Photos courtesy of Dragon Photography
Tucked on the tip of a seven-acre wooded peninsula in Virginia Beach is a retreat like no other. Gazebo on the Point, AKA “Paradise on the Point,” is a uniquely beautiful fusion of man-made luxury and exquisite natural resources on Broad Bay. Approachable by land or by sea, “waterfront bungalow” barely begins to describe this special spot: part “Coastal Georgian” estate and part bird and wildlife sanctuary.
The vision of Gale Higgs, a Virginia Beach-based developer, and her niece, Taylor Malbon, a marketing strategist at TowneBank Mortgage, the secluded Gazebo itself is perched at the apex of a 60-foot Brazilian ipe dock and a pair of 900-foot paved pathways, one that arcs through the pines and indigenous water oaks and another that curves along the water’s edge.
The point of the walk, says Higgs, “is to change your mindset.” After winding through the lovely eclectic neighborhood of Alanton, guests turn in between a pair of brick pillars and travel down a long L-shaped drive to park between the main house and its freestanding garage. There, a pull-cart, outfitted with an umbrella and flashlight, awaits your luggage.
The entrance, flanked by two graceful koi ponds, hints at what lies ahead: curving planting beds and walkways that vie with 300-degree water views for your attention. “Listen to the insects,” advises Higgs, a numbers person, “There are 18 species of birds nesting on site, at least 30 hummingbirds and nine species of bees.” The walk reveals their habitat in stages: a mini-maritime forest, grassy marsh, sandy beach, oyster beds, and deep water with playful porpoises. Across the bay is one fine neighbor: the broad expanse of First Landing State Park’s pristine shoreline.
Dotted amongst the organically sculpted layers of trees, shrubs and perennials on a thick bed of pine straw are four hammocks for the humans along with feeding, nesting and host sites for the birds, bees, monarchs and blacktails. Every plant, asserts Higgs, “feeds or nurtures creatures…and everyone knows to leave the snakes alone.” Plus, the Gazebo is dog-friendly with dog beds provided free of charge.
Though only five minutes from The Shops at Hilltop and 22 minutes from the Norfolk International Airport, the Gazebo feels like a world apart. Whether your relaxation needs call for a day, a couple of weeks, an extended stay, romance or reclusiveness, the Gazebo has got you covered with a deep earthy palette of luxe finishes and fixtures: soaring custom mahogany walls and shutters; rainforest green marble floors, and a green granite fireplace, shower and backsplash.
With a sink-into-sleep queen bed, sitting area, dining space, kitchenette outfitted with high-end appliances and gadgets, and a decked-out outdoor stainless-steel kitchen, you can cozy up or open-up, entertaining friends on the two-tiered deck. Fishing equipment and a kayak are part of the package, as is relaxing after—or instead of—physical exertion in the outdoor spa.
Higgs’ world travel inspired the many amenities and appointments from body products in the bath to Henkel knives in the kitchen. The hospitality, however, seems pure Virginia. Registration and check-in could not be more hassle-free and hands-off. But if there is an issue, asserts Higgs, “I walk down and take care of it.” Though Malbon runs the Gazebo, it is on property her aunt purchased in 2006. “She texts me,” says Higgs, “I comply.” And how. About one guest who left, dissatisfied, Higgs says matter-of-factly, “He was correct in some of his comments, I fixed them and I refunded his money.”
Nowadays, nothing is likely to make you want to cut short your time in this little slice of heaven. As one patron wrote in the guest book, “I don’t know what the definition of Zen is, but this must be it.” Higgs knows: it is the quiet, solitude, comfort and immersion in nature. Reported to be the best place to experience the white silence of a snowstorm, it is also quite a fine place to temper Coastal Virginia’s white-hot summers.
So, if you are the kind of guest who will complain about the 900-foot walk to the main house to pick-up your pizza delivery, then the Gazebo on the Point is probably not your ideal destination. But, if being three football fields from the nearest human—and eye-to-eye with birds, bees, butterflies and the aquatic denizens of Broad Bay—then what are you waiting for?