Embrace Contradiction: Talbot County, Maryland
Set your GPS on ST. MICHAELS, EASTON, OXFORD, & TILGHMAN ISLAND
Rural and refined. Upscale and down-home. Beautifully basic and historically embellished.
It is a marvelous package of contradictions waiting to be opened in the heart of the Eastern Shore.
ST. MICHAELS: Natty & Nautical Retreat
Rescued from demolition in 1965 the iconic Hooper Strait Lighthouse was barged 60 miles north to the St. Michaels’ waterfront on the Miles River as part of the 18-acre Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Besides spotlighting the most comprehensive depository of bay history, it’s also a “beacon” to this dapper, strolling-friendly town.
Admiring genteel architecture –colonial, federal, and Victorian –is even more fun when they house a fantastic assortment of boutiques, art galleries, and primo bistros. Oh, and watering holes for all!
Topnotch lodging choices include B & Bs. Hey, how about renting a mansion or savoring a romantic hiatus at a luxurious inn. I’m in! St. Michaels is the place to be spa-pampered one day and the next, sitting elbow deep in steamed blue crabs.TILGHMAN ISLAND: Gone Fishin’
Jim found the one-stop, all inclusive fishing excursion on this authentic working waterman’s island. In bygone days, it was “Summering on Tilghman,” when the Harrison family first began welcoming visitors to their waterfront Harrison’s Chesapeake House Country Inn.
Nowadays, it’s ideal for anglers and their families, a rare spot where convenience pairs with creature comforts. Not only is your own private charter fishing fleet just steps from your pleasant accommodations, at your service is a large restaurant, several places to raise a glass –including the outdoor crab deck, and a swimming pool. Fishing Packages provide all of the above at a reasonable price.
Dig the fresh rockfish! Home-style cooking includes the mashed taters and stewed tomatoes cooked up sweet with no apologies. “Few places offer this no hassle fishing retreat with all the amenities’,” said Jim. “Check in and you’re done, write one check and you’re done.” [Talbot County offers no shortage of fishing charters. www.tourtalbot.org]
The island also has romantic inns for those who enjoy its unruffled temperament.
What’s a good clue that salty Tilghman has a ritzy edge? The folksy general store, Tilghman Island Country Store has a wine selection to rival the most select gourmet shop.
EASTON: Art Heart
Step out on the attractive, tree-laced downtown and instantly feel the vibe of residents who love living and working in this “big city” small town. Graced with 18th & 19th Century Architecture –this place is a beaut. It’s easy to see why the arts rock here.
It was a grassroots effort started by six Eastern Shore residents in 1958 that morphed into the impressive Academy Art Museum. Easton is indeed a cultural hub when a town of 16,000 can sustain a museum that exhibits internationally renowned artists and grows the local art scene with vibrant outreach programs.
This artistic discernment flows over to the Avalon Theatre. At the art deco lovely, performances include a national roadhouse rhythm & blues act and a renowned jazz trio –just for starters.
Many towns hang decorate flags in their downtowns. However, Easton raises the artistic bar by adorning its lampposts with one-of-a-kind, two sided banners turned into works of art by local talent. Utilizing oil paint, acrylic paint, photographic art, mosaics, and three-dimensional art, they are part of the annual Arts in Easton Banner Auction now held in May.
Heaven for a shopping virtuoso is Easton. Boutique after boutique filled with way too many reasons to max out the plastic. Eateries abound to keep your shopping moxie groovin’. I’ll be back with the gal pals, shopping shoes on!
OXFORD: Picket Fences & Polo Shirts
The masts of countless yachts playfully poke cloudless skies from an assortment of boat yards and marinas tucked in scenic coves. The tiny, preppy town is filled with handsome, historic homes framed in white picket fences flowing with waves of blossoms.
As if it wasn’t perfect enough, someone cued the mockingbird to break out in song as we waited on the little ferry.
Least you think I am exaggerating Oxford’s darling status, last year when the 1683 Oxford-Bellevue Ferry turned 330 the town celebrated with an ice cream and cake social. They were scooping their hearts out at Scottish Highland Creamy, where the ice cream is handmade one D-lish gallon at a time. [Supported by our lick test]
If we could have stayed, the Robert Morris Inn would have been the patriotic choice, its namesake whose property on which it resides, was a financier of the American Revolution. Actually, feasting and zzz choices are generous for this dot of a town. There is even a diminutive beach dubbed “The Strand,” an adorable spot to sun, swim, and picnic on the Tred Avon River.
I imagine the towns and villages of Maryland’s Talbot County as pretty charms on a favorite bracelet, each with their own unique sparkle. Together they create a true gem of a getaway! MORE INFO
O + B + X = FREEDOM
Unbridle our senses with salt sweetened air,
the sing-song of tides caressing the sands.
Like the sea, we are free.
Boundless as blue skies in barefoot bliss.
Our sunny elixir found –the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Filming the 25th Anniversary of Jim Baugh Outdoors we are swept away by the splendors of the Outer Banks –Dare County. A serendipitous string of barrier islands beginning with its northern beaches – an energized vibe of bustling towns, shopping and culinary adventures [Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head] Heading south the allure is serenity. Remote yet close are Roanoke Island where the 1899 town of Manteo enchants and Wanchese an authentic fishing village is home to many who still till the tides as they have for generations. Hatteras Island is on the southern end of OBX sprinkled with tiny villages sitting pretty amidst the surf and sandy turf. [Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.]
