Thirty-five million years ago, an enormous meteor struck the area that is now the southern tip of Northampton County, creating the vast Chesapeake Bay impact crater and ultimately the Bay itself. Thus, the unique geography of Virginia’s Eastern Shore - bounded on the west by the Bay, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean - came into being. This rural peninsula is the longest stretch of natural coastline remaining on the eastern seaboard. With some of the most fertile lands and seas in the country, farmers and watermen still make a living providing food for the rest of us.
Yet country roads can take you to the posh marinas, quaint boutiques, and signature golf courses of Cape Charles and the nostalgic seaside resort of Chincoteague Island, where wild ponies run free by the sea on neighboring Assateague, yet in full view of futuristic but understated NASA and Wallops Island.
Step back in time to shop, dine, or lodge: historic small towns like Onancock and Wacheapreague welcome you in friendly Southern tradition with charming hotels, BnB’s, and Airbnb’s. Enjoy one of Trip Advisor’s top ten ice creameries. Visit the oldest continuous court records in North America in Eastville, including a contract signed by Debedeavon, the native American “laughing king” who greeted Captain John Smith when he arrived in 1607. Historic homes and gardens are open to the public regularly, especially during Garden Week in spring.
Visit a fascinating aquaculture operation, and if inclined try your hand at world-class fishing. Immerse yourself in one of the last authentic island communities on the Chesapeake Bay - car-less Tangier Island is accessible only by boat or small plane. “Drink in” the Eastern Shore at our award-winning boutique winery, Chatham Vineyards, or a micro-brewery, cidery, or distillery. A birder’s paradise, search for any of the 439 species recorded here. Escape with an eco-tour guide by motor or sailboat, kayak or paddleboard. Our incredible chain of seaside islands (protected by the Nature Conservancy) look the same as when Native Americans first dined on oysters here. Photos courtesy At Altitude Gallery.