Virginia Beach

The Sale of Treasure Island

Baylake Pines legend has it that Blackbeard's pirates dug a channel through a peninsula in our neighborhood in the 18th century to create a Lookout for merchant ships on the bay. This island featuring a large wooded hill has been called Treasure Island or Blackbeard's Island. In the 1700's the Lynnhaven River flowed into what is now Lake Joyce through Pleasure House Creek, which provided a direct outlet to seize these ships. Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, reportedly found fertile pirating ground here and captured the sloop Betty off Cape Charles in 1717 and plundered Portugese Madeira wine and other "Bounty." From there he moved to the outer banks of NC apparently to retire. But his retirement was literally cut short by Captain Maynard, who brought Blackbeard's head back to Hampton, VA on the bow of his ship. Fast forward to the development of the neighborhood in the 1950s by the Collier family, with this island remaining in the family, untouched by development and enjoyed by nature. For decades, young explorers have made their way by boat to the island, famous for it's high hill and a magical rope swing (that disappears and reappears). Recently neighbors learned that the property was sold by the Collier family to Hayden Dubay of Dubay Properties. Will he find buried treasure? Random golf balls? An aged bottle or two of Madeira wine? Rumor has it that there will be an archaeological dig (as in the past at nearby lots) and the possibility of the exploration being a video documentary.

photo of Treasure Island from 1958
Blackbeard island 1950s.JPG...

Summer Traditions: A History of the Ocean Park Neighborhood Beach Park

Summer was in session in the 60’s! Boys, like Larry Conner Jr of Baylake Pines, would spend endless days at the YMCA Camp. The YMCA grounds covered 43 acres of a live oak forest and included the stretch of beach from Baylake Beach to the westernmost Jefferson Blvd beach access. Opened in 1939, over the decades, neighborhood boys would spend from $6-12 for a season passand enjoy all the recreation their hearts could dream up! There was a baseball diamond, volleyball court, and canoes and kayaks for rent. The Beach Club/cantina that was built in 1949 served ice cream and offered up a pinball machine and a foosball table. Larry said “we did a lot of hanging out." Like all seasons however, this one came to a end. The rapid growth of Virginia Beach created a demand for housing in our community. The summer camp closed in the early 70’s, making way for the Water Oaks Condominiums, a private beachfront estate.
Norbeck Development Associates filed the first building plans for Water Oaks with the city in 1972. The community included not only the existing 52 units, clubhouse, and pools, but also tennis courts and two nine-story towers with 149 units in each plus several additional townhouse buildings! The Olympic-size pool would have accommodated the entire community. But, just after the first phase was built, the city required a seawall be installed. This construction delay and expense, coupled with worsening economic conditions, led to an investor backing out and the remaining project being foreclosed upon in June of 1979. The towers would never be built, and the area was re-imagined as Aeries on the Bay.
Outside of Ocean Park, the mid 70’s had delivered several hi-rise condos to the Virginia Beach bayfront including Chesapeake House, Seagate Colony, Harbour Gate, and the first Cape Henry Tower (the second tower was never built). The resort condo market had slowed, and it was apparent that something different was needed for the community....

The Evolution of Church Services in Virginia Beach

While surfing the churches in our area to see how they’ve managed to connect with their congregation through the Covid-19 Era, I started thinking about the way church services & facilities have evolved in our community. From the intimate 40 member starter church to the dynamic mega churches, it was enlightening to see the variety of services they provide to our community.

The oldest church in Great Neck is Eastern Shore Chapel, which originally existed on the eastern shore of the Lynnhaven River (1689), about a mile east of it’s current home. Adam Thoroughgood founded the church to provide Anglican services for colonists along the River to allow rural parishioners to get to church easily by water transport, coining the name “The Chapel of Ease.” In 1724 it was relocated to land now owned by Oceana. After 200 years, the church again relocated to the Laskin Rd location including pews, stained glass, the stairway to choir loft, brick walkway, and even the cemetery!  With a preschool, PIN ministry, and a food pantry that serves over 200,000 locals, the impact of our oldest church reverberates through history and projects well into our city’s future.

