Thursday, December 30, 2010

Portsmouth New Years Eve Olde Towne Scottish Walk

On New Years Eve, the 13th annual Portsmouth Annual Olde Towne Scottish Walk will be held. The event will begin at 3:30 PM at the corner of Queen and Washington Streets. After the tuning of the pipes (about 4 PM) walk continues through Olde Towne to the foot of High Street.

A flag raising ceremony will honor George Washington's raising of the first flag "the Grand Union" on New Year's Day.

Other events include singing of Auld Lang Syne, a Lighted Boat Parade and music in local Portsmouth pubs.

Contact Susan Cocke for more information at 757-650-3052.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Shopping Online for Virginia Gifts

This week includes the final few days for shoppers to find Virginia-themed items online. Several online providers are offering special pricing for selected items and even reduced rates for 2 day shipping.

Shoppers that are searching for a suitable online gift can find t shirts, hats, cards and other items at a variety of print on demand gift shops.

The new North America online store features a Virginia gifts section, with new products being added daily.

Another online store with Virginia gifts is Outdoors USA online store. This store offers a large collection of Virginia logos and other unique gifts such as Chesapeake Bay T Shirts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hampton River Diesel Fuel Spill

On December 14th, approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Hampton River as Coast Guard crews and Hampton Fire Department responded to a leak at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina hotel.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. the Coast Guard was notified of a fuel leak at the hotel. Crews from the Hampton Fire Department responded on scene and deployed harbor boom to contain the leak.

Coast Guard investigators at the scene reported that approximately 900 gallons of diesel fuel was discharged onto the property surrounding the hotel with at least 100 gallons spilling into the Hampton River. The leak originated from an underground storage tank, which supplies the hotel’s emergency generator. The cause of the fuel spill is under investigation.

"The harbor boom was deployed to keep the spill from spreading into the adjacent waterway," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Yonker of the pollution investigations branch from Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. "The boom contained the majority of the diesel fuel spilled into the water."

source: USCG press release

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Wildlife Festival Coming to Tidewater Virginia

The Winter Wildlife Festival will be held January 28-30, 2011. A wide range of workshops and excursions offer something for everyone at the Winter Wildlife Festival.

The festival is presented the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Partners for the event include the Virginia Aquarium, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park, Lynnhaven River NOW, and the Virginia Audubon Society.

Registration runs from November 15 through January 21. Space is limited for the excursions and workshops, so register early to secure your spot! There is no cost to attend the festival, but some sessions and excursions do have a fee. You can register online, in person at any recreation center, or by using the mail in registration form.

For more information on the wide variety of programs and how to register, visit: or call 757-385-4461.

Visit these links for information about Virginia birdwatching and Virginia festivals.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Virginia Shellfish Farming Zones

In 2011, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission is expected to approve the creation of 15 new Aquaculture Opportunity Zones.

These zones will set aside more than 1,000 acres of prime state-owned water bottoms for the farming of shellfish in cages. The zones appear to be perfect for shellfish farming, also known as aquaculture.

The zones are located in the Rappahannock River, in the tributaries of Mobjack Bay, and around Tangier Island, and total 1,004.3 acres.

In the new aquaculture opportunity zones, the Commission will waive the normal costs to lease water bottoms for private oyster growing, including surveying, advertising, deed recording and the payment of annual rent. These costs typically range from $600 to $1,100.

A streamlined permitting process will eliminate time-consuming surveying and advertising requirements. A simple application will be required, spelling out how many shellfish cages are to be placed, and where and how they would be placed.

“We want people to take advantage of this exciting opportunity, especially commercial oystermen,” VMRC Fisheries Chief Jack Travelstead. “This is an incredible deal. Shellfish aquaculture is more dependable than going out and catching oysters, and reduces pressure on our wild stocks that have been suffering under the pressure of two oyster diseases. Also, we will continue to train commercial watermen in aquaculture as much as our budget allows.”

The new aquaculture zones will be divided up into a maximum of 5-acre blocks and assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis to any Virginian. A one-time application fee of $100 will be levied. Only Virginia residents may apply. Harvest reporting is mandatory. Other permits may be required.

Some annual fees apply for use of this valuable state-owned property in a for-profit venture, just as they do for privately leased water bottoms for shellfish farming. Only on-bottom cages will be permitted in the new aquaculture zones, marked by one buoy each. The cages cannot be placed near navigation channels or private piers without the consent of the property owners.

