Bethel on the Bay

Sea, Sand, and Marsh

Some people consider a perfect beach getaway to include plenty of restaraunts, shops, and perhaps a golf course.  Although the Virginia Beach resort area can be fun, I love to find remote and undeveloped pieces of shoreline.  Among my favorites is the Bethel Beach Nature Preserve Area in Mathews, VA.

Bethel’s geography is very unique as it is surrounded by three bodies of water.  To reach the area, you must cross a narrow stretch of Garden Creek.  The creek is made up of many smaller branches and creates a very broad, salt water pond.  The narrow channel empties into the upper portion of Winter Harbor.  This huge marsh is the home of a variety of migratory and shore birds.  Blue herons and egrets feed along the grasses while sandpiper species stroll along the sand.  The habor then flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

Laughing Landing

Needless to say, bird watchers are frequent visitors here.  Photographers will be graced with lovely sunrise and sunset colors as well as a wild shoreline.  Bethel Beach is one of the locations that make up the Mathews Baytrails kayaking trail.  And, with a rod 8 feet or longer, it is more than possible to come home with a couple of croaker for dinner.  

If you are able to venture here on a weekday, don’t be too suprised to have much of Bethel all to yourself.  Mathews County is miles away from major interstates and is not en route to anywhere.  There are no “facilities” at the beach.  But, the town has chain and local eateries and grocers to get you ready to get away for a while.  More information can be found at www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/pgbethel.pdf.  Other photos can be found on my Samsung Photography Album site www.soaphoto.com/jaygresh.

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