By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent
Do you love the beach, but hate the crowds, traffic, and overpopulation of resorts that attract hordes of tourists? Why not consider Chesapeake Bay Country as the place to relocate, retire or buy a second home instead? Located just 2 - 2 1/2 hours outside of Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia or and an hour from Richmond, Virginia, Chesapeake Bay country is one of the best kept secrets about coastal Virginia. It's still rural enough for solitude and close enough to metropolitan areas like Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg to provide culture and entertainment nearby.The Chesapeake Bay area was actually settled in the 1600's and is rich with history. Some of the best seafood restaurants are found in Gloucester, Gloucester Point, Matthews and Gwynn's Island because the restaurants obtain fresh local catches of fish, oysters, scallops and blue crabs. Homes with boat docks and waterfront property abound because tidal rivers that lead to the Chesapeake Bay slice the land. Build the estate you've always dreamed about on agricultural land - always for sale. If you want to relocate, retire or buy a second home in Chesapeake Bay country, the time is now. Join me for a short journey through the best of Chesapeake Bay Country.
West Point Virginia is located six miles off Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg and has a population of roughly 2,900 people. Property tax rates are low compared to more congested areas of Virginia. Many families want to live in West Point, because the school district is so outstanding it falls within the top 10 school districts of Virginia each year. West Point is a quiet Southern town, with some stunning 19th and early 20th Century architecture in the historic district. West Point is located at the place where the Mattoponi and Pamunky Rivers join the York River. Once you cross the bridge on Route 33 you enter the Upper Peninisula and Northern Neck, bordering the Chesapeake Bay.
Gloucester & Gloucester Point
Across the York River from historic Yorktown, (an alternate route to Gloucester is to take Route 33 from West Point) Gloucester and Gloucester Point are towns that are slowly increasing in population. Here you will find waterfront property that has been utilized by waterman since Colonial times. Many of the waterfront properties were once plantations or home to Native Americas. Average homes for middle class families are numerous in this area. Choice real estate along the river is available infrequently, and comes at a premium price.
In the charming little town of Matthews, the home buyer will find waterfront property on tidal rivers that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. Homes often include a boat dock and marinas are also nearby. Eat fresh, local seafood in the restaurants and play a round of golf at Tides Mill in Lancaster County - a world-renowned golf course. Visit Donks Theater for a L'il Oprey show of country western entertainment. Famous singers who played here include Earl Scruggs, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette. Matthews historic district dates to Colonial times. Find relaxation along the Chesapeake Bay on a secluded, almost private beach not widely known to tourists -- Festival Beach. It's the perfect place to get some sun, swim, or do some bird watching. 'Downtown' Matthews has banks, a video store, gas station, and auto parts store. A Coast Guard station is located just before the drawbridge.
Cross the drawbridge from Matthews onto enchanting Gywnn's Island, known by Colonial Indian tribes as a place 'inhabited by the Great Spirit' and once visited by Captain John Smith. The island has a nautical 'Cape Cod' feel to it without ostentatious neighbors or the high property taxes and cost of living. Gywnn's Island is three miles long and two miles wide and has a population of roughly 900. A number of residents have notoriously lived past 100 in this part of Chesapeake Bay country. Waterfront estates are found along the perimeter and the center of the island is still dotted with small waterman's cottages, many converted to second homes or vacation homes. John Dixon, author of Gwynn's Island: a Brief History, describes Gwynn's Island as "happy homes and fertile farms on smiling waters."
These are just a few of the areas that make Chesapeake Bay Country a pleasant place to retire, relocate, or purchase a second home or vacation home. Come visit and explore this little known area. But, be prepared to fall in love with it and leave your heart.