Southern Living Magazine, aka ‘What Karen in New Jersey thinks is Southern Living’ rehashed one of its travel newsletters from June of 2022 listing 15 ‘affordable’ small towns in the ‘south’ that they ‘love’. Cape Charles made the list, and here is the goofy blurb:
Extremely walkable and bikeable, this laid-back coastal village, this town, actually planned around a Pennsylvania Railroad ferry terminal in the late 1800s, is an easy-to-navigate grid. Cape Charles will quickly win you over with its Shuck-N-Suck oyster festival. But beyond seafood, locals and visitors enjoy year-round access to a free public beach with one of the most scenic piers in America. The town attracts so many creative residents that it feels like an artists’ colony. One of our favorite events is Art Rocks The Inns when local artists transform the porches of historic B&Bs into display spaces for their work.
Affordable for who? More DC transplants? A quick Zillow perusal would have certainly led to a fact-checking reassessment.
The cheapest home in the “Historic District” is a 1000 sq. ft home for….$440,000.00! How is that affordable?
Has anyone shopped or eaten here lately? As much as we try and support, face it, it’s not that affordable.
Gentrification has its price. New arrivals, many of them finance and tech investors, as well as wealthy northern retirees, have rushed in, driving up rents and home prices.
Property investors have also swooped in, and many have turned homes into short-term vacation rentals, creating Airbnb neighborhoods that have put homes out of reach to locals. Many have been forced to leave town and try and secure housing somewhere in the county. Good luck with that.
Somehow, the critical thinkers at Southern Living missed this trend.
This dynamic is exacerbated by the Covid pandemic-induced “work from home” trend. Residents of metropolitan areas, attempting to escape the pricey rents in big cities are migrating to cheaper, often working-class areas like the Eastern Shore.
This has created a serious housing shortage for low and middle-class workers. All the PR and the ‘we really care’ rhetoric will never change the concrete reality on the ground.
When is the shameless promotion going to stop? Has anything done more damage to the working class of the Eastern Shore than all of these bogus HGTV shows and boring magazine articles?
There is this constant blather about the great Cape Charles Renaissance, but this is all smoke and mirrors. This so-called revitalization is responsible for the systematic erosion of the Eastern Shore people’s way of life. Teachers, retail, fast-food workers, sanitation workers, delivery people, and countless others are making more than minimum wage but less than enough to meet the soaring cost of living here.
What was once a quiet yet historic and culturally significant area is quickly being absorbed into the DC-Baltimore-Richmond-Hampton Roads metro vortex.
The easy thing to say is that the Shore has changed, it has grown, and if these people can’t afford to live here, they should just move somewhere else. But, where exactly is that?
For most, leaving the Shore is not an option. Is there any way to reverse this trend?