I trust everyone had a wonderful and warm Halloween. This morning’s weather is quite a ways away from the 80 degrees we experienced yesterday. For me, November is the start to one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time for us to reflect and celebrate all we have in our lives to be thankful for.
I am thankful for another successful Barbecue and Oyster Roast on the cottage grounds. Once all numbers have been finalized, we anticipate that event raising north of $6,000 for our organization. This was made possible in large part through the generosity of our wonderful sponsors. The museum was bustling with activity throughout the day as old friends and new were able to experience our beloved cottage. Thanks to Lynn, our board volunteers, vendors, guild members, sponsors, guests, Shore Gallery at the de Witt Cottage, and all others that made the event a success. Mark your calendars; October 11, 2020 for our 5th annual Oyster Roast and 125th Anniversary Celebration of de Witt Cottage!
I am thankful for Lynn’s leadership, moving our organization into a new era. Lynn’s passion and love for carving, hunting, the de Witt family and their cottage, history in general, and his community are evident in every interaction. Martha Davenport has quickly established the cottage as a premier destination for weddings and special events in Virginia Beach. Her creative vision and attention to detail has enhanced our presence in the community. In addition to this presence, our “curb appeal” has elevated to premiere status through the hard work and dedication of Jacky Richards and other members of our garden club. The beautiful grounds surrounding the museum reflect the love and hard work that their caring hands have provided. Simply put, we are the most beautiful venue at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
I am thankful for our cravers who share their incredible talents with our guests who visit the museum and the many events which we showcase the museum. Thank you to Susan Moritz, Ed Morrison, Roy Carlson, Hank Grigolite, Pete Dipietro, Jamie Champe, Pete Taylor, John Mazach, and Al Brandtner.
I am thankful for our relationship with Shore Gallery at de Witt Cottage; Seaside Gifts and the enhancements made to the gift shop operations of the museum. Their proven record of success in Hampton Roads is evident through not only the design of their space but also the coastal themed items they offer, and the clientele they serve. I look forward to their Christmas open house, as well as pictures with Santa and his red pick-up on December 7th.
My cup runneth over; we all as friends of the de Witt Cottage, Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, and Back Bay Wildfowl Guild have much to be thankful for. Each of you plays a vital role in our success and I thank you. I’m looking forward to celebrating more with everyone on December 3rd at our annual Christmas Party. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback.
Jason W. Seward
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 will be the date for our annual Christmas Party. We will gather in the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8, 961 S. Birdneck Road at 6:00pm for dinner and the menu is potluck. So all you ladies need to bring out your best recipes. The museum will provide the meat (Ham and Turkey) along with Coffee and Tea. Setups will be available at the FOP bar (BYOB). We will have live music and perhaps some surprise entertainment. Members and their guests are welcome free of charge. If you are not a member and you would like to attend please contact the director. Please make you plans now to attend and reserve your place by calling the director at (757) 437-8432 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone must RSVP.
I would like to issue a special thank you to our garden club president Jacky Richards for her dedication to the garden throughout the Spring and Summer. Jacky has been an almost daily presence in the garden for the past three years. She has also managed to negotiate a wonderful plan with the City of Virginia Beach Land Scape Services for our garden in the very near future. The City will provide more plants of color and provide mulch for our beds. They will also help relocate some of the current plants. We are very excited about the continued improvements to our beautiful seaside gardens. Please contact the Director at Email email@example.com or call (757) 437-8432 if you are interested in joining the deWitt Cottage Garden Club. You could help them have another award winning garden this year!
Dine out for the deWitt starts on Monday January 13, 2018 at IL’Giardino’s Restorante 910 Atlantic Avenue (one block south of the deWitt Cottage). This is the program where you take your spouse out to dinner and the restaurant donates a percentage of what your meal cost to the museum. Easy peasy; you go out to dinner with your friends, family, or potential new guild member and the museum receives a nice donation. So let’s see how many people we can pack into IL’Giardino’s Restorante.
If ever you wanted a taste of our forefathers’ hardiness, you’d find it at Wash Woods. There, in thickets of low-slung evergreens, far from any human population, are the hidden ruins of a community that had no roads in or out. That remoteness was responsible both for the village’s existence and for its undoing.
Even today, part of the mystique of Wash Woods is the formidable task of getting there. The abandoned hamlet is not quite at the ends of the earth, but it might as well be. Wash Woods now lies within False Cape State Park, as far southeast in Virginia as it’s possible to be.
Unless you travel by boat, there are only two approaches to the park, from the north through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, or from the south, via the roadless beaches of North Carolina’s northern Outer Banks. Whichever way you choose, there is no driving inside the park itself. False Cape State Park is primitive and offers little in the way of modern amenities–a fact that attracts those trying to escape civilization. The park is long and narrow, and separates the Atlantic Ocean from the broad expanse of Back Bay.
Technically False Cape lies on a peninsula, but the skinny neck of land, just a half-mile wide in one spot, effectively acts as a barrier island. Dunes along the ocean give way to dense groves, which, in turn, give way to marshes. Wildlife abounds, and you’ll find ample evidence of opportunistic species that can make a living despite the sand and storms that would drive so many others off–sea grasses, evergreen shrubs and trees, mushrooms, sea birds, mice, foxes, deer. In spots, freshly-dug depressions in the ground are clues that feral hogs have been rooting for food. This was Charles Waterfield’s home. He was a waterman, hunting guide, hunt club caretaker and decoy carver. Born at Wash Woods, December 5, 1882, he lived his entire life on this fore barren peninsula where he and his wife Etta raised six children. His decoys are very rare.