The Bay Creek Way
Seclusion, seafood and simplicity - this Cape Charles resort offers a new way of life for the weekend
I crouched down on the pier behind Chatham Vineyards and dangled my legs off the edge, letting my feet bathe in the calm waters of Church Creek and dance around the occasional jellyfish. Two plastic cups filled with crisp, stainless steel-fermented chardonnay sat by my sideone for drinking and the other for dipping my freshly steamed clams into. David Burden, our kayak guide, told my husband and me that wine complements the bivalves much better than butter, and who were we to disagree? It became quite clear that afternoon that David was well-versed on the ways and waters of the Eastern Shore, and relaxing mid-way through our Southeast Expeditions Kayak Winery Tour along with some local seafood and vino was definitely the ideal introduction to our weekend in Cape Charles. Neither of us could argue with that.
It was still, beautiful and refreshingly simple, but most of all it was unbelievable that just a few hours prior we were battling traffic and chaos in downtown Norfolk. A new way of life awaited us for the next few days, and we were more than ready for the much slower pace. Its true that we could have stayed on that carefree pier for much longer maybe forever as long as the clams and wine were plentifulbut a late afternoon cloud threatened, and it was time for us to paddle back to shore. As much as we hated to leave, we were also very eager to get back and explore the amazing accommodations and gorgeous grounds of our weekend playgroundBay Creek Resort.
There are few places I have visited where I also imagine that I would be content living, and Bay Creek is one of them. For me, the biggest draw is the feeling of seclusion that typically only comes when you are situated in the middle of nowhere. But this little slice of stressfree heaven is actually a mere 10 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and another 30 minutes from Southside Hampton Roads.
The marina and golf resort community sits on the Chesapeake Bay and encompasses 1,729 acres near the southwestern tip of Virginias Eastern Shore in Cape Charles. Owning a house here for year-round enjoyment or the weekends alone is certainly a possibility (real estate ranges from waterfront and golf-view home sites to custom townhomes), but not as many people realize that the resort also offers plenty of high-end accommodation options for both long vacations and quick getaways.
Visitors can choose from golf condos, golf district homes and marina district homes, suites and villas. We stayed in one of the brand new Island Villas, a wonderfully-furnished, two-story house with views of the Chesapeake Bay and just steps from the marina, shops, pool and Aqua Restaurant.
We spent ample time exploring and enjoying our surroundings during our first full day at Bay Creek and becoming even more accustomed to life on the Shore. We met jovial Johnny Wise, manager of the 123-slip Bay Creek Marina, who gave us a tour of the district by both boat and golf cart (a popular way to get around the property) before meandering around the shops and brightly colored buildings (a.k.a. jelly bean houses) of Marina Village.
Next up, beach time. More than two miles of private and practically empty (oh yes!) sand begged for a picnic, so we picked up lunch to go from Coach House Tavern, a pub-like dining option with lighter fare in the golfdistrict, and had at it. Grilled tuna sandwiches at the base of the propertys replica 19th-century Chesapeake Bay lighthouse provided another opportunity to drink in the aweinspiring views and tranquil scenery.
Thankfully, we saved room for dinner that evening at Aquamore fresh seafood, of coursethe resorts signature restaurant. The sun set outside our table by the window as we shared Thai Fried Shrimp with sweet chili sauce, lime and cilantro and a nightly special seafood bake with jumbo lump crab and lobster.
The following morning we headed to check out the propertys two award winning golf optionsthe Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. Bay Creek offers Play and Stay packages including accommodations in the golf condos and a round of golf on each course. And even if you dont play, its hard not to appreciate the meticulously manicured landscaping that surrounds the holes, including lakes, creeks, and abundant trees and plant life.
The horticultural detail is not surprising as the visionary for Bay Creek, Virginia Beachs Dick Foster, is more of a gardener than a golfer.
We ended our Eastern Shore weekend in historic Cape Charles proper, the 7-block by 7-block town right outside the resort. The main street, Mason Avenue, includes an adorable assortment of restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, a restored theater and even a new day spa. What you wont find are traffic jams, stop lights … orstrangers. As we people watched and window shopped, we couldn't help but notice that this was actually a place where everyone knows your name. People look out for each others children, talk face to face and congregate at the Cape Charles Coffee House for home-cooked breakfasts. Yes, its really different here. Time spent at Bay Creek and Cape Charles means being a part of a true community, whether its for the weekend or a lifetime.
For more information on Bay Creek Resort, including vacation rental options, visit www.BayCreekResort.com.