A Bay Creek couple is creating a new waterfront haven—again—on the Chesapeake Bay.
When Warren and Penny Birdsong of Smithfield, Virginia, began talking about full-time retirement a few years ago, they knew what they were looking for. They already had a location and a home plan they loved: the Birdsongs had been coming to Cape Charles for some time, enjoying the home they built in The Colony at Bay Creek.
Built by Schneider Custom Builders, the home has beautiful Chesapeake Bay views and a layout they enjoy. But with full-time retirement on the horizon, they decided to purchase a new homesite in The Colony and build the next home of their dreams, even closer to the water, and larger to accommodate their children and grandkids. We spoke with Penny Birdsong about Cape Charles, retirement and what they have planned for their next Bay Creek home.
Bay Creek: The Eastern Shore and Cape Charles, in particular, is such a unique community— it’s a great place to live, vacation and retire. How did you first discover Cape Charles and Bay Creek and what led you to plan retirement here?
Penny Birdsong: My husband, Warren, has a good friend, Tommy O’Connor, who lives in Cape Charles and is a longtime Eastern Shore resident. We came to visit and we just loved it. We really like that Bay Creek is family and community driven. And we were drawn to the historic charm of Cape Charles. My husband loves to fish so, of course, this area is a great place for him to enjoy that. As for me, I love anything involving the arts. When I retire, I plan to get more involved in the arts scene that Cape Charles offers.
BC: You renovated your current residence, a historic home in Smithfield, Virginia. How does Cape Charles and your home in Bay Creek compare to that aesthetic?
Penny: Our home in Smithfield is in the historic district and we love the charm of that area. Cape Charles has a lot of that same historic charm. We love our historic home but what we really enjoy at our home in Bay Creek are the views of the Chesapeake Bay.
BC: Your current Bay Creek home is across the street from the bayfront. Now you’re building on a homesite on the water, and working with Jim Schneider of Schneider Custom Builders once again. You’ll be waterfront—what are you looking forward to from this new vantage point?
Penny: Yes, our new home is going to be across the street and it will have even better views of the water and those gorgeous Bay sunsets. There are ospreys, all sorts of birds that fly over the water…it’s really amazing. We’ve talked to our neighbors who live right on the water and they’ve told us they’ve seen schools of sting rays—hundreds of them—passing by. We’re looking forward to being even closer to the water so we can see that sort of thing, too!
BC: No doubt those views will be incredible! Besides being closer to the water, what will be different in the new home you’re building?
Penny: The floorplan is very similar to our current Bay Creek home. The main living area will still be on the third floor. But we’ll be moving the master bedroom to the top level. And we’re adding more storage—so we can put our cars in the garage and still have room for all of the many beach toys and equipment you need living on the water!
BC: Building a home is exciting but there’s a lot of planning and decision making. You’re now headed into your second Bay Creek build—are you looking forward to it?
Penny: Yes! We’ve built several homes over the years. It’s a process I really enjoy, actually. We loved working with Jim on our first Bay Creek home. He’s a good communicator. He keeps to the budget and there are no surprises—he’s just a great person to work with.
BC: You’re an experienced interior designer. Jim Schneider has said it’s wonderful to work with you because you have a great eye for style and design. Are there any design features you’re adding to this new home that you’re especially excited about?
Penny: On the back of the home, we’ll have stack back style glass doors so it will really be like an eight foot wall of glass all the way across. And we’ll be using a cable railing system so nothing will impede the views.
BC: That’s going to be gorgeous! We know you won’t be the only ones taking in those awe-inspiring views of the Bay—you have children and grandchildren who will be enjoying your new home when it’s complete, too. What do you all enjoy doing most when they’re visiting?
Penny: We absolutely love being so close to the Bay. Our grandchildren enjoy the beach and it’s nice because you don’t have to worry about an undertow. They’re definitely beach kids. And then besides that, there’s so much to do here—they can kayak, paddle around, fish…we all love to go walking, ride bicycles or explore on the golf cart. Our son, Japheth, visits all the time, too. He has a second home in the mountains so he enjoys visiting us here and enjoying the beach, which is great.
There will be no shortage of memory-making and family get togethers when the Birdsongs move into their new home sometime next year. Their daughter, Christi, and her husband, Ben, along with their three children, are building a custom home just across the street —also with Schneider Custom Building—for weekend getaways and vacations.
Looking ahead, Warren and Penny will be breaking ground on their new waterfront home in October and they’re looking toward a late summer completion. In the meantime, they’ll continue to enjoy what they love—the historic flavor and fun of Cape Charles and family time by the sparkling Chesapeake Bay.
We at Bay Creek are excited to see the Birdsong’s next fabulous residence take shape—we wish them all the best and are glad they’re part of the Bay Creek community!
Schneider Custom Builders of Norfolk, VA, is a valued member of the Bay Creek Builder Guild and has enjoyed more than three successful decades in the building industry.
757.819.4466 | info@schneiderCB.com | SchneiderCustomBuilders.com
The Colony at Bay Creek is an established neighborhood of classic coastal and British West Indies style architecture created around a central town square and main street. Right beside Kings Creek Marina and the sandy beaches of the Chesapeake Bay, it’s an ideal community for water lovers. Resting on the waterfront just north of the Cape Charles Historic District, The Colony is a timeless blend of Bay Creek style and the classic charm of Cape Charles.