Hams, History, Hospitality & HeART: Smithfield & Isle of Wight County

In 1608, shortly after Jamestown settlement was established, Captain John Smith crossed the James River & traded with the Warrosquyoacke Tribe, first residents of present-day Isle of Wight County. This rural community, with its towns of Windsor & Smithfield, is rich in history. Begin your visit at the Smithfield Visitor Center, also home to the Arts Center @ 319. This facility offers tourist information, a gallery/gift shop & the opportunity to chat with resident artists. Further down Main Street is the Isle of Wight County Museum, with an overview of the county's history, a country store, smokehouse exhibit & the world's oldest ham. Just across the street is the Old Courthouse of 1750, modeled after the Capitol Building in Colonial Williamsburg. Also located on Main Street is the Schoolhouse Museum, an African-American History Museum built in 1932 featuring period desks, books, & recorded oral histories. Lunch at the Ice Cream Parlor or Gourmet Bakery, then stroll along Main Street to browse shops & galleries, and our Painted Porcine Pig Parade. After lunch, head to Fort Huger, the "Gateway to the Confederate Capital," for a walking tour to see mounted cannon & view the ghost fleet on the James River. Also visit Fort Boykin Historic Park, situated on the bluffs of the James River and originally constructed in 1623 to protect the colonists from the Indians & Spaniards. The fort remains essentially intact in a natural setting. Historic Saint Luke's Church (c1632) is the oldest church of English foundation in America & the only surviving original brick Gothic church. Boykin's Tavern is named after Major Francis Boykin who served with Patrick Henry & George Washington. A savvy businessman, his tavern was conveniently located next door to the land he donated for the Isle of Wight Courthouse of 1800. Finish at one of our wonderful dining establishments, and pick up a souvenir at Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Foods' flagship shop and café. Free attractions. Custom tours available.