The Aquaculture Opportunity Zones are authorized under a bipartisan bill sponsored by Del. Albert Pollard that passed the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year and was signed into law by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

The Commission has scheduled a public hearing and a vote on the creation of the new zones at its Jan. 25, 2011 meeting.

source: VMRC press release

Friday, November 26, 2010

Free Weight 101

Beginning December 7, 2010  the Chincoteague Island Family YMCA will be offering Free weight 101 with Rick Hubb on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am- 10am. The price is $30 per month (class commitment required in 1 month increments). This course will offer the fundamentals of good old fashioned weight lifting using dumbells. Rick will provide education in proper form and techniques for individual success to Ages 17 and up. For more information or to sign up call 757 336-6266 or visit 6395 Maddox Blvd.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lynnhaven River NOW Oyster Shell Collection

Saving oyster and clam shells to be used for reef restoration is a great way for citizens of the Hampton Roads - Tidewater area to help rebuild the oyster population in the Lynnhaven River.

Two locations are available to drop off shells:

- The east parking lot of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center on General Booth Boulevard

 - In front of the Lynnhaven River NOW office at 1608 Pleasure House Road, Suite 108.

Lynnhaven River NOW is also available to collect shells from events and fundraisers. Please call the organization in advance and to obtain baskets for the shells and schedule a pick up after events.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Celtic Musicians Sansone and Hoag in Concert on Chincoteague Island

The Chincoteague Cultural Alliance presents Maggie Sansone and Andrea Hoag in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 20 in the Senior Center located on Church Street.

Maggie Sansone brings a unique beauty and vision to the ancient music of the Celts. Her albums ring with a Renaissance spirit, Celtic melodies, and a jazzy new crossover into what she calls "cool Celtic." It's a fusion of ancient sounds and modern sensibility, fueled by the innovative use of old and new instruments.  Sansone is known throughout the U.S. as a performer, producer and teacher of the hammered dulcimer. She has recorded nine albums including AFIM Indie winner, MIST AND STONE, and is author of eight music books.

Grammy Nominee, Andrea Hoag has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at festivals, colleges, and folk clubs across the U.S., Scandinavia, and the British Isles. Hoag is one of North America's foremost performers of traditional Swedish music, and is a highly respected fiddler in several American, English, and Celtic styles.  “Call it a fiddle, call it a violin— in [her] hands it is simply a marvelous string instrument that fits into myriad traditions and fuels many cross-cultural fusions,” wrote Richard Harrington of The Washington Post in a review of Andrea’s 1999
solo/collaborative CD, Fire & Water.

Tickets are $18 at the door, $15 for advance purchase. Student tickets are $5.  Advance tickets are available online at and at Egret Moon, H&H Pharmacy and Sundial Books. Seating is limited.  Advance Ticket purchase is recommended.

The Chincoteague Cultural Alliance is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed to enhance community life by fostering and promoting the growth and vitality of arts and culture on Chincoteague Island and Delmarva’s Eastern Shore.  The Alliance is the sponsor of the popular Second Saturdays Art Stroll on Chincoteague.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Virginia Wildlife Watching - Birds, Plants and More

During the cooler months of Autumn, walking and hiking is much easier and the bluebird skies of Autumn provide excellent backgrounds for photography. A simple wildlife sighting trip can provide hours of enjoyment, birding enthusiasts, nature lovers, and amateur photographers. In Virginia, there are forests, wildlife management areas, state parks, other areas where the public can view wildlife.

Virginia's woodlands, swamps and other habitats contain a wide variety plant life. Fall is an excellent time to explore these natural areas. Foliage can be spectacular along woodland trails. Oaks, maples, hickories and gums turn brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.

During a wildlife watching walk, visitors might see songbirds, hawks, eagles, herons, woodpeckers or other birds. Along the Atlantic Flyway, ducks, geese and shorebirds can often be spotted as woodlands meet rivers, streams or cypress swamps. Hikers are often startled as waterfowl take flight in areas where woodlands and rivers intersect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Museum Madness in Portsmouth Va

Museum Madness will be held in Portsmouth Virginia on Saturday, October 30th from Noon-6:00 pm. Events will include Happy Howl-oween at Andalo's Clubhouse and the Courthouse Galleries, Ships, Spooks & Seas at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, and The Frightship at the Lightship PORTSMOUTH.