Prior to building Eastern Shore Chapel, Thoroughgood hosted church services in his home in 1637 and built a church on his land in what is now Church Point. That church building was later relocated to the Witchduck Road location of Old Donation Episcopal Church when rising waters of the Lynnhaven Inlet assumed possession of the land and cemetery. Also, because Thoroughgood granted that original land to the pastor of the church, future development of that land was restricted, and gave rise to the prestigious Bayville Golf Course enjoyed today. 

As the Great Neck area continued to blossom, many other residents organized religious services from their homes. Several used John B. Dey elementary school for their first public services. Francis Asbury United Methodist Church...

Very Vintage Virginia Beach

Modern day Great Neck is the land of well-appointed homes, glistening pools, and manicured lawns nestled luxuriously between the ocean and the bay. Two historic homes in some of Virginia Beach's most upscale neighborhoods enjoy the bragging rights of being the oldest continuously lived-in properties in Virginia. They whisper about an almost incomprehensible time when long trans-Atlantic travel and laboring in the New World was rewarded with more land to work. 

Early settlers arrived in Virginia in the early 1600s and found our soil produced sweet tobacco, a popular export, as well as corn and grain for the settlers. Adam Thoroughgood, an indentured servant, was our first “developer,” bringing enough settlers to America to be granted 5350 acres. One of those friends was Thomas Keeling, who came with his wife in 1634.  Thomas reportedly named Thoroughgood godfather to his son Adam. Around 1660, Thomas traded 8000 lbs of tobacco for a farm owned by a settler named Richard Dudley, who then moved to Gloucester with his cattle. Informally called “Ye Dudlies,” land records show the Keeling family passed the property through heirs and the house was built by the great-grandson Adam. Analysis of timber used in its construction indicates it was built around 1735. The quality of brick used, the detailed, interior paneling, and the center passage design were very similar to the Adam Thoroughgood home--now a museum--which was built in 1719. 

After the post-Civil War economic decline and the tobacco cigarette rolling machine shifting industry to Richmond, the Keeling family could no longer afford to maintain the property. The home and 36.2 acres were divided and sold. By 1938, the Syers family decided it was time for a new kitchen. An addition was made on the south side of the house and added electricity and plumbing! In the 1950s, a tennis court was built and a baseball diamond attracted young families. In the 60s-70s, substantial...

Foresight is 2020!

Foresight is 20/20! 

Until now, the proverb went a little differently. But I have a treat in store for you to start the New Year...

"Providing a Sea of Real Estate Service" is my slogan.  It's a play on my name Windy C (or Seay for my longer-term friends) and the desire to provide real value to my friends, neighbors, and clients.  One thing that 15 years serving the real estate community in Hampton Roads/Tidewater/"the 757" has provided me is the knowledge on when and where to get things. Some say that hindsight is 20/20, but this year, I'm proving that its FORESIGHT that's best by providing you with "The Best Time to Buy" calendar and monthly tips.  Make sure that you receive Notifications on my Facebook page Windy Crutchfield, Realtor and/or that I have your email address to get the most from this year-long campaign. I look forward to hearing your feedback, so I can build an even better calendar for your benefit in 2021!

The truth is that it is not hard to predict the future when you carefully evaluate the past. Every December, I give you my projection for the housing market in Hampton Roads in the year ahead. It's based on the monthly Housing Market Review that I do, as well as a study of economists' expectations. I post on this page for you and for some of my colleagues that follow it, but admittedly, it's not a riveting read.  However, it's important for me to be as close as possible to the data that's available, so I can give the best advice to my clients. In an effort to not be so long-WINDed as I tend to be, I'm going to slim the content down this year and use more visuals.

Housing Market Projections for 2020

Low inventory and high demand will continue to be the story in the lower price points for the upcoming year. Market conditions are very strong.  Federal and defense spending in Virginia is up alongside private sector job creation and wages.  Unemployment is below 3% and...

