If you read one of our recent blogs, then you know we’re huge fans of gardens and gardening. But gardens aren’t the only way to enjoy the natural beauty of springtime! How about a morning, afternoon, evening (or entire day) spent at Cape Charles’ Kiptopeke State Park? “Located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, this park offers recreational access to the Chesapeake Bay and the chance to explore a unique coastal habitat featuring a major flyway for migratory birds.”
Are you a hiking enthusiast or a cycling aficionado? Then lace up your shoes and travel 5.1 miles of hiking and biking trails. Do you have kids who are bursting with energy? Let them roam the park playground. Yearning to get your feet wet? Dive into the waters of two different Chesapeake Bay beaches. Kiptopeke even offers fishing, boating, a pier with picnic tables, and special events.
And speaking of special events, there’s one coming up in only a couple of weeks. On April 19-26, Kiptopeke will be celebrating Earth Week as well as Recycling Day: “Celebrate Earth Week with Kiptopeke as we kick off the 2015 season while we focus on recycling. We will learn about different recyclable materials and will learn about the single stream recycling system in the park. To celebrate we will have different games and crafts.” (Don’t forget that April 18-26, 2015 is also National Park Week, and while Kiptopeke is a state park rather than a national one, it’s still a great excuse for some exploration of all this Virginia playground has to offer. Even if you don’t make it for National Park Week, Kiptopeke is always available for your adventures.)
Ready for your Kiptopeke State Park getaway? Don’t forget to reserve your room at Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles! (We’re only a quick drive away from the park!)
Unrelated Reminder: The Blessing of the Worms is coming up on April 26 at the New Roots Youth Garden. Click here to check out their Facebook page!
Springtime Means Gardening!
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg
When you check in at the Bay Haven Inn in the spring, you will often find us with our hands in the dirt (or at the very least, smelling of dirt)! Springtime gardens signify the color and beauty that was buried beneath winter’s dirt, and Cape Charles, VA is ready to celebrate that floral splendor. Check out the following ideas of how you can enjoy the blossoming springtime gardens around Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles:
We recommend the “Tour the Shore” path that takes you to Appleseed Nurseries, Machipongo Trading Company, and the gardens of Eyre Hall for a delightful day of gardening inspiration. End the day of course with a cool beverage of choice on our porch, and reflect over this memorable excursion. You don’t want to miss springtime on the shore…have you booked your room yet?
Last month I had the opportunity to spend quality networking and professional development time with fellow Virginia Bed and Breakfast owners in Fredericksburg, VA at the annual Conference. In my 9-hour (should be 3 ½ hrs) journey back to the Eastern Shore of Virginia I had a lot of time to reflect and digest the incredible amount of content jammed into this event.
1. Content Matters: Writing content is like exercising, we know it is good for us but do we do it? The kick off conference speaker Marcus Sheridan, the “Sales Lion” engaged and invigorated the room as he gave specific take-ways for B&B owners. It’s all about trust…we trust strangers in our homes and at our breakfast tables but how do we build trust in our business? Is our website addressing a potential guests concerns about staying in a Bed and Breakfast? What are their fears? Hesitations? The take-a-way: take a look at your website, write a blog and answer the hard questions, BE HONEST, that will earn their respect.
2. The Millennial Momentum: Okay baby boomers do you know who the largest generation is? You got it, Millennials born between 1980 and 2000 make-up over 80 million people in the US (source: 2013 Why Millennials Matter). Does your B&B understand this growing group of potential guests? Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman, BB Team challenged attendees to think about how you can adapt your content and keep it relevant to the needs of this new customer base.
A few take-a-ways on how to engage with these guests:
~ These folks grew up with technology; therefore social networks are an essential part of their lives. They may love your quaint historic property but they will want their technology to work!
~They are huge supporters of the “Local” movement, therefore choosing small businesses like B&B’s; use language in your content to let them know you are engaged in the local movement (Farm to table, using local purveyors for food and supplies)
~ It’s all about the experience expose these guests to all the unique things about your town, history of your B&B, be a good story teller and engage them, they want a story to tell to friends and family and you guessed it they will do this via social networks.
Source: State of the American Traveler, July 2014. Destination Analysts, Inc.
3. Look out for the Pigeon(s)…no need to duck and run, Lisa Kolb, from Acorn Internet Services gave the latest and greatest updates on Goggles new algorithm. Pigeon developed to give users a more useful, relevant and accurate locale search results (Source: Search Engine Land). Innkeepers need to stay up to date with the ever-changing world of Google and the impact it will have on your ranking. Think about the millennial we were talking about and technology. Here are some of the featured areas (Source: Acorn Internet Services)
~Is your website responsive? Does your site adapt to whatever techy gadget some is using? How does it look on a tablet? Mobile phone? Laptop or desktop?
~Does your website pass the Mobile-Friendly test? People are on the move and they are searching for their next vacation on their lunch break, sitting in traffic or looking up a place a friend mentioned. They don’t wait until they get home they “Google-It “ immediately.
~Does your website pass the speed test? You will be surprised at what you find…checkout get the skinny on your mobile speed, mobile user experience and desktop. These results will make a difference in your bounce rate and once you have gotten a potential guest interested in your property you do not want to loose them, right?