Flanked by the surfs of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound we cruised on down N.C. Highway 12 the top down on George, our VW Beetle [named after that lad from Liverpool].The ultimate freedom of wind in our hair. Well, Jim pretended. The Outer Banks world is wonderfully flat, revealing vast vistas of sky and sea.
No wonder Mr. Gere came back here to film Nights of Rodanthe.
Kudos to the visionaries that protected 80% of the land in national and state parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges, as well as zoning that keeps buildings from blocking the sun.
Wide open spaces –YAY! H2O ADVENTURES “Sailing” south to Hatteras proves true the claim that half of Dare County is water. A kaleidoscope of kiteboards punctuated the blues skies, these breezy -blessed shores perfect for windsurfing as well. One windsurfer told us its like “Walking on water!”
Water sports make a splash up and down OBX
And fishing! JB knows a little bit about that with 25 years of fishing with some of the best captains here on OBX “Hands down, the Outer Banks is one of the best multi-species fishing spots in the world, ” said Jim. “The offshore fishing is phenomenal. Can’t keep me away!”
DISCOVER WHATS DOWN UNDER…
That dang Jaws movie! I’ll be minding my own business wallowing in the water when some rude aquatic life makes benign contact. Seconds later I’ve beaten Michael Phelps’ record outta there. Yet, I’m still fascinated by what creatures are milling about in the oceans/bays we frequent. That’s the major cool factor at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. With aquariums and interactive exhibits, it stars the amazing creatures who inhabit the waters of the Outer Banks from the grass flats to Gulf Stream waters. You don’t need a kid but its even more fun to bring a few to marvel at all this little gem has to offer. It also includes… da nuh, da nuh, da nuh da nuh da nuh da nuh… diving with the sharks. [Hmm sounds like my last job.] BLASTS FROM THE PAST Romantic Beacons
Other kids may have dreamed about running away to join the circus, instead I dreamed of living in a lighthouse. The romance of having only the tides to answer to perched above the untamable seas. The Outer Banks is rich with these maritime icons, 5 survive –we hit three. This time out time restrictions prevented us from savoring the heavenly view from atop the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses. [Not to mention the ultimate stair climber workout my “buns of sponge” could use.] By all means eat your Wheaties and hike the lights!
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is an exterior recreation from the original plans with some slight alteration of the screw-pile lighthouse that was originally built in 1877 and decommissioned in 1955. Find it in Manteo as part of Roanoke Island Maritime Center.
Since 1974 a grassroots effort by private citizens to save the past is celebrated in the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station Museum. A must stop, it brings to life the stories of the valiant men who served during the 44-year history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service.
Feel the history in the weathered wood of the 1874 and 1911 lifesaving stations. It is one of the few such sites in the nation with all its original buildings. Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum’s:”100s of Years 1000s of Shipwrecks ” Capturing the maritime intrigue of OBX under one roof. Who can resist pirates and plundering? How about warfare on the waters from Revolutionary and Civil Wars, to German U-boats in WW ll? Topped off with the tales of countless ships and crews entombed off these treacherous shores. Flying the Friendly Skies: FIRST
As if the Outer Banks hadn’t just about cornered the maritime history market, its heritage reaches to the skies as well. Thanks to brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright who were first in powered flight, right here in Kitty Hawk on the northern end of OBX. My first trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. There is truly something in the air!
Their 1903 flight lasted just 12 seconds -had to skip the beverage cart. But look up and see where its lead!
I’m a sucker for small coastal towns and Manteo is off the charts charming. The 1899 beauty hugs the shores of Shallowbag Bay on the eastern side of Roanoke Island. It has a surprising variety of dining, lodging [a bevy of B&Bs] and shopping options to discover in the town of just 1,200. Its claim to Hollywood fame? Nights in Rodanthe stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane slept here. I can see why.
History and mystery runs deep in Manteo. This is the home of the first English Colony settled in 1587, a bigger whodunit than “Who shot J.R.?” About 115 Settlers including Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the Americas, vanished without a trace but for “Croatoan” carved into a village fence post and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree.
We arrived to catch the first rehearsals of the longest running outdoor drama The Lost Colony. In its 77th year Associate Producer Lance Culpepper told us the cast of 85 includes local actors both adult and children with others coming from across the nation and overseas. Last year the role of Sir Walter Raleigh was played by an actor from Zimbabwe. The audience is immersed in action with drama unfolding on three sides. Course we don’t want to give the ending away [Performances May 30- August 22 ] Where to Stay While You Play Countless Vacation Rental Houses are available across the Outer Banks in the prettiest of ocean/sound settings. Elbow room for the whole family or that mini college reunion!
Nostalgic charms of Mom & Pop Motels make OBX a friendly, welcoming place.
Other places to lay your head include campgrounds, full service resorts, and several chain hotels A personal fav for me and JB is the Villas at Hatteras Landing. Lovely, compact condo units with all you need for sun and fun.
Located on the cape, we have the endless beach across the very quiet street, a stellar pool, fun shops, marina, fab restaurants nearby, the ferry to Island of O AKA Ocracoke Island. Happy as clams here!
We visited O’Neil’s Seafood Harvest, a family affair in the working harbor of Wanchese to see first hand the origins of some of the amazing tide to table seafood.
On Hatteras Island not far from Hatteras Landing savor the ever changing seafood menu -they only serve what was splashing in the waters hours ago. Landlubbers do not dismay. Among other choices the prime rib is excellent quality and a divine treat.
