Friday, August 31, 2012


Like the gulls above, I'm poised.

Ready for Whatever! take-off.

Today Son and I travel to Norfolk for an appointment with the surgeon who will perform the Nuss procedure on him next Wednesday.

If only worries everything could be scheduled so nicely.

I will post a few more times prior to next week's surgery, but activity on this blog will grind to a halt until we're back home from Norfolk, which hopefully will be the week of September 10.

In the interim, enjoy the last long weekend of summer.

Happy Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Locklies II: Merroir

Last week my blog friend Debra showed me a new place over in Topping at the marina at the end of Locklies Creek Road.

(Well, the eatery may not be new, but it sure was new to me. I really don't get out much.)

It's called Merroir. And it describes itself as a tasting room even though much of the tasting goes on outdoors in an open-air area that could best be described as not at all a room.

That may well be my favorite part of this place, its lack of confining walls and boundaries.

This poor guy had no idea I was taking his picture.
He sure as heck has no idea his image is on the internet today either.

If it's all the same, rather than say Merroir or that tasting room on the Rappahannock River,

I'll just forever refer to it as That Wonderful Place

at the end of the road going down to the marina in Topping. 

The best part of all, besides the food and wine--which are both excellent--is the ambiance.

Although there is some seating inside, most of the tables are outdoors.

No walls. No ceiling. No floor.

Just fresh air. Sky. Mother Earth.

And views to die for.

I was instantly reminded of a summer vacation I took years ago to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, one of my favorite places on Earth. After a very long day of hiking in the mountains without food, I enjoyed the best dinner of the trip at Dornans Chuckwagon, which was basically a simple cowboy buffet set up under a tepee, with picnic tables dotted all over several acres of lush, green grass. No walls, no fences, only the stunning mountains off in the distance and the endless sky above provided the definition of space. It is one of my all-time favorite memories.

Anyway, this is not about the Tetons.

(I know you knew that; I just had to remind myself.)

The Wonderful Place at the end of Locklies Creek Road is a great place to stare off into the distance as your blood pressure drops. And drops. And drops some more.

Debra ordered roasted oysters, shrimp & grits, which she enjoyed. I had a tomato/mozzarella/basil salad (delicious) and scallops & grits (outstanding).

I might be head over heels a little bit in love with this place.

Click here for an article on Merroir, my  new favorite place to sip wine hang out.


Who wants to join me for a trip to the Grand Tetons Topping?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Locklies Marina

These were taken from Locklies Marina over in Topping, which is about a twenty-minute drive from my house.

A wonderful blog friend of mine, who owns a vacation home at Cricket Hill, invited me out to dinner last week.  She said we were going to White Stone.

(White Stone? No, Irvington.)

Correction. Irvington.

Either way, I imagined traveling over that tall bridge with lanes so narrow that if you so much as look to the right and there's a breeze blowing, you're as good as overboard traveling over the Rappahannock River to a place where people wear lots of pink and green. And penny loafers.

People tend to wear lots of pink and green on that side of the Rappahannock, the closer you get to the Tides Inn.

The farther south you are from Irvington, the less preppie pink and green you tend to see.

On average.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that, necessarily. But I never wore pink and green. Or pink by itself. And after 4 years and 3.5 months at U.Va., I swore I'd never, ever wear pink and green together, even if my life job depended on it. Or skirts with turtles on them. Or shirts with crocodiles. Or penny loafers. Or pearls. Or Ray Bans. And I'd never date anyone who drove a BMW. Not that everyone on the north side of the Rappahannock River fits this stereotype but if the stereotype fits... Also the BMW drivers have not exactly been lined up at the door asking me out. But that's probably due to my Declaration of Independence from All Things Preppie. Not that there's anything wrong with being preppie, necessarily.)

Imagine my surprise when my friend said, "Turn here!" at Eckhards in Topping. We hadn't even come to the bridge. Didn't have to cross the Rappahannock. We were headed to a whole new place, a whole new experience. And there was no requirement to wear pink and green! In fact, since most of the seating here is outdoors, shoes may even have been optional.