The History of a Baylake Home

Elizabeth and Scott Stahl bought their Beach Home in 2013 and, as many homeowners do in the mature Baylake neighborhoods, they immediately began improvements. The home had been on and off the market for five years, constrained by a dated compartmental style, and had finally come down to a price they found attractive. They both had a vision for updates and a strong work ethic going for them, which allowed their family to enjoy the spacious and beautiful home for the past five years. Military orders have called them to move away now, and their efforts paid off--the home was under contract within 5 days of being listed at $700,000!

Prior to the Stahl’s ownership, the home reaches back a few decades to the custom design ideas of Stephanie and Ezio DeBerladino. They bought the lot in 1977, when Baylake Beach was being developed. Stephanie said she wanted an overly large kitchen, which was very unique then but is featured in every new construction home today and is what every contractor hears today: “I need a bigger kitchen!” The kitchen at this home not only has a center island, a peninsula, endless cabinets and counters, but an eat-in kitchen with a bay window and a door to the back deck. The DiBerladinos chose a Center-Hall home design for its traditional roots to this area.

This style of home is also known as a Williamsburg or Tidewater-type Cottage and it was conceived in colonial times. It’s ancestor was the modest hall and parlor house (“Virginia style”), where the hall was the primary center of activity and the parlor was a more private room usually used for sleeping. This two room configuration evolved into adding a center passage with a

The style is significant in the Baylake community because the neighborhood is also the site of the English settlement known as Henrytown (a supply artery along the Bay west of Cape Henry) founded in the early 1600s. As the settlers there became more financially...

A History Lesson along the Banks of Lake Joyce

Along the banks of Lake Joyce, four gravestones tell a small part of the story of the Early Republic and the Civil War era. Times were substantially different then... Let today’s manicured lawns, glistening pools, and the peaceful paddleboarders on the 85 acre freshwater lake drift from your mind. This was no resort area. The early settlers replaced Coastal Virginia’s woodlands with farmlands. The Revolutionary War had been won, the Constitution written, and young Americans in the South were providing for an exploding population. Princess Anne County was yet to become identified as a tourism destination and later renamed Virginia Beach. And the Joyce family farmed the lands along their future namesake as the young country faced an economic decline.

Joyce families are found in the area back to 1624 when the region was first settled.  Although sometimes identified as “Joice” in some census data, on the gravestones along Lake Joyce, as well as a few related at Kempsville Baptist Church, the spelling is “Joyce” During the period when the Joyce family lived in what is now Baylake Pines, it is reported that over half the land supported the agricultural needs of the settlers. 

Nicholas Joyce appears to be our first resident on record in the Joyce family, although his stone is not in the Baylake collection. In the 1830 Census he was identified as a landowner with two male slaves under the age of 10, one adult male slave, and two adult female slaves. Nicholas is referenced to be the husband of Jacamine (Jacomine on some census data) H. Joyce on one of the gravestone. Jacamine was born in 1801. She was just 6 years old when the HBMS Leopard attacked the USS Chesapeake along the Lynnhaven Inlet in 1807. Shortly thereafter, Congress passed the Embargo Act which prohibited trade between the US and Britain, and ignited the War of 1812.  The Joyce...

Baylake Pines is a Treasure Trove of History

After four months at sea, colonist George Percy's ship entered the Chesupioc (Chesapeake) Bay on April 26, 1607, landed, and exploration began of this new land. He was astonished by what he described as "fair meadows and goodly tall trees, with Fresh-waters running through the woods." Shortly thereafter, his group was attacked by Indians, who retreated to the reciprocal gun fire. Therein lies the beginning of the Baylake Pines story. Known in historic circles as Henrytown(e), the area is believed to be the third English settlement in Virginia. Originally occupied by the Chesapian Indians, English settlers landed at Cape Henry in 1607 and quickly moved inland to settle in Jamestown. The famine of 1609 drove settlers back south in search of fish. In 1610 documents, forts were referred to along the Chesapeake Bay in support of the settlement in Jamestown. In a letter by Virginia's Lt. Governor Samuel Argall in 1613, he sent a fishing ship to "Henries Towne" to relieve the men there. Henrytown's namesake was the Prince of Wales Henry Frederick Stuart (and Cape Charles was named after his younger brother). The Indian natives and the settlers eventually found a way to coexist through the operation of trading outposts, as evidenced by iron tools and pipe fragments dating from 1610-1660. These artifacts were unearthed during an excavation by archeologist Floyd Painter in 1955, the year the neighborhood began to be developed. Painter also found Indian tools, pottery shards, the remains of a house, and two small children's teeth. Residents regularly report finding arrowheads in their gardens or on Treasure Island.

