Final yr whereas driving residence from a Virginia food & wine themed road trip, we determined to make a last-minute detour to Chatham Vineyards, Virginia’s only Eastern Shore vineyard earlier than heading residence. We additionally determined that we’d do some exploring on the way in which. Anytime we noticed an indication we felt like following, we did. Did it take for much longer to get residence? Sure. Did we uncover some fairly cool locations off the overwhelmed path that we most likely by no means would have identified about in any other case? Completely. That’s how we discovered just a little hidden gem known as Cape Charles.
Situated on the southern finish of Virginia’s Japanese Shore on the Chesapeake Bay aspect of the peninsula, Cape Charles is one in all America’s coziest little seashore cities. There are not any mysterious wild ponies here like in Chincoteague or any of the flashy or touristy boardwalks you may discover in Virginia Seaside. However what you will see here’s a charming and historic laid again small-town vibe with candy little retailers, nice meals, type individuals and a fantastic (and quiet) public Chesapeake Bay Seaside with free parking and calm, clear waters that you would be able to wade out dozens of yards from shore and nonetheless be waist-deep. Adjoining to the seashore is a fishing pier excellent for bringing in some recent catch or taking in of Cape Charles’s spectacular Chesapeake Bay sunsets. And also you positively can’t depart Cape Charles with out snapping just a few pics or selfies in entrance of their iconic “LOVE” signal sitting on the entrance of the pier, one in all 180 public “LOVE” artworks throughout Virginia.
And the phrase appears to be spreading about this candy little seaside retreat. Just lately voted one in all “America’s Happiest Seaside Cities,” by Coastal Dwelling in 2018, Cape Charles can be distinctive for having one of many largest concentrations of late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings on the East Coast. It has so many who the city has earned standing as a Historic District on the Virginia Landmarks Register in addition to on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations. Nature lovers will love the close by Kiptopeke State Park and the Japanese Shore Wildlife Refuge that are excellent for mountain climbing and birding, whereas golfers have their option to tee off at both a neighborhood Jack Niclaus or Arnold Palmer 18 gap golf programs that are the one two aspect by aspect programs designed by these golf icons on the identical property within the nation. Whereas golf isn’t essentially my factor, driving a golf cart across the streets right here is authorized and inspired, and that I can get behind.
Our first go to to Cape Charles was a brief cease on the seashore and pier and a stroll down the small downtown major road with plans to return this yr and we made it occur even with the potential of a hurricane storm surge on its manner. Fortunately all of the city skilled was some early morning wind and rain.
Right here’s what the place we ate, the place we stayed and what we did on our quick two-day journey again to Cape Charles.
The place To Keep in Cape Charles, VA
Resort Cape Charles
235 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
There are many beautiful B&Bs and trip leases in Cape Charles. However for the proper spot within the middle of downtown, but strolling distance to the seashore, we stayed on the Resort Cape Charles. One among solely two resorts on the town, this 101-year-old boutique resort with an unbeatable location seamlessly blends into the tapestry of Cape Charles’ enterprise district and the material of this very city. So seamlessly in truth that we drove previous it twice. Should you like historic buildings however you additionally just like the expertise of a contemporary resort, Resort Cape Charles delivers on each.
Just lately renovated, with no two rooms being precisely alike, the vibe right here is peaceable, mild, clear, trendy and comfy with classic accents, uncovered brick partitions and preserved unique architectural particulars that nod to the constructing’s wealthy historical past. The loos are attractive too! Should you actually like spacious lodging go for one in all their “lofts” with open flooring plans, uncovered brick, full kitchen, eating areas that actually outline the phrase spacious.
Whereas there are Keurig espresso makers within the rooms, we seemed ahead to heading right down to the foyer every morning for some scrumptious freshly brewed domestically roasted espresso of their Resort Cafe and Wine Bar. Additionally they provide company a light-weight complimentary breakfast, that includes natural, selfmade granola and a few mild fare and baked items for buy.
At evening we advocate unwinding on the third-floor veranda with attractive views of the city with a glass or bottle of wine from the resort’s personal listing. Should you’re on the town and wish to take a swim when the climate is heat, company could buy a day move for the Bay Creek Seaside Membership solely 2 miles from the Resort which has two outside swimming pools and a big health middle. On a day you simply wish to discover Cape Charles, just a few steps in any course from the resort entrance and there are nice locations to dine, store and galleries to browse.
