Nothing says "Salty and Southern" quite like the peanut and Suffolk, Virginia has been a hub for the production of this delicious legume for years! It all started with Amedeo Obici,, an immigrant from Italy who's story exemplifies the American dream of "rags to riches."
Obici arrived in America as a boy unable to speak English and worked his first job in a cigar factory while going to night school. He then worked a fruit stand that also happened to roast peanuts. It was this first affiliation with the peanut that inspired Amedeo to eventually take large strides in its production modernization!
While this dream started in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, Obici moved his processing operation to Suffolk, Virginia in 1913. This region of Virginia was already leading the way in the farming of the peanut, therefore it seemed natural to bring production closer.
Since this move Mr. Peanut and Planters Peanuts have had a big hand in shaping The City of Suffolk. You can see statues of the lovable character throughout Suffolk and, most certainly, he makes an appearance in front of what was Amedeo Obici's home! (picture above)
This home is the Obici House and sits on the 263 acre Bay Point Farm overlooking the Nansemond River! The mansion is an irregularly planned Italian Renaissance-style house that has been decorated with Italian art, has classical details that include flute columns, brackets and huge windows for gazing at the water. This beautiful abode was Obici's home until his death in 1947 and these days it is a "Nationally Registered Historic Place." It has been opened to the public for a wedding/event venue, the grounds are now a lovely golf course and The Obici House serves dinner on Thursday nights to whomever would like to attend!
From the story that surrounds Planters Peanuts and Amedeo Obici to the impressive house and property that was left behind, this story is worth delving into and The Obici House is definitely worth the visit! Stop by on Thursdays for a delicious dinner or contact them to set up your next event!
Visit these links for more history on The Obici Story, as well as more information about The House and upcoming events!
When is the last time you have traveled to downtown Franklin?! Situated in the lovely and historic Southampton County, Franklin is filled with all the charms of a Southern City. This downtown features edgy industrial buildings and the tales of its once bustling railroad station, the pristine Blackwater River, beautifully large and ornate homes that you know have been passed down through many generations of local families and, of course, a main street filled with locally owned and operated shops and restaurants!
Whatever charming aspect of this community attracts you, while visiting, you must have something local and delicious to eat! As usual, The Salty Southern Route knows just the place! Situated on Main Street, right in the middle of town, is Fred’s! This restaurant and watering hole has been a Franklin/Southampton staple since 1945 when Fred came down to help his uncle run his bakery. Only five years later Fred took over the business and turned it into The Franklin Arcade, a convenience store that sold beer and sandwiches at the bar!
Over the years the business has been remodeled into a cafeteria style lunch restaurant, it has featured a pool room and expanded its main dining room and kitchen. Fred’s has even continued to serve the community after a fire in 1984 and the infamous Hurricane Floyd that flooded downtown Franklin in 1999.
Now a days Fred’s has kept all the charm and sense of community of its past and features a large dining room, full bar, comfy booths, a full scale menu featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner and even an all you can eat breakfast buffet and fish fry on the weekends!
Need we say more? Put traveling to Franklin/Southampton County on your list of fun things to do this winter and while you are there be sure to dine at Fred’s!
P.S. Since you are traveling on The Salty Southern Route, your pork and peanut thematic driving trail, be sure to try The Eggs Frederick, a split biscuit topped with country ham over medium eggs and/or the VA Ham Steak for dinner!
107 South Main Street Franklin, Va 23851
Check out these links to their website and Facebook for hours and more information!
Hey! Be sure to check out the bar top when you stop in! When the restaurant re-opened in 2000 after the flood, the original Fred's sign was made into the bar top and customers were allowed to autograph it! Pretty cool, huh?! (Featured in the picture below)
Are you looking for some simply southern and delicious cuisine? If so ride The Salty Southern Route to Suffolk and stop by Holland's! Starting with the growing and sale of their own produce in the Old City Market downtown, this family business has been serving fresh and tasty food for over 40 years.
Convenietly located on the corner of East Washington and Commerce Street in Suffolk’s downtown, this newly renovated corner shop is the perfect mixture of modern and warm charm. As you walk through the door you are greeted with an inviting host/hostess and drawn into a space that includes a number of welcoming tables and small bar where you can order food for dining in or whet your palette while chatting it up with good friends. You may also catch the sweet scent of country hams being cooked on site in their ham room by Mary Lou, who has been cooking up deliciousness at Holland's since their beginnings!
While Holland's is very different from the produce stand of 40 years ago, it has kept an endearing feeling of community that so many businesses are missing these days! And they have only added to their services over the years! Holland's services now include in-store dining, off premise full-scale catering, and a long list of classic country to-go items prepared fresh from scratch every day.
So stop by Holland's and grab yourself a mouthwatering pork chop or BBQ platter, a ham or catfish sandwich and a homemade cake or pie! And these items are just the tip of the iceberg! They even sell breakfast!
Open Monday through Saturday from 8am until 4pm.
Closed on Sundays.
Check out these links to view Holland's hours and full dine-in and catering menus!
As you travel along The Salty Southern Route through Surry you are sure to come across Edwards Ham Shop! Situated off of Rolfe Highway, just outside of Surry's downtown, this shop has been providing locals and visitors alike with high quality ham products since it's opening in the 1980s! But, this Virginia staple didn't just start with the shop! When you purchase an Edwards Ham or ham product, you can rest assure that you are purchasing from the experts! Since Sam Wallace Edwards Sr. started selling ham sandwiches on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry in 1925, the name Edwards and ham has gone hand in hand.
Edwards built his first smokehouse in 1926, after the success of those first sandwich sales, and as his family continued to grow so did the business. Over the years, the family business would add additional smokehouses, develop smoked bacon and sausage, as well as work on perfecting the pork curing process. The Edwards smokehouse products has expanded from their first and very successful Wigwam Ham to include Surryano ham and most recently adding dry cured lamb!
These days you can order Edwards products from anywhere, but you can't beat the feeling of charm and tradition as you peruse the shelves of Edwards hometown ham shop in Surry. Here you will find friendly service, an array of sandwiches and snacks that can be purchased, a whole spread of their ham products for sale, as well as peanuts, jams and locally themed gifts.
And what better time of year than now, the holiday season, to treat you and your family to one of the best hams around! Stop by Edwards Ham Shop and discover part of what makes Surry and its surrounding counties special!
Check out Edwards website and Facebook to learn more about their history and for more product information!
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
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.