4. Psst…I have a question for you….”To Blog or not to Blog that is the question!” M. Shannon Hernandez, the Writing Whisperer challenged B& B owners to take few minutes to write about the day-to-day things happening on their properties, in their towns or in the industry. Many of us do not blog because we think that we do not have anything exciting to share. We were politely told we were WRONG…the lives of B&Ber’s are fascinating and people want to hear about our behind the scenes happenings on our properties…in the words of the professional blogtress Ms Hernandez…JUST DO IT!
5. “Pillow talk” and we are not talking “ Fifty Shades of Gray” here…was the big topic as Select Registry CEO, Jay Karen took the keynote stage. It’s time for Bed and Breakfasts to hit the refresh button and clear their comfy beds of the excess decorative pillows, doilies and clutter. Jay made a couple salient points that made it easy for innkeepers to remember, Vertical is for US (walls) and Horizontal is for GUESTS (table tops, bed, etc.). So fellow innkeepers, join us at the Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles and take the plunge for a winter purge. Just think of all of the stuff you can donate to your local charity!
Here we are almost a month later, it's 75 degrees out ( yay!) and I am still thinking about the things learned at the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia conference…working my way through the list and making changes, still as motivated and inspired as I was on that snowy cold drive home.
I don’t know about you, but we here at Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles are ready for springtime. We’re looking forward to the warm bay breeze, the emergence of flowers and greenery, and the outdoor festivals and events that don’t automatically mean heavy outwear and chattering teeth. One such upcoming springtime event is the 4th Annual Crabby Blues Festival in Cape Charles, VA.
On Saturday, May 16, 2015, Cape Charles Central Park will be bustling with festive activities. Place a bid in the silent auction, visit the arts and crafts area, enter the 50/50 raffle, and let your kids burn off some energy in the Children’s Play Area.
All the while, live music plays a soundtrack for the festival as the scents of seafood waft through the air. If you’re craving fresh seafood, then you’re in luck, because no one does it like Virginia’s Eastern Shore. You’ll be treated to fresh, steamed crabs for sale by the dozen (and when we say “fresh,” we mean that boats are literally delivering these crabs the day of the festival). Crabby Blues also offers a variety of other seafood dishes, as well as various food vendors and wine and beer tasting.
When: May 16, 2015, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: Cape Charles Central Park in the center of historic downtown Cape Charles
Admission: TBA (check out the Crabby Blues Festival Facebook page for ticket information.)
Lodging: Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, of course! The festival is practically in our backyard, so you won’t have to go far to and from the fun.
We look forward to seeing you!
Virginia may be most well-known for its U.S. history (and its presidential history in particular), but red and white means more to us than just colors on the flag. Virginia wine has been making a name for itself in the past few years, winning awards, earning renown, and lending itself to wine lovers both national and international. If you’re a fan of the vino, then you’ll be pleased to learn you can taste some top quality Virginia wine at a fantastic winery only 25 minutes away from Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles.
Chatham Vineyards is a 15-year old winery owned and run by second-generation winegrower Jon Wehner and his wife Mills: “The high-density, European-style vineyards contain 32,000 Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot vines” (ChathanVineyards.com). Treat your tastebuds to sips of steel fermented Chardonnay with notes of pear and green melon. Indulge in the rich, velvet raspberry of the Cabernet Franc. Are you a fan of sweeter wines? Then you’ll love the Harvest Dessert Wine, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Are you craving a classic Bordeaux? Then you won’t want to miss the Vintner’s Blend with grapes aged in French oak barrels.
If your mouth is already starting to water for some of Chatham’s Church Creek wines, then wait until you hear about the adventure that awaits you in making your way to the winery. Most people drive to vineyards, right? Well, here at Cape Charles, we offer another means of transportation—the “Paddle Your Glass Off” Kayak Winery Tour with Southeast Expeditions. All you have to do is schedule your tour, and of course, book your room at Bay Haven in of Cape Charles, so that you have a warm, welcome place to return to after a day vino adventuring.
If you couldn’t tell from the somewhat premature pink and red store displays, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Luckily though, you have enough time to start making plans for you and your significant other. Maybe you already have an idea in mind—a bouquet of roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, or a fuzzy little teddy bear that croons, “I love you.” Sure, these are all sweet sentiments, but why not do something different this year? That’s where we come in! Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles is here to spark, re-kindle, and fire up the romance this Valentine’s Day, so don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy a temporary escape and memories to last a lifetime.
Need more convincing? Well then, here are 3 reasons to visit Cape Charles for Valentine’s Day:
Whether you’re planning to reserve a room for Valentine’s Day, or you’re surprising your sweetie pie with a gift certificate for a future Bay Haven inn of Cape Charles vacation, you can rest assured that romance will find you on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
I am sure I am not alone when I say I am so OVER all of this spam from retail merchants bombarding my inbox, each day offering promises of the better deal or perfect gift! Who knows what the real price or value really is and even better if your loved one will like it, or will it fit! So Jim and I are doing what we like to call the perfect gift! We are gifting each other time away together! We will be visiting two B&B’s this holiday season and it got me to thinking…this is the perfect idea for other couples! Don’t waste time and money searching for something they may not like or do not need…give the gift of your time together.
