Eat your HeART out in Smithfield, Virginia
Smithfield and Isle of Wight County are as old as Virginia itself, having been first colonized in 1634. Located on the Pagan River, lying on the opposite shore of the James River, across from Jamestown, the area was discovered by Captain John Smith and other early settlers. Smithfield was incorporated in 1752 by Arthur Smith IV, but soon became a town of industry with four plants devoted to the art of curing the world renowned "Smithfield Ham." Today it hosts one of the largest meat processors in the world, Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Day 1: Being your trip at the Visitor Center on Main St. - also home to the Arts Center @ 319 - offering local information, a gallery/gift shop and whimsical resident artists. Further down Main St. is the Isle of Wight County Museum, with its overview of the county's history and the world's oldest ham (1902), an example of Smithfield's distinct ham curing process.
Take the Walking Tour of the Historic Downtown with over 50 historic buildings, including the 1750 Courthouse, modeled after the Capitol Building in Colonial Williamsburg, and the Schoolhouse Museum, an African-American Museum built in 1932. For lunch, enjoy a Piggly-Chick, a unique sandwich featuring Smithfield ham, at the Ice Cream Parlor.
Afterwards, head to Darden's Country Store, where you can tour the family's smokehouse and farm, and pick up local cheese, meats, or other homemade goodies.
Finish your day with a Station Burger at Smithfield Station, followed by one of our local concerts or events.
Day 2: Breakfast of fresh-made muffins & pastries at the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery, or even a Squealer from Ringo's Donuts, then take a tour of Summer Wind Vineyards & Christmas Tree Farm. If time, be sure to stop by Historic St. Luke's Church (c1632), the oldest existing church of English foundation in America and the only surviving original brick Gothic church.
Have lunch riverside at Captain Chuck-a-Muck's, featured on the Food Network, in the village of Rescue. Then head back into town to browse the shops and galleries of the historic district. Be sure to stop at the Taste of Smithfield for culinary souvenirs of your trip.
Finish your visit to Smithfield & Isle of Wight County with dinner at the historic Smithfield Inn, featuring she-crab soup and ham biscuits. For dessert, stroll down to Jeff's Sir Cakes-A-Lot on the boardwalk at the Smithfield Station and enjoy the sunset over the Pagan River.