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Area Info

Hints & tips to know about this wonderful place where we live

Simply Unique

The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of Virginia are unique. We call this Virginia’s River Realm – It’s the place for a second home or to retire, or to start a “new life”.  And for good reason. It’s populated by a fascinating mix of families. Some have been here for generations: others came for a weekend – and stayed. As you decide where to live, we hope Virginia’s River Realm tops your list.

Nestled between the Rappahannockand Piankatank rivers, lies a picturesque peninsula. It’s here that Captain John Smith observed, when he visited in 1608, “Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.”  The rural character of early colonial settlement is evident in the centuries – old historic landmarks, working plantations, colonial churches and quaint villages. A relaxed, rural area where tide tables and tee-off times take precedent over iPhones and Blackberrys. Historic villages, framed by stately homes that have stood the test of time offer resplendent views of the countless coves and twisting creeks that weave in and out of the land.  And it’s where the venerable Tides Inn – one of the leading Hotels of the World – is located.

The western shore of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay is a dreamy coastal enclave where wonderful people from all over the world make their home on the hundreds of miles of waterfront. And where the enterprising from everywhere have settled to offer every imaginable amenity to this small, but demanding population.

We are close to four major centers: Williamsburg, Hampton/Norfolk/ Virginia Beach, Richmond and Washington, DC/Baltimore/Annapolis. Spend the day at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk or the Smithsonian in Washington, shop the outlets Williamsburg or battle the business world of Richmond, then breathe a sigh of relief as you come home…back to peace and quiet.

The protective arms of the Chesapeake, Potomac and Rappahannock have kept the world at bay for centuries. There is no doubt that our area’s true wealth lies in the precious land and waters that embrace it.  If you love the water and all it offers, the tranquility of the countryside steeped in 400 years of history…four seasons, but in a moderate climate…a small community with the important facilities of any major city…please let us show you our home.

What We’re Known For

Catch crabs and grow oysters at your pier. Watch herons and ospreys and eagles soar just for you.  Our Audubon Society is one ofVirginia’s most active. And you don’t have to live on the water to be on the water. Facilities are countless—marinas, resorts, restaurants, private sailing clubs along more than a thousand miles of shoreline.

From quiet coves with sandy beaches and tree-lined creeks to wide rivers, you’ll find wonderful water from sailing, fishing and water sports. No matter where you might live in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay area, some of the finest striped bass fishing in the word is right here, minutes away in the rivers, creeks and on the Bay. And, excellent hunting for wild game and birds is nearby.

Like to Golf?

There’s plenty of golfing, too. The magnificent Golden Eagle of Tides Inn, Piankatank River Golf Course, and the picturesque King Carter Golf Club are only minutes away, with other private and public courses nearby. Tennis courts are located at the Inn; Irvington has town courts, and at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club are indoor and lighted outdoor facilities.  We have wonderful hiking trails and Belle Isle Park promises an amazing assortment of recreational activities.


For all of us, our 76 bed hospital in Kilmarnock is a reassuring presence. It provides modern medical facilities, a rehabilitation center and doctors and nurses who care. An oncology unit is the newest addition. Bon Secour Rappahannock General is the foundation of a high-quality medical service system: our area is dotted with trained rescue squads, and an Enhanced 911 system.  The hospital boasts a helipad for emergency evacuation. Rappahannock Westminster Canterbury, a private retirement community with excellent medical facilities, is located here. Want to stay fit? A private fitness center awaits you at the YMCA in Kilmarnock or choose a 24-Hour gym with personal trainers at Body Fit, in White Stone.

Experience the Culture

You want culture? It’s here! Our local libraries are wonderful. Several amateur theater groups and the Community Orchestra perform throughout the year. Two subscription series bring professional entertainment—from the Virginia Symphony to the Tommy Dorsey orchestra—to your doorstep. The Town Centre Park in Kilmarnock offers a water feature for the kids, a dog park and a wonderful outdoor stage that features Music on the Half Shell from May until October.  The nearby community college offers many other possibilities.

The Art League hosts an annual show where local artists display their work; the Music Study Club has a full calendar. A private center for the arts offers lessons in dance, vocal and instrumental music. Many well known artists have studios here and will enjoy chatting and showing you their work.

Just Plain Fun

If you love parades, fairs and festivals, there’s one almost every month. Independence Day brings an annual military band concert, with everyone picnicking on the Green in Irvington. White Stone’s Waterfowl Show gathers artists from miles around in March, and the Urbanna Oyster Festival every November is not to be missed-as well as oyster roasts in most every county most every week-end in the fall. Mathews and Middlesex Counties keep folks busy with week-long festivals and many “just fun” activities.

And then there are fish-fries, pig pickin’ barbecues and crab feasts, not to mention restaurants—with seafood at the water’s edge, French, Thai or Chinese, and traditional home cooking. You can buy the best of wines, gourmet takeout foods, home baked breads and pastries by local chefs. Then there is the totally terrific, one of a kind, little sandwich place! We will tell you were it is when you get here!

Meet the People

Wander anywhere you will notice this is a place where folks wave and speak. In fact, it is hard to be anonymous—opportunities to be part of the community are everywhere. If you want to be by yourself with nature take that chair from the parade to the night air. You can see the stars! Heaven for the astronomer or anyone else! Completed in 1735, Christ Church still has its original pews. The formidable legacy of Robert “King” Carter, an influential land owner of the early 18th century, is that of being the sole benefactor of a magnificent cruciform, brick church where he rests today. It is one of the only undisturbed colonial churches in America. If you are a history buff you will have endless pleasant hours immersing yourself in the rich legacy of the area.


There are four wonderful independent schools, Chesapeake Academy (Pre-K – Grade 8), Ware Academy (pre-K-8), Christ Church Day School (grades 9 – 12) and St. Margaret Girls School (grades 9 – 12), not to mention our excellent public schools located conveniently throughout the area.  The Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science is a gem!


We are blessed with the best of all worlds. We have all the stores and shops you’d expect in a community such as ours. In addition, we are fortunate to have a number of delightful specialty shops which are frequented by those from near and far.

Just a few miles away, we enjoy the shops in Williamsburg, Norfolk and Richmond with every major store imaginable.
Come visit us – we think you’ll stay!!

Download our Introduction to Northern Neck Living