Cape Charles – Eastern Shore, Virginia

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is separated from the mainland of Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay. This 70-mile long stretch of sandy and deep soil terrain is a peninsula with over 78,000 acres of protected parks, refuges and preserves and a national seashore. The region’s tourism affirms “You’ll Love Our Nature”.

Many travel by golf carts in Cape Charles. Several of the houses even have parking spots
for them.
Admiring the local art
This town loves Yellow Roses, for good reason too

Cape Charles is a small town, at the southern tip of the eastern shore, with a population of 1009 (2010 census) yet it boasts a vibrant, historic downtown, beaches, restaurants and a quaint and charming scene. I love communities by the ocean. There is something carefree about being able to here’s something about being able to smell the ocean while walking through neighborhoods that puts you in a carefree mood. The slow pace of the town, follows the cadence of the gentle waves that roll in from the bay – the beaches are very kid-friendly for this reason. The beach faces west toward the Chesapeake Bay and hence has very flat water, it is protected from the Atlantic Ocean.

Between the reflection of the water, the clouds and the parallels…..sometimes it’s hard to figure out where you are!
Virginia is for lovers.
Lots to discover at the beach

With a newborn in tow, we couldn’t ride the golf carts. But bicycling was even better for the kids. The quiet town had plenty of sidewalks for the kids to zip through safely. There were lots to see, ice cream shops, gift stores, restaurants and history. Central Park in the heart of the historic district was a place that we frequented for its large field and playground area.

Our last full day was spent exploring Kiptopeke State Park, located at the southern tip of The Eastern Shore. It was an easy 15 minute drive to the park entrance. This state park is known for it’s migratory bird watching, beaches and The Concrete Fleet, several concrete ships that were partially sunk to create the Kiptopeke Breakwater. During World War II, 24 concrete ships were contracted by the U.S. Maritime Commission, in 1948, 9 of these ships were brought to Kiptopeke to protect the ferry terminal during severe thunderstorms. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was open in 1964 and the terminal was no longer needed. The concrete ships are still in place to serve as a break water for the beaches.

Balancing on shone driftwood in kiptopeke state park. In the distance the concrete fleet stands guard.
The shaded boardwalk leading to the beach is a pleasant hike.
Board walk to the beach.

A 0.3 mile board walk through the shaded beach forest takes you to the beach. We arrived in the early morning, and had the beach to ourselves. We spotted a nice shaded area along the tree line some ways away. It was a bit of a hike to get to, but was pleasant and the kids collected shells along the way. The water was clear and the views were great.

Heading to the shade
Testing the buoyancy of some driftwood
A shell paradise

Before we knew it, our 5 days were up. There was much to still see of the eastern shore. Alas, Tangier and Chincoteague Islands will have to wait for another trip. We explored only the southern tip of the eastern shore, and it was pretty awesome.

Voyageur Quest (Algonquin Park) by David Hartman

My favorite adventure, documentary filmmaker, David Hartman recently released this cool promo video he created for a company called Voyageur Quest in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Located in the remote Northwest corner of Algonquin Park, the company offers visitors a chance to stay at a cabin completely off the grid. They offer activities and lodging throughout the year for visitors to experience all that Algonquin has to offer. The video does an amazing job capturing the beauty and atmosphere of Algonquin Park. I have camped in Algonquin Park numerous times in my childhood and recently took a weeklong canoe trip with my brother in August 2014. Itching to go back.

Check out more of David’s work at his website: Hayfire Media.

The Path of Grey Owl – a Goh Iromoto film

This film by Goh Iromoto sheds light on the remarkable story of Grey Owl (Archibald Belaney), an Englishman who chose to take on the identity of a member of the First Nations people in Ontario, Canada. He was most noted for his work as a conservationist, protecting animals such as the beaver that were essential in maintaining the forests and landscapes in Ontario. Evidence of his work as a conservationist still remains today in Canada. This video also showcases the beauty of the boreal land in Temagami, Ontario, a place I was fortunate enough to experience on our canoe trip in August 2015. Itching to go back.

Save the Boundary Waters (A Year in the Wilderness)

“Dave and Amy Freeman will embark on a yearlong adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters’ efforts to protect the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge. The two will travel more than 3,000 miles by canoe and dog team as they explore more than 500 lakes and streams throughout the year. The journey will begin on September 23, 2015, the fall equinox, on the edge of the Boundary Waters in Ely, Minnesota, and conclude with a paddle along the proposed sulfide-ore copper mining’s path of pollution through the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park. In 2014, Dave and Amy traveled by canoe and sailboat from Ely to Washington, DC, on the Paddle to DC as a first step in their efforts to protect the Wilderness.” – savetheboundarywaters.org

Please help show your support for the boundary waters by visiting the website and signing their petition. Mining affects many of our great canoeing regions. This reminds me of the Temagami region in Ontario and the pressure that mining companies constantly exert on our pristine wilderness areas. What’s unique to the BWCA is the special place it holds in the hearts of many of the American veterans. It serves as a healing place for many of these veterans and is the least we can do as a country to protect it for them.