2018 REALTOR of the Year for Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS

On January 10th, 2019 James Friend Dickerson was honored by his peers in the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS as their 2019 REALTOR of the Year. This was a cool and humbling honor!

Nominated by Charles McDonald, Broker of Charlottesville Solutions for his work on local, state and national Real Estate issues, mentoring real estate agents, work as chair of the Public Affairs Master Group supporting private property rights leading opposition to Albemarle County’s proposed “Rain Tax”, community involvement in church youth groups, Core Team at Mission Charlottesville (a new church plan in C’ville),Stonewall Jackson Area Council BSA, Widow’s Sons’ Lodge A.F. & A. M., plus 28+ years helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. Here’s what some of his peers had to say:

The REALTOR® of the Year honors a member who has participated in the REALTOR® Associations at the local, state and national levels. Involvement in civic and community organizations is necessary, as is a high level of education and a dedication to the profession. The 2018 award recipient was James Friend Dickerson of Charlottesville Solutions

Tele Jenifer, CAAR 2019 President, presents the 2018 REALTOR of the YEAR Award
Posted in About James Friend Dickerson, Central Virginia, Country Living, Farms, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Land, Zion Crossroads | Leave a comment

Hatteras Style Clam Chowder

On a recent visit to Manteo, North Carolina, a commercial fisherman friend gave us a bag of clams frozen in the shell. What to cook with clams? We love Hatteras Style Clam Chowder, so I decided to create a batch! After calling several friends to get tips and recipes, I started prepping and cooking.


  • 25 Frozen Clams in the Shell
  • 5 Peeled Small Potatoes
  • 2 Peeled Small Onions
  • 3 Thick Strips Country Style Bacon
  • 24 Ounces Water
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Fry the bacon in a large stock pot. While bacon is frying spread the frozen clams out on the counter. Once crispy remove the bacon, turn the burner off, and cut bacon into small pieces then return to the stock pot.

Mince the frozen clams info small pieces.

After about 5 minutes the clams will thaw enough to start opening. Once opened remove the frozen clams and juice. I usually open about three clams then mince the clams adding to the clock pot. Once all clams minces and in the pot, add the water bringing to a boil.

While the stock pot heats, dice the pealed potatoes and onions adding to the pot. One the liquid boils reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

Bringing minced clams to a boil.

As the clams simmer, stir and taste from time to time. After 45 minutes add salt and pepper to taste. You could taste the ocean in our broth so no salt was needed. Once the potatoes are done the clams should be ready (Especially if you minced them. Size does matter when prepping clams for Hatteras Style Clam Chowder!).

Hatteras Style Clam Chowder

We enjoyed our Hatteras Style Clam Chowder with cornbread! Perfect for a cool rainy evening. Next time I may try cooking cornmeal dumplings in the broth.

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Happy Spring Creek Seller

Thank you so much Jim for selling our home in 2 days! The process couldn’t have been more smooth and stress-free ?

The owners did everything I asked to get this home ready: decluttered, touch up paint, yard work, staging, etc. We received a full price offer within 48 hours of going on the “For Sale” market! If you are looking to sell, let’s talk and develop a plan designed to meet your needs!

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Smoked Marlin Dip

2.25 Pound Marlin Steak

Last fall after a great offshore fishing trip on the Doghouse (yes we caught citation tile fish!), we had our fished cleaned and packed at the OBX Marina in Wanchese, NC. Another boat landed a Marlin and I was given 5.5 pounds of fish. What to do with two large Marlin steaks? How about smoking and making fish dip!


First I mixed a marinade (three cups warm water, two cups brown sugar, two tablespoons crushed garlic, and one table spoon sea salt). As the marinade cooled, I cut 1/2 inch incisions into the Marlin steaks (the incisions allow for greater absorption of the marinade).

Marlin Read for 12 Hour Marinade

After placing the Marlin steaks in gallon bags, add the marinade forcing out most of the air then sealing bags. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours turning every few hours. While the fish marinated, I soaked apple wood in water.

Marlin in the Smoker

After smoking with apple wood for 5.5 hours (an hour a pound) in an electric smoker, we pulled the Marlina and started to craft the dip.

Smoked Marlin Dip

In a large bowl mix 5.5 pounds shredded smoke Marlin, 3 pounds of cream cheese, one cup of Dukes mayonnaise (no other brand allowed at in our home), two tablespoons Old Bay, plus Tabasco , salt and pepper to taste. Taste as you go and adjust the ingredients to match your personal tastes. You can substitute finely diced jalapeno peppers for Tabasco if you like a hotter dip. Remember the flavors will mature and meld over time After another 12 hours in the refrigerator maturing, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Our smoked Marlin dip rocked!

If you’re fortunate enough to have some fish, give smoking a try. We’ve smoke everything from rainbow trout to bluefish!

