Thursday, October 24, 2013

Haunted Mathews

They say Virginia is the most haunted state in the U.S., and Mathews County is certainly no exception. Here are a few stories, some of which we have some personal experience with. Happy Haunting!

Located on the North River in Mathews County, this is probably the most famous of the Mathews Haunted Houses. Built in 1824 by Philip Tabb, (yes there were and are still a lot of "Tabbs" around here), it became the home of his son Dr. Henry Wyeth Tabb until 1863. Good Ol' Dr. Tabb ended up having 3 wives, (he outlived the first two), and several children. The house had seen it's fair share of good times and tragedies, but the most famous tragedy happened when one of his daughters, Mary Eliza, suffered a  terrible fall down the grand staircase in the middle of the foyer of the house. It was supposedly on her wedding day, and Dr. Tabb reported hearing the most terrible noise only to find his daughter at the bottom of the stairs. She died later that evening, and it has become a tradition that her white leather wedding slippers would always remain with the house and have been handed down from each subsequent owner to the next.

In the 1970's, the house was purchased by John Lennon and Yoko Ono who were seeking a quiet retreat in a remote location where they could escape their hectic life in NYC, (yep, I can bet that @ 90% of the residents of Mathews at the time would not have recognized John Lennon if he went up and punched them in the face), and apparently Yoko was very superstitious. She refused to have those wedding slippers in the house, (I'm with her...that's just creepy), had the house exorcised, and then had the basement filled with sand as she heard that would keep the ghosts away. Our first year open as a B&B, we had guests that were related to the owners who purchased Auburn after John Lennon's death, and they told us they spent quite a bit of money to empty the basement of all that sand. And then they started hearing and seeing a few ghosts.

Apparently, the most "seen" ghost is a confederate soldier, and not sure what his story is, but my brother David who works with us here at The Inn at Tabbs Creek can vouch for the other most common paranormal activity which is audible. Back in the mid 90's, Dave had his own small catering business here in Mathews, and was hired by the owners to do a cocktail and appetizer event at Auburn on New Years Eve. After the festivities, all the guests left for the next leg of the party at another old house, and Dave had been left alone to clean up the mess. He had not heard the ghost stories, but just as he was finishing up, he definitely heard a loud tumbling noise that sounded like someone falling down the stairs! He ran to the foyer, but nothing was there. He was so shaken that he hightailed it out of there so fast, he forgot to close the back of his truck and most of his catering supplies ended up all along the side of the road. He didn't believe in ghosts before, but now he does.

"Uncle Willies House"
I only know of Uncle Willies house as it was right across the river from my parents house here in Mathews. The owners got to know my parents, and told them that the house was haunted.  Apparently, Uncle Willie only appears in the master bathroom, mostly when the homeowners got out of the shower. They would also see him in the bathroom mirror while getting ready, and described him as a kindly old bearded man who was always smiling. I don't know about you, but a pervert ghost would make me move even faster than your average ghost.They lived there for many years, and said they got used to them.

"Old House Woods"
By many accounts, (ghost and paranormal blogs mostly), this is THE most haunted place in Mathews County, and possibly the whole state of Virginia. Old House woods is a 50 acre patch located in Diggs and sits on Whites Creek across from the Chesapeake Bay. There are so many sightings reported here, and one of the interesting things is how many different paranormal experiences have been reported. It is supposedly always 10 degrees cooler in the woods, and many have reported a green concentrated light that hovers through the woods, and has even chased a few people. I actually believe this one the most as I had a similar experience off an old logging trail in SC, but that's a different story. Other sightings have included Ghost Pirates, Ghosts of British soldiers burying gold, Headless Cow Ghosts, a Ghostly Woman and/or Witch floating through the woods. Many reports have described a feeling of unease and anger when in or around the woods, and even reports of being "attacked" by the ghostly apparitions. Then there is the Ghost Ship, reported by many as a 3 masted Spanish Galleon that floats above the Bay and into the woods. Now that I would like to see, although I would probably chicken out at first nightfall :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Virginia is for Oyster Lovers

