While a few full-timers will soon filter into the Cassatt
neighborhood, current homeowners are using their cottages
as interim getaways between now and retirement. They’ve
worked with Harris and Mary-Dolph Simpson, of Simpson
Builders Inc., meticulously scouring catalogues, stores, and
websites painstakingly searching for the perfect treatments,
countertops, cabinetry, siding and ceiling style, all to create
the home that they’ll eventually never want to leave.
“The nexus of all of it,” said Harris, “is to create place. It’s
often the thing left out of developments.”
The Cassatt development surrounds a common area
coined the Cassatt Green.
“It’s what folks are looking for today. The interior can be
very private, as are the backyards and screened in porches,
but the front porch and the Green are like a public extension
of the home,” said Harris.
Mary-Dolph Simpson, born and raised in Norfolk, says
building here on the Eastern Shore was a bit of a dream of
“It’s a hidden gem of an area. It’s like a little Shangri-La –
the marinas, the historical farms, the town of Cape Charles,”
said Simpson. “It’s this amazing little town just waiting to be
revived. When the Cassatt model opened in 2013, the town
had open arms.”
Cape Charles was founded in 1886 and has retained
much of its Victorian architecture and colonial heritage. The
Cassatt cottages were designed to reflect this sense of tradi-
tion and preservation.
The layout of the Cassatt neighborhood completes an
echoing of the small town community feel that attracts so
many to the area.
“It’s a great respite,” says Cassatt Cottage owner, Mark
Riddle. “We come to escape every chance we get. We’ve al-
ready made a lot of friends. The people in town at busi-
nesses and restaurants are really incredible. You go a couple
of times and people know you. They give you big hugs and
immediately want to know – ‘How are you? What’s going
on? Haven’t seen you in a few weeks.’ People are incredibly
welcoming. And, the town of Cape Charles is just really
charming. The joke around here is that when you cross over
the Bay Bridge, you go back 50 years in time.”
Bay Creek Resort and Club is situated on the Chesapeake
Bay at the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, just south
of Cape Charles, the largest town in Northampton County,
with a population of around 1,000.
Although Bay Creek is planted in the middle of this
timeless gem of an area, it’s a modern resort in the fullest
sense of the word. It’s infused with every amenity retirees
and families could want, including nature paths that wrap
through the flora and seaside landscapes that span generations and beckon vacationers and part-timers to Bay Creek.
The Beach Club and Fitness Center offers a 2,800-sq-ft
members lounge, a 5,000-sq.-ft. fitness center, complete with
cardio-theatre, certified trainers, and golf training clubs.
There are two outdoor pools, one with a splash zone and a
giant slide for little ones.
The big draw for many retirees or soon-to-be retirees,
like Harris, are the two signature golf courses designed by
Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, that wind through the 10
Bay Creek villages and along the expansive bay.
“We’ve been official owners for about 16 months, and
we’ve spent a total 40 nights, so we obviously haven’t missed
many weekends. The two golf courses are a big draw. But,
it’s everything – the beach for the grandkids, the fantastic
restaurants, the staff, and the homeowners we’ve met. It’s
just everything we want. When I get over that bridge, I feel
like my blood pressure must drop ten points,” Riddle said
with a laugh.
Riddle and his wife, Rosemary, have been long time Eastern seaboard explorers. While passing through the East Bay
area, they literally happened upon the Cassatt model while
wandering around the Bay Creek Resort.
It was love at first sight.
“We immediately got in touch with Mary-Dolph,” said
There’s No Place Like (Your Dream) Home
“People are focusing on what they really need versus what they want.
They’re less concerned about showing people what they have, and more
concerned about having a well-detailed home that’s comfortable, with
sufficient space and just enough flourish.” Bill Harris of Allison Ramsey Architects, Inc.