As I was noodling this idea I reached out to Amy Hager today, the guru of all things B&B in Virginia, and she gave some great ideas for the perfect way to "gift" an InnVirginia gift card. “Your grandparents will be able to take time to go see the sights in Williamsburg or treat your boss to a weekend getaway to the Eastern Shore. Maybe a sibling that just had a baby would enjoy an InnVirginia gift card and a little babysitting for a “kid free” weekend. I really can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t be able to find a place to stay and enjoy their vacation. (you could even give one to your pet as we have over 30 pet friendly properties on InnVirginia.com)!” I think there a few days left to get a gift card in hand before the holidays if you visit https://www.innvirginia.com/productcart.php?viewproductid=47&sentfrom=todaysdeal I sent out two gift cards today with a great info packet about the Eastern Shore, I can almost imagine their excitement Christmas morning when they open that gift!
This year has been a great year for us as we have met so many wonderful people from all over Virginia, the United States and the world. We are always happy to have those loyal B&Ber’s who have been to many Bed and Breakfasts or Inns and I was amazed at how many “virgin” B&Ber’s we had as guests this year. So many are curious what is a B&B thing is all about. Last year at an Inn Keepers conference I asked Tim Wilson, the king guru of all things B&B nationally, as he works for BedandBreakfast.com (also a great place to get gift cards) what makes the B&B experience unique from a travelers perspective. This is what he had to say “B&B and inn-type properties offer tremendous value. What many travelers may not realize is that when staying at a B&B, the room rate not only includes the room, but it also includes a homemade breakfast made fresh each day, free parking, free wi-fi, complimentary refreshments, local/expert advice from your innkeeper, and often times, a top-shelf experience that is tailored to each guest’s personal interests. Travelers can’t find that at the vast majority of hotels without being nickel and dimed for each added amenity.” It was pretty neat to get this insight from a guy who spends his days observing and measuring why travelers make the choices they do.
So here is what I have to say…check a few people off your list with a gift of a B&B gift card and sit back, open a glass of wine and make a toast to your holiday shopping being complete!
Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles signature sweet potato biscuits with Virginia Country Ham
We were so excited recently to find that we had been recognized among several other wondeful Virginia B&B's for our notable breakfasts. Jim Jim the Baker man was particularly happy since he is the baker in the family! He took an original Thomas Jefferson Recipe and combined it with a eastern shore natives recipe, Susie Mapp and added a Bay Haven Inn tweak or two and Wahlah! The biscuits are a two-bite sized golden orange biscuit, finished with a brush of butter, filled with the finest Virginia Edwards ham and then the real choice begins...which of Tammy's homemade jams do you add? Ginger Fig, Peach Pepper or perhaps a combo of all three Pepper Peach and Fig! Of course you can be a purist and enjoy them just as they are, either way you will be wanting more before you leave the Bay Haven Inn!
The BHI is partnering with the Northampton Chamber of Commerce are hosting a “It’s Five O’Clock Now” ribbon cutting Thursday, May 23rd on the porch of the inn to officially kick off "peak" season in Cape Charles, a quaint coastal town nestled off the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. If you are reading this and are in town put your flips flops and Hawaiian shirt on and …come on by!
As Inn Keepers Jim and I are bracing ourselves for what we hope to be a productive and exciting season. Spring has been very steady and we have already met many wonderfully kind and interesting people. Many have left their footprints in the sandy beach of Cape Charles and are planning a return visit!
We have planted our vegetable and herb gardens steps from our kitchen so that we can serve the freshest produce to our guests. We continue to develop, practice and sample (tough job :-) new recipes and have definitely found some guest favorites already!
We sure hope will be able to see some of our friends and family as “guests” this summer to enjoy our “little piece of paradise” (as our most recent guests called it) and we hope to make new friends as guests enjoy a relaxing escape at the Bay Haven Inn.
As we celebrated Mother's Day this past weekend we were surrounded by wonderful friends and family including my sisters, nieces and cousins who are all wonderful mothers. But as I looked around I reflected that two very important mothers to Jim and I were not there. Moma was at home sick, those who know mom know that if she missed a celebration she was really feeling rotten! I do hope she kicks this funk soon. I sure missed her smiling face, the sound of her laughter and of course her mac n' cheese and fruit salad :-), but at the end of the picnic I knew I could call her on the way home.
Jim also misses his Mamma dearly, her smile, listening ear and of course her deviled eggs :-) but he did not have the same opportunity as I did to call her on the way home. It still seems like yesterday that Miss Polly's Sunday evening calls came in or her postcards arrived from her travels. I miss her...and my heart hurts for Jim as I know how much he misses her everyday. As we listen to the the many birds chatter here on the Eastern Shore we smile and know as we sit on the porch on Tazewell Ave that a certained winged angel is looking over us.
Miss Polly at the Davidson Farm in Tennessee. GO HOKIES!
Moma in Action....helping us find the house thru the jungle!