Happy Howl-oween at Andalo's Clubhouse and the Courthouse Galleries

Kids of all ages will delight in face painting, wizardry, magic, and storytelling! Create creepy crafts and decorate a pumpkin to take home. Activities are free with paid admission.

Ships, Spooks & Seas at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum

Enjoy a variety of Halloween activities and crafts including building a ghost ship, making a pirate flag and porthole monsters. Activities are free with paid admission.

The Frightship at the Lightship PORTSMOUTH

The Lightship PORTSMOUTH is transformed into a haunted vessel for Museum Madness! Enjoy storytelling, meet the ghosts of sailors and pirates past, and enjoy the eerie sounds of maritime musician, Bob Zentz. Free with paid admission.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Virginia Beach Old Fashioned Craft Bazaar

The 32nd Annual Santa's Stocking Old Fashioned Craft Bazaar will be held at Kempsville Recreation Center in Virginia Beach, VA. Over 100 crafters will be selling their wares from stocking stuffers to painted artwork and everything in between! Items are priced for any budget.

Shop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6 and 20, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7 and 21. Each weekend event is totally unique with different craft exhibitors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Military Job Fair in Hampton Va

The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is holding their semi-annual Military Job Fair on Thursday, October 21 from 9am to 2pm at the Holiday Inn Hampton Hotel & Conference Center in Hampton. The fair is open to active-duty and retired military members, reservists, DOD civilians as well as military dependents. For more information check out the VPCC website

Monday, May 3, 2010

Art and Craft Show - Stoney's Produce in Virginia Beach

Stoney's Produce is hosting an art and craft show for the 7 Cities Crafters. The event will be held Saturday May 8, 2010 from 9 am- 4pm, located at 1065 First Colonial Rd. Virginia Beach, VA 23434

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fire, Sunken Boats in Vinings Landing Marina

As of Wednesday, April 28, 2010 the Coast Guard was continuing to monitor clean-up efforts following a fire at the Vinings Landing Marina in Norfolk in the early morning hours.

Recovery crews have been hired to clean up and recover three sunken vessels. According to the Coast Guard, a majority of the fuel spilled has dissipated or has been absorbed by the absorbent booms.

The Coast Guard warns boaters to take caution when transiting near the marina and obey the no-wake zone as to not hamper clean-up efforts.

Initial reports from responders this morning stated a 45-foot sailing vessel caught fire and spread to adjacent recreational boats. The initial report has not been confirmed. The Norfolk Fire Marshal is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

source: USCG

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hampton Roads-Tidewater Virginia News Portal

The next phase of a Hampton Roads-Tidewater Virginia information site has been completed. features articles, news, events, photo galleries, a business directory, online store and more.

A representative explained the project, saying "Our research shows a strong interest in the Hampton Roads region by online audiences. The project seeks to provide audiences one stop resource for visitors, residents and small businesses of the region."

Small business owners have a variety of free services available on the site. Basic features include press release and article submissions, as well as standard listings in the site's directory. In addition to basic free tools, the site offers paid advertising and an array of other promotional tools.

Features also available for non-profit organizations. The directory has categories for civic groups, charities, government agencies and other non-profit organizations. Another feature of the site is an online store which includes a collection of  books, maps, art, gifts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts and other apparel.

According to the site owner, "Our goal was to provide an easy to use resource that brings together vacationers, local residents, business owners and organizations; the site now offers those tools." serves the Tidewater - Hampton Roads communities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Chesapeake, Hampton, Virginia Beach and Suffolk.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seafood Festival on Chincoteague Island

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce will host their annual Seafood Festival on May 5, 2010 from noon until 4pm. The festival is always an extremely popular event and a great way for businesses and employees to network while enjoying local seafood at it's finest.

This year the band Midnight Country Express will perform- the band has been around for over 15 years and has performed at many local venues- with a mix of country and a selection from the Eagles to Garth Brooks- it promises to be a fun day for all.

The ticket price is $40 and includes steamed clams, clams and oysters on the half shell, single-fried oysters, oyster fritters, clam fritters, clam chowder, clam strips, grilled chicken tenders, French-fried sweet potatoes, boardwalk fries, hush puppies, spoon bread, bottled water, soda and much, much more. Adult beverages are also available for purchase.. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (757) 787-2460.

