Oysters, Wine and Kayaking
Among the hushed fields of Pungo to the northern neck of Virginia, the Eastern region boasts exceptional vintages, the allure of pristine rivers, the bay and the ocean as well as what is known as “the birthplace of our nation.” With three of the first five U.S. presidents born here, you’ll discover national monuments, Historic Jamestowne, museums and plantations, one of which is home to the first Thanksgiving. Hike the nature trails, take a scenic driving tour, but more importantly, traverse the grape vines of award-winning wines found in this region.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay lies the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Known for its lush, natural beauty, the area is also home to some of the most succulent oysters. Stretching along seven regions, oysters take on the flavors of the bay. From salty sweetness to buttery sweet cream, the oysters of the Eastern Shore are as complex as a rich stew. Among the Virginia Oyster Trail, you’ll also find a love for the outdoors is embedded in the area’s culture. Combining lighthouses, natural area preserves and state parks, the shore is home to a number of secluded beach towns unlike any other.
Where To Dine
The Oyster Farm at King’s Creek: When your oysters were caught within an arm’s reach, you know you’re eating some of the freshest oysters in town. Sample from their raw bar menu or other selections of gourmet fare; then when you’re thirsty for a little less conventional of a libation, try one of their intriguing oyster martinis. 500 Marina Village Circle, Cape Charles. 757-331-8660.
Where To Wine
Chatham Vineyards: Situated on Historic Chatham Farm, find the family-owned vineyard, where French vinifera varietals are harvested into masterful wines. Though petite in size, the winery offers an exquisite selection of vintages including unoaked chardonnay, rosé, merlot, cabernet franc, vintner’s blend and late harvest red dessert wine to pair with your sweet treats. Take in the gentle breeze from Church Creek, and sip at your own pace. Chatham is open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., April through December and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays January–March. 9232 Chatham Rd., Machipongo. 757-678-5588.
Where To Stay
The Charlotte Hotel: An Eastern Shore gem, the boutique hotel is marked by emerald green doors and a quaint, artistic ambiance. Meet elegance in every room offering handmade furniture, luxury linens and Egyptian cotton towels, among other luxe amenities. Depart from your room to dine at their restaurant, and then peruse The Next Door Gallery featuring watercolor pieces by owner Charlotte Heath. 7 North St., Onancock. 757-787-7400.
Where To Play
Gaze upon migratory birds or spend a tranquil afternoon fishing at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Discover Assateague Island, where roaming wild ponies are commonplace. Kayak with Southeast Expeditions, or combine your love for the sport and fine wine in a Kayak Wine Tour. Head to the beach and cart around Cape Charles or play a round of golf at Bay Creek Resort. One thing’s for certain—you mustn’t miss a visit to Brown Dog Ice Cream for unique, heavenly flavors like coconut almond crunch and Italian cream.
Learn more at ESVATourism.org.
By Anne Leonard