January/February Soundings

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The Official Newsletter of Bay Creek, Cape Charles, Virginia

In This Issue: Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods

January/February 2021 | Issue 9


Real Estate Update Making Winter Warmer for All Winter Coat Drive Explore Nature’s Beauty at Bay Creek Setting Out Along New Trails Nature Corner: with Bay Creek Naturalist Joe Fehrer Spotlight Event: Historic Garden Week Local Spotlight: Cape Charles Brewing Company

Bay Creek Soundings is published regularly by Bay Creek. Drop us a line at info@BayCreekLife.com or call toll free 844.620.2900 Or you can always see us at BayCreekLife.com

another beautiful Spring Taking our cues from nature, our community is blooming with new, lovely things. Bobby Masters, General Manager of Bay Creek, shares a few of the latest developments. “In the upcoming months, Bay Creek residents and guests will be enjoying expanded hospitality programs,” says Bobby. “We’ll be expanding food and beverage service to the Life Center pool area and the beach. We’ll also be adding service to another of our beach coves so more folks can enjoy it.” This will be in addition to offering seasonal umbrella and chair service at the beach, which was very popular last year.

Soundings ...continued from cover

And while relaxing on the beach here is unmatched, getting out and active in nature is just as irresistible. “We will be adding kayak launching stations in several locations. And we’re offering more opportunities to enjoy the Nature Preserve,” Bobby says. “Hands-on activities, guided walks and programs with our Naturalist, Joe Fehrer…it’s there and we want to make it easy for people to enjoy it,” he adds. Bay Creek will also be adding more vacation units for guests to enjoy. “We want to make it even easier for guests to come and stay, enjoy long weekends and vacations with family. This is how many Bay Creek residents were first introduced to our community and we’re dedicated to making that experience worldclass,” says Bobby.

“We are always looking to preserve and to improve, too,” Bobby says. “During the off season, our golf maintenance crew has been busy maintaining our golf courses. Even now, they continue to optimize drainage and improve bunkers.” The Life Center is a key focus, as well. “We’re looking forward to the upcoming renovation and refurbishment at the Life Center—new furnishings, new plantings, and more,” Bobby explains. This newly refreshed environment will be accompanied by more fitness classes. New offerings like nutritional training are in the planning stages, too. “We’re also very excited about a grassroots effort to expand member and owner clubs,” says Bobby. “We’ll be assisting folks in organizing common interest clubs like tennis, biking…” he says. “A

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walking and running club is in the early stages now.” Meghan Neville, Director of Concierge Services at Bay Creek Resort & Club, is helping make these ideas a reality. “The Stewardship Club is in place now and has been very rewarding for everyone involved,” Bobby explains. “These clubs will be by the owners and for the owners, and we’re dedicated to helping in any way we can.” - Your Bay Creek Team



at Bay Creek

We are pleased to introduce you to The Mason, an elegant new home from the Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods Collection.

Artist’s conceptual illustration. Subject to change.

The Mason was designed to enhance your Bay Creek lifestyle, offering a lovely balance of both simple and luxurious architectural delights. Arriving at The Mason, guests are greeted with a grand yet approachable front facade. The home is anchored by a welcoming front porch and crowned by a second level porch that spans the full width of the home. Entering the substantial front door, guests will find themselves in a living and dining space tailor made for gatherings. Just

beyond, a well-proportioned breakfast room and kitchen offers ample space for a big weekend brunch with family. Tucked neatly at the rear of the home’s first level is the master bedroom that has all of the daily luxuries you expect: a large walk in closet, and lovely master bath with both a soaking tub and shower. The master suite also offers an unexpected delight–a door opening onto a large sleeping porch. Enjoy an afternoon nap or an evening celebration in the fresh Bay air on this screened and sheltered haven. Upstairs, The Mason is custom designed for maximum livability. A shared loft area and three upstairs bedrooms each with a full bath mean your family and guests will have a spacious getaway of their own. The two front

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bedrooms open onto the covered porch and are graced with ample windows to let in the Eastern Shore breeze. An elegant extra with The Mason: one of the upstairs bedrooms is as large as the master suite. It is, in fact, its own suite with vast closet space that leads to its full bath with both soaking tub and shower. The Mason is a beautiful marriage of stately classical Eastern Shore architecture and approachable, coastal style, inside and out. To learn more about this and other exceptional homes from the Preserve Homes Collection, contact us at 844-620-2900.

Learn More HERE >

Artist’s conceptual illustration. Subject to change.