A 5-minute stroll will land you at Cape Charles’s major attraction – the seashore and fishing pier. For individuals who love a motorbike trip, the resort has six cruisers out there for company on a primary come first serve foundation. However for one thing just a little further, the resort may even safe you a golf cart to get round city. Do you actually need to in case you have a automobile? Most likely not. But it surely’s THE approach to get round Cape Charles. And is it a blast? Completely. Whereas on the town I occur to see my cousin and her husband driving by on one getting back from the seashore as I used to be packing up the automobile to depart. It turned out they had been additionally staying on the Resort Cape Charles, two doorways down from us and we each had no concept. That’s the form of magical little moments that occur on the Resort Cape Charles.
CAPE CHARLES CANDY COMPANY
300 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Once you’re in Cape Charles and your candy tooth strikes, stroll over to the Cape Charles Sweet Firm positioned in one in all Cape Charles’s new group of outlets on Mason Ave. They’ve an eye-grabbing number of traditional and trendy sweet that can please any sugar addict. You’ll scoop your approach to sugar heaven with their number of gummies, jawbreakers, and saltwater taffy.
Don’t miss their freshly crafted fudge (samples inspired!) made with actual cream and butter that is available in an irresistible number of flavors like peanut butter chocolate, birthday cake, cookies, bourbon chocolate, maple walnut, rocky street and cookies, and cream. For some native taste infusion, their darkish chocolate caramel sea salt and salted caramel fudge are made utilizing sea salt harvested from Virginia’s Japanese Shore from the Barrier Island’s Salt Firm.
CAPE CHARLES DISTILLERY
222 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
With wealthy leathers, darkish woods and moody colours, Cape Charles Distillery is simply the kind of place you’d wish to cozy up inside whereas sipping artisan craft spirits. Cape Charles’ very personal speakeasy with proficient mixologists is not going to solely pour and educate you about what you’re about to sip but additionally whip up their very own signature cocktails made with distinctive substances, recent herbs and generally just a little fireplace. Plus, they’re positioned proper throughout from the road from Resort Cape Charles.
Cape Charles Distillery crafts their very own bourbon, whiskeys, moonshine, and vodka with domestically grown corn and grains with pristine Virginia mountain spring water. Should you strive any of their spirits and fall in love, make sure to deliver residence a bottle or two… or three.
The place to Eat in Cape Charles, VA
AMBROGIA CAFFÉ & ENOTECA
321 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
You most likely wouldn’t look forward to finding tremendous genuine, hand-crafted, farm to desk fashion Northern Italian in a small seashore city on the Japanese Shore of Virginia. However in Cape Charles, you may. At Ambrogia Caffe every thing right here that may be created from scratch is, and a love and keenness for nice meals is obvious in each chew. A brand new women-owned addition to Cape Charles, enterprise companions Cristina Carollo, an Italian born oceanographer turned chef from Milan and Maria Goerner, a Ukranian with 20 years expertise working within the New York restaurant scene, are serving up a few of the greatest meals on the shore of their classic stylish house. That features their very own selfmade focaccia, ciabatta and piadina breads for the paninis we devoured whereas visiting for lunch. We tried the mortadella (my favourite) with crescenza cheese and olive tapenade on selfmade ciabatta, the roasted eggplant, fontina and tomato tapenade on selfmade focaccia bread in addition to the piadina flatbread layered with thinly sliced prosciutto, taleggio cheese and a pepper relish for an ideal steadiness of flavors.
For dessert, we had their easy, but scrumptious selfmade tart with fig jam and a house-made tiramisu from Cristina’s household recipe that was so mild and scrumptious I couldn’t get sufficient. Ambrogia is open for lunch and dinner and likewise does a espresso and biscotti hour within the morning beginning at 10:30 with a few of the greatest espresso, doppio, cappuccino, and macchiato for miles made with an actual Italian espresso machine. Should you’re visiting simply be aware the menu can change on a dime relying on what’s recent, out there or relying on what Cristina and Maria really feel like whipping up. Simply the way in which they do in Italy.
33 Marina Rd, Cape Charles, VA 23310
For our second day in Cape Charles, the looming chance of a hurricane headed our manner brought about most of the companies and eating places to shutter for the day. So when lunch known as and we received phrase at our resort The Shanty was braving the storm and I didn’t must eat leftover pretzel bits and protein bars out of the underside of my bag we headed proper over. The Shanty in Cape Charles shouldn’t be truly a shanty however a contemporary restaurant and bar impressed by all these dockside shacks you’ve ever eaten at which have unbeatable water views and recent scrumptious seafood.
