From stunning sunsets to scrumptious breakfasts, Tabbs Creek Landing is the kind of place where you’d like to stay a good long while.
We had planned to visit Tabbs Creek Landing by boat, but when Johnny and I arrived at New Point Comfort it was blowing dogs off chains, and a jaunt in our 17-foot runabout seemed like little more than a good way to get cold and wet. So we hauled the boat behind us and arrived by land yacht-an approach that turned out to be almost just as pretty. Located in Port Haywood, Va., just off the East River, the big old captain’s house of white clapboard and gingerbread that constitutes the heart of Tabbs Creek Landing sits at the end of a long drive flanked with cedars. Enormous twin magnolias bookend its broad front porch facing east, while the screened back porch looks out over the dock and a beautiful sunset view of Tabbs Creek.
It was early spring, mid-week, and we had the run of the place-including whatever room we liked. After checking out the four lovely rooms in the main house, we chose to stay in the “studio,” a long building just past the inground pool and raised-bed gardens, with three private suites. Innkeepers Erin and Bill Rogers explained that the previous owner was an artist who built the studio as a place for her friends to stay, as long as they would paint the rooms. So while the main house is quite traditional, the studio is all whimsy-one room has tiny dalmations painted on the walls, another is a Coca-Cola motif, and the one we chose is painted in Greek statuary and urns, its bed cornered with four white wooden pillars, a la the Parthenon.
Over a decadent breakfast of stuffed french toast, Virginia ham and mounds of fresh fruit, Johnny and I talked with the Rogers well past mid-morning. He’s a former Air Force attorney, she’s a former teacher, and after traveling for years in Asia and Germany, they returned to the D.C. area, only to find themselves itching to leave. “I think it was sitting in the DMV for eight hours trying to get a driver’s license that did it,” Erin said, “or when my sons came home from school talking about the gangs.” They learned about Mathews County through a friend of her mom’s, and when they saw the bed-and-breakfast at Tabbs Creek for sale, they snapped it up without hesitation. Erin has decorated the house with pottery and china gathered in their overseas travels, as well as a whole army of nutcracker soldiers from Germany.
With their two teenage sons happily enrolled at the local public school, the Rogerses have created an atmosphere that’s friendly and laid-back. “If you make people feel like family they’re going to be happy,” Erin said. So it wasn’t surprising that when we had to leave early the next morning, we didn’t go empty-handed; like any thoughtful mom, Erin sent us off with a bagged breakfast of warm fried-egg-ham-and-cheese sandwiches, homemade coffee cake, and plenty of fresh fruit. It felt just like home.
Open year-round. Rates $125. Dockage is free and best for small boats (3 to 4 feet MLW); larger boats can anchor in protected Tabbs Creek (5 feet MLW) and dinghy in. Tabbs Creek Landing, P. O. Box 369, 5224 Tabbs Creek Road, Port Haywood, Va., 23138; 804-725-5136; tabbscreekland firstname.lastname@example.org.