Bay Creek Welcomes New Executive Chef, Jason VanMarter! Preserve Communities and Bay Creek are pleased to welcome our new executive chef, Jason VanMarter to the Bay Creek team. Jason is known for his fresh, innovative cooking style, and will bring his trademark energy and expertise to the Coach House Tavern. His love of ‘local’ dovetails perfectly with Bay Creek’s commitment to local sourcing whenever available. We welcome Jason to the Bay Creek family!


Real Estate UPDATE

2020 was a challenging year for all of us. The Preserve Communities team is so appreciative of the way everyone at Bay Creek came together to support each other and to grow the wonderful sense of community we have here. It was truly inspirational to see how both individuals and newly formed committees contributed to the spirit of giving and doing that makes Bay Creek and the Eastern Shore so special.

Clearly others saw this as well, as our incredible in-house professional Sales Team posted its best performance in well over a decade, accounting for a record 127 transactions at Bay Creek in 2020! In total, our team was involved in the purchase of 78 homesites along with 49 homes for a total volume of nearly forty million dollars! Bay Creek has not seen this kind of activity since the mid-2000s, and it certainly sets the table for us to continue to welcome new families and enhance the lifestyle of this very special place. One contributor to the success in 2020 was our comprehensive and highly targeted marketing effort. Primarily focused on digital and print advertising, Bay Creek generated a huge number of requests for information as demand for second homes and retirement homes in “drive-to” destinations surged across the country. According to John Burns, a well-known real estate consultant who tracks buying behavior in master-

planned amenity communities, this emerging new trend is driven by people who are now, top of mind, thinking about investing in their families and looking to get away from large cities in search of a safe refuge for the future. And rather than the traditional second-home escape of ‘weekends only,’ heavily amenitized lifestyle communities like Bay Creek that are located within four to six hours of major metropolitan areas are seeing families looking for places where they can spend a majority of their time, particularly given how adept business executives have become at working remotely. Bay Creek’s marketing and public relations initiatives in 2020 were a tremendous success, as the community benefited from a significant media boost to generate awareness after a period of scaled-back active marketing for many years before Preserve Communities’ acquisition in late 2019. This past year, Bay Creek generated nearly

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The leading markets last year for Bay Creek inquiries and sales were Richmond, Hampton Roads, Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia, and New York/New Jersey. These markets are within a one to six-hour drive time and allow owners the flexibility to travel easily between their residences. The size and affluence of these markets, particularly in the Washington, DC and New York/ New Jersey metros, coupled with their proximity to the Eastern Shore, give Bay Creek a distinct advantage over the more traditional second home and retirement markets of the Outer Banks and the lower North Carolina coast down to Savannah. Looking forward to 2021, Preserve Communities has exciting plans to release both new home and new homesite inventory to keep our fantastic momentum going strong.

5,000 new inquiries, the most ever in a single year. This was accomplished through a multifaceted campaign that included: • A re-designed Bay Creek website (www.BayCreekLife.com) • Billboards on the Highway 13 corridor • Real Estate websites like ideal-LIVING.com and PrivateCommunities.com • ideal-LIVING trade shows, where Bay Creek participated as an exhibitor and met face-to face with prospective buyers in Stamford, CT, Bridgewater, NJ, and Washington, DC • Rocket Science Integrated Digital, which uses a sophisticated formula that tracks buying behaviors online and delivers advertisements through Facebook and other social media channels • Google AdWords, where keywords strategically chosen lead to Bay Creek gaining more prominence in online searches by prospective buyers

Rocket Science Integrated Digital

New Homes from the $400s


Models Open Daily BayCreek_DirectionalOutdoor_40x12_Lifestyle_062220_FINAL.indd 1

6 Miles then Left on Stone Road Outdoor Billboards

ideal-LIVING Virtual Trade Show

6/22/20 9:26 AM


Real Estate UPDATE continued Palmer Lake Villas After a quick sell-out of the first twelve Villas, the Phase II release is going strong as well, with seven of the twelve Villas now spoken for. There are still fantastic locations remaining on the green and Palmer Lake, but based on the pace of sales, this opportunity will likely be gone by spring.

Artist’s conceptual illustration. Subject to change.

Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods Preserve Homes & Neighborhoods (PHN), the building arm of Preserve Communities, will soon break ground on a model home near the Life Center in Bayside Village. This exciting new home will be crafted to exacting standards and will demonstrate to families not interested in the traditional design/build process how to enjoy an “express lane” to the Bay Creek lifestyle! In all, twenty fully customizable homes have been created by PHN, where a family can choose their homesite, choose their plan, and start building their dream home within a seamless and easy process, including very attractive construction and permanent financing options.

Learn More HERE >

Artist’s conceptual illustration. Subject to change.

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New Homesites A new village will soon come to life along the fairways of the Nicklaus golf course. This village will offer an array of homesite options and locations, including wooded interiors, tranquil pond settings, magnificent golf and water views, and some of the most spectacular property ever offered at Bay Creek – The Bluffs. The Bluffs will be a rare collection of 19 properties nestled along the 5th fairway of the Nicklaus course, with the beach and Chesapeake Bay in the background. These one-of-a-kind homesites will be offered through a special Reservation Program later this year, so contact the Bay Creek Discovery Center if you have an interest in learning more.

Nicklaus 5 Fairway and Green

Nicklaus 5 Bridge



Bay Creek residents have a lot of things in common with one another. Their love of the Eastern Shore is certainly one of them. Another is the love of giving back to the community they call home. This winter, they teamed up with Bay Creek developers, Preserve Communities, to answer the call for winter coat donations from the Northampton County Education Foundation (NCEF). The NCEF is a powerful ally in Northampton County, working to support the public schools for the benefit of its students and their families. “Our sole mission is to engage the community to support our public schools,” says Liz Jones, Vice Chair of the NCEF.

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This winter, as an extension of the NCEF’s “Kids Closet” program, winter coats were collected for the many children in the county without. “Unfortunately, too many families in the county struggle to have adequate clothes to send their kids to school in,” explains Liz.

Jennifer is also the Executive Director of the James Fisher Memorial Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Preserve Communities. “We seek charitable partners who fit our mission,” says Jennifer. “Typically, these causes are related to supporting the schools or combatting hunger.”

The Kids Closet, housed at the high school, is a large collection of clothing, available to all students— whether they can’t afford school clothes or just need to borrow a dry sweatshirt

In the spring, the James Fisher Memorial Foundation matched Bay Creek residents’ donations, resulting in $22,000 for the Food Bank of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

“We understand that we’re only as strong as the people in the communities around us. All of our communities are wonderful, but we have found that the residents in our Virginia and North Carolina communities have such a heart for giving.” after a spill in the cafeteria. The Winter Coat Drive was the latest offshoot of this important and life-changing program. “A few weeks ago, we put out a call for winter coat donations,” says Liz. “Bay Creek and Preserve Communities responded in a huge way. It was incredible.”

Preserve Communities and the James Fisher Memorial Foundation answer the call.

“Bay Creek residents were so generous in their donations for the food bank,” says Jennifer. “For the next effort, we wanted to ask people to help by donating items instead of money.” The NCEF Winter Coat Drive was a perfect fit. Their efforts began with the James Fisher Memorial Foundation donating $5,000 to the Kids Closet. Then, they put out a call to Bay Creek residents. “We asked that they donate whatever they could for this coat drive,” Jennifer says. “It was a huge success. They were so generous. We’re not surprised, but we are so very grateful,” she adds.

Preserve Communities, developer of Bay Creek, was ready to help. “Preserve’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the people in the places we develop and in the surrounding communities,” “As developers, it’s part of our stewardship and goals to give back. We understand that we’re only says Jennifer Buntin, Vice President of Marketing as strong as the people in the communities around for Preserve Communities.


Making Winter Warmer continued

us. All of our communities are wonderful, but we “I think it started with a group email from Linda Buskey about a particular need at the high school.” have found that the residents in our Virginia and North Carolina communities have such a heart for Like Sandy, Linda is passionate about the needs giving,” says Jennifer. “People really care and get of the greater community. When there’s a need, involved here in a big way.” Linda, a Bay Creek resident and member of the in-house developer sales team, gets the word The residents of Bay Creek do, indeed, out to her fellow Bay Creekers—from a holiday share a passion for stewardship and event helping the schools to packing lunches charitable giving. and hygiene necessities for children when school closed for COVID-19, and more. Bay Creek resident, Sandy Baker, has lived here full time for the last year and a half. Prior to Linda and Sandy both see the willingness to help that, she and her family lived in Chesapeake and desire to give back among their neighbors. and came over for the weekends. Though all her “Bay Creek residents really do appreciate what children graduated before they moved away from we have here on the Eastern Shore,” says Sandy. Chesapeake, Sandy immediately got involved “We’re aware of our many blessings, and we know with the high school in Northampton County. what an incredible treasure this part of the state is.” “In Chesapeake, every PTA job there was to do, I did it… from the time my children were in “There’s also an appreciation for the families who kindergarten. I always thought, if not me, who?” have lived here all their lives. This county is their says Sandy. “Then we came here, and I saw the home, and we want to be good stewards of it,” need, as so many other residents have,” she says. Sandy adds. “For the families who struggle, we feel