We were told, almost sternly that a culinary trip to OBX MUST include Apple Ugly at Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe, Buxton. Yes its ugly but tourists’ taste buds go crazy for this unique take on a deep fried apple fritter. They stand in line for some to eat there and others to bring home.
Open 6-11 a.m. but in the summer they bake up to 500 on the typical summer day!
Hopefully we have given you a hankering for some sun and fun. No planning needed, grab the swimsuit and … Breakout on the Outer Banks. For more surf and turf tips: http://www.outerbanks.org/
Going with the Flow: New River Valley
In the midst of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, the New River Valley is a remarkable patchwork of rolling farmland, forests, historic towns, and hamlets. Weaving through this tapestry the 350 million year old New River is a pristine treasure. When not making a splash swimming, fishing, tubing, or kayaking its waters –go with the flow and see where it takes you. Jim zeros in on the fishing fun on Jim Baugh Outdoors TV and my forte is finding the wine. Fortuitously, the New River Valley just flows with distinctive wineries –a wonderful way to celebrate your visit. And you can pick up some mighty fine souvenirs to uncork at home. We did just that at Attimo Winery.
Doubled wowed were we with the locally owned Bull and Bones two restaurant locations. [Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill and Bull & Bones at the River.] In Blacksburg, the Brewhaus & Grill has a dynamic, industrial edge décor where spirited dining just fits. It’s an obvious fav with the college set and beyond.
On tap and created onsite is a state of the art 10 barrel brewery. A few sips and we knew why these off-the -charts flavorful beers are award-wining. But we took one for the JBO team and finished them off -just to make sure! Having had his own BBQ restaurant Jim is a smoker snob. But he found no fault, just endless finger-licking praise for the Bull & Bones ribs and chicken wings. The seasonings were so subtle they allowed the true smoky flavor, a mix of fruit and hardwoods, to sink in.
It’s the indie restaurants mantra to start with a top notch product, then its not necessary to drown the BBQ in seasonings/sauces. Certainly, the New River Valley is a haven for Foodies. The only thing that rivals the cuisine is the fun of discovering them in the slow and scenic mode of old-fashioned Sunday Drives. We found the award-winning Palisades Restaurant sitting pretty by the river in the marvelously minute hamlet of Eggleston. A former general store built in the 1920’s the charm of the exposed brick walls and tin-pressed ceiling is a cool juxtaposition to the contemporary cuisine. Owner/manager Shaena Muldoon, traveled the world before coming back home and opening up the Palisades. We enjoyed a sampling of the pizza baked in the stone hearth oven she brought from Italy. You could make many a fun trip just sampling the numerous varieties of pizzas including seasonal creations. But don’t stop there! The farm to table menu uses mostly pork, beef, trout and produce grown in the New River Valley. [We enjoyed the buttermilk biscuit breaded Rainbow Trout with fresh chives.] Rounding out the experience is live music, special events and local artisans works and restaurant products sold in their retail section Gunpowder Springs.
Debbie Gardner co-owner of the Draper Mercantile expounds the “It takes a village” vision. However, she goes even further. If you don’t have a village –you build it!
Under one historic roof that’s what Debbie did. Reinventing this 125 year old tradition into a venue for buying regional art [demonstrations too], and enjoying live entertainment with concerts, dances, and performances celebrating traditional music and whatever strikes your fancy. Feasting on fresh local foods prepared in superb, southern style packs in diners at the Blue Door Café in the center of it all.
As if that weren’t enough the “village” includes the Draper Valley Marketplace a gourmet shop with products near and far. [Also find The Junction home of outdoor adventure specialists] Like the New River immerses this region with rich, natural environs, renowned institutes of higher learning Virginia Tech, Radford University and New River Community College infuse the area with a palpable, cultural vibe. [Not to mention outrageously fun sporting events!]While educating future generations New River Valley also embraces its past. A plethora of museums tell the story of Native Americans, early explorers and settlers and the river’s role in its industrial development.
Fab History Footnote #1: Ghostly reflections. Built in 1892 and known as the Ingles Castle, this mansion in Radford City has a haunting image etched forever in its mantle mirror. Around 1990 during a heavy flash of lightening the profile of the woman who stood in front of the silver-nitrate-backed mirror appeared. And its still there! Yikes a ghost! No, that’s Jim. But we did see the ghostly profile in the mirror. Fab History Footnote #2: Historic Hutzpah Imagine being an early pioneer woman violently abducted by Indians. After several months, you gather up your courage and escape but your trials don’t stop there. You begin a harrowing trek through hundreds of miles of wilderness, crossing untold waters and the Appalachian Mountains. You survive on your wits and fortitude to finally return home. That was Mary Draper Ingles (1732 – February 1815). Mary Draper Ingles Monument
Mary’s ancestral home Ingles Ferry Farm is one of Southwest Virginia’s most significant historical sites. It was at the New River crossing of the Wilderness Road (Rock Road in present day Radford) that William Ingles and his wife, Mary, established Ingles Ferry in 1762. Over 43 million Americans can trace their roots to the families that migrated along the Wilderness Road. Visitors can immerse themselves in the region’s authentic cultural be it on The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail or local artisan studios, galleries, craft shops on the Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia. Where to Stay While You Play?
Certainly the reliable hotels are available along with bed & breakfast inns, lodges and cabins. If you want to runaway and recharge with nature in some incredible environs check out New River Retreat with getaways on the New River, Clayton Lake, New River Trail and the Blue Ridge Mountains. They run the gamut from one of kind cozy cottages and larger cabins equipped for family gatherings.