This was my kinda place.

I'll share more about the surprise of a restaurant that awaited at the end of Locklies Creek Road in the next blog post.

In conclusion, I apologize if you or anyone you know likes to wear Ray Bans or the color combination of pink and green. Or skirts with turtles on them. Or penny loafers. Or BMWs.

But I just won't can't do it.

The End.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday Evening

This barn lives in King and Queen County

behind a garden

which is behind a house

Bad weather precluded a visit to the Mathews Maritime Heritage Day Saturday. However, the heavy downpours and strong winds eventually subsided, just in time for a very pleasant drive over to King and Queen County, where I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with good friends.

Thanks, Big Hair Envy, for being a great cook friend.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Scenes from Aarons Beach

Entirely unrelated to these shots from Aarons Beach, Saturday is Mathews Maritime Heritage Day, which starts at 10:00 a.m. at Morningstar Marina (also known as the boatel) near the Milford Haven Coast Guard Station.  I'm hoping to make it there not only to take some pictures and eat some good food but to visit the Coast Guard Station which will be open for visitors.

There are many other stops on the tour.

Click here or here or here  for more details.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


These were taken on an overcast day 

from the public landing at Edwards Creek 

over on the island.

I've shown the workboat before. (Click here).  At the time there was a For Sale sign in the window.

This particular visit I didn't happen to notice it, however I wasn't really looking carefully. My inability to focus has never been a secret, but lately it's grown worse.

There's lots going on and much to report from the Chesapeake Bay Family household, most of which involves my son's upcoming surgery. What we thought was going to be a minimal hospital stay has now turned into a minimum of five days. In Norfolk. 85 miles from home.

All during the first week of school.

So Son and I will be living in a hospital in Norfolk while Daughter starts her first year of high school--without her older brother or mother.  Thank God  my family is able to help out and pay her the attention she deserves. And take care of the lawn, the house, and the pets.

I will miss potentially two weeks (hopefully not more) from work.  Son will be incapacitated for several weeks after coming home.

There are other things going on as well, such as letters from the county saying I need to send proof that I've pumped out my septic tank.  Sure. No problem. Will you take a unicorn instead?

And weeds overtaking the house shoreline. And house.

Thanks for letting me whine. This too shall pass. All will be fine. Just as soon as I can catch me a unicorn.

Carry on.

p.s.  Please feel free to whine in the Comments.  About anything you want.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Deep in Thought

About a week ago after work, I drove down to
Aarons Beach to clear my head.

Much to my surprise, I stumbled upon a festival of feathered friends which included cormorants and gulls.

This particular cormorant was really showing off.  
He was all talk and no action.
The girls gulls were very unimpressed.

Everyone stood dutifully gazing off
into the grand expanse that is the bay.

Evidently they needed to clear their heads some too.

I wonder what a gull or a cormorant is thinking,
perched for so long like this.

I'm guessing it has to do with what's for supper.

Except for this guy, who looks like he's trying to start something.

Yep, we all just stared off into the distance.

What are they thinking about?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Family Gathering

That banner says Celebrate.  Baby Sis asked what we were celebrating.
The answer is everything.  

This weekend both of my sisters were in town, so we celebrated with a family dinner.

Baby Sis and Middle Sis

I slaved over hot charcoals I grilled some tuna, shrimp, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers; steamed some broccoli and carrots; and made some quinoa.

My mother made a delicious salad with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. 

(To be clear, the goat cheese was not fresh from the garden. 
We thankfully don't have any cheese goats in the garden. Not at this time, anyway.)

She also made a gluten-free cake (for Baby Sis) and a sinfully delectable heavenly chocolate ribbon cake.

Chesapeake Bay Father

The tuna was simply outstanding. How we acquired it is an interesting story.

An abandoned house on our lane was recently purchased by someone who is fixing it up with the intention of flipping it.  My father offered to cut the man's grass--free of charge--since he drives right by on his way to cut grass for an elderly neighbor. He says it only takes about twenty minutes and it's no big deal, really.