For more information on seafood and festivals in the area, visit Virginia Festivals and Virginia Seafood.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nautilus Road at the Great Machipongo Clam Shack – Nassawadox , Va.

Come to the “Great Machipongo Clam Shack” on Highway 13, Nassawadox, Virginia at 7pm on Thursday, May 13 to hear old and new songs from a group called Nautilus Road .

They are Thelma Jarvis Peterson from the Eastern Shore, Anne Moseley Springston from Truckee, California and Larry Miller from Davisburg, Michigan. This trio met and sang together in the Tidewater area during the early 1970’s.

They appeared at the Chrysler Museum, the old Surf Rider in Virginia Beach, the Cellar Door, the Folk Ghetto, and other venues. They have reunited for the 3rd consecutive year for another concert.

If you enjoy acoustic guitar, bluegrass banjo and close harmonies, you will want to see Nautilus Road for their 2010 reunion concert. Also, as an added attraction, Erika Peterson will be performing with Thelma and with Nautilus Road . Come and enjoy a uniquely diverse evening of acoustic music.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chincoteague Island YMCA Cooking Class

The Chincoteague Family YMCA is offering a cooking class on April 26, and May 10 instructed by Peter Upricherd. Learn to bake bread on April 26 6pm with this hands on course. Students should bring a large bowl.

On May 10 6pm learn to bake cinnamon rolls hands on. Students should bring a 9x13 baking dish. For more information visit the YMCA or call 757-336-6364.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pungo Strawberry Festival

The Pungo Strawberry Festival is held in Virginia Beach on Memorial Day weekend. Not only does the Festival have all the strawberries you can eat offered in over 50 different ways, but also a wide variety of events, including a pie eating contest, strawberry bake-off, continuous entertainment on three stages, a parade, one of the largest carnivals on the east coast, livestock show and sale, a multi-million dollar military display, pig races, youth art show, and some of the most unique arts and crafts exhibited anywhere. For more information, visit

Monday, March 29, 2010

Virginia 2009-2010 Ghost Pot Program Results

Commercial watermen pulled up more than 9,000 derelict so-called “ghost pots” from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this winter, and scoured shallow waters in the second year of Virginia’s landmark Marine Debris Removal Program.

The program, funded by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and implemented by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, paid the watermen to use side-imaging sonar units to detect and retrieve abandoned crab pots and other marine debris that litter the water bottoms. This targeted retrieval method minimizes disturbance to the bottom.

66 watermen participants were paid $300 a day, and were compensated for their fuel costs. Many were equipped for the first time to search shallow waters, which proved to be a successful expansion of the program.

source: VMRC press release

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Decoy & Art Festival on Chincoteague Island

The Easter Decoy & Art Festival will be held on April 2nd & 3rd at Chincoteague High School. The event will feature local carvers, artwork and lunch featuring Jonithan’s “Up the Bay” clam chowder, pulled pork/ chicken salad sandwiches,and more. The show will include the Chincoteague Island Family YMCA, kicking off their collectible art brick fundraiser.

In 2009 the Chincoteague Family YMCA was donated some of the original bricks from the Historical Chincoteague Elementary School formally located on Church St. From 1922-1958 this building was the first Chincoteague High School, later to become Chincoteague Elementary School 1958-1998.

To commemorate this rich Chincoteague history the YMCA is offering two unique collectible brick designs. The first is a laser etched design on a plaque permanently mounted to an original brick for a treasured collectible in your collection. The laser etching contains an original picture of the building and dates of it’s’ use.

The second collectible design being offered is hand painting by Gary Lee Taylor. There will be multiple designs available reflecting Chincoteague culture and they will all be signed pieces on original school bricks.

Laser etched bricks will be sold for $28 while hand-painted bricks by Gary Lee Taylor will be sold for $38. Supplies are limited. All profit proceeds from food sales and art bricks will benefit the local Chincoteague Island Family YMCA.

The bricks will also be on display at the local branch beyond the festival weekend located at 6446 Maddox Blvd. Bricks can be special ordered with a deposit or for more information call (757) 336-6266.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gull Hummock Celebrates Virginia Wine Week

In celebration of the First Annual Virginia Wine Week, Jon Wehner from Chatham Vineyards will be showcasing his award winning wines at the Gull Hummock Gourmet Market Wine Tasting on Friday, 3/26  from 4-6 pm.