I reside for these sorts of locations and no I don’t care if the flooring are crooked and nothing’s been modified in ages. However in case you’re not into hole-in-the-wall sort of locations like me, don’t fear as a result of The Shanty is definitely very charming in a contemporary seaside – constructed to code form of manner. The menu right here is constructed round sustainable seafood, native substances, and acquainted dishes with inventive twists. We ordered their crispy conch fritters, creamy New England Clam Chowder harking back to a tacky potato soup with recent clams (delicious), and their Yucatan Type Tacos with shrimp. We loved each chew.
Voted one of many “High 25 Bars In The U.S.” by Males’s Journal, The Shanty has just a few several types of drink menus with martinis, crushes, margaritas, signature drinks, tropically impressed cocktails in addition to quite a lot of craft beers and wine. The Shanty is positioned simply south of Cape Charles’s major enterprise district on the opposite aspect of the railroad tracks within the Cape Charles city marina. By foot you may stroll over in case you’re downtown, I like to recommend punching it into your GPS if driving which is able to take you on a distinct route and is usually a bit complicated for a primary day trip of towner.
THE OYSTER FARM SEAFOOD EATERY AT KING’S CREEK
500 Marina Village Circle Cape Charles, VA 23310
If the considered consuming recent oysters, clams, and unimaginable seafood whereas overlooking the serene blue water cove the place these very oysters have grown sounds fairly superb, then The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery at Kings Creek must be a should in your Cape Charles to-do listing. Situated on a shocking 39-acre waterfront property full with a marina, occasion middle and luxurious villas for hire, The Oyster Farm Eatery is a big, ethereal and is a casually fashionable bayside seafood restaurant, uncooked bar and cocktail lounge decked out with an ornate bar and spectacular fish tanks. The cooks right here name the meals “water to desk,” and the costume code on their web site says it’s sandals to ties. Gotta love a shore city.
Only a couple minutes drive north of downtown, we headed to The Oyster Farm on our first evening in Cape Charles. On an precise oyster farm, you may’t depart with out making an attempt some oysters. It simply wouldn’t be proper. With some fantastic solutions from our tremendous pleasant waiter Mike, we settled on the Oysters Rockefeller to begin made with a home recipe of crispy bacon, kale as a substitute of the everyday spinach, a contact of cream and Parmesan. We had been floored at unbelievably juicy and flavorful they tasted. Whole rating. Mike additionally prompt we strive one in all their hottest appetizers, the Thai Shrimp Salad. An explosion of recent taste and texture, fried shrimp are tossed with bell peppers, cabbage, scallions and cilantro in a Thai chili sauce that’s salty, bitter, candy multi functional. Completely superb. For mains, we moved onto a crisp and creamy Caesar Salad topped with their very own crispy fried oysters and completely Seared Scallops served over creamy risotto.
To scrub it down we stayed native and paired it with Church Creek Chardonnay from Chatham Vineyards. For dessert, we dug right into a scrumptious creme brulee after which received able to roll again to the resort. All the things on the Oyster Farm was deliciously on level and I look ahead to returning return. The Oyster Farm Eatery has indoor and outside patio seating and in case you have the possibility, plan your go to forward so you may catch beautiful Chesapeake Bay sunsets. Nice views, nice meals, and nice service. What extra are you able to ask for?
BAKERY ON MASON
236 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Whereas the brick and mortar bakery positioned within the Strawberry Road Plaza Outlets on Mason Avenue is a latest addition to Cape Charles, proprietor Louise Orlando who runs the store along with her husband Andrew has been perfecting the artwork of bread making for years. And the love she places into her bread-making reveals. I first tasted Louise’s bread whereas visiting Chatham Vineyards final yr the place they serve her customized winery taste baked with their very own Church Creek Cabernet Franc, cranberries and walnuts which with their cheeseboard. That bread caught in my thoughts ever since. Again then Louise was baking out of her residence and promoting at farmer’s markets and native retailers. When the bread enterprise started taking on her residence that she realized she wanted a devoted house. Quick ahead to immediately and you’ve got the Bakery on Mason.
Not solely is every thing on the Bakery On Mason created from 100% scratch with easy substances, however each sourdough loaf right here is fermented with an Japanese Shore born wild yeast starter that Louise has lovingly cultivated and tended to for practically 10 years. The result’s a beautiful crumb with a satisfying chew and chewy crust. Should you’re searching for one thing on the candy aspect in addition they have pastries, muffins, scones and croissants which have one thing of a cult following. Wash all of it down with some freshly brewed domestically roasted espresso. Should you’re within the space and want lunch on the go, go for one in all their connoisseur sandwiches constructed on their mini French baguettes. Strive the Cape Charles – layered with thinly sliced Edwards nation ham, Parmesan-Asiago, recent and peppery arugula, and completed with their creamy home dressing that has a pleasant kick.
