#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…]


July 4 Parade Begins at 10 AM; Fireworks After Dark


Bay Creek vs. Relentless Chesapeake Bay

June 22, 2015

It’s the “Battle of the Bays.” On the left we have the mighty Chesapeake Bay, champion for the past 35 million years ever since the area was struck by a meteor. On the right is upstart challenger Bay Creek South, formerly managed by Dickie Foster, who dared to build a golf course mere feet from the Bay. Now under the control of Keyser/Sinclair, Bay Creek enjoys the advantage of modern technology and deep pockets, while the Chesapeake Bay relies only on wind, waves, and time.

Who will be the victor? Odds are that Bay Creek will win the first several rounds, thanks to a rock wall being constructed just west of the golf cart path. But before the battle is over, the Chesapeake Bay can be expected to combine forces with the elements to deliver a knock-out punch —  just as the Bay did with Hurricane Sandy less than three years ago.

REVIEW: Cape Charles in the Good Old Days


Pat Parsons lived in Cape Charles from 1940-1960 and reveals warts and all before the town was considered “quaint.” (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

June 8, 2015

Roberta Romeo hears a lot of idle chatter among her customers at the Cape Charles Coffee House, but thanks to a chance comment last year, the town has a new, entertaining, reminiscence of the good old days — specifically, the decades just before Cape Charles entered a long downward spiral.

Portrait of a Town: Cape Charles, 1940-1960 is the title of a book by Patricia Joyce Parsons recalling the years she lived here. And while she rightly gets the credit for writing the book, Roberta Romeo gets the credit for encouraging her to do it.

As the Wave reported last September, during breakfast one morning at the Coffee House, Parsons mentioned to Romeo that she was writing vignettes of growing up in Cape Charles in order to share her memories with her grandchildren. At Romeo’s urging, Parsons read one of her stories to her. Recognizing a talented writer, Romeo immediately urged her to publish a book, and promised to sell the book at the Coffee House.

Now the book has been published, and appropriately enough, Parsons will launch it at the Coffee House 5 p.m. Friday, June 12. It’s a chance to meet the author and get an autographed first edition. And there will surely be further printings, as the book promises to be a staple in gift shops on the Shore for years to come.

That’s because Parsons is no public relations hack — she portrays the town for what it was, warts and all. And that makes her book interesting, even fascinating, for those with a love for the Eastern Shore.

Anyone who grew up reading Laura Ingall Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series will especially enjoy Parsons’ book, because while the locale is far removed from the prairie, the fresh, honest, easy-reading evokes Wilder’s style. Parsons tells it as she remembers it, and she has a gift for honing in on the interesting and skipping the mundane. [Read more…]


A Visit to the Upshurs’ Copper Cricket Farm

Late June basket from Copper Cricket Farm. (Photos: Karen Gay)

Late June basket from Copper Cricket Farm. (Photos: Karen Gay)

Cape Charles Wave

June 8, 2015

Small sustainable farms are on the rise in America and even on the Eastern Shore. Every time I go visit a new farm on the Shore the farmers point me to yet another farm I haven’t heard about.  As part of my Weston A. Price Chapter Leader responsibilities I have compiled a list of great places to get fresh, local and often organic food. As this list is growing, my goal is to visit each farm or market on the list so that I can explain to readers the hallmarks of each one. I will be happy to email the resource list to you ([email protected]) or you can pick one up at the Tall Ships Festival where I will have a Weston A. Price booth.

Surprisingly, I have found that some of the farmers I’ve visited have started their farms in mid-life. This is the case with the farmers of Copper Cricket Farm, Carol and Arthur “Cricket” Upshur. Cricket was raised on the Shore and graduated from Broadwater Academy.  He met Carol in college and they raised their three children while moving frequently.  Cricket spent much of his career working at Groupe Danone, a large French food company.  It was probably their time in France that crystalized their views on good food and natural food products. [Read more…]


TEELING: Community Involvement Can Save Schools

Andy Teeling: “We need to show these kids that there are people out there that care about them.”

Cape Charles Wave

June 1, 2015

In the Steve Jobs authorized biography by Walter Isaacson, Jobs relates a story about growing up with his dad outside of Palo Alto. When building things, even something like a fence, his dad always emphasized that every aspect of the project be done right — not just the parts you can see, but also the parts that are hidden.

I thought of this as Andy Teeling was telling me about how he builds furniture and cabinetry. “I want the piece to be finished and professional, the quality should be the same, no matter which way you look at it. From the back, bottom, top, or if you open it up and look inside, it should all be just as polished as the part you see,” Teeling said.

This level of care, professionalism, and ethics says a lot about Teeling, and is one of the reasons that, if there is ever going to be any progress in Northampton — from business to industry to the sustainability of the county economy — it may just begin right here with Andy.

From Teeling’s perspective, ground zero for economic recovery is our schools, and it all starts with one simple question: “What can we, each of us, individuals and businesses, do for our schools?”

Teeling understands that the situation in Northampton is daunting. The school population is shrinking, a reflection of the overall contraction of the county population. With that comes a leaner tax base, leaving less and less available for our schools. “This is an all hands on deck situation,” said Teeling. “Unfortunately, the county is so divided. The zoning issues have divided us. We need both sides, and they are both right — the ones that want to protect the environment are right, but those that are more business friendly and want to see things grow and develop are also right.”

Teeling believes this division has created a logjam, with the kids and the County’s economic health stuck in the middle. Businesses and families won’t move here because of the perception that Northampton schools are subpar. “The contentiousness, the division needs to end. We all need something that we can focus on, to work together on, and that is the schools. Committing ourselves to improving the schools, by putting our attention on our future citizens, will be good for business, be good for the economy,” he said. [Read more…]


ALTERNATIVE TABLE: Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry SignBy KAREN GAY
Cape Charles Wave Columnist

June 1, 2015

Last spring while my friends were gorging on juicy, sweet strawberries I was supine on my zero-gravity recliner recovering from 35 years of sitting at a desk. This year, feeling much better, I determined to find that farm that everyone talked about but no one could quite explain exactly where it was. Asking one friend, I heard “Oh, it’s just a ways up 13.” Another friend looked at me blankly when I asked whether it was north or south of OBS Building Supply. Someone told me it was before you hit Exmore. “Well, is it before or after the Machipongo Trading Company?” She couldn’t say.

So on a sunny Saturday I set off north from Cape Charles to find these ephemeral strawberry fields where everyone in town went, but where no one could identify its location. Lo and behold, just a short distance north of Eastville the fields appeared just after Union Baptist Church. I swung right into Bell Lane and parked in the grassy lot to the side of the farm stand. As soon as I opened the car door I could tell there were strawberries nearby. The scent wafted over me as I approached the stand and then it only got better as Janice Giddens welcomed me with a huge smile and bright pink stained hands. She and two others had been in the back of the stand packing strawberries into quart containers. I bought two quarts and asked if I could interview her. She deftly pointed me out to the fields to question the boss who was in a red shirt. [Read more…]


Mason Avenue Parking — Then and Now


May 25, 2015

Angle parking on Mason Avenue is nothing new, as the penny postcard above demonstrates. Judging from the automobiles, the scene is pre-WWII.

It looks like there were no white or yellow lines back in that day — somehow, folks just figured out how to drive and park without them. And they all lined up front-ways to the curb.  Anyone parking backwards might have been suspected of DUI.

Pity the poor motorists of last century, bereft of the advances of modern society: no automatic transmission, no cell phone, no GPS — and no town or state official had yet decreed that reverse angle parking is far superior to the old fashioned way.