In 1635, Adam Thoroughgood received 5350 acres of land between the Chesapeake Bay and the Lynnhaven River via the Grand Patent, issued by the Governor of Virginia as payment for providing the passage for new settlers.  Thoroughgood brought indentured servants (he himself being one) to the New World and after serving him in the development of his...

Proud to Serve Our Military

We love Hampton Roads - and it’s our pleasure to work with the military men and women in our region. We understand the unique real estate needs of our military community. In fact, many of our agents are Veterans, MilSpouses or have completed advanced training allowing them to better serve our military.

Whether you’re PCSing from another part of the country, looking to buy or sell locally, or just need the professional guidance of a REALTOR®, we’ve got all your needs covered. No one knows the local market better than we do, we are truly "A Hampton Roads Original". Let us make the process of moving a smooth and enjoyable experience. We’re proud to serve our military!


From Lemonade to Legacy -- A History of Chic's Beach

One of the many great things about living in the Bayfront communities is the diversity of people, lifestyles, recreation, and homes.  No where is that variety more apparent than in Chic's Beach. It has been said that you can't quite "size-up" the person sitting next to you at Zia's or crossing your path on the beach. But ask the locals about the correct name and spelling of Chic's Beach and you will see community pride and unity well-up. Chesapeake Beach is the area west of Baylake Beach to Little Creek Amphibious Base and north of Shore Drive. It includes many neighborhoods such as Chesapeake Shores, Chesapeake Acres, and Chubb Lake Villas.  Maps dating back to the 18th century note "Chesapeake Beach" and a vantage point for Revolutionary soldiers to watch out for British ships was later named Lookout Road. Another main ingress to Chesapeake Beach, Pleasure House Rd, is reportedly named after a house that served up a bit of bootleg or simply some leg, we aren't sure. There are historic accounts that the widow of Adam Thoroughgood opened the Pleasure House Tavern to serve soldiers an innocent libation after a long day at watch.  Local historian Susan Boland, who has studied Sarah Thoroughgood extensively, explains that Sarah operated an "ordinary" or a B&B in the Baylake Pines neighborhood that operated as a waypoint for travelers to the Eastern Shore. As they might have awaited weather conditions to improve to use the ferry service, serving alcohol was a benefit that was legally awarded to Mrs. Thoroughgood.  She even had her own whisky still on the premises. But this was not on Pleasure House Rd nor named Pleasure House Tavern.

In 1919, Chesapeake Beach incorporated and is currently organized under the Chesapeake Beach Civic League.  In 1948, Luther "Chic" Ledington and his wife Audrey ("Sadie") opened up a lemonade and hot dog stand on the beach at the end of Fentress Rd, where Buoy 44 serves locals today.  According to Ledington...

Sea Breeze Score

Anyone who has searched for property online in the last five years has been exposed to the term "Walk Score."  A walk score provides an idea of how close restaurants, schools, parks, etc are for the potential buyer.  A low Walk Score would indicate a more car-dependent lifestyle.  Being a resident and agent in the Bayfront Communities of Virginia Beach, I have found that a "Sea Breeze Score" is a valuable tool for those who are interested in living in a beach community.  As you will see on my listings, a Sea Breeze Score will be determined by the opinion of "resident experts" in the community. 

Sea Breeze Score definitions:



Beach-lovers Paradise
Are you on vacation or at home?  Unobscured sunrise and sunset views.


Salt in the Air
The sounds of the surf lull you to sleep at night and beckon you to start each day.


Paradise in Reach
An easy stroll with a Roll-Eze or a golf cart will easily get you and your beach toys for a day or just an hour of beach-time.


Getting to the beach is a bike or street-legal golf cart ride away.  Enjoy socializing with friends and neighbors along the way.