National Geographic Traveler Highlights Cape Charles

This is what the writer came to see -- marshland at Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge -- but she also wrote about the  Town of Cape Charles. (Photo by Xavier de Jauréguiberry, Flickr)

This is what the writer came to see — marshland at Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge — but she also wrote about the Town of Cape Charles. (Photo by Xavier de Jauréguiberry, Flickr)

Cape Charles Wave

July 29, 2013

More first-class exposure for Cape Charles and environs: National Geographic Traveler executive editor Norie Quintos visited recently and posted her experiences in “Beyond the Guidebook – Where the Locals Go.”

That’s a few steps down from National Geographic magazine, of course – but Traveler is still a well respected member of the Geographic family of magazines.

Quintos learned of Cape Charles from “a college pal I hadn’t seen outside of Facebook in more than 20 years,” and accepted his invitation to come visit.

The friend was none other than Ned Brinkley, the renowned ornithologist who, when he’s not birding, manages Hotel Cape Charles. So Quintos had no problem finding accommodations, staying at the “16-room boutique hotel with minimalist aesthetic just a few blocks from the beach.

“Mid-century art hangs on the monochromatic walls and mornings begin with complementary small-batch roasted coffee, Greek yogurt, and organic granola made six miles down the road in Eastville,” she enthused.

Quintos describes Virginia’s Eastern Shore as feeling “like an island unto itself, separated to the north by the Maryland border and to the south by the Chesapeake Bay and a steep bridge-and-tunnel toll ($12 at last check).”

While acknowledging that Chincoteague is the more famous town, Quintos adds that “Cape Charles draws visitors to the region in its own right. . . . The last passenger train may have stopped running in 1958, but the town’s swellegant bones — wide streets, handsome building facades, and deep-porched Victorian homes — remain. There is a minor renaissance of restoration as energetic individuals buy up homes and open modern mom-and-pop stores selling handmade ice cream and gourmet cheese.”

That would be Brown Dog Ice Cream and Gull Hummock Gourmet Market, of course.


And Quintos did not escape the mesmerizing real estate visions that tempt so many first-timers: “I drove up and down streets bearing fruit names (Fig, Plum, Nectarine) in a rented golf cart as Mayberry-friendly homeowners waved from their porches. For a minute I fantasized about buying a fixer upper, converting it into a B&B, and living happily ever after.”

(Attention Realtors: You can track Ms. Quintos on Twitter at @noriecicerone.)

Ned Brinkley diplomatically took Quintos to both the Town’s nightspots – the Shanty, and Kelly’s Gingernut Pub. “Ned knew everyone at both spots, though that’s not much of a feat considering the town’s population of just over 1,000,” she observed.

Most of the rest of the article describes a birding expedition Brinkley arranged in hopes of spotting migrating whimbrel in flight. “Not many people have seen the spectacle,” Brinkley had told her, and we find out why: “It was a magical night, though the expected winged migration was a bust. We spotted some big, brown birds in the mudflats (whimbrels!) but they didn’t look to be in any hurry to air-lift themselves to Toronto, which is what they’re supposed to do on their way to their Arctic breeding grounds,” Quintos reported.

But the last few paragraphs of the story are about “fish, not fowl. On Sunday afternoon before driving home, I met a new friend, Pam Baker, for lunch at Sting-Ray’s, a down-home country diner inauspiciously attached to an Exxon station. When I asked Pam, a Cape Charles native, for a recommendation, she said ‘Get the toadfish platter. I was thinking about it all during church.’

“I was tempted to Google what toadfish was on my iPhone first, but I didn’t. (And best you don’t, either). I just said yes. It was delicious.”

Read the full article at



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