Products, People, Places and Things Representing the Best in Coastal Living

Products, People, Places and Things Representing the Best in Coastal Living.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Shopping Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA: Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery Nautical Store

Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery storefront located on the riverfront in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia

This Upscale Retail Store features Everything Nautical for the Collector and Coastal Homeowner

Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA museums
 By Allen B. Graves
 If you're planning a visit to Norfolk, Virginia Beach or any other cities in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, make sure that you save time and set your course to the quaint historic seaport of Portsmouth, Virginia for a fun-filled day of shopping, dining and experiencing the historical Olde Towne-Downtown riverfront area. Olde Towne's High Street corridor ( a seven block corridor from Effingham Street to the riverfront) is the heart of the downtown shopping and dining district. This seven block area boasts over 30 restaurants, pubs and eateries to choose from and is one of Hampton Roads finest dining destinations. High Street is also Portsmouth's "arts and antiques" district with a diverse selection of fine antique shops, art galleries, unique boutiques and five museums including the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, and the Lightship Portsmouth Museum,  The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, Courthouse Galleries, and the newly expanded and doubled in size (reopening late April 2011) Children's Museum of Virginia . 

Seaboard building
One of the most unique and best known stores in Olde Towne is Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery. Skipjack is located at the rivers end of High Street and next to the High Street Landing or basin, where the paddle wheel ferry arrives throughout the day carrying passengers across the Elizabeth River from Downtown Norfolk to Olde Towne Portsmouth . One High Street is the address of the famous Seaboard Railroad building. The passenger rail terminal built in 1894 was a busy center for nearly sixty-years, during a time when the railroad dominated Portsmouth's economic activities, giving the city its motto, “where the rail meets the sea". 

Schooner Virginia
This up-scaled nautical retail store and gallery is situated in the first floor level of the building with it's front doors opening onto the High Street Park and seawall and just steps away from the encased Hog Island Lighthouse Fresnel lens.  Colorful vintage signal flags fly below trade signs painted in black with mounted  raised gold letters stating "MARITIME ANTIQUES, NAUTICAL DECOR, MARINE ART and SCHOONER VIRGINIA". The dark-green painted storefront wood work surrounds wall to wall tall windows offering a picturesque view from inside of  the bustling riverfront yacht and ship activities that travels the busy Intracoastal waterway. Once inside,  you will be greeted by the proprietors of Skipjack, Joe and Alison Elder. This large, mostly open front showroom houses Skipjack's collection of nautical accessories, decor and wares- a special blend of handcrafted nautical items made exclusively for Skipjack together with their own nautical apparel and jewelry. Skipjack is also the official "SCHOONER VIRGINIA"  ships store carrying SCHOONER VIRGINIA apparel and merchandise to help raise funding and awareness for the State of Virginia's ambassador vessel. Skipjacks broad and focused collection of nautical wares makes this the perfect Olde Towne shopping destination for the nautical enthusiast. 

A great shopping experience for the nautical enthusiast at Skipjack Nautical Wares.

Schooner Virginia and other nautical accessories at Skipjack Nautical Wares
Nautical instruments at Skipjack nautical Wares and Marine Gallery
A view of Skipjack Nautical Wares front showroom, Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA.

To the back left corner is the entry into the main gallery that is split into two separate areas. The first section features a fine collection of both new and antique Chelsea clocks and barometers, old and new marine instruments, and ship models including a vast collection of ship in a bottles by North Carolina master model builder Jim Goodwin. The main gallery also houses their collection of vintage and out of publication books on maritime subjects and a portion of the original marine art and prints. Through the fabric-paneled walls is Skipjack's design center that accommodates their picture framing department, prints  and a selection of antique and vintage ship grates set aside for custom nautical furniture such as coffee tables, side tables, and occasional tables

Chelsea clocks & barometers at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery

Ship in bottles by master model builder Jim Goodwin

The main gallery leads into the newest part of Skipjack, the foyer gallery that displays the majority of original marine art blended with nautical antiques, sea chests, and three dimensional marine-themed works of art. Skipjack Marine Galleries changing art shows are shown in this long foyer space. Skipjack also leases the foyer gallery for private parties, business gatherings, wedding receptions and other small events.

A section of Skipjack's  Foyer Gallery.

An original marine casting by Bill Osmundsen on display in Skipjack nautical Wares & Marine Galleries Foyer Gallery.

The upper deck level of Skipjack's Foyer Gallery.

Panoramic view of Skipjack, the Hog Island Lighthouse lens and the riverfront.

Preview 360 degree panoramic views of Skipjack's showroom by Virginia photographer Allen B. Graves.

Portsmouth Visitor Information Center
For more information about Portsmouth, Virginia and the historic Olde Towne district, you may also want to stop by the Portsmouth, Virginia Visitor Information Center located at 6 Crawford Parkway in Olde Towne offers visitors an abundance of informational brochures about area attractions and is open seven days a week. (757) 393-5111, (800) PORTS-VA
 Another information center is Starboards Coffee kiosk located at High Street Landing, at the corner of High and Water streets. Betsy Cartier is a great source for finding out what is currently happening in Virginia's quaint historic seaport. Also, David Cartier writes a column titled "A New Day in Olde Towne" that is by far the best source for Olde Towne news and events.

About the author: Allen B. Graves is a writer and photographer that resides in Charlottesville, Virginia. You can visit his website at

1 comment:

  1. What a nice feature article - I hope to visit the area and stop by Skipjack's someday. The store looks fabulous!!!