Richmond Newspaper Spotlights Cape Charles

The Sunday, June 30, RIchmond Times-Dispatch travel section featured a story on Cape Charles, including a bike ride from King's Creek Marina to the beach above at Bay Creek. (Photo by Katherine Calos, Times-Dispatch)

The Sunday, June 30, RIchmond Times-Dispatch travel section featured a story on Cape Charles, including a bike ride from King’s Creek Marina to the Bay Creek beach shown above. (Photo by Katherine Calos, Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Cape Charles Wave

July 1, 2013

Cape Charles locals love reading outsiders’ impressions of our little edge of the world, so when a reporter comes to town and writes a story, the Wave takes notice.

Yesterday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch story by Katherine Calos headlined the Eastern Shore, but the story was mostly about Cape Charles.

Following a time-tested pattern, Calos did venture outside the Town in a trip to Chatham Vineyards, accessed via SouthEast Expedition’s kayak tour.

Readers learn that “Harrison and Joan Wehner bought Chatham Farm in 1979 and spent about 30 years restoring the manor house that dates to about 1818. The three Wehner grandchildren now are growing up with the craft at the next level, with French vinifera grapes and winemaking as a full-time business instead of a hobby.”

And then a little geography: “The Eastern Shore is only a half-hour from Virginia Beach, but the 20-mile-long crossing on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel makes it feel like ‘the world’s largest gated community’,” according to kayak guide Margaret Van Clief.

Speaking of gated communities, reporter Calos biked from one part of Bay Creek to the other: “A bicycle ride earlier that day had been as easy as ice cream. After picking up rental bikes at Kings Creek Marina, we followed a 10-mile loop to the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course at Bay Creek on the other side of town.

“Along the way we found Brown Dog Ice Cream, where scoops of homemade coconut almond and coffee ice cream would become our reward at the end of the day.”

(Calos neglected, however to reveal the secret for accessing Bay Creek’s gates: Never tell the guard you “just want to look around.” They are instructed to turn wanderers away — especially the week of July 4th. Instead, state a specific destination, such as the Coach House Tavern.)


Calos also experienced the Shore phenomenon of running into the same person at different places.

As she put it, “With only 12,226 people living in Northampton County, according to 2012 census estimates, residents tend to be connected on many levels.”

For example, “Laura McSpedden, who was on duty at the Hotel Cape Charles the night we stayed there, picked up the phone at Chatham Vineyards to answer questions the next week.”

And, “Photographer Chris Glennon, whom we met for our morning bike ride, has daughters who work at the ice cream shop. He was there for his own scoop when we returned that night.”

And, of course, on the Shore there are never more than two degrees of separation: “Van Clief, our kayak guide, had just been to a show in Norfolk with a friend who worked at Aqua, the restaurant where we’d eaten the night before.”

Then comes some recent history: “The area took some hits in the recession, but tourism director Dave Schulte likes to point out that tourism expenditures and payroll were higher in 2011 than 2007 in Northampton County.

“Some high-profile properties have changed hands, though,” Calos reports, mentioning last December’s sale of Aqua Restaurant and Bay Creek Marina.

Of interest to Richmondites, she writes that “The Hotel Cape Charles had a complete redesign under its new owners, Richmond developer David Gammino and Chesterfield County Supervisor Daniel A. Gecker. It reopened March 1 after a dispute over the suitability of glass balcony panels in a historic district.”

And those wishing to invest on the Shore learn that “Cobb Island Station, which had been moved to Oyster and restored by The Nature Conservancy, then sold to the World Healing Institute, is on the market again for $4.85 million.”

Only a few fortunate merchants and innkeepers receive recommendations in the travel story:

A sidebar titled “If You Go” provides contact information for Chatham Winery and SouthEast Expeditions.

Under “Where to Stay,” the reader is given the option of Hotel Cape Charles ($160-$245 per night), Hotel Blue ($180-$240), or Sea Gate Bed and Breakfast ($140-$150).

Outside town, the only lodging mentioned is Sunset Beach Inn ($109-$179) or Kiptopeke State Park ($2,104/week for a six-bedroom lodge, $555/week for a three-bedroom bunkhouse or yurt).

Where to eat? There’s Aqua Restaurant, Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, and Machipongo Trading Company on Route 13. Calos thus goes down in history as the first travel reporter ever to omit mentioning the Shanty Restaurant (during the year it has existed).

For more information, Calos recommends the Eastern Shore Tourism Commission at (Unfortunately, she didn’t discover the Town of Cape Charles’ new tourism website at

To read the Richmond Times-Dispatch story, click here.



One Response to “Richmond Newspaper Spotlights Cape Charles”

  1. Dale Lynch on July 2nd, 2013 10:05 am

    Am sorry to see that Calos also omitted the Cape Carles Coffee House which has become a magnet for tourists and locals as well.