Its Hollywood claim to fame is its role as the location site for the beloved Dirty Dancing movie. Mountain Lake Lodge has that nostalgic tug as it provides a place for families and couples to make memories. On the shores of a natural lake it is smack dab in the midst of nature’s playground -a 2,600-acre forest preserve.
Adventures include 22 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along with fishing, rafting, and kayaking. Amp it up on the new Aerial & Zip Line Adventure Course or slow down with a private picnic on the river.As they say “Into each life some rain must fall”, but weather is no problem. You can still recreate with indoor venues like the fabulous Christiansburg Aquatic Center
Visitors can share a phenomenal family leisure pool including a triple loop water slide, spray features, and fountain with dumping water buckets. It’s seemingly endless amenities include a heated therapy pool.
Tom Sawyer ran away on the Mississippi River. Poor Tom. He could have much finer adventures on the New River. That’s where Jim and I will be come fall… just going with the flow. In Southwest Virginia, the New River Valley region includes Radford City, Montgomery County, Giles County, and Pulaski County. You can also find visitor information at Explore New River Valley Special thanks to Shawn of Tangent Outfitters and his labs Brownie & Bracts! We appreciate them working for Minimum Bones to appear on Jim Baugh Outdoors TV.
Going with the Flow: New River Valley
Up to our waders in filming fun here in the New River Valley where its namesake river runs through it. Jim Baugh Outdoors TV is covering the wild and civilized adventures you can find in this scenic region in Southwest Virginia that includes Radford City, Montgomery County, Giles County, and Pulaski County. You can also find visitor information on this amazing region at Explore New River Valley Tucked between the tranquil Blue Ridge Mountains to the south, and the Appalachian Mountains to the north, going with the flow of the New River takes you on many an outdoor quest. Be it unwinding aside its peaceful hush at New River Retreats OR…
Where there’s water- we’re on it! With Shawn Hash, owner of Tangent Outfitters, JBO has the opportunity to cast a line in a variety of awesome ways including a jet boat, tubing, kayaking, canoe, and rafting. With decades on the river Shawn not only knows the sweet spots and the best way to navigate them, but fascinates with tales of the amazing history of this land and waters. Fishing today, Jim’s trio is rafting on the New River and the bite is on. Indeed! Fishing was steady with over 15 catches. All caught and released.
The New River supports exceptional populations of just about every major freshwater game fish in Virginia including smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, muskellunge. Many of the state’s current record holders were caught in these rich waters. Boating is just one way to cruise the New River Valley. The pedal-friendly New River Trail is 57 miles of biking beauty, with most of it hugging the river bank. The Junction provides a good ride just a few peddles away from the trail and can set you up with bike tours, disc golf and guided fly fishing trips.
For me hiking needs a hook, an end reward, and the Cascade Falls trail delivers! Its not just seeing but feeling the divine power of water plummeting 69 ft into a vast pool. Course the flowing streams tranquil pools, and stellar vistas along the 4 mile loop peak all the senses.
Stunning vistas at the River Course of Virginia Tech golf course might make it hard to keep your eye on the ball –no wonder its also a popular wedding destination. Virginia Tech University owns the course and its stamp of excellence is evident in its design by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. The fabulous new clubhouse includes Bull & Bones at The River, the sister of the award-winning Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill. Open to the public for lunch and dinner 7 days a week it has a broad range of offerings to satisfy all taste buds. Of course Jim Baugh Outdoors dived right into Bull & Bones famed wood fired barbecue [Take a walk on the foodie side in our following post] It’s own extraordinary handcrafted lagers and ales did not escape us after shooting the course.
Follow us and the New River Going with the Flow: Part 2. Filming fun with fab eats and other treats including Mountain Lake Lodge, New River Retreat, The Draper Mercantile, Palisades Restaurant, Bull and Bones Brewhaus & Grill, Attimo Winery, the energies of Virginia Tech & Radford Universities and more!