Congratulations to Bill and Laurel Savage of Pungo Creek Mills in Painter, VA for winning the "2010 Best New Product" at the Virginia Food Expo held in Richmond yesterday.  Pungo Creek Mills grows, harvests, and stone grinds heirloom Indian corn into a wonderful flavored cornmeal product. Their cornmeal can be purchased at Gull Hummock.

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market is located at:
213 Mason Ave
Cape Charles, VA

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chincoteague Island Farmer's Market

The Chincoteague Island Farmer's Market 2010 season is about to begin. Their opening day will be Easter Saturday, April 3, from 8:00 a.m. - noon at their same location behind Don's Seafood Restaurant and next to the Robert Reed Downtown Park.

This will be the sixth year for the market at this same location. Visit on opening day and pick up not only plants and produce but also fresh clams, live lobsters and so much more!

The market will continue on Saturdays through September and will also open on Wednesdays as soon as products are available.

Any interested participants may contact Cathy at 757-336-2610 for additional information.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chincoteague Island Bluegrass Festival

On April 17, 2010 the Island Bluegrass Alliance will host a one day event at the Chincoteague Center.

The doors will open at 10 am to allow vendors and craftsmen to get a table to set up shop. Also the featured band members will be having  workshops for guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass for anyone interested. Jamming groups will be encouraged to play at will around the center hall or outside weather permitting.

At 7:30 the "Roadside Cafe" from northern Virginia will perform on stage with a 2 hour show. There will be an opening band at 7pm.

The concession will be serving chili dogs, pork barbecue, snacks and drinks all day and night. Price at the door is $5.00 and covers everything, even the workshops and vender's tables.Children 12 and under are free. There will be no advance reservations but vender's tables can be reserved by contacting  The Center, but you must show up by 10 am or your table will be given to someone else.

Call the Center at 757 336-0614 or Bill Chrisman at 336-3030 for more information, or visit the IBA's website:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Encore Performance of A Love to Call My Own at Hampton University

Back by popular demand, the Hampton University Players proudly present an encore performance of “A Love to Call My Own,” the sequel to the nationally toured “Mama Dee’s Girls.”

This unforgettable drama will be held March 26-28 and April 2-4 in Armstrong Hall’s Little Theater; with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission; $8 for senior citizens, children and students; and admission for HU students is free.

For ticket information, please contact the HU Box Office at (757) 727-5236 or (757) 727-5402.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tidewater MSA Ranked #8 for Well-Being

Among the nation's 52 largest metropolitan areas that Gallup surveyed in 2009, the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was ranked #8 for well-being in the nation. The regions are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score measures for each city an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall composite score and each of the six sub-indexes' scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents fully realized well-being. Gallup and Healthways initiated the Well-Being Index in January 2008.

Hampton University Announces Presidential Visit for Commencement

Hampton University has announced that President Barack Obama will serve as the University's 140th commencement speaker on May 9, 2010.

"We are honored that President Obama has accepted Hampton's invitation to speak to our 2010 graduates during our commencement exercises," said HU President William R. Harvey.

"His commitment to leadership, education and service is parallel to Hampton's mission from our beginning in 1868. He is an inspiration for our students to make the world a better place by becoming the very best leaders, educators, doctors, lawyers, financial analysts and scientists that they can be."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Things To Do on Virginia Fishing Piers

Spring is a good time to begin scouting out Virginia fishing piers. Fishing piers are excellent places to try your luck at saltwater fishing and Virginia has an excellent selection of piers to visit.

Depending on season and location, Virginia pier fishermen may catch croakers, spot, sea trout, speckled trout, striped bass, pigfish, white perch, pompano, sheepshead, porgy, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, spadefish, sharks, red drum, black drum or other fish on Virginia fishing piers.

Fishing is only one of many activities that are popular on Virginia's public and private piers. Other activities include exercise, sunbathing, kite flying, crabbing, photography, painting, siteseeing and more.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Virginia Flounder and Weakfish Regulations for 2010

The VMRC has voted on flounder size regulations for the 2010 season.  The new regulations set the flounder size limit at 18.5 inches, with a creel limit decreased to four fish per day, with no mid-season closure.

