CAPE CHARLES BY THE BAY: Tourism Website Debuts

New tourism website proclaims Cape Charles a "Harbor for the Arts."

New Town website proclaims Cape Charles a “Harbor for the Arts.”

Cape Charles Wave

June 9, 2013

The long-awaited website promoting Cape Charles as a tourist destination went live Thursday at

The $15,000 website was funded by the Cape Charles “Our Town” project through grants and contributions.

The website banner proclaims “Cape Charles by the Bay – Harbor for the Arts.”  A visitor to the website sees a succession of five billboard presentations, each for three seconds.

First is “Love Your Harbor (Relax in Cape Charles),” with a photo of a sunset over the Bay. (Curiously, the Town Harbor is not shown.)

Second is “Love Your Sweet Dreams (Stay in Cape Charles),” with a close-up of rocking chairs on the porch at the Town’s oldest B&B, Sea Gate, owned by Vice-Mayor Chris Bannon.

Third up is “Love the Charm (Shop in Cape Charles),” featuring a smiling Meredith Restein, proprietor of Moonrise Jewelry on Strawberry Street.

The fourth rotation is “Love Your Drive (Golf in Cape Charles),” with an overlook of Bay Creek’s Jack Nicklaus course facing the lighthouse.

Last comes “Love the Adrenaline (Play in Cape Charles),” depicting wetsuit-equipped kite boarders on the Bay.


The website menu has seven categories:

ABOUT includes thumbnail descriptions of the beach, Central Park, the fishing pier, and the library. There’s also a page of Town history, along with a map and directions to Cape Charles.

EVENTS lists upcoming attractions such as Tall Ships at Cape Charles June 14-16 and the Pirates & Wenches Festival June 15.

SHOPPING has four tabs: Jewelry & Clothing; Food & Gourmet; Art & Collectables; and Services and Supplies.

LODGING tabs are Bed & Breakfast; Hotel; Vacation Rentals; and Real Estate.

ACTIVITIES is broken down by day and night and land and water.

DINING, always a category of great interest to tourists, features Restaurants; Ice Cream; Pub/Bar; and Takeout.

Click on “Ice Cream” and you discover four offerings. (Can the reader name them all?) Brown Dog Ice Cream, of course, but also Rayfield’s, Gull Hummock, and Shore Treasures.

Eight establishments are listed under Restaurants, including Brown Dog, which seems a stretch for a restaurant. Not included is Shore Treasures, which sells hot prepared food and offers picnic tables out front. (Shore Treasures does appear in the “Takeout” and “Ice Cream” categories.)

And finally, there is HARBOR & MARINA. But there’s no mention of King’s Creek Marina – only the Town Harbor, which Harbormaster Smitty Dize likes to stress is not a marina.

But omissions are not necessarily the fault of the website. When asked why Hotel Blue is not mentioned, website co-coordinator Donna Kohler explained that the website sought permission several times to publicize Blue, but never received a reply.

All told, the website is an impressive new Town promotion which has been sorely lacking for years. It’s a professional job (designed by Ciniva Web Agency in Norfolk), fairly easy to navigate, and does the Town proud.

There does, however, appear to be one contradiction: Considering that the site bears the title “Harbor for the Arts,” one might ask, “Where’s the arts?” A brief mention is made of the Historic Palace Theatre, but it’s buried under the ACTIVITIES>Nighttime sub-tab. If Cape Charles is a “Harbor for the Arts,” shouldn’t the arts rate its own tab?

The principal Our Town grant came from the federal National Endowment for the Arts for “a two-year arts-focused creative place-making project that contributes toward the livability of the community.”

Additional funds came from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia Commission for the Arts, as well as from local businesses and the Town of Cape Charles.

The website is only a portion of the Our Town tourism promotion, which includes print advertising such as rack cards at the Eastern Shore Welcome Center.

Cape Charles Bed & Breakfast Association, a member of Our Town, took the lead on producing the website.

The website committee is headed by Greg Kholer, assisted by his wife, Donna. The Kohlers run Fig Street Inn B&B.

Other website committee members are the president of Cape Charles Business Association, George Proto, and two representatives from Arts Enter, Mary Ann Roehm and Clelia Sheppard.

Any tourist-related licensed business in Cape Charles is eligible for listing in the website. Basic listings are free; expanded listings with a photo and web link are $250 a year.

When asked if a business such as Watson’s Hardware is tourist-related, Donna Kohler said yes, because Watson’s sells to tourists. An example of a non-tourist-related business could be a landscaping firm, she said.

Cape Charles by the Bay also has a Facebook page at



One Response to “CAPE CHARLES BY THE BAY: Tourism Website Debuts”

  1. Carl Slayton on June 12th, 2013 2:45 pm

    I was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area on the Chesapeake Bay. Cape Charles to me means FISHING! What happened to pleasure angling in the Cape Charles area of the bay? My woodworking career landed me in western NC where I retired to be close to family. I made it a ritual to come to Cape Charles annually in the springtime for some excellent fishing and relaxation. In the last several years the fishing has turned nil and this makes the long trip boring and uneventful. The locals tell me the commercial fishing industry is to blame. My family and I search for new vacation endeavors now, but we all have fond memories of Cape Charles and would much rather come home in reminiscence of how things used to be. We have family in Cape Charles and if they tell us things are back to normal, our vacation routine will also become normal again! WE LOVE THE BAY AREA!