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Carolina Cioppino

Friday Night Dinner

Since I cook to match the dietary needs of my guests, this is not your traditional cioppino (no tomatoes or vegetables). Let’s get started on a delicious hearty stew!

If we’re not at the beach, I head to Wegmans and pick through the available seafood. Since a step-son earns his way as a commercial fisherman, I steer away from farm raised seafood and go for wild caught! This most recent batch of Carolina Cioppino included oysters (wild caught from Virginia’s Northern Neck), scollops, shrimp, and Cajun sausage. Depending availability, I’ll also use clams, mussels, rockfish, tilefish, or flounder (I cut the fish info 2 oz. portions, adding with oysters and poach in the broth.).

Pan of Carolina Cioppino

Let’s get started cooking! To a large pan I cover the bottom with olive oil, heating on medium to saute 2 ounces of minced garlic and 1/2 pound of Cajun Sausage (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds). Once the garlic browns, add a tablespoon of butter and a pound of deveined shrimp (we like Carolina green tail shrimp). As the shrimp turn red, stir in 2 cups of Pinot Grigio wine (we like Barboursville Vineyards Pinot Grigio) and add 1/2 pound of sea scallops. Add 1/2 gram of Saffron (I usually rub the Saffron in the palm of my hand to break it up a wee bit). Sprinkle in Old Bay to taste (this is a Carolina recipe). Add a pint of shucked oysters and their juice! This is also when I’d add fish or shellfish when available. Cover and simmer till the oysters plump.

Some like their Carolina Cioppino served over rice (rice takes about the same time to prepare as Carolina Cioppino), I enjoy mine without rice. On recent cold winter nights, a bowl becomes the perfect meal to end the day! We often have crusty French bread with butter or cheese. There should be a glass or two of Pinot Grigio left to enjoy with the Carolina Cioppino as well.

You’re welcome to add tomatoes, vegetables, potatoes, and other ingredients your guests may like. I like to saute a couple ounces of chopped collard greens along with the garlic for a little twist. Experiment and have fun!

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DRUM for Lunch or Dinner


During a recent trip to Manteo, NC we got skunked on a Cobia fishing trip due to using a small craft during high winds. All was not lost! A friend stopped by the house and gifted us a couple of Puppy Drum ( Some call it Drum, Red Fish or Channel Bass depending on size & location. We call it delicious for breakfast w/ fried potatoes or dinner w/ grits.).

Having a Bride born in Buxton, NC and a step son who’s a commercial fisherman provides benefits in the kitchen! I keep learning old Outer Banks dishes that are new to me. We’ve had boiled Drum and potatoes fried in bacon grease for breakfast often. Some family members request Drum and Potatoes for breakfast after a long night of adult beverages (those individuals will remain un-named!).

Here’s how we prepared our Drum for dinner:

After filleting the Drum cut into 2-3 oz pieces. Start two pots of water boiling. While the water’s warming, cut strips of bacon into pieces (2 -3 ounces per person) and fry till crisp removing cooked bacon to a paper towel. Prepare grits according to personal preference and package directions (I often add an once or two of Parmesan cheese to give a little extra flavor.). As the grits cook (we don’t use instant grits!), add the Drum to the other pot of boiling water along with a wee bit of chopped garlic.

Once the Drum is done, spoon grits into a bowl and add several pieces of Drum, spoon warm bacon grease on top of drum, sprinkle with fried bacon then salt & pepper to taste. Add a piece of cornbread and you’ve got a meal!

Cook more than you think you’ll need! You can make fish cakes with leftover Drum, bacon, and potatoes or grits. If y’all know my cardiologist, don’t tell him about this recipe!

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Why I Use 2 Lock Boxes on Many Homes

Lock Boxes

From time to time seller’s ask why I place two Lock Boxes on their home.  It’s a great questions so I’ve decided to answer with a blog post.

Virginia REALTORS covers the Commonwealth of Virginia and consists of many local Associations and/or Boards.   Each Association/Board has its own Multiple Listing Service (an offer of cooperation and compensation where REALTOR members share information on real estate for sale such as property information, showing instructions, sales price, etc.).  These Multiple Listing Services often issue (sell or lease) LOCK BOXES (a device for storing keys w/ some type of coded access) to their members providing a standard method of accessing keys for showing homes.  Without the lock boxes, buyer’s agents (licensed real estate agents representing the buyer in a transaction) would have to drive from office to office picking up and returning keys or arrange for the seller/listing agent (licensed real estate agent representing the seller) to be at the property to grant access.  If you’re showing a buyer five to fifteen homes arranging the showings can be complicated and time consuming!

Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS

I’m currently a member of the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS (I’ve had duel membership in other associations over the years) which covers Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding counties.  We use the blue LOCK BOXES  in the top photo.  These are manufacture by General Electric and require an updated code.  They can be access by a smart phone with app installed or a D Key.  Both the smart phone and D Key must be updated daily to receive a code allowing a user to open the lock box.   I can also remotely turn off an lock box if the owners don’t want a home shown on a specific day and set the daily time range when the key can be accessed for showing the home.  These are pretty cool tools!

When an agent uses a smart phone to access the key in the Blue LOCK BOX, I get an e-mail alerting me to a showing with the buyers agent name and contact info.  This allows me to follow up with the agent to see if they have questions and request feedback.  Sellers often like to see the feedback from agents showing their home.  If an agent uses a D Key, I don’t get the e-mail till they place the D Key in a charging station to get the next days code.  The systems works well and is pretty cool!

Since much of Central Virginia has overlapping Associations of REALTORS (I had Louisa County listings shown by Charlottesville, Richmond, Southside, Fredericksburg , Northern Virginia & other associations member agents this year).   These agents cannot access the blue LOCK BOX in many cases (some can get a one day code).  I want to provide my listings and seller clients with maximum exposure for the real estate we’re selling so I market to buyers and Real Estate Agents outside of my Association.   So that these buyers agents can show the real estate to their ready willing and able buyers, I place a black or brown old fashioned combination lock box on the property as well.  Agents must contact me to schedule the showing and obtain the combination.  This allows me to know who is showing the property and follow up for feedback.   This system works well!

I’ve also had sellers benefit from the combination lock boxes when they or a guest locked themselves out of their home!  Appraisers and contractors doing upgrades/repairs can also be given the code allowing for more flexibility in scheduling.

If you have questions about lock boxes or real estate in general, let’s talk!  I am here to help.  The only bad or silly questions remains the one you do not ask.



Posted in Central Virginia, Commercial, Country Living, Farms, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, Homes, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Zion Crossroads | Leave a comment

Another Happy Seller!

Thanks Charlottesville Solutions, James Friend Dickerson, for selling our property so quickly. Anyone needing help with real estate, I highly suggest this agency, they are motivated to get the job done. Thanks again James Friend Dickerson.

Blue Ridge Mtn. Cottage

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Received 8.22.2018:

Mr. Dickerson,

You are amazing! Thank you very much for all your support and assistance during the selling of my home and relocation to Reston.

Greatly Appreciative Seller

3269 Gateway Circle, Forest Lakes, Charlottesville, Virginia

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Friday Night Shrimp

Shrimp, Pasta & Spinach

It’s Friday evening at Kamp Karen (our home in Western Louisa County) and almost time to cook dinner.  What to do for dinner after a long day of work?  I don’t want a frozen pizza or something that will take a lot of time.  After checking the freezer, we decide on NC Shrimp, Pasta and Spinach.

We drop a pound of frozen shrimp  (We stock up on shrimp when visiting family in Manteo, NC visiting family.)  into water to thaw while changing out of work cloths, going through the mail etc.  Then while Karen shells the shrimp, I start cooking.

  • 1 Pound Frozen NC Shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Italian or Creek Herbs to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
  • 1 9 Ounce Package Frozen Spinach
  • 1/4 Cup Water or White Wine
  • Pasta (Today We Used Spaghetti Broken Into 2″ Sections)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Old Bay to Taste
  • Cheese ( Parmesan or Feta ) to Taste

Into a large frying pan, I add olive oil, garlic and herbs heating to brown garlic over medium.

While the garlic browns, place spinach in microwave and cook per package directions then add spinach and water/wine to frying pan.

Place the cleaned shrimp in a glass bowl then add lemon juice and Old Bay tossing to coat shrimp.

When the spinach reaches medium temperature add your pasta of choice (I’ve used macaroni, ziti, ravioli and others in the past.).

When the pasta almost reaches the level of doneness you like, add the shrimp and lemon juice mixture.  Tossing occasionally until shrimp is cooked.

Just before serving add cheese and toss again to mix well.

Note:  I cover and the frying pan as the pasta cooks and absorbs the liquid.  Monitor closely since you may need to add a wee bit more liquid as the pasta cooks.

Yields three servings (we save one serving to someones lunch on Saturday!).  If you add a salad and bread or use as a side to go with a steak, you can easily enjoy four servings.

Our Family Enjoying Lunch at O’Neil’s Sea Harvest

If you’re on the Outer Banks or Manteo, North Carolina and want fresh seafood, head to O’Neil’s Sea Harvest (seafood market & lunchtime restaurant) in Wanchese.  The seafood comes off the boats, through the backdoor  and straight to you.  You will not find better  friend oysters or soft shelled crab BLT when in season.  We stock up on shrimp, crab and tuna to bring home.  Support our American Fisherman by taking a short drive to O’Neil’s when at the beach.  You’ll be glad you did!!!



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