Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay lies the Eastern Shore of Virginia, first explored by Captain John Smith in 1608. Known for its lush, natural beauty, the area is also home to some of the most succulent oysters. Stretching along seven regions, oysters take on the flavors of the bay. From salty sweetness to buttery sweet cream, the oysters of the Eastern Shore are as complex as a rich stew. Among the Virginia Oyster Trail, you’ll also find a love for the outdoors is embedded in the area’s culture. Combining lighthouses, natural area preserves and state parks, the shore is home to a number of secluded beach towns unlike any other.
Where To Dine
When your oysters were caught within an arm’s reach, you know you’re eating some of the freshest oysters in town. At The Oyster Farm at King’s Creek, you can sample from their raw bar menu or other selections of gourmet fare; then when you’re thirsty for a little less conventional of a libation, try one of their intriguing oyster martinis. 500 Marina Village Circle, Cape Charles. 757-331-8660. TheOysterFarmAtKingsCreek.com
Eat like a local by dining at The Great Machipongo Clam Shack in Nassawadox, where you’ll enjoy fresh, local seafood, choice steaks, ribs barbecue and burgers. Start with a signature Peggy’s Crab Soup or Eastern Shore Clam Chowder before indulging in a platter of shrimp, scallops, crab cakes, oysters or flounder. Route 13, 6468 Lankford Hwy., Nassawadox. 757-442-3800. TheGreatMachipongoClamShack.com
Where To Wine
Situated on Historic Chatham Farm, find the family-owned Chatham Vineyards, where French vinifera varietals are harvested into masterful wines. Though petite in size, the winery offers an exquisite selection of vintages including unoaked chardonnay, rosé, merlot, cabernet franc, vintner’s blend and late harvest red dessert wine to pair with your sweet treats. Take in the gentle breeze from Church Creek, and sip at your own pace. Chatham is open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., April through December and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays January–March. Closed on major holidays. 9232 Chatham Rd., Machipongo. 757-678-5588. ChathamVineyards.net
Where To Stay
Spring is an ideal time to revel in the Eastern Shore’s great outdoors, whether during the day or at night. Camping options abound at destinations like Tom’s Cove Park on Chincoteague Island, overlooking the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore Park. More than simply a campground, Tom’s Cove features fishing and crabbing piers, a boat ramp, a kids’ playground, clubhouse with video games and pool tables, live entertainment on select weekends, a large country store and a swimming pool—guaranteeing outdoor fun the whole family can appreciate. 8128 Beebe Rd., Chincoteague. 757-336-6498. TomsCovePark.com
If you’re more apt to the great indoors, make a reservation at Island Resort, also on Chincoteague. All of their rooms are waterfront, where you’ll witness glorious sunsets, as well as many species of wildlife. Amenities include a hot tub with sunset views, on-site gym and cardio room, 600-foot pier, garden area with fish ponds, a picnic area and free continental breakfast. 4391 Main St., Chincoteague Island. 757-336-3141. IslandResortInn.com
Cape Charles offers a delightful selection of bed and breakfasts, as well as a boutique hotel. Spend the evening in a peaceful and luxurious setting, and then enjoy a sumptuous breakfast in the morning before exploring some of the adorable shops within walking distance. CapeCharlesByTheBay.com
Where To Play
Spend a tranquil afternoon fishing at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Discover Assateague Island, where roaming wild ponies are commonplace. Visit Kiptopeke State Park to explore a unique migratory bird habitat along the Atlantic flyaway. Kayak with Southeast Expeditions, or combine your love for the sport and fine wine in a Kayak Wine Tour. Head to the beach and cart around Cape Charles or play a round of golf at Bay Creek Resort. One thing’s for certain—you mustn’t miss a visit to Brown Dog Ice Cream for unique, heavenly flavors like coconut almond crunch and Italian cream.
Learn more at ESVATourism.org.
Getting There Is Half The Fun
The Eastern Shore is just a gorgeous drive away, as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects two very unique areas of Coastal Virginia, where the fun comes in waves. The four-lane, 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing of the lower Chesapeake Bay carries U.S. Route 13, the main north-south highway on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and provides the only direct link between the Shore and South Hampton Roads.
To learn more about the areas that are connected by this engineering wonder, visit our coastal ambassadors at the Eastern Shore Welcome Center located within the North Toll Plaza Rest Area on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. CBBT.com/Travel-Information/Toll-Schedule
Explore The Shore
Mark Your Calendars For These Upcoming Reasons To Visit Virginia’s Eastern Shore
First Fridays At The Farm
Ongoing First Fridays: Enjoy live music and food and drink specials. 6–8:30 p.m. The Oyster Farm At Kings Creek, Cape Charles. 757-331-8660. TheOysterFarmAtKingsCreek.com
First Wednesday Open Mike Night
Ongoing First Wednesdays: The Great Machipongo Clam Shack presents First Wednesday Open Mike Night hosted by Peg Folk and showcasing talented local musicians, poets and entertainers. 6–8 p.m. Machipongo Clam Shack, Machipongo. 757-442-3800. TheGreatMachipongoClamShack.com
Live Music Fridays
Ongoing Fridays: Jumpstart your weekend with a warm welcome, live entertainment and a glass of wine at the Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio. Complimentary refreshments; cash bar. Lemon Tree Gallery, Cape Charles. 757-331-4327. LemonTree.Gallery
March 17: Bring your children to the Barrier Islands Center to participate in some fun Easter crafts and games, make Easter bonnets, decorate eggs and have an egg hunt. $25. 10 a.m.–noon. Barrier Islands Center, Machipongo. 757-678-5550. BarrierIslandsCenter.org
39th Annual Easter Décor & Art
March 30–31: Local and national carvers and artists exhibit their work. $4. Chincoteague Combined School, Chincoteague Island. 757-336-6161. ChincoteagueDecoyShow.com
50th Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival
May 5: The 50th Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival has many exciting offerings and signature dishes from local restaurants, as well as Eastern Shore favorites such as clams, oysters, fish and shrimp. Enjoy delicious food, live entertainment, and visit the arts and crafts tent. $45. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tom’s Cove Park, Chincoteague Island. 757-366-6161. ChincoteagueChamber.com
Art In The Park
May 26: The art and music festival features highly-acclaimed, award-winning bands from across Virginia playing a range of musical styles including bluegrass, folk, gospel, chantey and stringband. Enjoy wine, food, flowers, art and music, all in a beautiful setting. $5; items for purchase. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Barrier Islands Center, Machipongo. 757-678-5550. BarrierIslandsCenter.org