Eastville Inn: Made from Scratch Culinary Mantra
By Donna Bozza, Photos by Jim Baugh Dining is an experience to savor. It’s communing with companions over carefully prepared foods, taking the time to taste, celebrating the interplay of humble or exotic ingredients. It’s filling the moment rather than just our stomachs. So why eat when one can dine? And dining is what Jim and I relished on a recent visit to The Eastville Inn, where we rediscovered in the hands of chef/owner Brent “Uncey” Schmidt how flavorful it is to find a made from scratch restaurant. During a hectic week, Jim was happy to abandon his skillet and we welcomed a chance to change it up a bit. The Eastville Inn’s promise of a melting pot of culinary influences French, Japanese, Italian, and Cajun lured us out. Its causal atmosphere of fine dining without the fuss got us in. Set in the pretty, little town of Eastville, the Inn is located on the southern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The historic 300 hundred year old building with broad porch shares the same genteel nature as the vintage courthouse green next door. The lovely interior pays homage to its history with warm oak floors and stately white columns intersecting the main dining room, along with its tasteful showcases of local artifacts. Bold, modern touches infuse energy with abstract paintings, a deep yellow surround, and a glass wall that encloses a smaller dining area perfect for private parties. In addition, there is an intimate bar set off by itself. With 20 years of restaurant experience Schmidt came to the Eastern Shore from his previous restaurant Brent’s in Hampton, Virginia. [No stranger to the Shore his mom hails from Onancock, “up the road.”] A long time Hamptonite, Jim discovered Schmidt’s culinary skills there and some 15 years back when Schmidt was the executive chef at another Hampton restaurant –Bobby’s Americana owned by Bobby Huber, one of the region’s best known and celebrated culinary professionals. “Whatever kitchen Brent was in –we knew the food would blow us away,” recalled Jim who was curious to see what Schmidt was up to on this side of the Pond. Our server greeted us warmly and was very knowledgeable on the menu offerings, a must when you bring Foodie Jim Baugh along. The opening act of thyme and rosemary bread, made with fresh rosemary picked from the inn’s garden, set the stage for our entire dining experience. It’s a rarity even in restaurants that pride themselves on hands-on food prep to make their own breads. However, made in-house, from scratch is Schmidt’s culinary mantra from the salad dressings on up. His restaurant serves made to order meals prepared with local and fresh ingredients. Considering that most chain restaurants regularly serve us such things as vacuum-packed meat products swimming in preservatives, we appreciate even more that Schmidt hand cuts his premium steaks and is involved in all culinary details. The menu is varied and playfully written. At our visit under “Liquid Concoctions and Rabbit Food” were two soups, Creamy Crimini Mushroom soup at $5, and Chicken Noodle Soup at $5, along with two salads, a House Salad that didn’t skimp on ingredients at $5 and a $9 Spinach Salad. We honed in on appetizers, five were available, four of which our server said were ample enough to share. Prices ranged from $6 to $12. We ordered the Smoked Salmon on Potato Crepes with red onions, cucumbers, capers, and sour cream; a flavorful start I would order again.
We also tried the Crawfish Etoufee on a bed of garlic mashers that the menu confirmed is spicy as it authentic Cajun pedigree would demand. For those like me who don’t like 4-alarm fiery dishes but do appreciate some heat; this hearty stew is perfect with plump and tender crawfish and crisp celery, onions, and peppers that stand up to the mix. Schmidt said his menu will always include some of his standard dishes but he leaves room for improv to accommodate what is locally available and allow loyal patrons to experiment. Hence my entrée choice of fresh, local flounder delivered by a waterman to the inn’s door that morning. I like flounder but this rich tasting rendition I loved. It was oven baked on a bed of creamy, mascarpone cheese-laced polenta with asparagus and a Compound Creole Butter. Jim selected a Filet Mignon to round out our surf and turf meal. The Smokey grilled Filet Mignon wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon is served with an intensely flavorful demi-glace sauce using a light Andouille sausage base. I had to remind Jim that we were sharing. The night’s menu gave a choice of five entrees ranging from $15 to $35 that included a vegetarian pasta dish chuck full of veggies in an almond-basil pesto. Both vegetarian and gluten free offerings are mainstays on The Eastville Inn’s menu.
Also available are the three course dinner selections for $30 plus tax that includes the also made from scratch desserts: Pineapple and White Chocolate Bread Pudding and NY Style Cheesecake.
Certainly, The Eastville Inn is a fabulous choice for special occasions –hint, hint, Valentine’s Day is upon us. [See note below] But it would be a waste of great dining to limit visits. With its welcoming ambience it makes a great place to rendezvous with friends weekly, perhaps for Tapas Tuesday with its adventurous assortment of reasonably priced offerings. [Other midweek, budget-friendly options are Wine Wednesday and Martini Thursday.] A “no boys allowed” lunch with the girls would be fun here too. Sorry Jim Jim and I agree that the intimate cocktail lounge with television would be a particularly nice escape for us. We could share some wine and an appetizer or two. And DINE. The Eastville Inn, 16422 Courthouse Road, Eastville, VA, (757) 678-5080, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ambience: A fun fusion of fine dining with a casual Eastern Shore vibe. Hand holders will especially like the smaller dining room. Service: Attentive with the expected Southern Hospitality Libations: Being the new kid on the block the Inn is still testing the local watering hole scene. Currently offers a full bar, a sexy Martini Menu, 5 bottled beers, and a solid selection of white and red wines by the glass or bottle including offerings from the nearby winery Chatham Vineyards. Hours: Lunch: Tue-Fri 11am-2pm Dinner: Tue-Sat starting at 5pm The Inn is also available for private parties and events. Reservations: Accepted Coastal Tripping Tip: Not just for locals make The Eastville Inn the heart of your next weekend getaway. The Inn is exclusively a restaurant but accommodations in the historic bayside town of Cape Charles, http://www.capecharlesbythebay.com/ just 5 minutes south, range from bed & breakfast inns and a boutique hotel [seasonal]. Fun wine tastings are available at Chatham Vineyards http://www.chathamvineyards.net/ an award-winning vineyard just north of the Inn, along with an intriguing look at local history at The Barrier Islands Center. http://www.barrierislandscenter.com/ Valentines Day: Romance your partner with a Four Course Dinner for $50 plus tax, includes champagne toast. For more info: http://theeastvilleinn.com/menus Directions: From the South: Eastville is about 15 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The town is to the left (west) of US Highway 13 as you travel north. Signs will point you into the village. Three roads lead into the center of town at the intersection of Willow Oak Road (Route 631) and Courthouse Road (Business Route 13). From the North: From the Maryland state line, travel south on US Highway 13 about 50 miles. Turn right on either Business Route 13 (Courthouse Road) or Route 631 (Willow Oak Road). Signs will point you into the village. Either road brings you to the center of town and the Inn.
HOOKED on the Outer Banks
By Jim Baugh & Donna Bozza Dedicated to Amos, Tina, and Bay-Leigh—merdogs all.