The man fixing up the house also owns a seafood operation at Cricket Hill.  In exchange for the grass cutting, he gives my father free seafood (!) every week.  

This week's tuna was the best yet. Hands down.

(We've also received received heavenly rum cakes courtesy of the elderly neighbor.  It's a great system we have here, this barter system, and is one of the thousands of reasons I love living next door to my parents in Mathews.)

Chesapeake Bay Mother

My mother was thrilled to have all three daughters and both grandchildren under the same roof.  

(The last time the three of us were together was the latter part of the vacation week down in North Carolina, and my mother had already gone back home by that point.)

My two favorite people on the planet: Daughter and Son

"In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong not by the number of heads counted at the dinner table but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit."
 - Marge Kennedy

"Other things may change but we start and end with the family."
- Anthony Brandt

"Families are like fudge.  Mostly sweet with a few nuts."
- Unknown

"I love it when my family gets together and shares good wine food, good stories and lots of laughter. We're all nuts and we're all sweet. Mostly."
- Chesapeake Bay Woman

Friday, August 17, 2012


These are more shots taken on my ride home from Shackelfords last Friday afternoon.

These first two were on Pear Tree Road (or Lane, I can't recall, but it's a cut-through from Route 14 to Route 33).

It's as if the green can't contain itself--it must creep up that pole and venture across the road.

At the risk of being banned from the blogosphere, 
I'd like to state for the billionth time once again 
how much I love all the green on display these days.

The photo above was not taken while standing in the road, 
believe it or not taken near Thousand Trails campground on Route 198.

Last but most certainly not least is
my favorite little house in the area.  

Isn't it cute? 

(I can't hide my adoration for old buildings, but use of the word "cute" to describe a house in a cornfield comes from sheer exhaustion, plain and simple. I believe I also called the lids to crab baskets cute not long ago--click here.  Evidently I've needed a nap since Spring.)

Speaking of sheer and utter exhaustion driving, my son calculated that with all the miles driven this week for doctor appointments (and the couple of days I went to work), we could be as far west as Indianapolis. If we'd driven south, we'd be only a couple hundred miles from Miami.

(That's when I shared a story from my college years that involved three silly girls driving a Volkswagen from Charlottesville to Miami straight through, stopping only to change drivers.  The moral of the story was if you think high school students can be stupid, college students are even stupider. More stupid.  Er. The secondary moral of the story was, "You mean we could be in Florida right now?!")

The good news is the tests came out OK and his surgery has been scheduled for September 5, the first week of school.  

This weekend I'm looking forward to absolutely no driving and hopefully lots of laughter Saturday night with my children, my parents and my two sisters, who are coming into town.  

Hope your weekend is wonderful.

p.s. Click here to help Ann Marie raise money for a very, very worthy cause.

p.s.s. A memorial service for my friend Anthony Busic, MHS class of 1981, will be held at 2:00 on Saturday at Locust Grove Church. Click here for a glimpse at his words that will live forever courtesy of his blog.  Click here for more details on his struggle.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poplar Grove Lane

Last Saturday I turned down Poplar Grove Lane for the first time in my life.

Although I've driven by the road a million times in my 47 years, I was always in too much of a hurry, unwilling to stop, turn, and take a good look.

I'm glad I did this particular time.

There's much to say about Poplar Grove itself (vs. just a few scenes from the lane).  However, thanks to limited time, that will have to wait for another day.

Otherwise click on this link to a post from 2009 where I briefly mention it.

In unrelated news, as of last night, thanks to my son's doctor's appointments and my work, I've slept about 45 minutes driven about 450 miles since Sunday night and will be driving another 150 today and 100 tomorrow.

In case I've not mentioned it lately, I'd really love an over-the-water-hut in Bora Bora. For fourteen days, please.

Where would you really love to be?

p.s. Thanks for all the kind words and comments here lately, they truly mean a great deal.