Contemporary life in a nostalgic, small-town setting
Beckstoffer, an architect and developer, and Hanky, a developer, knew that the site had also once been a hotel and restaurant so popular in the 1940s and 1950s that older locals still are nostalgic about it. “Well, we’re nostalgic for the future of Urbanna,” says Beckstoffer, “and so we set about to create casually-elegant, maintenance-free residences that are compatible architecturally with our surroundings and that deliver a modern residential lifestyle.”
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Beckstoffer’s new Residences at Oyster Harbor command a remarkably calming view of quiet Urbanna Harbor, where sail and powerboats peacefully coexist as they make the short trip to and from the Chesapeake Bay.
Twelve units -- 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms, plus two freestanding homes that will be configured to suit -- each boast oversized screened-in porches and such custom finishes as granite countertops, top-of-the-line cabinetry, high-end appliances, hardwood floors, decorator carpet and ceramic tile. “We provide not just the ordinary, but unique features, such as mosaic niches in the beautifully tiled showers to the outdoor shower provided for use after a dip in the pool,” says Beckstoffer.
In addition, each unit has an assigned, separate 7 x 7 storage room, the use of bike and kayak racks and, in the parking lot, you will find two electric charging stations for your car or electric golf cart. And as you relax by the private pool and sundeck area that overlooks the harbor, you can roast your oysters or fresh-caught fish on our Wolf gas grill!
Perhaps the most unique feature of the newly constructed Residences is that each unit comes with its own private floating boat slip, 40’ in length and with a minimum water depth of 10’.
“If you don’t happen to own a boat,” says Beckstoffer, “your friends can sail or power down from Annapolis for the day and have a place to dock!
Honoring the Past while Moving into the Future
The architecture of the Residences at Oyster Harbor is evocative of the great inns of the coast of Maine, and is very much in keeping with the desire of Urbanna’s civic and business leaders to move boldly into the 21st Century, attracting visitors and business while retaining as much as possible of the flavor and feel of the tiny rural town that it is.
To them, Urbanna has the potential to be recognized for so much more than being the host community of Virginia’s official annual “Oyster Festival,” a hugely popular November event that attracts more than 70,000 to town over a two-day period.
As reporter Tom Chillemi wrote in the local newspaper, the Southside Sentinel, a few years ago, some Virginia development experts have said they cannot think of a place “between Maryland and North Carolina where a boater can walk to everything they need, such as a grocery store, a drug store and restaurants.”
Yet the environment surrounding The Residences at Oyster Harbor is so much more enticing than that. Urbanna is a delightful contradiction in terms.
As small-town America fades into memory, Urbanna embraces progress without compromising its love of the past. Here, a drug store with a soda fountain dating from 1930 (that must be experienced to be believed!) coexists with an upscale coffee shop just across the street. Oyster and crab shacks do a thriving business as do newer restaurants that features innovative, contemporary menus. Two graceful and traditional B&Bs co-exist with a newly remodeled motel whose interior more closely resembles a lavishly-appointed high-end hotel. A modern art gallery worthy of Kennebunkport shares space with an old-fashioned auction hall.
Rich History, Rural Setting, Convenience to Culture and Attractions
And while you’re at it, why not drive your ‘street-legal’ golf cart through the village and enjoy the local history. Founded in 1705 as a port for the shipment of tobacco to England, Urbanna features seven buildings that have been in continuous use since the Colonial period -- four of them on the National Register of Historic places.
Recently, Urbanna’s leaders have been energized by the realization that a mid-18th Century map of the original 13 colonies is of tremendous historic (not to mention monetary) value, and should attract visitors interested in Virginia’s rich Revolutionary- and Civil War history.
In his marvelously informative and comprehensive book on Middlesex County, “Signatures in Time” (Middlesex County, Virginia, 2012), Larry Chowning writes that John Mitchell’s 1755 work, now in restoration and soon to be displayed in town, is “often considered the most important map in American history.” Negotiators at the Treaty of Paris in 1783 that ended the American Revolution apparently thought so: They consulted the map, as explorer William Clark also did before joining Meriwether Lewis on their expedition to the Northwest Territories in 1803!
Herman Beckstoffer’s own “map” embraces the new, while cherishing and protecting the old. “Urbana is a community where lifestyle embraces today, yet it seeks to retain the values of old world charm,” he says.
“And to top it all off,” he adds, “We are close to the Bay, convenient to the beach, within easy reach of Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, and Richmond -- and yet at the same time so far away from all the stress and traffic.”
Meanwhile, down by the water, owners of The Residences at Oyster Harbor enjoy the modern, casually elegant comforts of their home while gazing out at the passing boats and the gracefully-aging boat house on the far side of the harbor.
Come enjoy the beauty of the area and the convenience of maintenance-free living and see for yourself why we say, “We have a new Pearl for your Oyster.”