The Eastern Shore of Virginia (ESVA) is a narrow strip of land that is isolated by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Chesapeake Bay to the west.
Part of the Delmarva Peninsula, the Eastern Shore of Virginia is home to a mix of agriculture, aquaculture, commercial fishing, and retirement living.
Among the jewels of Virginia's eastern shore are its wildlife refuges, state parks and towns such as Chincoteague, Onancock, Accomac, Nassawadox, Exmore and Cape Charles.
During his 1608 voyage to explore the Eastern Shore, Captain John Smith said that "... Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation."
The Eastern Shore of Virginia is also known as ESVA or Delmarva.
Eastern Shore of Virginia Towns
Chincoteague Island is a family-oriented vacation resort along the coast. Recreation on the island includes swimming, sunbathing, fishing, clamming, bird watching, nature cruises, eco tours, biking, hiking, boating, kayaking, miniature golf, Chincoteague ponies, the pony swim, fireman's carnival, Chincoteague decoy and art show, arts and crafts shows, the oyster festival and more.
Wachapreague is a small town on the eastern shore of Virginia. The town lies on a winding creek that leads to a series of small bays, tidal flats and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. Wachapreague is well known for its flounder fishing and deep sea fishing for tuna, marlin and other pelagic species.
Onancock is one of the most beautiful and oldest towns on the lower eastern shore. The town has restaraunts, shops, the harbor and other services within all within walking distance. Onancock is a popular overnight port for sailboaters. The creek into town offers quite dockage and is a nice location to stop off during Chesapeake Bay tours.
Onancock Creek extends roughly 10 miles and merges in the Chesapeake Bay. Along the creek are sandy beaches, ideal for sunbathing and family outings. Further along the estuary are marshy stretches with grass beds, points and other scenic views. Anglers find a wide range of fishing spots within a short distance of Onancock.
Tangier Island is a small but beautiful island in the Chesapeake bay. Shallow water and marshy areas surround the island. The grass beds are home to countless young blue crabs which come to grow and shed. This fishery for shedder crabs, known as "peeler crabs" are a main source of income for watermen.
The commercial crabbers of Tangier Island catch crabs by traps, nets or scrapes and then hold them in tanks until they molt. The resulting soft shelled crab is a valuable seafood delicacy.
Cape Charles Virginia is a historic town near the tip of the Delmarva peninsula. 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.
Eastern Shore of Virginia Wine, Wineries, Viticultural Area
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Wine Trail hosts three wineries along the Land Between Two Waters. The Eastern Shore's three wineries produce a good selection of varietals, including Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.
Virginia's Eastern Shore American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located on the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula, an area that is characterized by sandy soils and weather that is influenced by the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters.
Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
Saltwater fishing is extremely popular with something for nearly everyone. Anglers fishing in the Chesapeake Bay or along the Atlantic Coast fish from the surf, jetties, piers, inlets, bridges or by boat. The many variations of saltwater fishing allow anglers of any age, skill level or physical condition a chance to enjoy the sport.
Chesapeake Bay fishing varies widely with anglers choosing to fish with bait, artificial lures, fly fishing gear or other techniques. Along the coast is surf fishing, jetty fishing and inshore fishing. Atlantic Ocean fishing offers anglers a chance to try wreck fishing, offshore fishing and other activities.
The Eastern Shore offers ponds, rivers and creeks where freshwater species of fish thrive. The waterways are known for excellent freshwater fishing, especially for largemouth bass, pickerel and other cover-seeking species.
Eastern Shore of Virginia Seafood
The Eastern Shore is famous for its seafood, especially oysters, clams, blue crabs and saltwater fish. Wild blue crabs are harvested by watermen from the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. Blue crabs are served steamed, as soft crabs, or in dishes such as crab cakes.
The region is also known for shellfish. The seaside areas of Virginia produce some of the highest quality oysters on the USA east coast. Clams are also important to the seafood industry of the Eastern Shore. Local clam aquaculture operations produce clams which are prized for steaming or eaten raw.