On May 31, 2013 I took my Mom on a day trip to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to a small bayside town called Cape Charles. May 31 is my brother’s birthday. My brother passed away in 2008 from head injuries he obtained in a car accident. He would have been 26. It is always a hard day for my family, especially my Mom. I had discussed this with my co-workers and they urged me to take the day off and do something fun. I planned out the trip and kept it a secret from my Mom. All I told her was to take the day off, that we were going somewhere and we would be gone most of the day. The day before I told her to bring some flip flops and wear sunscreen.

That morning we set off on our adventure. She claimed that she had no idea where we were going, but I assume that she had figured out we were going to a beach of some kind. Our trip down was full of talk and laughter. As we approached the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, the eight wonder of the world, she got really excited, as did I. She had only been to the Eastern Shore once and I don’t believe I ever had been. The bridge-tunnel is amazing. It is a series of long bridges and long tunnels that pattern across the Chesapeake Bay. Almost 18 miles that connect the mainland of Virginia to the peninsula that juts out from Maryland and runs south parallel to most of Virginia’s coast line. It was a gorgeous day, which made it all the better to look out across the bay and see the waves, boats and birds. cbbt1

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Cape Charles is one of the first towns you come across going north along the peninsula. It was founded in 1884 as a hub for the railroad. It was a place for the trains to stop at night, and leave the sleeper cars close to the bay so travelers could hear the waves. Today it has a wonderful old downtown with many original buildings. It sits along the bay side and the beach has a great jetty that keeps the wading/swimming area free of sea weed and makes the waves little to none. It is more like a wading pool that being on a big body of water.

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The first thing we did was park on the street right next to the beach and headed for the pier. We walked all the way out taking photos the entire time. We talked to most everyone we came across. An older couple was watching some large birds and we all had a discussion about what they were. It was determined they were ospreys.

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We talked to a lady sitting at the end of the pier who was sitting in her bathing suit and big sun hat reading a book and looking after two young boys fishing. She said she was a teacher and that on the last week of school they spend everyday at the beach. That was when I noticed there were groups of kids out in the water huddled together looking at critters in the water. What a lovely way to spend the last week of school! Makes me want to look for a job there. 🙂 We then walked along the beach. We were amazed by the amount of little animals that called the beach their home. There were hundreds of little black snails, tiny hermit crabs, strange plant looking anemones and birds galore.

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Later on we came across the teacher again as we were all getting ready to head off the beach. We asked her for some recommendations on some good places for lunch. She told us about every restaurant in town, realizing herself that they were all good. They sounded wonderful and with our tummies rumbling we headed through the residential streets lined with older homes toward the shopping area. We were surprised to see how many of the homes were for sale. Which made us both day dream about buying one and living on the beach.

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We ended up eating at the Cape Charles Coffee House. It was fantastic! The food was amazing, I’m still dreaming about the sandwich I had and the great latte that I drank. Afterward we walked up and down the streets going in antique shops, thrift stores and art galleries. We wandered into a large gallery that was adjacent to an old theater. The art was wonderful and I looked at everything, wondering if I should or could buy a piece. We ended up talking to the lady that worked there and she showed us the theater and told us it’s history. Turns out we were in the historic Palace Theater. The history was fascinating although I can not recall it all now.

After leaving the gallery we stopped in at Brown Dog Ice Cream. They make small batch ice cream from natural ingredients. We both had dark chocolate and it was delicious. We wandered around town a bit more, wishing we could stay the weekend, wanting to buy one of those old homes for sale and join the thriving art community. I decided that I would look for a job there when I got my degree. I would rent a house for two weeks at a time and make it an annual summer vacation. My mind was full of dreams that only the smell of salt water and fresh air could produce.

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We drove home through horrible traffic with our husbands calling on the phone and complaining and still we laughed the whole way home. It was by far one of the best days ever. We will both hold those memories close to our hearts, especially on that day when we need something to smile about.