Pat posted on July 29, 2010 23:06
Buddy at the beach on the Rappahannock at WakeOur "local" Daily Press (Newport News) cheerily boasted today, "Virginia beaches among the best." Their article reported that the National Resources Defence Council, having analyzed data from thirty coastal states, has rated Virginia fourth for water quality. The cheer may be somewhat moderated by the knowledge that last year, our state's ranking was third. But it's still good news. New Hampshire, Delaware and Oregon are the states that beat us.

Now, on a strictly local basis, no one claims that tourists flock to Deltaville - or anywhere in Middlesex county - for the beaches. We all know that Virginia Beach rules in this region, if it's a beach vacation you're after. Wide sands, real waves, no contest.

But on the other hand, we do get Virginia Beach residents as guests, who come to Deltaville for the calmer, sheltered waters, and the peace and quiet, the absence of traffic and clubs and noise. Whether you want to kayak, or sail, or fish, the local waters: Broad Creek, Jackson Creek, the Piankatank, the Rappahannock, and the Chesapeake Bay itself, can hardly be beat.

Go ahead and smile, but we do also have our patches of beach. I think the three little beaches at Wake are really sweet, and the views are wonderful. Just three miles up the road from Heaven Scent, you can enjoy a tiny patch of sandy public beach, possibly all to yourself, likely with a public you can count on the fingers of one hand. I had a German guest for a week who went there every day to read, sun, and swim in the wide Rappahannock, and she found it delightful, too. Buddy approves, as you see. No facilities, of course. If you're staying with us and haven't brought beach gear, we'll lend you towels, floats, and coolers.


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Pat posted on July 28, 2010 11:16

Urbanna, Virginia, based Schooner Serenity sailing near the coast at twilight

Guests here who don't have their own boat nearby now have a wonderful option for getting out on the water: the schooner Serenity has made its home at the Urbanna town marina. Two-hour sails in the afternoon or at sunset run $35 per person. Advance reservations are strongly recommended, as the maximum load is 30 passengers. You can even buy tickets online. This is a lovely way to enjoy seeing dolphins, eagles, and our beautiful coastline, on a peaceful, uncommercialized sail with no narrative spiel. Just enjoy and relax on this 65' schooner.



BTW, if you're heading to the Historic Triangle, the 105' schooner Alliance sails from the Riverwalk Marina at Yorktown three times a day. $30 daytime, $35 sunset tour. On August 22 and again on October 3, you can enjoy a 2-hour cruise (departing 6 pm) while tasting seven reserve wines presented by Williamsburg Winery. Those wine-tasting cruises run $57. As with the Serenity, you can reserve online. Cheers!


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Pat posted on July 14, 2010 11:48

Loose leaf tea, tea brewing bags and filters for sale at Heaven Scent

I've been a fan of properly-brewed loose leaf tea for ... longer than I care to realize. I found my favorite unscented, plain black tea decades ago (!) at Mariage Frères in Paris: it's from Yunnan province, China, has a wonderful full flavor that stands up to milk and a touch of sugar - although many of my friends like it just as it is. For a while, Bloomingdale's carried it, so I could buy it right in NYC. But once I moved to the countryside, I started searching online for fine teas, and after trying several companies, found a source for Yunnan tea that made me very happy. Tried a few dozen other teas from the same source and was hooked. I've been offering a wide selection of scented and unscented, regular and decaffeinated black and green teas here at Heaven Scent since the B&B opened. Lots of guests have enjoyed discovering new tastes with these teas, and I'm frequently asked where to buy them. So, I have taken the plunge and started buying for resale. To start, we have a number of guests' favorites, plus a couple of new offerings to try out.

Guests' favorites now for sale include the plain black Yunnan; an unusual variation of Earl Grey with cornflowers and vanilla; a delicate, decaffeinated apricot-scented sencha (green tea) - a great late-night favorite here; lemon-flavored Rooibos ("Red Bush") which of course, is not tea at all, but a naturally caffeine-free, antioxidant-rich plant from South Africa, and in this scent, is often enjoyed as iced tea; and a tropically-flavored green tea blend known as Sunny Dream.

In addition, we're offering a new organic green tea with a delicate orange flavor; black-currant scented black tea, an old favorite flavor of mine; a light-bodied black tea flavored with ginger, peach and apricot; and an all-fruit Red Berries blend, no tea at all, so again, naturally caffeine-free.

We offer two products to make brewing loose tea just as convenient as teabags - and much more satisfying! One is a permanent filter that sits in a cup, mug or pot. Just compost the tea leaves and rinse the filter for re-use. The other option is a package of 200 disposable paper filters, shaped to fit inside a mug with handle-tabs for easy removal.

The complete product list, with prices, is posted at our main site, http://heavenscentbnb.com/. Oh, and note that the tea itself is packaged in handsome, reusable oval tins, glossy black outside, gold inside. An attractive, tasty and tasteful gift, certainly!


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