VMRC also voted to reduce the daily limit of six weakfish to one fish a day for recreational anglers, and to reduce the commercial harvest to 100 pounds per day or trip, whichever is longer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Legislation Creates State Angler Identification System

The General Assembly has passed Senator Northam’s SB668 to exempt Virginia anglers from having to pay the $25 fee associated with the Federally-mandated National Saltwater Angler Registry. 

SB668 has been amended to create a state-level angler identification system, similar to the Hunter Identification Program run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

This solution will allow Virginia to maintain the recreational boat license, as well as the license exemptions for piers, rental boats, senior citizens, and private shoreline. The state program will be administered through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and will be paid for through increases of up to $5 on individual licenses, and up to $10 on boat  licenses.

Instead of paying the Federal government to register, anglers with a Virginia license will be registered automatically, and anglers exempted from Virginia licensing requirements will only have to call in and obtain an identification number free of charge. 

“As is the norm with compromises, this one is not perfect,” said Northam. “However, it does accomplish the goals of exempting Virginians from Federal fees and fines, and also allows us to keep the boat license, as well as all existing license exemptions.”

The legislation was introduced in response to a VMRC study that provided options on how Virginia could comply with the Federal mandate. The bill was reported from a conference committee and passed the Senate and House of Delegates. It will now go to Governor McDonnell for his signature.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lake Smith and Lake Lawson near Virginia Beach

The Lake Smith and Lake Lawson natural area is a network of three wooded waterfront peninsulas that will serve as Virginia Beach’s newest designated Natural Resource Area. The city recently acquired the area through its Open Space Acquisition Program.

The city is developing a master plan with citizen input to provide recreational programming, development and management of Parks and Recreation properties at Lake Smith and Lake Lawson. Improvements are to include a boat ramp, parking facilities, and trails with construction taking place in the next 12 to 18 months.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chincoteague Island Coast Guard to Host Open House for Mariners

The Coast Guard base on Chincoteague Island is scheduled to host an event for mariners to come and meet locally based federal and state law enforcement officers March 10 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will provide an opportunity for mariners to meet some of their local enforcement officers, ask questions and learn about new and existing regulations.

Regardless of whether mariners operate a commercial, charter, or recreational vessel; subject matter experts will be on hand to answer questions about recreational and commercial fishing, or questions about laws pertaining to safety gear.

Boaters without specific questions are invited to come and listen to the discussion or pick up information on Boating Safety, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety, Fishing Regulations, or to come and schedule a Courtesy Marine Examination.

The following are participating agencies and agency departments:

* U.S. Coast Guard Station Chincoteague

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

* U.S. Park Service (NWR)

* Virginia Marine Resources Commission

* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

* U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Safety Instructors and Courtesy Marine Examiners

* U.S. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Commercial Fishing Safety Examiners

The session will be held at Tarr Hall, in the Galley Facility, located on the base.

source: USCG press release

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands to be Featured on the Today Show

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission has announced that the Today Show is scheduled to present a travel segment on family friendly vacations that will spotlight Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.

Currently scheduled to air Monday, March 8, 2010. The anticipated coverage of Chincoteague is estimated to be seen by nearly 5 million people and has an advertising value of approximately $ 225,194 according to Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 2009 data. 

The Eastern Shore Tourism Commission recently teamed up with the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Public Relations Director Richard Lewis, to provide the show video, still shots and information on the islands.

“We so often pitch ESVA stories and I would surely not have the necessary knowledge without the efforts of the Eastern Shore Tourism Director, “said Lewis. “In fact my most recent pitch to a freelancer writing for Southern Living included story ideas in Cape Charles, Onancock and Assateague Island.”

 source: Eastern Shore Tourism Commission press release

The Best of Bobby Swain - a Retrospective

"The Best of Bobby Swain - a Retrospective” is a tribute to the artwork of a highly respected Eastern Shore artist.

Premier-Fri. March 26, 6-9 pm reception with hors d'eouvres/drinks, silent auction, raffle- tickets $50.Location: town of Onancock's Onancock School Community Center. Exhibit continues Saturday, 3/27, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Don't miss this rare chance to see a collection of Swain's extraordinary works, a man who redefined - the confines of physical handicaps to sell his creative wares in NY City stores and elsewhere, and who's work was displayed at the White House.

Premier ticket info: Lynn Badger, 757-787-1335 or Proceeds benefit Onancock School Community Center

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 Seafood Festival on Chincoteague Island

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce will host the 42nd Annual Seafood Festival on May 5, 2010 from 12-4 p.m.

The Seafood Festival will be held at Tom's Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island, Va. Food will include steamed clams, clams and oysters on the half shell, single-fried oysters, oyster fritters, clam fritters, clam chowder, clam strips, grilled chicken tenders, French-fried sweet potatoes, boardwalk fries, hush puppies, spoon bread, bottled water, soda and more.

The ticket price is $40 and tickets can be purchased at or by calling (757) 787-2460.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coast Guard Responds to Tugboat Oil Spill near Norfolk Virginia

Coast Guard investigators from Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth, Va., are monitoring the response to a diesel spill from a tug boat that capsized in Lyons Shipyard east of Harbor Park in Norfolk Monday.

The National Response Center notified Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders at 5:54 a.m. that the tug Susan Anne had capsized while moored at the shipyard, resulting in a spill of up to 1,000 gallons of fuel.

Norfolk Fire Department personnel arrived on scene first and deployed absorbent pads to mitigate the spill while waiting for IMS Environmental Services and Coast Guard personnel to arrive.

Accurate Marine Environmental has contained the spill and is recovering the fuel, and the tug owner is working to re-float the vessel.

The Coast Guard investigators are working to determine the cause.

"The Coast Guard will actively monitor this situation over the next few days to make sure the oil is not only contained, but recovered," said Capt. John Little, deputy commander of Sector Hampton Roads.

source: USCG press release

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chincoteague Island YMCA Tai Chi and Self Defense Classes

Grand Master Elton Trower, a world renowned martial arts master, will be instructing both a Tai Chi and Self Defense Class offered by the Chincoteague Island Family YMCA.

Each course is six weeks in length held on Thursdays starting March 25. Tai Chi will be offered at two different time slots: 3:30-4:30pm or 6:30-7:30pm.

Tai Chi boasts benefits of reduced stress, increased flexibility, improved muscle strength, improved stamina, energy, and more! Cost of course will be non-member $85 and YMCA member $75. Self Defense class will be 5-6pm and welcomes people of all ages.

Cost of course will be non-member $75 and YMCA member $65. Both classes are being held at the Chincoteague Senior Center located on Church St. To register and find out more information call 757 336-6266. Or stop by the local YMCA at 6446 Maddox Blvd.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Visiting Bloxom Winery

One of the gems of Virginia's Eastern Shore is Bloxom Winery, a small winery just off the highway near Bloxom, Virginia. The winery is owned and operated by Robert and Francesca Giardina. The couple grow 6 acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, producing several fine estate bottled wines.

Robert Giardina is of Italian and Spanish descent. He was born in Casablanca where the French Colonial culture influenced his passion for wine making. Mrs. Giardina, also from Casablanca, oversees the kitchen as well as helping with the wine making operation. Among her specialties are chocolate candy, unique crackers, ciabatta bread and Italian cuisine.

In addition to offering wines, cheeses and snacks, the couple serves dinners on weekends. Their authentic Italian cuisine includes family style pasta as well as wood fired Artisan pizza. The winery also hosts a summer festival that includes music, artists, wine stomping and other family activities.

Much of the wine is sold on premises during the summer season, wine tastings, Bloxom Festival and at weekend dinners. Wines are also available at selected shops on the Eastern Shore from Chincoteague Island south to Cape Charles Virginia.

Contact Information:

Bloxom Winery
26130 Mason Rd
Bloxom, VA 23308
(757) 665-5670

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coast Guard, Navy Assist Sinking Fishing Boat

On February 18, 2010 the Coast Guard was called on to assist a distressed fishing vessel with four crewmembers onboard approximately 69 miles east of Chincoteague.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Northland received a distress call from the crew of the fishing vessel Travis & Natalie stating they were taking on water and needed assistance.

The Northland's crew set a course for the sinking boat, and it took them approximately two hours to reach its position. In the meantime, Coast Guard watchstanders at the 5th Coast Guard District headquarters in Portsmouth, Va., directed Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to launch and assist.

