DELTAVILLE, Va. — Since its inception, Virginia has claimed to have two parts: the stoic mainland and the mysterious Eastern Shore. Accessible from the mainland only by watercraft, a single 20-mile bridge-tunnel from Norfolk, or by navigating through a completely different state, the Eastern Shore has long tugged at the imagination of the mainlanders. Some say the region is ruled by a millennia-old Oyster King, others claim that its inhabitants speak only French, but most continue to ask one primary question: is it really there at all?
This reporter was dispatched by The Peedmont to seek out evidence of this modern-day Avalon’s existence. I traveled as far east as I could afford on the shoestring budget of a satirical reporter and found myself in Deltaville, staring out into the vast expanse of the Chesapeake Bay — or so I was told.
Locals claim that the mainland’s shore is lapped by the waves of a massive recessed body of coastal waters, held in by the mythic Eastern Shore itself. Gazing out to the horizon, however, all I could see was a never-ending display of water and sky. No sign of some “other” part of this great state. Had I forgotten my glasses? Was the spring cloud cover obscuring this legendary spit of land? Had I blown what remained of my expense account on fresh oysters and gin? Yes, maybe, and yes, but despite this I remained unconvinced. I just wasn’t seeing it.
It’s said the mark of a good reporter is knowing when a story has run its course, and I’d hit the mother of all dead ends. All I can say for certain is I did not see an Eastern Shore, so I can’t say if it’s really there at all. But I did dream about it after passing out on a public beach that night.
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