For History Addicts...1634 to the present: Smithfield & Isle of Wight County
Established in 1634 as one of the 8 original shires of the Virginia Colony, Isle of Wight County, with its quaint towns of Windsor & Smithfield is rich in history.
Day 1: Begin your visit at the Visitor Center - also home to the Arts Center @ 319 - offering tourist information, a gallery/gift shop & the chance to chat with resident artists. Further down Main St. is the Isle of Wight County Museum, with an overview of the county's history & the world's oldest ham. Next, enjoy a Walking Tour of the downtown with over 50 historic buildings, including the 1750 Courthouse, modeled after the Capitol Building in Williamsburg, & the Schoolhouse Museum, an African-American school house built in 1932. Lunch at the Ice Cream Parlor. Afterwards, head to Historic St. Luke's Church (c1632), the oldest church of English foundation in America & the only surviving original brick Gothic church. If time, be sure to visit Darden's Country Store, where visitors can tour the family's smokehouse & farm. Finish with dinner at Smithfield Station, followed by one of our local concerts, events, or class at the Arts Center.
Day 2: Breakfast at the Gourmet Bakery, then visit Fort Huger for a self-guided walking tour of the battlements and view the James River ghost fleet. A short drive takes you to Fort Boykin Historic Park, situated on the bluffs of the James, in a beautiful natural setting. Lunch riverside at Captain Chuck-a-Muck's in Rescue. Then head to Boykin's Tavern, named after Major Francis Boykin who served with Patrick Henry & George Washington. A savvy businessman, his tavern was located next door to the land he donated for the Isle of Wight Courthouse of 1800. Head back into town to browse the shops and galleries of downtown, and be sure to stop at the Taste of Smithfield! Finish your visit with dinner at the Smithfield Inn. 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.