Issue: May 2002
Charmed, I'm Sure

Chesapeake Charm in Cape Charles, Va., is a B&B that anyone-especially young parents and kids-will love.


     Many are the bed and breakfasts that offer lovely antiques, comfy beds and extravagant breakfasts around tables the size of aircraft carriers. Few are those that can provide all this, as well as a little red wagon to tow your kids to the beach in. Or a full video library of Winnie the Pooh, Barney and the other minor classics. Indeed, most B&B owners run screaming from the phone when you ask if kids-in particular little kids-are welcome.

     And Phyllis and Barry Tyndall likely would have done the same with their Chesapeake Charm Bed & Breakfast in Cape Charles, Va., were it not for the arrival of their daughters, ages five and two. “I just knew I could never tell someone, ‘No, you can’t come here with your kids,’ ‘‘ Phyllis says in her soft southern voice.

     Which is a blessing for boaters with young children aboard-to whom most ports of call can offer only chain motels. Blah. Not so in Cape Charles, where the Tyndalls opened their B&B in 1995 after moving here from Virginia Beach. Just three short tree-lined blocks from the town’s phenomenal west-facing beach, the Madison Avenue house was built in 1921 by a railroad family. Out front is a wide porch with rocking chairs and a wooden swing, and the entrance foyer is dominated by a massive 1859 Steinway piano. The pine floors, moldings and pocket doors are original. Barry Tyndall changed the second floor’s layout to add more bathrooms, and he turned the attic into a delightful loft room for honeymooners or couples with kids. From the bed tucked into the dormer nook in the loft, young and old alike will be captivated by the treetop view to the Bay beyond.

     Everything important is within walking distance in this compact, old-fashioned-feeling town, including the beach, several restaurants, the grocery store, the railyard (everybody loves a train) and the town’s harbor. And don’t be surprised if the Tyndall’s five-year-old, Leigh, shows you to your room. She carries it off with great gentility and style, which seems to be just the way things are done here.

     For more information, call 1-800-546-9215 or visit