Meet Isle of Wight County
The flourishing county of Isle of Wight Virginia had its beginnings as the English settlement we think of today in 1608. This is when Captain John Smith, looking to obtain bushels of corn for the struggling Jamestown settlement, took the journey across the James River to the adjacent shores that were then occupied by the Native American tribe called Worrosquoyackes. As several plantations were then established along the shore in this area south of the James, by 1634, the Virginia Colony consisted of eight shires or counties with a population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants.
Today the county is home to the towns of Smithfield and Windsor and a 2017 census of over 36,000. With charming main streets and picturesque fields of peanuts, cotton and soy beans, Isle of Wight offers everything from the rural agricultural to the small town experience! Isle of Wight has an extensive history that includes its beginnings with the Native Americans, some of the first English history in our country and of course the area’s rich relationship with the pork and peanut industry, home to Smithfield Foods and the world’s oldest ham! As the county has and continues to grow, this small town community invites those who are looking for a permanent residence as well as those looking for the perfect day trip or long weekend!
As you ride The Salty Southern Route through Isle of Wight county you will come across long time businesses like Darden’s Country Store, where they have been smoking hams since the 1950s, and The Smithfield Inn, which has stood as a meeting and lodging place since the 1700s! Then, as you cruise down the roads of Isle of Wight, The Salty Southern Route will take you to lovely downtown Smithfield to browse the many eclectic and locally owned shops that line its beautiful Main Street! If it’s history you are into, historic landmarks like St. Luke’s Church, North America’s oldest Anglican church building, and The Isle of Wight County Museum are also stops on The SSR! When you are planning your long weekend to this delightful county, make sure you plan it around one of its many events, like Smithfield’s BOB (Bloody Mary, Oysters, Brunswick Stew & BBQ) or Wine & Brew Fest and/or the Isle of Wight County Fair!
Last but not least, The Salty Southern Route hasn’t forgotten to find you a delicious meal and local beverage! Whether you stop at one of Isle of Wight’s mouthwatering restaurants like The Taste of Smithfield, The Smithfield Station (also a beautiful hotel), Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s Sandbar and Grill, Q Daddy’s or Bubba-N-Frank’s BBQ, Wharf Hill Brewery for some local suds or SummerWInd Vineyard for a local wine, your palette will not be disappointed! Do you have a sweet tooth? Sojourn at Isle of Wight’s Ringo’s Donuts, The Smithfield Bakery, The Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor, or Yummaries Bakery to satisfy your taste buds!
And this is just the beginning! All this and more awaits when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
The Salty Southern Route
is a joint tourism effort of the towns of Franklin and Smithfield, Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex Counties, and the city of Suffolk, Virginia.