It’s a rather incredible time for old JB. While celebrating several anniversaries I found a great way to kick off this party! 2nd Yr Anniversary We’ve begun filming our 25th year of Jim Baugh Outdoors TV –no barnacles under this bow. This month also marks the second anniversary of the release of my bestselling novel “HOOKED”, the second year and closing of Jim’s BBQ, and my one-year anniversary with sweetheart Donna.
In the middle of all this, time and tide wait for no man –I turned 52, and hey, I sold my home too. No exaggeration. A LOT of change and many a milestone, in this whirlpool called life. I was reflecting on all of this and thinking hard on my next step –it had to be a doozy. With huge things on the horizon I wanted to do something that would appropriately launch the next 25 years. After all, old fishermen never die we just get a little dinghy. My plan…..Drag Donna into the car kicking and screaming and head south to Hatteras Village –then Ocracoke Island. Yippee! As I, many have a love affair with the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But we differ on where we feel is the best place to savor its seemingly endless, wind-swept beaches and the lure of its wild tides. With forty years of salt-encrusted experience, I’d love to share what floats my boat on OBX . The Duckers
A diehard Duck fan basically lives and breathes Duck and feel there’s no life south of their line in the sand. Duck fans, are eternal optimists believing in the ability of a two-lane road to efficiently carry one million cars every 10 minutes. These are the same people who cherish a week’s vacation with the entire family including all blood relatives on both sides of the marital fence and the ex’s too, least they hit you up for more alimony. For good measure they throw in 3rd cousin Al twice removed, whose pedigree is as clear as the Chesapeake after a nor’easter—but hell that boy can bait a hook and he brings the cornhole!
With so many people on their vacation they have to wear nametags as they pack into a $10,000 per week house the size of Texas, making texting a necessity to find Great Aunt Lucy who was last seen circling the west wing in her walker. They grocery shop as if they were feeding a cruise ship and wash enough dishes to serve the tenth brigade. For me, if I check into a vacation house that needs an elevator and a group baby sitter, I have invited too many people. Somehow, this is relaxing? But- Vive la difference! Nags Headers Then you have your Nags Head Summer Beach Vacationers. I picture these fine folks arriving in their 1960’s station wagon painted lime green with a bumper sticker that shouts, “We are the Griswolds”. Yes, the greater Nags Head area is tourist trap central—the King Kong-size papier-mâché dinosaurs looming over the golf course is your first clue. The beauty of Nags Head is people can drive from all parts of the USA, sit on a crowded beach, and still eat at Outback. Maybe there’s comfort in knowing that even on your beach vacation one can eat at the same restaurant that you can in let’s say, Kansas? Nirvana: Cape Hatteras National Seashore I don’t feel like I am even on the Outer Banks until I take that left onto the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Crossing over the Oregon Inlet Bridge, driving through Pea Island, my stress level drops to zero. Halleluiah! My Outer Banks journey has finally begun. The sunny sojourn always ends at my favorite place, Hatteras Village and this time –Ocracoke Island. [My sweetheart refers to it as the Island of O. I’ll let y’all figure that one out.] During the decades that we’ve been filming on the Outer Banks our homeport was usually the Villas of Hatteras Landing. Dangling delightfully at the end of Hatteras Island, it includes the lure of the ferries that whisk away automobiles and their happy occupants to more island adventures on Ocracoke. Hatteras Village is just a cool place. Always has been. The beaches are beyond awesome and its surf fishing has been very good to us over the years. Along with its superb fishing its charm is in its laidback, barefoot ambience and friendly people. Our Hatteras Village fishing success stories for head boats includes the time we filmed and fished the Stormy Petrol and it ended up being one of our best television episodes ever. During our fall trips, fishing with Captain Tommy Merrill has produced extraordinary King Mackerel fishing and reminds me why I love to do this show. Just don’t forget your surf rod. If you park yourself at Hatteras Landing it’s doubtful you’ll go home with an empty cooler on these beaches, especially in the fall.
Staying at the Villas of Hatteras Landing is not exactly roughing it. So if you have a First Mate of the female persuasion there will be no whining about bait fish in the bed linens and scales in the shower. The Villas, once a hotel, has expertly been redesigned into attractive and comfy mini-condos. Excellent amenities include multiple flat screen TVs to replay your favorite Jim Baugh Outdoors videos and a small but easy-to-cook-in kitchen. Our show always features cooking segments and we are constantly downloading new recipes on our popular Jim’s Galley Blog. So a good kitchen while on the road is a must.
Least we forget the Villas have a wonderful pool to relax at after a big day fishing. Or as Donna chimes in, it provides the perfect escape for those who want to take a pass on hanging out all day fishing with men. While staying in Hatteras Village there is just enough to do to keep on-shore explorations fun and stress-free. That’s a “Guyism” for you don’t have to Shop Till You Drop –Amen Brother. Donna and I had a blast visiting the art galleries filled with local and regional artisans. Prices ranged from a pittance –vibrant prints from island artists –and a down payment on a house such as the luminous stingray mobiles, part of the spectacular glass art of Stan Harman found at Sandy Bay Gallery. [He also has lower priced artwork.] I know this threatens my man card carrying privileges but I was enjoying our excursion so much Donna actually shopped out before me. The pool and cocktails were calling as was chef JB’s seafood pasta dinner. My girl’s grandfather Pasquale came over on the boat, need I say more? The magic of Hatteras Island includes discovering new food tips, yes, even while cocktailing at the Villas pool. We hit it off immediately with a super nice couple from Michigan. Fortuitously he too was Italian and me, well I’m always on the lookout for authentic “Mama’s Boy” recipes. I asked him if he had any secrets for good Sunday “gravy”. “I use only fresh, home grown tomatoes, that’s the big difference,” he answered. Okay, no big secret there I thought. But then he hit me with his finishing touch. “While serving I put grape jelly on top of the sauce.” Grape jelly??? Was the midwesterner playing with this old Southern boy? But straight faced he stuck to his guns and this odd, secret spaghetti condiment. What do y’all think?
