Washington Post Discovers Eastern Shore (Again)

Washington Post photographer Jay Westcott captured this image of Custis Pond in Savage Neck Dunes -- near Cape Charles but missed by most tourists and quite a few residents.

Washington Post photographer Jay Westcott captured this image of Custis Pond in Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve — near Cape Charles but missed by most tourists and more than a few residents.

Cape Charles Wave

June 30, 2014

In August 2012 the Washington Post sent travel writer Becky Krystal to the Eastern Shore, where she discovered then newly opened Hotel Cape Charles, as well as Brown Dog Ice Cream, and gushed over both of them. Two years later the Post has discovered the Eastern Shore all over again, this time through the person of Andrea Sachs, who appears not to have read the yellowed clippings of her colleague’s story.

Ms. Sachs’ upbeat account in this past weekend’s Post will no doubt bring even more tourists our way – especially those looking for something new and different. She writes:

Travelers familiar with the extrovert to the north, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, will be surprised by Virginia’s subdued and understated character. Maryland is the lazy man’s summer retreat: Simply follow the dancing crabs to your stretch of sand or pot of seafood. Virginia’s section is more mysterious and challenging. You have to work for your water views, your beaches and your summer requisites.

That’s the first hint that this travel story will be different. The second comes when Sachs, overnighting at the Exmore Holiday Inn, asks a question. As she tells it:

On the drive to my Exmore hotel, I’d passed a sign for Silver Beach, imagining a sparkling strand with sand spun of the precious metal. When I asked a Holiday Inn employee for information about it, she had none. Instead, she directed me north to Chincoteague (done it, and didn’t want to repeat it) or south to Cape Charles (on the itinerary).

Imagine – a travel writer who purposely skips Chincoteague! Instead, Sachs highlights the following: [Read more…]


Hope for Sea Turtles, One Hatchling at a Time


June 30, 2014

A few years ago, when my work was based near Oceana Naval Air Station, one of my guilty pleasures was to sneak over to the Virginia Aquarium during lunch and hang out by the loggerhead turtle exhibit. Light and graceful swimmers, those blithe movements belie the power and strength held in their huge heads and jaws which are easily able to crush right through a conk shell. Another guilty pleasure is being able to treat my wife to some sort of pampering from the wonderful Breezes Day Spa in Cape Charles. Recently, these two guilty pleasures sort of came together to help shed light on a scientific mystery that had been plaguing marine biologists for some time.

After Loggerhead sea turtles hatch, they begin a frantic race off the beach into the surf. Once into the sea, the hatchlings start a journey that lasts several years, and when it’s finished, leaves them across the Atlantic near the Canary Islands. How they get there, however, has always remained a mystery. The time between hatching and rediscovery has always been referred to as the turtle’s “lost years.”

For some time now, marine scientists at NOAA have been using satellite tracking devices to monitor the travels of adult turtles. The transmitters are glued to the shell, and location data is beamed back and captured. This worked fine for adults, but young turtles grow so quickly that their shells shed whatever scientists tried to use to attach the transmitters. It was here that a professional spa technician, like those working at Breezes, provided a breakthrough.

Marisol Marrero, who is a nail salon technician at Not Just Nails in Boynton Beach, Florida, had a customer, Jeanette Wyneken of Florida Atlantic University, who was also part of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center study tracking loggerheads. While getting her nails done, Wyneken was reflecting on the problem of getting the transmitters to stick to the baby turtles’ shells, which she mentioned are made out of a protein called keratin, the same material as fingernails. Ms. Marrero suggested that they try a similar technique that the salons used for attaching artificial nails: try using an acrylic base coat. Wyneken took the suggestion back to the lab and tried it. It worked. This serendipitous trip to the salon has helped to finally shed new light on sea turtles’ “lost years.”

Lines on maps show routes of loggerhead turtles, who favor warm, deep water.

[Read more…]

MONDAY 6/30: Comprehensive Plan Update Session — Public Participation Urged

The Cape Charles Planning Commission and the Accomack-Northampton County Planning District Commission will hold a session on updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan 6 p.m. Monday, June 30, at Town Hall. Public participation is invited. Items include: Emergency Medical Services, Parking Reform, Cape Charles Harbor Environs, Bayshore Concrete Products tax benefit, and Harbor Redevelopment. [Read more…]

Register for Scholastic Chess Tournament July 26

Calling all chess players! Kiptopeke Elementary School is pleased to be the host for the Virginia Scholastic Chess Association’s “Eastern Shore Summer Scholastic” chess tournament, Saturday July 26. [Read more…]