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/
Hey! So, I wanted to officially introduce myself! My name is Meg Pugh, aka “SaltyMeg” and I will be your official Salty Southern Route tour guide! I grew up in Isle of Wight County and have a great appreciation for what this county, as well as the surrounding Surry, Southampton/Franklin, Suffolk and Sussex counties have to offer. There are a ton of things to do here! We have everything from historical landmarks, locally owned and operated shops, restaurants, breweries, wineries, festivals and events for every time of year. As I hope you have been reading, the five counties that The Salty Southern Route covers not only make up a beautiful area rich in agriculture and deep rooted in the pork and peanut industry, but they all have their own special and individual charm! Whether you are having a local brew at Brick and Mortar Brewery in Suffolk, eating peanut pie at The Virginia Diner in Sussex, learning about Bacon’s Rebellion at the Historic Bacon’s Castle in Surry, shopping Main Street in Downtown Smithfield/Isle of Wight or taking a kayak excursion down the waterways of Southampton/Franklin with Blackwater Outfitters, your ride along The Salty Southern Route will leave you with great memories and wanting to know what is next!
So what is it that you can expect from me? Let me tell you. As your tour guide on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I will be giving you weekly event updates and special features on businesses and places of interest along The Salty Southern Route! The idea is to keep you informed on upcoming festivals, community runs and bike tours, farmers markets, restaurant weeks, parades and every happening in between! I look forward to spotlighting local businesses and landmarks once a week so you can discover a new place to shop, visit or dine and experience what makes these communities so special. And last but not least, I will be encouraging all of you to check out saltysouthernroute.com, where you will find awesome suggested driving itineraries put together by some amazing women in these different tourism departments! Then, once a month, a few of my friends and I are going to hit the road and drive one of these suggested routes! So, I’m excited and even more thrilled to share all the selfies and images we take!
So buckle up everyone and ride with me, “SaltyMeg”, along The Salty Southern Route!
Up next…. I want to remind you about all the Farmers Markets this region has to offer! Did you know that all five of these counties feature a weekly farmers market and that you still have till the end of October to check the majority of them out? We will talk about it tomorrow! So, until then, nice to meet you and thanks!
If you see me around town say “hi!” Oh! And let’s take a selfie! LOL
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 next stop on your Salty Southern Adventure is the enchanting Sussex County!
Situated in the beautiful rolling terrain between Richmond, Hampton Roads and Southern VA, Sussex is 317,400 acres of alluring country fields that melt into picturesque sunsets and lush landscapes for as far as the eye can see! It was formed in 1754 and named after its English counterpart, eventually to include the charming towns of Jarrett, Stony Creek, Wakefield and Waverly. With over 130 farms in Sussex, 25% of the county’s land is devoted to agricultural production including peanuts, one of its principal crops!
On your relaxing ride through this Salty Southern Route featured-county, this leg of your journey will allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily routine and visit local peanut shops like Wakefield and Plantation Peanuts and stop by The First Peanut Museum in the USA. You will be able to browse the shelves of local country stores like Adam’s Peanut and Country Store and when the gang is ready for lunch, sojourn at Cowlings BBQ and top it all off with a slice of Peanut Pie at the famous Virginia Diner!
All of this and more awaits when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
From an English settlement known as Constant’s Wharf to its present day status as Virginia’s largest city, Suffolk Virginia is 430 square miles of rich woodlands, beautiful waters, rolling country fields and downtown streets filled with locally owned restaurants and shops.
As a prime destination for leisure travelers, Suffolk provides visitors with everything from
the charming southern city environment of its downtown to the joy of county living at a bed and breakfast or browsing the shelves at a locally owned farm market!
When you follow The Salty Southern Route through Suffolk the possibilities are endless! First stop, a selfie with Mr. Peanut, Suffolk’s official mascot courtesy of Planters Peanuts Company and Amedeo Obici, then, after you get a cute pic, The SSR will take you to Brick & Mortar Brewing Company to get a local brew! After wetting your whistle with local spirits stop by The Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and The Planters Peanut Center to get a glimpse into Suffolk’s captivating past! Following your dive into local history the route takes you to Holland House and/or Bennett’s Creek Farm Market to purchase a few specialty locally grown products and finishes the day off with a delicious meal from one of Suffolk’s numerous restaurants!
Experience all of this and more when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
Official Launch September 13th at the Isle of Wight County Fair!
Now That you know about the Salty Southern Route... Let's talk about the counties! Meet Southampton COunty Virginia!
Hey there! The second county featured on The Salty Southern Route, your local pork and peanut thematic driving tour in Western Tidewater, that I want to let you know a little bit more about is Southampton County!
Originally part of “Warrasquouoke,” one of the eight shires making up the Colony of Virginia, Southampton County Virginia was most likely named for the borough of Southampton in England. Nestled between the Blackwater and Meherrin River, with the Nottoway River running through it, Southampton is a beautiful and tranquil county with a rich history that includes it’s Native American Beginnings, the railroad and a long relationship with pork and peanuts!
As you cruise down the long country roads of Southampton, windows down and the sweet country air whistling around you, the peace of your surroundings envelopes you while the excitement of what charming shop, farm, restaurant or historical landmark you are about to come across rises within.
While you follow The Salty Southern Route through Southampton County you will be taken to local restaurants, like Fred’s in the town of Franklin, places to purchase locally produced peanuts, like The Peanut Patch in the town of Courtland and local pork producers such as Felt’s, where you can peruse the retail shop and take home authentic Southampton ham. For the adventurous, follow The SSR to Blackwater Outfitters, where you can kayak and canoe through the waterways that form the county’s picturesque terrain.
All of this and more awaits you when you ride The Salty Southern Route!
Official launch September 13th, 2018 at the Isle of Wight County Fair!