The Wild Shore Takes Flight

Access and Resources
By Laura Kammermeier
A community recipe board on Tangier Island
TAKE NOTICE: A community recipe board on Tangier Island (William Crabtree/courtesy, Virginia Tourism Corporation)

There are plenty of activities and charming nuances to discover on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, but many are waiting in the small towns and back bays along the coast. So be sure to get off the central highway to find them!

Ideas for Non-Birders (and for birders looking to take a break)
If you're into the outdoors, try kayaking, fishing, golfing, or boating. Take a peaceful sunset sail with world-class skippers Greg and Laura Lohse on the Serenity Schooner. Or try what I call the "Captain Barry Experience" with Captain Barry's Back Bay Cruises. His laid-back tours are hilarious and informative, and they rank especially high with the kids. Southeast Expeditions offers trips, classes, and gear rental for paddlers of all levels. And Broadwater Bay Eco-Tours provides custom trips that include themes such as fly-fishing, wine and cheese sunset cruises, and seaside clamming.

Enjoy history and culture? Take a walking tour of an historic harbor town or travel back in time at Tangier Island—a tiny bay island where native residents still tell tales in their sing-song Elizabethan twang.

For a relaxing afternoon, tour a boutique winery. While tasting a selection of whites at Chatham Vineyards, I watched an open semi-truck pull up to the fermentation room, connect a hose to a mature vat, and then feed empty wine bottles onto a conveyor belt. It was amazing how fast these bottles emerged from the mobile bottling operation filled, corked, and labeled. Other local vineyards of note include Holly Grove and Bloxom.

Where to Stay
The distance from Cape Charles to Chincoteague is 71 miles—a little over an hour—so you can easily lodge in one spot or hit a few different inns along your route. A bed and breakfast or boutique hotel would definitely complement your seaside experience, but hotels and resorts are also available. The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission has a good list of lodging options. Here are a few worth calling out:

Cape Charles House
Kellogg House Bed and Breakfast

Charlotte Hotel & Restaurant
Inn and Garden Cafe
Inn at Onancock

Channel Bass Inn
Island Manor House
Watson House

What to Eat
All of this fun can certainly work up an appetite. Check out one of these Eastern Shore grub hubs:

Great Machipongo Clam Shack: This fresh seafood is also available to ship across the country.
Sea Gull Pier Restaurant: The fried flounder sandwich is legendary!
Sting-Ray's: This is the iconic one-stop shop of the Eastern Shore.

Laura Kammermeier writes about bird watching and nature travel from her home in upstate, NY.

Published: 22 Aug 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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