Air Station Elizabeth City launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew, equipped with dewatering pumps, to assist. They contacted the Navy's Fleet Forces Atlantic Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility Virginia Capes to request that the air space surrounding the Travis & Natalie's position was clear to prevent the risk of collision, according to Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Michael Miller, the watchstander on duty at the air station.

After that, Miller said he received a call from the Navy Second Fleet, and they were very eager to volunteer their services.

"The Second Fleet informed us that there was a U.S. warship in the area and they were willing to have an aircraft launch and fly over to put eyes on scene until the Coast Guard helicopter could arrive," said Lt. Donald Flusche, a 5th District watchstander.

A Second Fleet airplane launched and located the distraught vessel and remained until the helicopter arrived to transfer dewatering pumps to the crew of the Travis & Natalie.

Upon the Northland's arrival, a small boat crew from the cutter boarded the fishing boat to investigate the source of flooding and assist with dewatering efforts. They discovered that a net float had broken the rudder packing, causing the water to enter. They have stopped the flooding.

"This is just another example of how the Coast Guard and the Navy are always working together," Flusche said.

source: USCG press release

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market Wine Tasting - Friday, February 19th

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market Wine Tasting
Friday, February 19th
4 - 6 pm

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market will be offering three new wines this week. They are all "Wow" wines and come to you from Australia and New Zealand.

Gull Hummock will be tasting a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from New Zealand.
The Australian wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon called Wagtail. They are all really good!

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market will also be offering some true "comfort" foods including a fresh batch of homemade cinnamon bread.

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market ~ 213 Mason Av ~ Cape Charles, VA 23310 ~ 757-331-1500 ~ February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Waterfowl in Virginia

In spite of the cold temperatures, this is an excellent time to visit a Virginia wildlife refuge and try your hand at wildlife photography or just enjoy watching waterfowl up close.


This is a male shoveler duck seen at Assateague Island Virginia. Shovelers feed by dabbling for plant food, often by swinging its bill from side to side and using the bill to strain food from the water.

For more information on viewing waterfowl at Assateague and Chincoteague Islands, visit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art & Soul Coming to Hampton VA

Art & Soul is coming to Hampton, VA May 20-24, 2010.

This retreat is an artistic event that presents diverse mixed media classes; featuring fiber,metal, fabric and paper arts taught by a select group of professional instructors.

Enjoy a class from: Sally Jean Alexander, Lisa Kaus, Julian Coles, Stephanie Lee, LK Ludwig, Misty Mawn, Linda & Opie O’Brien, Melanie Testa and others.

The event is more than a retreat and learning process, it is an experience!

Register on line at:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fishermens Rally in Washington DC - February 24th 2010

A national grassroots effort is currently underway to get coastal fishermen to the rally in DC on February 24th.

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center is sponsoring a bus to go to Washington DC on February 24th. The bus will leave the Fishing Center at 7:00am Wednesday morning and will return some time that evening. The bus is limited to 50 people. If you would like to go, there is a sign up sheet at the Fishing Center.

As per the US Capitol police, "there is no parking available for private automobiles, buses, or other vehicles on Capitol Grounds. Buses may utilize Garfield Circle, at the intersection of First Street and Maryland Avenue, S.W., and Union Station, at 50 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., to drop off passengers." Bus companies and bus drivers can contact Union Station authorities for drop-off and parking information at 202-898-1950.

If you or your group is organizing one of these bus trips to Washington, please let your bus company know that all buses entering DC are subject to a $50 permit fee.

Visit for all required bus permit information.

Cape Charles Virginia

Cape Charles Virginia is a historic town near the tip of the Delmarva penninsula. The town was a bustling center of business in the 1800's and first half of the 20th century, with most of its business related to the railroad which terminated in the harbor where rail cars were transferred to barges for transport across the Chesapeake Bay. The rail hub still exists and remains in use. Today Cape Charles is a thriving community with excellent food, shops, art galleries, golf courses, bed and breakfasts, festivals and other attractions.

Virginia Blue Crabs

Virginia is famous for its blue crabs, mostly in the Chesapeake Bay. Commercial crabbers supply much of the region with top quality crabs. Blue crabs are served steamed whole, as fried or broiled soft crabs, or in dishes such as crabcakes.

The Commonwealth of Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia is an American state on the Atlantic Coast of the USA. Virginia is known as the "Old Dominion" and sometimes as "Mother of Presidents", because it is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents.