The Virginia Diner has been serving delicious down-home cooking to people from all over the country since 1929 when it was a refurbished Sussex, Surry and Southampton Railroad Car! Situated on the major thoroughfare 460 in Wakefield, over the years, The Virginia Diner has added on room after room to accommodate all these folks. If you haven’t been here, this needs to be your next stop on The Salty Southern Route!
To start with, the charming mood that you are welcomed with at the diner begins with the journey. The beautifully quaint country drive through Sussex to The Virginia Diner takes you back to a simpler, more relaxing time. Then, when you walk through the doors of the diner you will be pleasantly surprised by cases filled with homemade pie, local peanuts for purchase and to taste, antique peanut vendor roasters, local merchandise, and an atmosphere of red and white tablecloths with bentwood chairs and antique cast iron toys!
Wrapped up in all this Southern Hospitality is, of course, delicious food! The Virginia Diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just to tantalize your taste buds, this diner offers everything from baked county cured Virginia Ham, biscuits, BBQ, omelets, spoonbread, collards, peanut butter milk shakes and their world famous Peanut Pie! And that is just to name a few!
This holiday season is the perfect time of year for great friends, fun adventures and some down-home southern food! So, jump in the car and ride The Salty Southern Route to The Virginia Diner!
The Virginia Diner is open:
Monday – Thursday 7am to 8pm
Friday 7am – 9pm
Saturday 6am – 9pm
Sunday 6am – 8pm
Catering is Available
408 N. County Drive
Wakefield VA, 23888
When you ride The Salty Southern Route through Suffolk, Virginia, be sure to stop at Brick & Mortar Brewing Company for some delicious local suds!
Located on East Washington Street in Downtown Suffolk, Brick & Mortar is the city's first brewery! The owners have taken their passion for home brewing and brought it to an edgy and comfortable spot where customers can not only drink delicious brews, but wonder around the amazing 3,000 square foot tasting room, play games and check out local artwork on the tables.
But what about the beers?! With a 10 barrel brewhouse and a total of 40 barrels of fermentation space, this Veteran owned and operated brewery is constantly putting out a fresh and creative beer for your delight! Their latest release was the 7:01 Espresso Stout on November 24th. This 8.2% full bodied stout has been aged with white oat and cold brew espresso and is sure to warm you up on these cold winter days! Then, of course, a must have brew while riding The Salty Southern Route is Brick & Mortar's Peanut City Porter! Suffolk, a.k.a "The Peanut City," finally has its own beer! As a surprisingly light porter, this beer sits at a 4.7% ABV and hits the nose with the fresh scent of peanuts, exhibiting flavors of not only peanuts, but coco nibs and roasted barley leaves. Then there is the Rt. 58 Bipass IPA and The Nansemond Pale Ale, just to name a few more!
Also, this brewery is always having fun events! A couple on the books this month include Santa's Workshop, Dec. 5th, Sweater Weather Holiday Parade Party, Dec. 12th, their monthly trivia night on Dec. 12th, the Prohibition Party on Dec. 15th and The Action Packed Christmas Movie Night on Dec. 20th.
212 E. Washington Street
For a full list of events and beers check out their FB page and website!
Brick & Mortar's hours are as follows:
CLOSED Monday & Tuesdays
5p - 10p Wednesday - Thursday
4p - 11p on Fridays
Noon - 11p on Saturdays
Noon - 8p on Sundays
Have you shopped Downtown Smithfield lately? If not, you just don’t know what you are missing! From beautiful antique stores, its very own Christmas Store, bakeries, specialty gift shops, places to purchase local ham and peanuts and its really cool Isle of Wight County Museum, you just have to put this shopping trip on your list!
The best part about shopping Downtown Smithfield/Isle of Wight County is that you are supporting locally owned and operated businesses while discovering the charm that makes up this lovely community! This time of year we are all looking for that perfect specialty gift that says “I saw this and thought of you!” That is exactly what you will find while browsing these shops. Have you ever been into an authentic Celtic Shop? Smithfield has one and you may just have a family member that shares in this heritage. But even if not, they have beautifully made clothes and purses from over seas that would certainly make a certain someone feel very special! And then there is The Taste of Smithfield, where you can not only purchase local peanuts, ham and Smithfield themed gifts, but also have an amazingly delicious lunch or dinner!
There are also two bakeries where you can grab a great snack and/or a specialty dessert for the perfect ending to a holiday meal. And I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for something special to take to the host of all those holiday parties. Well, Downtown Smithfield has you covered with an amazing florist and a wine shop where you are sure to find something to make your host happy!
And all of this is just the beginning! Many of the specialty gift shops are filled with hand made clothing and art, things that you won’t be able to find anywhere else! Not to mention the local art center, historical landmarks, and the amazing restaurants and places to lodge that line Smithfield’s beautiful down town!
Need I say more? Get out to Downtown Smithfield/Isle of Wight County this holiday season! You and all the special people on your holiday gift list will not be disappointed!
Check out this link to learn more about the shops and upcoming events like Smithfield’s Christmas Parade!
See you out there shopping!
And don't forget to get a great family photo with Smithfield's LOVE Sign!
#loveva #ridetheroutefromnutstosnout @visitvirgina
It looks it is going to be a pretty beautiful week in Southeastern Virginia, a little chilly, but crisp fall days filled with sunshine! One way to enjoy this weather is by paying Chippokes Plantation State Park a visit! If you are a local and have visited before, or if this is your first time, this park is a great place to get away and reconnect with nature and the history of the area.
Situated in Surry County, Virginia, Chippokes is just a short ferry ride from Historic Jamestown or a serene country drive from surrounding counties like Isle of Wight and Southampton and/or a quick trip across the James River Bridge from Newport News or Hampton! When you embark on your journey to Chippokes you will be met with 1,947 acres of stunning nature, splendid plantation houses and a museum dedicated to the craft and history of local farming. As one of the oldest continually farmed plantations in the country, Chippokes has been a working farm since 1619 and offers modern recreational activities and a glimpse of life in a bygone era. While exploring the park, visitors are able to tour the historic area of the park, including its antebellum mansion and outbuildings, stroll through formal gardens and view antique equipment.
Chippokes Plantation and State Park is also a campground that includes four overnight cabins allowing visitors to stay on the grounds. There are opportunities to bike, hike, ride horseback and picnic and during the warm weather, this park features an Olympic-sized swimming pool!
As previously stated, Chippokes Plantation State Park was created in the vision of local history! One of the ways they display this history is with their Farm and Forestry Museum. Situated on the grounds of the park, this museum explores the lives of Virginia Farmers, displaying how tools, techniques and crops have changed over time. The museum is open for self-guided tours daily from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is also available by reservation for groups.
Hey! And Chippokes has events for its visitors all season long! Just to talk about a few, Chippokes has a Welcome Bon Fire happening every Friday night right now! This evening campfire invites campers and cabin guests to join the Chippokes family for friendly fun and roasting marsh mellows for S’ mores! Each week a ranger brings stories, games and information about local wildlife! They are also featuring guided tours through The Jones-Stewart Mansion, their stunning antebellum plantation house and events like their upcoming “Harvest Crafts,” a fun way to make art from fall harvest leftovers!
(Visit the links below for upcoming event times and information)
So what are you doing this week/weekend? Heading out to Chippokes Plantation State Park, right?!
Hey, when you are out exploring Chippokes, don’t forget to tag us on social media! @saltysouthernroute
Talk to you next week!
It’s always a good time when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
Chippokes Plantation State Park
695 Chippokes Park Rd., Surry, VA 23883
Phone: 757-294-3728 Email Address:
Dawn - dusk.
Surry County. From I-95 and I-295, take Route 10 towards Hopewell. Follow Route 10 East for approximately 40 miles to Surry. Turn left at the intersection of routes 10 and 31 (this continues on Route 10). Turn right at the stop light. Turn left at Route 634 (Alliance Road), and the park entrance is four miles on the left. Because of weight restrictions, those heading east in vehicles weighing more than 3 tons should avoid taking Highgate Rd. off Rt. 10.
Its address is 695 Chippokes Park Rd., Surry, VA 23883; Latitude, 37.137369. Longitude, -76.727691.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia: 2 - 3 hours; Richmond: 1.5 hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach: 1.5 hours; Roanoke: 4 hours
I don’t know about you but, these beautiful fall days have me in the mood to take a serene country drive and adventure to a place I haven’t been, or maybe a favorite spot I haven’t visited for a while! If you have the same feeling, I suggest you jump on The Salty Southern Route and cruise on over to Franklin/Southampton County! While on your travels, you have to stop by The Peanut Patch Gift Shop! This shop features charming gifts, specialty foods, wine and the famous Feridies Peanuts! It is definitely one of the county’s #1 local destinations!
Located on Rt. 58 in Courtland VA, The Peanut Patch is known for friendliness and a down-home atmosphere. Run by two mother and daughter duos, this has been a family business since 1973 when it was opened as a furniture stripping business to refinish antiques! The thought at that time was, since someone had to be there every day to accept furniture, it only seemed natural to have a gift shop. During these beginnings the store was able to find over 300 craftsmen who sold their handicrafts on consignment! With this success and being that the shop sat in one of the world’s largest peanut producing counties, after so many years they decided to cook and produce Feridies, their own brand of Virginia type peanuts!
All these years later this family has obviously been doing something right! Not only do they have a beautiful store filled with everything from beautifully unique clothes, jewelry, house ware, unique gifts, Virginia made items and much more, but they also have the store filled with their delicious Feridies Peanuts! Produced in their manufacturing facility, just a mile down the road, these peanuts have been nationally recognized and are sold world wide through their catalogue, website and Amazon!
But you don’t need to order these delicious peanuts online! All you need to do is hop in the car and visit the shop! While you are there browsing the shelves you can sample the Feridies peanut brand and, of course, chat with the friendly ladies running the shop!
So, what are you doing this week?! Hopefully you are riding The Salty Southern Route to The Peanut Patch!
P.S. A cool fact about the Feridies name… This is a “made up name” that has a special meaning! The name is comprised of a piece of each family member’s last name! (ShaFER, RIDdick & FrIES) Cool right?!
Check out The Peanut Patch and Ferdies web pages for product information and any upcoming events!
27478 Southampton Parkway
PO Box 186
Courtland, Va 23837
Monday – Saturday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Sunday – 1:00pm – 5:30pm
Till next week!
Have you traveled to Surry County lately? Maybe you were just at College Run Farms to pick out the perfect pumpkin?! Well, if you have, you might have passed Bacon’s Castle on the way, another gem on The Salty Southern Route! With these beautiful fall days we have been having this stop on the route is a must visit! It just so happens that I was just there in late Summer with my Mom and we had a really great time. The staff was full of knowledge and this historic building is full of interesting facts, tidbits and the secrets of all those who have lived there in years past. The grounds are great too! In season, they have a beautiful blooming garden and Bacon’s Castle and Preservation Virginia often host on site events! The next event on the books is “Castle Christmas,” December 8th from 10a.m. to 5p.m., where seasonal decoration and traditions can be enjoyed by all!
So, a bit about The Castle’s History! Built in 1665 by Arthur Allen, Bacon’s Castle is the oldest brick dwelling in North America! Cool, right?! Mr. Allen was a prosperous merchant and planter and it is noted that he built his house in an extremely rare example of High Jacobean architecture for the New World, with the crowning jewels being the triple stacked chimneys! Arthur Allen didn’t get to live in his new house long though, he passed in 1669 and left it to Arthur Allen II, his son. It was during this time that the dwelling got the infamous name Bacon’s Castle! History tells us that this naming came from Bacon’s Rebellion, apparently one of the most confusing yet intriguing chapters in Jamestown’s history. It has been considered that the Virginia Rebellion of 1676, the larger rebellion that Bacon’s Rebellion was part of, was to be the first stirring of the revolutionary sentiment in America, or possibly just a power struggle between two stubborn leaders. As Bacon’s Castle historians will tell you, the rebellion was due to tense relations between the local Indian tribes and the English Settlers. One side would attack the other and then the other side would retaliate. Nathaniel Bacon, a well to do of the area, blamed the local tribes for most of this and decided to go against the wishes of the Governor and, with a number of followers, took vengeance against the Indians. It was during all of this that 70 of Bacon’s men took control of Allen II’s Brick House for three months! So, years later, because of this historic event, the house was renamed “Bacon’s Castle.” However, a fun fact is that Nathaniel Bacon most likely never set foot in the building! The house was then passed through the family over the years. There is even a pretty cool story of a “black widow” who outlived several husbands!
The point is, you should definitely stop by this cool historic landmark! The experts at The Castle will fill you in on all of its history and when you are done there is a gift shop and time to wonder the grounds! You can also do a self guided tour.
Hours and Prices are as follows:
Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Also, Memorial Day through Labor Day they have Monday Hours (10am – 5pm)
General Admission is $10
AAA, Seniors (60+), Military Discount $9
Children under 6 are Free
Sitting off of Day’s Point Road in Smithfield/Isle of Wight County, SummerWind is a family owned and operated Vineyard that has been selling their grapes to wineries throughout the State of Virginia since 2008. Having began their grape growing journey in 2005, The Pugh family’s vineyard is about 11 acres in size and consists of varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Manseng, Viognier, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Chardonel. While they were successful selling their fruit to other wineries, the family had planted the vineyard with the intention of making their own wine and decided to make that dream come true in 2015 when they started the next chapter of the vineyard’s adventure and began this process!
All these years later SummerWInd Vineyard’s dream of making their own wine came to fruition with their Official Tasting Room Grand Opening this past Saturday! It was a very exciting day that included an outpour of support from the local community as well as folks from places like Yorktown, The Eastern Shore, Hampton/Newport News and even visitors from out of state! All were there in anticipation of SummerWind’s very first vintage, which included five wines from 2017 and an announcement that three more reds from the same vintage will be released this March!
So! About the wines! What are they you ask!? Well, let’s start with The Petit Manseng. A delightfully dry and citrusy white wine that delight’s the nose with floral notes and ends on the taste buds with a hint of pineapple! Then we go to "The Two River’s White," which is an extremely satisfying blend of Chardonnay and Viognier! This white lingers on the palate with a buttery mouth feel and will please those wine lovers that enjoy both the semi-dry or semi-sweet. Next, you must try SummerWind’s “Warwick Squeak,” which is a Sparkling Rose that starts out dry and has that satisfying prickly bite you often find in sparkling wines, but then delivers the splendid naturally sweet flavors of strawberry, raspberry and melon. As if that wasn’t enough, we move onto the red wines from this 2017 vintage. The first being SummerWind’s Cabernet Franc! As a 100% Cab Franc, this is very much a light, French style version of this varietal and gives beautiful black cherry and deep rose notes. Last on the list is “The Pagan!” This red was a hit, to say the least! A blend of Chamborsin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it produces flavors of strawberry and red raspberry while it coats the tongue with velvety soft tannins and is a winner for the bold red and semi-sweet lover alike!
Enough said, right?! If all that wine talk wasn’t enough, SummerWInd will also be featuring Charcuterie boards and light fair food for your enjoyment! And, I'm sure there will be some salty ham and local peanuts mixed into that fare! So put this gem on your list of things to do! They are open Fridays through Sundays and encourage large parties to call and reserve special tastings or events during other days of the week!
Friday - Saturday 11:30am to 7pm
Sunday 11:30am to 6pm
As usual! Keeping is Salty & Sweet, lol!
Check out all these links for more information about SummerWind and look for my next blog soon to know what your next stop on The Salty Southern Route will be!
What says Suffolk like PEANUTS! Suffolk, Virginia has had a long love affair with this beautiful legume, and one of the ways it celebrates it, as well as the city’s agricultural heritage, is with the family friendly Annual Peanut Fest! And, It is happening this week! In fact, it’s happening right now!
Suffolk’s Peanut Fest has it all! We are talking a 5K Run, a parade, amusement rides & games, delicious food, a cornhole tournament, top notch bands, a motorcycle rally, a demolition derby, a wing eating contest and last but not least, the World’s Only Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest! Need I say more?!
This festival has been going on for a long time, too! The very first Peanut Fest was in 1941 and by the time the second one rolled around, it produced a crowd of nearly 50,000 people! Over 30 years later, the City of Suffolk continued this tradition by celebrating the modern predecessor of today’s Peanut Fest with “Harvest Fest” in 1978. Which brings us to what we know the Peanut Fest to be today, four fun filled days in October that brings out around 125,000 people to Suffolk every year!
This festival is so awesome that it has been featured in Southern Living, The Southern Farmers Almanac, Best Festivals-Mid Atlantic, Sauveursand Virginia Business! And this year marks the 41stanniversary of all the fun!
Oh, and did I mention they top it all off with fireworks!
Anyway, Mr. Peanut is in Suffolk waiting for you. So, head down to Suffolk’s Executive Airport (1410 Airport Road, Suffolk, VA 23434) and have a wonderful long weekend enjoying friends, family and PEANUTS!
The Festival dates are October 4th through the 7th! (Thursday – Sunday)
Check out the link below for all the details!
Smithfield/Isle of Wight County Virginia is home to three major festivals per year. These include The BOB Fest, The Wine & Brew Fest and The Bacon, Bourbon & Beach Music Fest! Put on by SVAEvents (Smithfield Virginia Events), this trio of first class events are not only tons of fun, but also amazing fundraisers for this community! Since 2012, these festivals have donated over $818,000 back to more than 70 local charitable organizations! Simply put, they are absolute can’t miss events in the Hampton Roads area, offering decadent libations, live music, scrumptious food and a park full of old friends to enjoy and new friends to make!
That being said, October 6th is The Bacon, Bourbon & Beach Music Fest! This event is a unique chance to enjoy a local taste of this charming community, along with enjoying fantastic music, specialty bourbons and of course BACON! It all takes place at Downtown Smithfield’s Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield’s beautiful public park situated in the heart of the town and open to the public year round. With two large stages for music, unique retail vendors, a bacon condiment tent, local wine & brews and a bacon eating contest… this event needs to be on your calendar!
So, I hope you got your tickets early! These events are so popular that they usually sell out in minutes! If you didn’t know about these festivals, or just haven’t gotten to one yet (and I definitely think you need to check them out), here is some general ticket purchasing information.
Although this upcoming Bacon, Bourbon & Beach Music Fest is SOLD OUT (sorry), the general admission tickets always go on sale the last week in July!
The Smithfield Va BOB Fest is up next on January 19th and tickets go on sale November 14th & 15th.
And, The Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest takes place on April 13th, with tickets going on sale February 20th & 21st!
All of this information can easily be accessed at the SVAEvents homepage. http://www.smithfieldvaevents.com
Also! Check out the Bacon, Bourbon & Beach Music Facebook Page for more information!
As well as this really cool YouTube Video!
I hope you are headed to the festival this weekend! And if not, plan on it next year!
It's all part of your adventure when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
See you guys soon!
Hey again! So, I’m back today to talk about all the Farmers Markets on The Salty Southern Route! All season long, generally May through October, Southampton County, Isle of Wight County, Surry County and Suffolk offer a weekly Farmers Market for residents and tourists alike.
I definitely want you to make sure you keep these dates and times on your calendar because you still have well over a month to get out there and sample the local fare these communities have to offer!
So, lets check them out. First up is Suffolk’s Farmers Market! Held Saturday mornings (9am-1pm) May through November at the Suffolk Visitor Center Pavilion. As a popular outlet for locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods, organically raised poultry, fresh eggs and milk, honey and variety of artisan-crafted goods, this stop is a must shop!
Then, as you continue your travels on The Salty Southern Route, you need to check out one of the two Farmers Markets Southampton has to offer! On Wednesdays, May through September (4pm-7pm) and every Saturday, May through September (9am-1pm) Franklin’s Market on Main provides locally grown fruits and vegetables along with specialty items such as honey, jams, homemade soaps, locally raised meats and eggs, and much more. And if that wasn’t cool enough, Southampton also offers the Courtland Farmers Market and Produce Auction! Held every Thursday, June through October starting at 6:30pm, this market offers you the opportunity to stop in and pick up produce fresh off the family farm. It is directed toward wholesale buyers but anyone is welcome to attend and put their bid in on local fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers!
Next up is the Surry Farmers Market! Held every Friday (4pm-7pm) from May through October on the Courthouse Lawn in the town of Surry, this market showcases locally grown produce, meat, dairy, and specialty products and is located within walking distance to other small shopping venues.
Last, but not least is the Smithfield Farmers Market! Held every Saturday, April through October from 9:00am until 12 noon in the Bank of Southside Virginia parking lot, this market has been named on of the “101 Best Farmers Markets in America” by TheDailyMeal.com! The tasty foods, baked goods, lovely gift items and of course, plenty of fresh produce and LIVE MUSIC every week makes this venue a definite stop on your Salty Southern Route itinerary!
So, like I said, keep these on your agenda! The season isn’t over yet! Shop local, visit and LOVE Virginia!
Have fun! I hope I see you at one:)
Below are associated Facebook links:
Isle of Wight/Smithfield https://www.facebook.com/smithfieldfarmersmarket/
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.