KELLY’S GINGERNUT PUB
133 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
There’s one thing fairly darn cool about consuming in a historic repurposed house. And with 16-foot tin ceilings, a bar crafted from domestically sourced 100-year-old yellow pine, and uncovered brick partitions, Kelly’s Gingernut Irish Pub positioned in a transformed circa 1907 financial institution constructing doesn’t disappoint. Oh, and did I point out you may even eat inside an previous financial institution vault. How cool is that?
With a deal with what’s recent and native and a menu that modifications seasonally, Kelly’s Gingernut serves up soul-warming Irish and American pub fare like burgers, steaks, native recent seafood, salads, an award-winning she-crab soup, together with craft beers and wine. And the meals right here didn’t disappoint after we stopped in for a late dinner by candlelight within the vault. We had their Goat Cheese Salad with blended greens, candied pecans, blueberries, strawberries, shallots, and crumbled Chevre cheese, native recent clams steamed in a white wine broth with bread for dipping and for some true Irish pub fare a Shepherd’s Pie made with native natural Virginia lamb and Licensed Angus Beef in a scrumptious pan sauce topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and Irish cheddar. We couldn’t move up dessert and ended a beautiful meal with their mild and ethereal Coconut Cake. Kelly’s Gingernut is open for lunch and dinner year-round and serves a hair of the canine brunch on Sundays. Outside seating is accessible when the climate permits and is dog-friendly!
Issues To Do In Cape Charles, VA
Hire a Golf Cart
CC RYDER RENTALS
415 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Wherever it’s completely acceptable and truly inspired to trip round in a golf cart is a spot I’m excited to be. And Cape Charles is a type of locations. Whereas downtown Cape Charles is well walkable, driving round in a golf cart is simply darn enjoyable and a good way to admire the gorgeous properties within the historic district, get round city and have a trip again from the seashore with out having to get buckets of sand in your automobile seat. It’s additionally simply plain enjoyable! Once you’re on the town pop over to CC Ryder Leases, a brief stroll from the seashore and downtown space. Should you want any suggestions concerning the space, check-in with Smitty the proprietor and he’ll steer you in the proper course. The charges are tremendous cheap and any time on a golf cart is an effective time.
Outlets Not To Miss in Cape Charles, VA
PEACH STREET BOOKS
401 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Seashores and nice books go collectively like the ocean and the sand. And in Cape Charles, you’ll discover fairly presumably the cutest, if not essentially the most distinctive ebook retailer on the east coast. Situated on the nook of Mason and Peach Road, Peach Road Books is one half ebook retailer and one half espresso store. Should you’re pondering a bookstore with espresso is nothing new you’d be proper. However this one’s positioned in a renovated storybook cottage wanting 1930’s Pure Oil Gasoline Station with a late 1950’s storage that’s hooked up and likewise restored, however with a contemporary vibe. Someway its whimsical structure works, and with over 500 new titles and over 10,000 gently used books, anybody on the seek for their subsequent nice learn can be of their glory. After you’ve grabbed all of the books you may deal with, seize a bagel, some baked items or snacks, a house-made smoothie or a cup of java made with native Japanese Shore Coastal Roasting Firm espresso. Chill exterior on their pooch-friendly patio for some R,R & R – relaxation, leisure and reads.
LIKE A SAILOR
219 Mason Ave, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Cape Charles has some nice boutiques in case you really feel extra within the temper for retail remedy than dipping your toes within the sand. When you’ve got a humorousness and love discovering distinctive and quirky items fairly than the everyday varieties of souvenirs you normally discover by the shore, then make sure to pop inside. There are all types of enjoyable issues inside from card and board video games to kitchen linens and candles with witty quotes and plenty of distinctive items. Should you’re simply offended (you already know who you’re) this might not be the shop for you. However in case you don’t take life too critically and love quirky witty issues that you just received’t discover wherever else, then breeze on in to Like A Sailor. The giggles are freed from cost.
PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO CAPE CHARLES, VA
Whereas the busiest season for any shore city is the hotter months, with occasions year-round like Christmas In Cape Charles and Oyster Roasts in November there’s no purpose to not go to all year long. Should you’d like to go to Cape Charles and would really like extra info to begin planning your journey, listed here are nice assets to plan the proper journey:
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