Cooking in the Villas
While I usually get lucky and catch the filets for dinner, when it comes to shrimp and scallops I need a good supplier. I decided to rent a Go Green Zero Carbon Footprint Vehicle, AKA bike, and take the roads less traveled along the beach. Finding awesome fresh seafood took only minutes. Before I even broke a sweat I found Seaside Seafood run by island natives L.B. and Mary Ann Fulcher. An authentic place with everything you need to whip up an excellent island seafood dinner. Loaded with shrimp and scallops and remembering my high metabolism girlfriend who requires almost constant feeding, it was time to fire up the Villas’ kitchen. Here’s a simple recipe. Make a fresh marinara –with superior San Marzano canned tomatoes if you can get them, and set aside. Peel and devein your shrimp and sauté with the scallops in fresh garlic, white wine, onion, and cilantro. Then add a cup of the marinara and simmer. Then pour over some whole wheat pasta. GREAT STUFF! Other delights I made for my favorite I-Talian included bruschetta with Hatteras tomatoes, also provolone and fresh basil sausage biscuits. A big hit was the Sautéed Grouper [caught here] with parsley and tomato relish and my Steak Ala Villa. The kitchen had all the necessary equipment to prepare a variety of dishes –with an added bonus. It’s just the right size for those of us who’ve been around the kitchen a few times and don’t want to contend with “backseat” cooks. You know the ones glued to the Cooking Channel 24-7? I might watch Tiger Woods play golf on TV but I’m not getting any invitations to the US Open, ya know what I’m sayin’? If like me you cook on the road a lot, get yourself a Spice Bag to bring along your favorite ingredients. I lost my original so I decided to buy one in Hatteras Village. Here’s a tip for single guys out there who need a new way to meet women. I discovered this –accidently of course. I went in a Hatteras store and in my usual non-obtrusive JB way announced “shyly” I needed a bag to carry my cooking spices. No sooner did my proclamation make it to the outer reaches of the sizable shop [Donna having quickly bailed] that 3 women came racing to my rescue suggesting bags of every hue and sexual orientation. One didn’t even work for the store. “Who cleans up when you cook?” she asked. “I clean up as I go along,” I answered. “You cook and clean-up?” Well boys, I tell you I had her practically eating out of my hand. I’m spoken for but take it from old J.B. get yourself a Tommy Bahama JBO TV Spice Man-Bag and flout it!
I stock it with everything from jerk seasoning, garlic, mixed peppers, pasta, and even concentrated tomato and anchovy paste. It made our meals at the Villas extra special as we enjoyed them alfresco on the balcony overlooking the pool and Hatteras Landing. A great place to stay, play and cook.
Two newbie restaurants at the Hatteras Landing waterfront caught my attention. The cool Wreck Tiki Bar & Food and a fantastic taco stand Gringo’s Tacos. The Wreck is a great little Tiki bar that serves up fresh daily specials. Donna enjoyed the fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Panini and liked that she could walk a few steps and lunch by the Villas’ pool. No doubt to re-read her favorite novel HOOKED. I had an excellent Roast Beef and Swiss Panini. They also have live music on Wednesdays during the season. Gringo’s Tacos was fun and flavorful. They serve up a variety of fresh seafood tacos and also offer beef and chicken. There is plenty of seating in front of the stand to take in the picturesque marina. We had the top notch Shrimp Tacos which had just the right amount of spice kick. To top it off, the black beans and rice were superb and portions were generous. Both eateries offer truly inexpensive dining with a great view and great food –all at Hatteras Landing.
Hatteras Landing Fun Continued
The above restaurants are located at the Hatteras Landing complex which is situated just prior to the ferry docks. It’s a rather large facility including shops that cater to your beach and fishing vacation needs. The full service marina and marina store is located towards the end of the complex offering just about any water sport activity you can dream up. Fishing charters and dive boats included. The beauty of the sound location is only rivaled by its bounty. I’ve clammed and fished just outside of the marina’s sound side and always came home with a smile on my face. While there a stroll on the wooden walkways located near the entrance of Hatteras Landing takes you through the salt marshes and over the gentle backwaters of the sound. Always loved the hush the breeze makes when playing with marsh grass; between that and the shorebirds its nature’s Mozart. A surprise is tucked back here where history marks this spot with special reverence. A white picket fence surrounds a small family plot. Protected is the final resting place of Captain Steven Barnet and young wife Rebecca who perished tragically at sea in the fall of 1859 when the schooner Mary Lousia wrecked in the breakers of Ocracoke. Sitting sublimely in the same grove of trees is a stately gazebo. Framed by limbs carved into a graceful arch by years of ocean winds, it’s a place of perfect solitude for an afternoon respite. And who knows, maybe someday just the right setting for a tiny wedding tween an ol’fisherman and his middle-aged mermaid.
