front of the Northampton County Courthouse, where AQUA restaurant, Bay Creek Marina, adjoining shops, and Marina Village rental units were on the block.

But when bidding began at $3.3 million,  the amount due on the bank note, the players quickly dropped to two: Eastville attorney Bert Turner, and New Jersey entrepreneur Robert Occhifinto.

Turner presumably was representing a client, while Occhifinto was bidding for himself.

The two began by raising each other’s bid by the minimum allowed — $10,000. Occhifinto soon tired of that game and bid a full $3.6 million.

Turner followed suit at $3.7 million.

And so it went for the next minute or so, until Turner bid $4.5 million. Occhifinto immediately came back with $4.6, and Turner was silent. That was his limit.

And so a new major investor has appeared on the lower Eastern Shore. Robert Occhifinto has actually been around for a while, but until 11:30 a.m. yesterday, few realized the extent of his interest or the depth of his pockets. [Read more…]


#3 Story
SHORE THING: Bay Creek Can Blame Cape Charles

122 Creekside Lane in Bay Creek’s Plantation Pointe. Was $1,495,000, reduced to $995,000.

Cape Charles Wave

November 26, 2012

Bay Creek once saved the Town of Cape Charles from financial ruin. Now the reinvigorated Town of Cape Charles is sucking the lifeblood out of Bay Creek. Is this town big enough for both of us (“both” being the Historic District, and Bay Creek)?

A little background: Twenty years ago, when the Town of Cape Charles was infamous for its crack houses, and the only growth industry was Section 8 subsidized housing, a savior appeared on the horizon – Brown & Root, Inc. Circa 1974, Brown & Root had purchased 980 acres known as Hollywood Farm — where racehorses once were trained — for use as a fabrication plant for offshore oil platforms. But then the 1973 oil embargo was supplanted by an oil glut, and nothing ever happened at Hollywood Farm.

Fast-forward 20 years to 1993: By then, Brown & Root had given up any thought of industrial use for Hollywood Farm. Instead, the property would become a planned unit development known as Accawmacke Plantation. Well-heeled residents of Accawmacke Plantation would demand two services that Northampton County could not provide: water/sewer and a local police force. But the struggling Town of Cape Charles could provide those services – if Accawmacke Plantation were incorporated into the Town.

Northampton County was loathe to lose control of the property to Cape Charles, and fought the annexation in the courts. But Brown & Root supplied the Town’s legal counsel, and the County never had a chance. [Read more…]


#4 Story

Cape Charles Wave

December 5, 2012

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Sadly, the fabled Aqua Restaurant in Bay Creek Marina Village, managed so ably by Adam Travis, and served so deliciously by chef Shelly Cusmina, after Saturday, December 22, will be no more.

The final decision to throw in the towel at Aqua was made only this morning.

The Cape Charles Wave confirmed the news through multiple, independent, high-level sources.

Aqua employees have been told only that the restaurant is closing for the season.

The Aqua website has been changed to read: “AQUA will close for the winter season after the close of business on December 22.”

What the website fails to mention is that, along with the Shops at Bay Creek, the closure is permanent. [Read more…]


#5 Story
Sad Story for Cape Charles Storybook Cottage

Photo: Gertraud Fendler

2008 photo by Gertraud Fendler

Wave photo

2015 photo by Cape Charles Wave


June 1, 2015

Storybook cottages became popular in the 1920s and were meant to evoke a “Hansel and Gretel” image — a gingerbread house good enough to eat. But the example on Stone Road has become a horror story, with passing years recording theft and deterioration. The former gas station has been for sale for years, but the owner reportedly has an exaggerated idea of the property’s worth. Last year someone stole the copper roof elements, and now the copper window is gone. The orange plastic screen and plywood door add little.

Gertraud Fendler created the idealized top image in 2008, available at Ellen Moore Gallery. The Wave’s bottom image is also available by special request (but not at the Gallery). [Read more…]


#6 Story
Survey Finds Bridge-Tunnel Toll Highest in Nation

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is one of the few surveyed that charges a toll in both directions.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is one of the few surveyed that charges a toll in both directions.