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called to do anything we can to help bridge that gap and build community.” As for this latest endeavor to get coats to the kids who need them in Northampton County, it’s a testament to the power of collaboration. “Our community has been amazing,” says NCEF’s Liz Jones. “The residents of Bay Creek were tremendous. And this is by far the largest donation we’ve ever seen for the Kids Closet,” she says of the funds donated by Preserve Communities’ James Fisher Memorial Foundation.

“It allows us to purchase clothing for the kids who need it most. We’re fortunate that so many people want to give—not just items, but monetary donations, too,” says Liz. Donations to the Kids Closet via the NCEF are now tax-deductible. “We want to continue to get the community excited about supporting our public schools and also give them a direct way to do so. And we’re so grateful for the overwhelming support from the people who continue to support the children in our schools.”

To help with the needs of the Northampton County Education Foundation, visit their Facebook page and website below. Facebook: /NorthamptonCountyEducationFoundationNCEF/ Website: www.ncedufoundation.com/ Bay Creek wishes to thank the Northampton County Education Fund, Preserve Communities, the James Fisher Memorial Foundation, and all of the many Bay Creek residents and community members involved in making the Winter Coat Drive a success. It is truly an honor to be a part of this community of neighbors and friends here on the Eastern Shore.

About the James Fisher Memorial Foundation In 2018, Preserve Communities’ CEO and Founder Jack Fisher created the James Fisher Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization within Preserve Communities, to honor his son’s passions and further the company’s commitment to community. All funding and donations for land use go to organizations and causes that align with one or more of the company’s values: encouraging a healthy lifestyle, supporting emotional well-being, and creating and preserving green spaces. 100% of all donations made to the James Fisher Memorial Foundation go directly to those organizations and causes.



Explore Nature’ s Beauty at Bay Creek

SET OUT ALONG NEW TRAILS AND TAKE IN AMAZING VIEWS The Nature Preserve has grown naturally into its position as ‘the grand jewel’ of Bay Creek. It sits among stunningly beautiful waterways of the famed Eastern Shore, and it shares a home with the immaculately manicured fairways that have garnered awards and acclaim from across the nation. In some ways, it seems quite reserved in comparison. But one need only set out for a walk beneath its mysterious canopies and along it¬s winding paths to be greeted with the Nature Preserve’s rich rewards. There is a majesty among the thick brush, tall, twisted trees, and emerald mosses that tuck themselves among roots and rocks. And then there’s the ever-present chirp or rustle of wildlife.

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Making a place like this accessible is an art. There’s a delicate balance between access and ease of use and keeping nature natural. Preserve Communities has made a mission of maintaining this balance. And they are in good company—Avid Trails provides the trail and experiential expertise that responsibly and sustainably enhances the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes.

“When we walked out to the edge of the property and saw those views, we were amazed,” adds Justin, President of Avid Trails. As both a trail designer and construction manager for Avid Trails, he was immediately excited about the opportunity the location presented. “We’re grateful to be part of the team that’s opening up this incredible property for people to enjoy.”

We spoke with business partners Justin Lax and Jay Hoeschler of Avid Trails, and David Brannon, Executive Vice President, Land Planning, for Preserve Communities to find out more about the inspiration and methodology behind Bay Creek’s new trails and the latest progress. “In December, we were able to complete the first phase of new trail construction,” David says. “Avid Trails created the layout and did the construction of these amazing new trails.” There’s been a great deal of work out in the Nature Preserve, and all of it is exciting— especially the Shoreline Trail. “The Shoreline Trail has been our most anticipated new addition, and it certainly lived up to our hopes and expectations,” David says. “At just over 1.2 miles, the trail allows the user to get a mostly wooded walk along the edge of Plantation Creek, as well as some of its inlets. Trail goers will also get a spectacular view of the mouth of the Creek where it meets the Chesapeake Bay,” he explains. Justin and Jay of Avid Trails began envisioning these trails the moment they set foot on the property. “We’ve created trails all over the country…in the mountains of Utah, the arroyos of Texas…but this is different. A trail that runs along a waterfront like the Shoreline Trail is rare,” says Jay, Design Director of Avid Trails.

“The Shoreline Trail allows more people to enjoy these Chesapeake Bay views. That’s one of the benefits of returning this land to a conservation easement—it’s giving people access to views they would have never had,” says Justin. One of the special details about this trail is the presence of ‘information points’. “Along the route, there are a few large interpretive informational signs. They offer vignettes of information about the history of this incredible area,” David Brannon explains. Avid Trails was key in designing a signage package to enhance the trail experience. “One thing we’re passionate about is helping people experience nature in a way they never have before,” Jay says.


Explore Nature’ s Beauty continued anticipated trail. “We were also able to complete the Base Camp Loop trail. It’s a half-mile loop trail located near the parking area where Base Camp will be coming to life over the next couple of years,” shares David. The Nature Preserve is full of lovely places to explore, and the Base Camp Loop trail is perfect for a quick stroll. It winds through the woods and makes connections to the Shoreline Trail as well as the Duck Pond Trail. “We’re pleased with all the options and variety,” David says of the trails. “The Duck Pond Trail is a short spur trail that leads to what I’d call a ‘hidden gem’ nestled in the Nature Preserve— a duck sanctuary.”

Trail goers will enjoy an attractive and user-friendly signage system. It’s color-coded, so it’s easy to see and navigate. “The way they’ve designed it and placed this throughout the Preserve is ideal, and it’s easy to use for people of all ages,” offers David. Those who explore the trail can enjoy learning about the wildlife and bird species that reside here on the Eastern Shore, along with interesting facts about the aquaculture that exists mere feet off the shoreline. The Shoreline Trail isn’t the only route now complete— it’s joined by another much

Prior to this trail, the duck sanctuary had been hidden from view and access. Now because of well-placed trails and careful planning, visitors can see this unique spot without disturbing Bay Creek’s native waterfowl. The entire trail system was designed for opportunities like this, providing access without disrupting what makes the Nature Preserve special. In an area like Bay Creek’s Nature Preserve, that can be big yet delicate work. “We carefully work through the understory and tangle that grows in natural areas and transform it into a corridor that people can really enjoy,” says Justin of their nature-sensitive trail construction.

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Much has been done in the Nature Preserve, and work continues as Bay Creek finishes out the winter season. Over the winter and into early spring, Preserve Communities will be adding some crushed stone to the Duck Pond Trail, the Meadow Trail, and a few other connector trails—for a better user experience and increased trail stability. The team will also be adding golf cart parking in strategic locations to allow residents to drive their carts to key waypoints, then disembark and explore the walking trails on foot. Preserve Communities recognizes the benefit of a place like the Nature Preserve for residents’ health and well-being. In appreciation of that, there are plans in the works to continue to enhance this special resource. Trail guests will enjoy the use of new bike racks, comfortable benches, trash receptacles and picnic tables at various points along this scenic network of trails. One of the best parts of these new trails is their natural fit with who and what Bay Creek is. These trails invite explorers to see and feel this spectacularly beautiful piece of earth. And they do so gently, so as not to take away from the wonder of the place. It’s an important part of the Nature Preserve and the spirit with which it was set aside for: conservation. Preserve. Enhance. Restore. “The best part about a truly

well-built trail is it seems like it’s always been there,” says Jay of Avid Trails.

“We are getting overwhelmingly positive feedback so far on the trail network,” says Preserve Communities’ David Brannon. “It is the hope of our team that everyone has an opportunity to get outside, connect with nature, and explore the wonders that the Bay Creek Nature Preserve has to offer.” Now, as winter prepares to make way for spring, new shoots and buds will join these newly created trails and enhancements. The Nature Preserve is truly coming to life—enjoy!

Trail Details continued on the following page.


Explore Nature’ s Beauty continued

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Bay Creek Pkwy




Bay Creek Pkwy to Downtown




Bayside Dr




Big Preserve Loop




Club House Connection




Little Preserve Loop




Nicklaus Dr




Palmer Dr




Plantation Pointe Pond




Preserve Connector




Purnell Pond Trail




That Dam Trail




Base Camp Loop




Duck Pond Trail




Inlet View Spur




Meadow Trail




Northern Nature Trail




Shoreline Trail




Spartina Spur




Basecamp Dr







With Bay Creek Naturalist JOE FEHRER

As winter begins to wane and we start thinking of spring, Bay Creek invites residents and guests to celebrate the season you’re in right now and join Joe on one of his upcoming nature outings. The passing of seasons is an interesting phenomenon. There are the classic tales when it comes to nature — a winter landscape will begin to give way to the impatient and optimistic beginnings of spring. Joe Fehrer’s life as a naturalist has trained him to recognize the signs of the seasons within our incredibly beautiful Eastern Shore landscape. We all know the thrill of seeing winter begin to give way to spring. But one of Joe’s gifts is showing us how to embrace each current season. Recently, on a perfectly clear winter night, Joe led a group of neighbors on a Full Moon Walk through the

Bay Creek Nature Preserve. It exceeded all expectations. “The moon was bright and full, and the walk through the Preserve was incredible. We were able to gather in the moonlight, explore and talk about the things we were finding and seeing as we walked along the trail,” says Joe. It was a good gathering of people who were eager to get out and see the nature around them. And best, the ‘crowd’ wasn’t crowded at all. The great outdoors allowed everyone ample room to have their own space and focus only on the magnificence around them.

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As new trails have been added to the Preserve, there are even more natural avenues to explore, day or night. “The new trails…they’re wonderful,” says Joe. “I’m hearing from the folks who are out there walking and enjoying those trails—that’s been a phenomenal hit with Bay Creek residents.” The trails open new places for residents to walk or bike, but they’ve also opened new opportunities for Joe to help people fully embrace what the Nature Preserve has to offer. Joe, along with Meghan Neville, Director of Concierge Services, are planning many activities for the coming weeks and months. And in Joe’s trademark style, he’ll show folks how to appreciate the particular season we’re in at this very moment. One of the latest excursions is a Waterfowl Walk.

land and the surrounding area. “I’m hoping I can provide that and give them a real sense of place. When you live here for so long, you kind of take it for granted,” he explains. “But to see new folks in the community experience it for the first time, it’s incredible. I get the same feeling I had when I first introduced my children and grandchildren to some of these amazing places on the Eastern Shore.” “I see it in a new light, and I want those folks to see it and appreciate it the way I have,” says Joe. “It’s their community. This is their place, and I hope to provide meaningful context for what they’re seeing when they’re out exploring the Preserve.” “We’re fortunate to have Meghan along to take photos of our outings,” Joe says of the importance of archiving the experience for posterity. “We’re

“The Nature Preserve property is such an asset to the area, and these trails only enhance that.” “We’ll do several of these throughout the winter and heading into spring. There are many different species of waterfowl, wading and water birds using the Preserve right now,” says Joe. This walk allows Joe’s fellow explorers to learn more about the life and habits of the water birds they share their home with.

talking about putting a photography group together, too. As the Preserve continues to be restored to its natural state, I’d like to work with the photography club and establish photo points so we have a photographic record of the transition… of how these Preserve areas change over time,” explains Joe. “It’s citizen science.”

“The Nature Preserve property is such an asset to the area, and these trails only enhance that,” adds Joe. “I’m a botanist at heart but a generalist in practice; there are so many interesting plants, animals, and habitats we can observe and introduce people to in the preserve area.”

During one of the recent moon walks, Joe recalls, “It was a beautiful night. We were ending the walk, Plantation Creek was at my back, and the full moon was over my shoulder, and it just lit up this whole area. As a lifelong resident of the Shore, I want to introduce people to these things that I have found to be so special and provide such meaning for me.”

Joe believes it’s important that the people who live in Bay Creek learn the natural history of the




THIS SPRING, CELEBRATE THE GREAT OUTDOORS DURING HISTORIC GARDEN WEEK Who doesn’t love the peace and beauty of a garden? Here on the Eastern Shore, we’re fortunate to be part of the largest and oldest statewide Garden Tour in the country—Historic Garden Week, presented by the Garden Club of Virginia. Attracting visitors from all over the country, this feast for the senses is a showcase of our state’s diverse and stunningly beautiful landscape. This year’s tour, April 17-24th, marks the 88th year.

Statewide, over 100 private gardens will be open for guests. There will also be more than a thousand magnificent floral arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia volunteers. Historic Garden Week promises to “introduce you to the most beautiful private gardens in Virginia,” and it certainly delivers. Our own special place here on the Eastern Shore will be in full regalia on Saturday, April 24th.

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The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore will be presenting a 2021 tour that will be like none before. It’s a welcome return to a beloved tradition after last year’s tour, like so many other events, was cancelled. “This event has only been cancelled one other time, and that was during World War II,” says Nan Bennett, executive board member of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and Bay Creek resident. “This year, of course, will be a little different,” explains Nan. “We’re ‘celebrating the outdoors,’ focusing more on gardens and nature.” Tourgoers will enjoy five sites and two lovely private gardens of note—the famous Eyre Hall with its ancient trees and historical richness, and the garden of Nan and Steve Bennett, an intimate formal garden right here in Bay Creek. Bay Creek residents since 2005, the Bennetts’ were featured on the tour in 2008—the first Bay Creek home to ever be on the tour. “I’ve been going to the Garden Tour since I was 19,” says Nan. “It was a true honor to have my garden featured.” Since then, there have been five other Bay Creek homes to grace the tour. Just down the street from the Bennetts’ garden, Historic Garden Week on the Eastern Shore will offer a showcase of floral arrangements in the Bay Creek Life Center. The room will offer a tour of incredible displays in different styles, all created by Garden Club of the Eastern Shore members. “Here on the Eastern Shore, our members typically use flowers from their own gardens for arrangements. We are trying to use exclusively local flowers this year, too,” says Nan. The Garden Club was founded with a mission of restoration of important historic gardens. As the Club has grown, conservation is a focus, too.

Dovetailing perfectly with that, Bay Creek will be opening its vast Nature Preserve to Garden Tour guests. “Adding the Nature Preserve to this year’s tour is a beautiful fit,” says Nan. “The wildlife and nature on the Preserve is conservation on display, and I think it’s going to be quite a showcase. The Nature Preserve is as rich with history as it is nature,” Nan adds. “Plantation Creek is where Bacon’s rebellion ended.” Nan’s residence and garden occupy land that was home to Governor Tazewell’s plantation and William L. Scott’s Hollywood House. “You can still see those ruins,” she says. “I love that we live in a place with so much history.” Indeed, Bay Creek is a perfect fit for the Garden Tour of Virginia—as home to Eastern Shore history, as well as a conservation area that will be bursting with beauty come tour time in April. Other special Eastern Shore locations will be part of the Garden Tour, too, such as the always engaging, beautifully landscaped Barrier Islands Center. A full tour list will be available soon. “Even though this year has been quite different, it really is a very special tour. We all need to be outside enjoying nature,” smiles Nan.

GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE TOUR: HISTORIC GARDEN WEEK, EASTERN SHORE TOUR Saturday, April 24, 2021 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM All 2021 tour tickets must be purchased online in advance and are available here:





CAPE CHARLES BREWING COMPANY What do a professionally trained archaeologist, a retired law enforcement officer, and a savvy entrepreneur have in common? They’re all proprietors of one of Cape Charles’ best place to relax with a good beer—Cape Charles Brewing Company. They’re also family.

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Chris Marshall and his mother, Deborah, had enjoyed being a part of Cape Charles long before Cape Charles Brewing Company opened its doors in June of 2018. In the late 1990s, they were proprietors of ‘Delisheries,’ a cookie business on Mason Avenue. They enjoyed the work and loved the town. Eventually, after selling it to Clabbergirl Corporation, they were ready for another adventure. “I love the Eastern Shore, and I’ll never leave it,” says Chris, a Virginia Beach native. “What hooked me to this place was the Barrier Islands. My mother feels the same way—there’s something about the untouched beauty of the Eastern Shore. It is a pristine place. I always knew I wanted to stay at the beach.”

An Idea Comes to Life In 2015, in a passing conversation over lunch, Chris was telling his mother about how popular breweries were getting and how the Eastern Shore didn’t yet have one. “Cape Charles was getting more and more energy every year,” says Chris. “Opening a brewery seemed like a perfect fit, and my mom said, ‘yeah, I’d love to do that.’ We had our lunch, then we went on with our lives and didn’t really think of it again.” Four months later, Chris received an interesting phone call. His brother Mark, told him he would be retiring soon from his career in law enforcement, and had always wanted to open a brewery. That was Chris’ sign.

When Chris discovered the Eastern Shore—which wasn’t until after college (studying archaeology!) and long before visions of craft brews danced in his head—he fell in love with the place. “There’s nothing like it. It’s the only place where you have the country and the beach together. It’s a really unusual place,” Chris says. “After we sold the cookie business, there was no way I was going to move.” After marrying his college sweetheart, and having three daughters, Chris and his family put down permanent roots in Cape Charles. Chris’ mother, Deborah, who was in a state of what Chris calls ‘semiretirement,’ has always been an entrepreneur, enjoying running many businesses. Notably, she ran Sugar Plum Bakery in Virginia Beach, a nonprofit that employs people with disabilities and trains them to work in the local community.

“I knew my brother Mark would be a great business partner. Everything he does, he does well,” says Chris. “And he had been into homebrewing forever,” he adds.



SPOTLIGHT continued

As for the location of their new endeavor, it took some time to find the right place. “There were a lot of places being bought and renovated in Cape Charles. But we couldn’t find that perfect spot.” When they saw the Old Reliable building was coming up for auction, they made their move. “It’s right there—you can’t miss it when you’re coming into Cape Charles, and it has this nice outdoor space.” While their location is nothing short of awesome, you don’t have to be onsite to enjoy one of their beers. Cape Charles Brewing Company craft brews can be enjoyed in just about every restaurant that has a tap from here all the way to Chincoteague.

we placed a bid and darn if we didn’t win the thing!” Chris laughs. The next morning, he headed 12 hours south to Birmingham, Alabama, in a UHaul to pick it up. They had never operated a canning line before but “we figured it out,” he remarks. “We had to!” They started canning in 2019 and are now in Food Lion, Shore Stops, and Royal Farms on the Eastern Shore. Hoffman, the AnheuserBusch distributor for Hampton Roads, distributes Cape Charles Brewing beers in restaurants, bars, and retail stores, including Whole Foods stores, Total Wine, and Wegmans in Virginia Beach.

Changing the Game When the pandemic turned dining and going out upside down, Cape Charles Brewing Company’s three acres of green space around their facility turned out to be a fantastic benefit.

Now, the family is canning their own beer, too. As with quite a few things in their lives, it happened when the Marshalls’ ‘jump in and figure it out’ attitude aligned with their penchant for seizing the moment, “We saw there was a canning line for sale on eBay, so

“It was a struggle at first with things closing down. “We’re thinking, how are we going to survive this situation?” Chris says. “The best thing we did was buy all the picnic tables that Home Depot and Lowes had,” he laughs. Now their outdoor acreage is dotted with brightly painted tables (courtesy of Chris’s daughters’ artistic flair) where guests can go back to enjoying a good beer and the brewery’s amazing food.

January/February 2021 | Issue 9

They also moved from table service to pagers, added a dedicated employee whose job is sanitizing tables, menus, pagers, and implemented a list of requirements to ensure safety. “We opened two different ordering stations,” says Chris. “People can go wherever they like on the property and then when their pager goes off, they can come pick up their food. We wanted people to feel secure and know we’re doing everything we possibly can.” “We had a great summer. And honestly, we became more efficient,” he adds with his trademark optimism. Asked what he loves the most about the brewery business? “It’s the people—having a place where people can come to have a good time—good conversation, great beer and great food,” says Chris. “It’s nice to be a part of that.” “We get to help people make these nice memories,” says Chris. “We’ve had several people tell us this is where they first met. Then they got married...it’s great to be part of that.”

The brewery has had a spate of what some might call ‘good luck’. After a short conversation with Chris, it’s easy to see the family’s dedication and determination have made all the difference. But Chris is quick to credit the people who have helped them along the way. “We’ve been fortunate. Our brewery has been well received. We make really good beer. The location is great, and the support from the town of Cape Charles and the county has been huge.”



SPOTLIGHT continued

January/February 2021 | Issue 9

New Brews on the Horizon Those venturing out for a good time and tasty brew have a lot of options at Cape Charles Brewing Company, with more being added all the time. “We have our tried-and-true flagship beers that we produce all year round, and a lot of other new beers for people to try,” Chris says. Not one to stop at ‘good enough,’ or even ‘really great,’ Chris and his brother, Mark, are constantly experimenting. They have 18 beers on tap right now, and more are on the way. You never know what might serve as their next inspiration. “A few months ago, we got some of the wine barrels from Chatham Vineyards. They had a port wine that the vineyard had aged for two years, and we used those to produce our first barrel-aged beer,” explains Chris. “We put our Bayside Belgian Farmhouse Ale in the barrel and aged it for six months,” Chris says. Like so many of the Marshall family’s endeavors, it turned out really great. Recently, they were offered the opportunity to try aging in a Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel. “We’re doing a Chocolate Stout in that,” says Chris. “In another month and a half or so, it’ll be ready to go.”

As for what the future holds for Cape Charles Brewing Company, the possibilities really do seem endless. “When it comes to brewing beer, you’re creating something new every time,” says Chris. “You’re only limited by your imagination.” We can’t wait to have a taste of what they think of next.

GET THERE: 2198 Stone Rd Cape Charles, VA 23310 capecharlesbrewing.com (757) 695-3909

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