Fall is in full swing, at that means that Oysters are everywhere here in our neck of the Chesapeake Bay. You can actually find them year round here at our Virginia Bed and Breakfast as we raise them for both the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as well as for ourselves. We also offer Oyster Cruises though Mathews Deadrise Charters where you can learn all about these wonderful creatures through Captain Trey Sowers of Chapel Creek Oyster Company. Sometimes we even break some out and fire up the grill for guests to sample roasted oysters, (our favorite way to eat them plus the safest).
If you are an Oyster lover yourself, then October/November is the best time to visit our region. Oyster aficionados know the Urbanna Oyster Festival, now in it's 56th year, on November 1 and 2nd, 2013 is a wonderful opportunity to sample different oysters from all over our region. Oyster sampling and wine pairing has become a big culinary trend as people have come to discover the subtle nuances of oysters which are based on different factors such as size, salinity, and even minerals in the water or "mud" in which they are raised. Attendees at the Urbanna Oyster Festival also learn about life on the Bay, as well as enjoy a wide variety of activities from parades to live music. 
Can't make the Oyster Festival this year? Well there are plenty of opportunities to have the full oyster experience right here throughout the rest of the Fall. Arrange for an Oyster Cruise through Mathews Deadrise Charters and let Capt. Trey from Chapel Creek Oyster Company tell you all he knows from his years of raising oysters for some of the finest restaurants  in Richmond, Virginia. He will also give you an oyster shucking demonstration, (he learned from the world champion herself), and show you how to best shuck your own oysters. Once you have shucked em, you can eat them...fresh and right there on the boat! 
For a real gourmet oyster experience, you can also drive further up the Middle Peninsula to Topping, Virginia and check out Merroir, the tasting room for the Rappahanock Oyster Company. This place is no fancy seafood restaurant, but rather an authentic Chesapeake Bay experience as you dine next to a working marina and watch the boats go by. Merroir has been featured in several foodie magazines as well as TV programs such as "The Today Show" and "Life after Top Chef". Here you can have oysters either raw on the half shell or roasted, (they don't believe in Frying), as well as other bay delicacies such as clams, mussels, seasonal fish and scallops. Paired with the perfect beer or wine, this place should not be missed! We love it and so have all our guests that have visited. 
So come celebrate your love of Oysters with us here at The Inn of Tabbs Creek, where we will tell you what we know about Oyster Gardening, and often sample several of our own during our Saturday night wine and cheese gathering. We will also be happy to help you arrange for an oyster cruise, visit to Merroir, or purchasing oysters to enjoy on the grill here or even take home with you. Here we all agree that the world is truly your oyster!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oyster Tour and Birdwatching Too

    A lot of our guests here at the Inn are interested in getting out on the water in some way. While canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are great, sometimes guests like to be driven around and shown the sites by experts who know the waterways and histories like no other. Well now there’s a new and fascinating take on that theme; Chapel Creek Oyster Company.

     Chapel Creek Oyster Company is a family run oyster farm located just off the Chesapeake Bay on the scenic  Piankatank River. Trey at Chapel Creek offers eco-tours  that involve bird watching as well as seeing the oyster farm and learning how this vital species is keeping our beloved bay clean. These trips generally last 2 hours and cost $140 (up to 4 participants can take the tour for that same price).

For more information you can check out their website at To contact them you can email Trey at or call them at 804-815-6132. They will customize their tours to do more birdwatching and they also offer sunset cruises as well as stand-up paddle tours. Just call them for rates and information.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Fresh Start

We at the Inn at Tabbs Creek are happy to announce that we have started a new blog. The old one had some problems so we hope the new site will work better for us. We plan on posting more often and sharing more about not just our Inn but other local features to see and visit whenever you come down to our area. We hope you enjoy it!