70 Miles of Delicious Discoveries
Gastronomic Getaways On Virginia’s Eastern Shore
There is good reason the ancient adage combines eat, drink … and be merry. Flavorful feasts and choice libations are the ingredients for a festive event.
A farming and aquaculture mecca, the Eastern Shore is a bounty of tide and terra firma, a great place for authentic and delicious culinary events. Travel this rural peninsula, and savor the tang of delectable oysters and prized local wines. Cool off under an August sun sampling craft beers, or heat up a fall chill with homemade island chowder.
Below is just a forkful of the many foodie offerings. For more visit www.esoartscenter.org.
Aug. 1: 4 to 10 p.m., Aug. 2: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Aug. 3: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You are invited to a 3-day party saluting the Shore as a top producer of clams nationwide. Get your fill of these and other local seafood—there’s even a Steamed Clam Eating Contest—along with the annual Smith Island Skiff Races, Boat Docking Contest, live music, fireworks and more.
Ticket prices vary from $5 to $15 depending on the day. Friday and Saturday children 10 and under free. Pre-event discounts available.
Held at the Cape Charles Town Harbor. For tickets and more information:
Eastern Shore’s Own Craft Beer & Music Fest
Aug. 9: 3 to 9 p.m.
Low key and local allows you to kick back and relish 30 regional microbrews along with Shore seafood and barbecue. Ticket includes souvenir sampling cup, 10 4 oz. pours, and Country, Blues, Rock and Roots band Bird Dog and the Road Kings.
Advance tickets $20 and $10 for Designated Drivers; At event $27 and $10 for DD. Held on the ESO Arts Center grounds, Belle Haven. Online tickets and more information for Eastern Shore's Own Craft Beer & Music Fest are available at www.esoarts.org/events.html, 757-442-3226
15th Annual Chili Chowder Cook-off
Sept. 27: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fall on Chincoteague Island is both beautiful and tasty thanks to the annual showdown of the region’s chili and chowder cooks. The fun day on the waterfront also includes a classic car show, live entertainment and Little Mr. Hotstuff and Little Miss Hotstuff pageant.
Held at the Chincoteague Island Carnival Grounds. For more information visit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, www.cvfc3.com, 757- 336-3138
2nd Annual Progressive Porch Party
Oct. 11: 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The postcard perfect town of Onancock combines its pretty porches and great bistros for a unique event. Stroll to five sites and savor hors d’oeuvres from town restaurants, and sip Shore wines and adventurous drinks. Share in local history too.
Held in Onancock. Tickets $35; $30 each for groups of 6 or more. For more information contact the Onancock Business and Civic Association: OBCA23417@gmail.com, 757-302-0388
TRIO OF OYSTER CELEBRATIONS
Oysters in a champagne setting just don’t compare to inhaling them with a salty breeze. That’s how they roll on the Shore. Thanks to a plentitude of oyster farms, this celebrated bivalve is the delicious focus of numerous events. Here is a sampling.
42nd Annual Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival
Oct. 11: Noon to 4 p.m.
Island oysters, aka Chincoteague Salts, have tempted taste buds for centuries. This legendary jamboree pays tribute with oysters prepared in every conceivable way alongside clam and crab dishes. Attendees get in the spirit decorating their space and vying for the “Best Place/Space Award.” Live entertainment.
Held at Tom’s Cove Campground, Chincoteague. Advance tickets highly recommended. $40, children under 5 free. For online tickets and more information visit www.chincoteaguechamber.com
Merroir & Terroir: Oyster Extravaganza
Nov. 8: 5 p.m.
Get ready for memorable oyster encounters. Guests partake in a tasting of chardonnay at the award-winning Chatham Vineyards along with heirloom oysters raised in a variety of locations in the surrounding waterways. As wines express their terroir, their specificity of place, so too do oysters reflect their environment. The fun is in finding the subtle differences in flavor. Ticket price includes a glass of wine, raw bar tasting of all oysters, and unlimited roasted oysters, steamed clams and clam chowder.
Held at Chatham Vineyards, Machipongo. Tickets: $45; $15 for children 12 and under. For online tickets, visit www.chathamvineyards.net/events.php or call 757-678-5588. When ordering event tickets, select “Pickup at Winery” as the delivery method, and tickets will be held for you.
17th Annual Cape Charles Oyster Roast
Nov. 29: 5 to 9 p.m.
Rescuing you from turkey leftovers, this annual post Thanksgiving Day event embodies the laidback tradition of Shore oyster roasts. All night locals cook up a “mess of oysters” roasted over the fire and served under the tent, as watermen shuck raw oysters while they last. Landlubber foods are also available. Along with oyster nirvana, live music and fellowship are the order of the evening.
Held at the Cape Charles Museum, Cape Charles. Limited tickets. $35 for adults; $10 for children 7–12. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 757-331-1008.