Have to give it to that Edward Teach, he knew where to hang. It’s one of my favorite OBX oases too. Donna and I were excited about hopping the ferry to Ocracoke Island to spend the day. Not much of a drive since the docks are almost in the Hatteras Landing parking lot.
The wait if any is short. There are seven ferries with a departure schedule of about every thirty minutes. And miraculously there’s no toll! The ride over is a breeze, hardly feels like the advertised 40 minutes journey. The beautiful scenery of sound and ocean you can also enjoy in the comfortable lounge if you want A.C. The trip was pure joy. And did I mention –it’s free? On the way to town Donna wanted to stop and show me the Ocracoke Ponies. Decedents of wild ponies who once survived on their wits, this small herd is now penned and pampered. Legend has it they swam ashore from shipwrecks and decided to call Ocracoke home –smart move. Once you arrive rent bikes like we did to get a real feel for this authentic coastal village. We meandered around the sunny streets and pretty Silver Lake Harbor finding tucked away shops and galleries along the way. We cruised by the Ocracoke Lighthouse and chatted with locals and visitors –no strangers here.
- The steamed shrimp special was firing off at the Dajio Bar and so were we. Donna and I had some awesome cocktails and feasted on endless shrimp. Even a sudden downpour couldn’t chase us away as we retreated to the open air bar –still getting a little wet, but who cared? It soon passed but we were in for another surprise. My Facebook post about our dining spot inspired a long-lost pal to call the restaurant offering to pay for our shrimp feast. No people have been that happy since Buffett found that cheeseburger in paradise.[Though we are happy to say there are no Mickey D’s or any chain stores here.]
What a blast! Being 24 miles offshore has created the coolest little coastal outpost, akin to the days of Hemmingway’s Key West. Donna and I vow to return to Ocracoke for a longer stay that includes exploring its 16 miles of undeveloped beaches. For like Ernie advised –we always do sober what we said we’d do drunk.
I certainly had time for reflection during this OBX trip. 25 years is a long time to be producing an outdoor show. I’d like to say I had more hair back then, but that would be fibbing. What I do have more of is memories of family and friends that have enjoyed Hatteras Village with me. I remember my kids when they were little making their own memories here fishing and playing on the beach. Boy, the surf fishing adventures we had along the Outer Banks and the many, many exciting offshore escapades we shared with y’all. It all remains like a cherished Monet on my mind. Driving north out of the village we made a quick stop at the local store for some coffee. “Where is my buddy?” I asked. “The old black lab that always greeted me at the door?” The cashier said that Amos had passed away and showed me his picture and dedication on their window. Amos was a beloved pooch in these parts and I admit I choked up a bit. I had put my lab Tina Turner down last fall, and Donna only a few months ago lost her 15-year-old beach pup Bay-Leigh. Tina was a lovable renegade on our Hatteras Village vacations –chasing gulls on the beach and diving like a mermaid for seashells. Truly part of my memories here included four legged friends. Memories are treasures but like the ever shifting sands of the Outer Banks, I’m looking forward to the dynamic changes and blessings that continue to unfold. It has been a great ride… but it’s not over. I hope you will join us. God Bless,
Jim Baugh & Donna Bozza
Bio: Jim Baugh has been producing the award winning outdoor television program Jim Baugh Outdoors for 25 years. Jim is also author of the Amazon best selling novel, “HOOKED” and is currently writing the HOOKED screenplay. He has written over 200 columns appearing in magazines such as Motor Boating Magazine, the Chesapeake Angler, Virginia Lifestyles and the Nor Easter magazines. Jim Baugh holds a Bachelors of Music degree providing the JBO TV soundtrack and regularly performs progressive rock \ Jazz piano concerts. Jim’s second novel, “COOKED” is to be released fall of 2015. “Jim’s Galley” is one of the most popular recipe blogs on the Internet featuring many unique recipes including his BBQ secrets from Jim’s Baugh B-Q Restaurant. email@example.com http://www.jimbaugh.wordpress.com Bio: Donna Bozza: Her love affair with words turned professional with 6 years as a journalist with the Eastern Shore News.Followed by a successful career as a freelance writer for regional/national newspapers and magazines covering a broad range of subject matter, she later specialized in regional travel as a contributing writer with Chesapeake Life Magazine. Recognition’s include an International Regional Magazine Award and Virginia Press Association Award. With a detour to Destination Marketing, Donna Bozza became the first Tourism Director for Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Under her leadership the region held the highest percentage increase in tourism revenue in Virginia and she was recognized with the Rising Star Leadership Award from the Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau. Recently she made a U-Turn to her first love –writing. firstname.lastname@example.org PHOTO CREDITS: Jim Baugh & Donna Bozza *****Please remember not to trash our beaches, parks and waters. Go -Green, and keep it clean. And for those of us who know the joys of fishing –pass it on. In the immortal words of Frank White the Southern Sportsman, “Do yourself a favor, and take a kid fishing.” Contact info: Villas of Hatteras Landing 252-986-1131 www.villasofhatteras.com Blue Pelican Gallery 252-986-2244 www.bluepelicangallery.com Sandy Bay Gallery 252- 986-1338 SeaSide Seafood 252-986-2585 Hatteras Ferry Terminal 252-986-2353 Gringo’s Tacos Hatteras Landing 252-986-1088 “The Wreck” Tiki Bar Hatteras Landing 252-996-0162 Stormy Petrel 2 Fishing Charter 252-473-9163 “HOOKED” the novel by Jim Baugh http://hookedthebook.wordpress.com/ Available Amazon