Cape Charles Wave

March 3, 2014

“With tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge headed for as much as $8 by 2017, there’s plenty of grumbling and griping,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle in a survey of the cost of crossing each of the nation’s 150 toll bridges. The Chronicle found the cheapest toll to be $1 to cross to Avery Island, Louisiana (home of Tabasco Sauce). The most expensive toll was – you guessed it – the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. [Read more…]


#7 Story
Home & Garden TV Network Films Cape Charles Episode

Filming “Meet & Greet”, A Re-enactment Of The First Meeting Between Eva & The Buyers

Richmond residents and now Cape Charles vacation homeowners Jim and Jodi (obscured behind Jim) Outland re-enact their first meeting with Realtor Eva Noonan, filmed at Aqua Restaurant. (Photos by Marlene Cree)

Home & Garden Network (HGTV on cable channels) filmed an episode in Cape Charles last week for a new series to be aired in January, and Marlene Cree of Blue Heron Realty was there to record every detail — which she has graciously provided for Wave readers.

Blue Heron Realty

October 2, 2013

It’s been a pretty exciting last few days for Blue Heron Realty Co. with the Home & Garden network, HGTV, filming here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a new series entitled “Beachfront Bargain Hunt“ which will air in January 2014!

I say exciting for us because in late August, after seeing some of our great beach listings on our website, HGTV called Blue Heron’s Cape Charles office where Eva Noonan was the Duty Agent that afternoon. I’m sure Eva never dreamed when she picked up the phone that day that the call would be a real estate agent’s opportunity of a lifetime — starring in a national real estate TV show! [Read more…]


#8 Story
Bay Creek Lots, Lighthouse Go for Pennies on the Dollar

map annotated

Bay Creek lighthouse cost $1 million when built 10 years ago but sold at auction for $137,500.

Cape Charles Wave

June 2, 2014

The iconic Bay Creek lighthouse, a full-scale replica of the historic Old Plantation Flats lighthouse, sold at auction Saturday for $137,500 to the sole bidder, John Waller of Virginia Beach. Waller said he did not attend the auction with the purpose of buying the lighthouse, but when no one else bid, he did so on a whim. He and his family will use it as a “getaway.”

An additional 22 lots in Bay Creek Marina Village East owned by Paul and Robert Galloway also sold at auction for prices ranging from $2,750 to $37,076, for a total of about $200,000 for all 22 lots. At the height of the market eight years ago a single lot sold for more than that.

Built by Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster as a museum in 2004, the lighthouse was never intended to be sold. Instead, it was a visual feature of Bayside Village and the Arnold Palmer golf course. But Foster gave up the lighthouse as part of a December 2013 settlement with his former business partner Paul Galloway. [Read more…]


#9 Story
An Outsider’s Inside View of Bay Creek’s Beach Club

Forget the beach -- the new Bay Creek facility is really a large, impressive gym. (Wave photos)

Forget the beach — the new Bay Creek facility is really a large, impressive gym (Wave photos)

Cape Charles Wave

January 27, 2014

When I moved to the Town of Cape Charles four years ago, I didn’t realize that the majority of the Town would be off-limits to me. Sure, I knew that Bay Creek was a gated community, but I didn’t think I would be banned from riding my bicycle over there.

That’s because, as a college student in the 1970s, I worked construction one summer on Hilton Head Island, where Sea Pines Plantation looks like it must have been the prototype for Bay Creek. Cars entering Sea Pines had to have a pass, but bikers and pedestrians could waltz right through. That was before 9/11, of course – maybe things have changed now.

Nevertheless I was shocked to learn of the “unneighborliness” of Bay Creek. German guests at our vacation rental rode bikes over to the gate and naively said they just wanted to “look around.” They were turned away, of course, not knowing the magic words “Coach House Restaurant.” Even my new weekender neighbors, a doctor and his professional wife, also on bikes, were turned away. [Read more…]


#10 Story



June 29, 2015

In last Monday’s edition (which broke all readership records – over 7,000 page views in one day) the Wave had the sad task of leading the page with news of another drowning off Cape Charles Beach – a tragic death that competent town leadership could have avoided.

Anyone could have seen that drowning coming, and of course many did. The former “safe” beach has become a death trap now that newly pumped spoil has brought the beach close to the once-distant Cherrystone channel and its sudden drop-off and swift tidal currents.

Three months ago the Wave drew attention to the town’s failure to acknowledge the dangerous beach when we wrote: “A ‘special edition’ of the Cape Charles Gazette purports to tell everything you ever wanted to know about the harbor dredging/beach improvement. We learn what color the sand will turn, and whether it’s safe to walk on the beach. What isn’t mentioned is whether it’s safe to go in the water — specifically, are there dangerous drop-offs now that the beach extends so close to the channel? The town isn’t telling. (April 1, 2015)”

That same Gazette mentions that the town annually budgets $20,000 for beach sand replacement, but with the free spoil, that cost will now be saved. Yet last Saturday’s Eastern Shore News quotes town officials as saying that hiring lifeguards would be too expensive and too complicated. [Read more…]