Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


My friend Martha and a few of her relatives inherited Cross Rip, a campground in Deltaville, Virginia, smack dab on the Chesapeake Bay. A couple of weeks ago, four of us joined Martha at Cross Rip for three days. Even though I’d been to this unique place before, the beauty still astounded me.

Each morning I hurried outside to snap pictures of the glorious sunrises over the bay. How many pictures of the sunrise can one person take? I think I took about 75! Well you never know—the very next shot could be that perfect one. I also took about 75 pictures of the pair of ospreys who live on the property. I walked much of the 23 acres with my camera, photographed the flag waving from the pier, the centuries-old anchor dug up off shore years ago, the small pond that is home to fish, fowl, deer, raccoons, opossums and other critters.

The five of us spent hours in our pajamas as we talked, laughed, sipped coffee and ate breakfast on one of the two screen porches. From there we watched the ospreys watch us from their favorite tree branch only a few yards away. Sometimes we'd sip a before-dinner glass of wine from the upper porch. We feasted on fresh crab, crab cakes and shrimp. In the evenings we played hilarious games of dominoes, laughed until we cried.

The campground hosts 44 campsites and five houses. One of the houses is an extended tug boat, complete with a galley, bathroom, and sleeping quarters. The view of the bay from the tugboat and the two houses on either side is awesome.

This may be my last visit to Cross Rip. The property is for sale. Martha hates to sell it. Chesapeake Bay and Cross Rip are in her blood. I understand how she feels. From the time I was three years old until a few years after Daddy died in 1974, my family and I vacationed at Greenco, an isolated, privately-owned lodge on Durham’s Creek and the Pamilico River in North Carolina. At one point Greenco was for sale. We thought about buying it, but for various reasons decided against it.

But you know what? I still have Greenco, visit it any time I wish. Only I visit it through my memories and by looking at all the old photos taken over the years. And after Cross Rip is sold, Martha will have her memories, too.

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