Cape Charles Historic District
Cape Charles, VA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: Cape Charles sits on the Chesapeake Bay near the southern tip of the Eastern Shore. The Town was established in 1884 when the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad extended its line south through the Delmarva peninsula. Cape Charles was built as the railroad's southern terminus from which steamships carried passengers and freight across the Bay to Norfolk. Incorporated in 1886, the town later became the headquarters for the Norfolk Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

With most of its structures built between 1885 and 1920, Cape Charles has one of the largest concentrations of late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings on the East Coast. In 1991, the Cape Charles Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Cape Charles retains its railroad heritage as headquarters for the Eastern Shore Railroad, one of the largest shortline railroads in the United States and the only with a rail-barge ferry link to Norfolk across Bay. Visitors come to Cape Charles to experience its history and architecture, Chesapeake Bay beach, and growing number of Bed and Breakfasts.

Location / Directions: Cape Charles is located off US Route 13 about 10 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. To get to the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center, follow signs for Cape Charles along US 13 and turn west on State Route 184. The Museum is 1.8 miles from the intersection of Rt. 13 and Rt. 184, a tall brick building on the south side of the road. The Cape Charles Historic District begins a short distance further west on Rt. 184.
Driving Directions
Address: Cape Charles Historic District
2 Plum Street
Cape Charles, VA 23310
Phone: (757) 331-3259
Activities: Cape Charles offers a range of recreational activities, including a walking tour of the historic district, fishing, clamming and crabbing, boating excursions on the Bay and to Tangier Island. The Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center presents the history of Cape Charles with early photographs, timetables, written documents, models of sailing vessels, steamships, barges, and ferries, along with old farm tools, commercial items, and other miscellaneous objects.

Auto Touring Boat Access Fishing Picnicking Tours / Walking Tours Swimming

Operating Hours: Cape Charles is a year-round destination. A small museum is open from the last weekend in April through mid-November on Fridays 2-5pm, Saturdays 10am-5pm, Sundays 1-5pm, and Holidays 2-5pm. It is also open by appointment.
Fees: There is no fee at the Museum/Welcome Center.
Visitor Facilities: Cape Charles offers Bed & Breakfasts, shops, restaurants, antiques, medical services, churches of all denominations, public beach, golf, harbor, marinas, boat ramp, sport fishing, summer rentals and one of the last remaining rail barges in the country, which regularly crosses the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.
Accessibility: The Museum/Welcome Center is handicapped accessible.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY