What is Virginia’s River Realm?
Full of delightful surprises, hidden gems, and friendly small-town spirit. The 465 miles of shoreline, eight great small towns, and hundreds of unique attractions invite visitors to enjoy the wonder of a perfect oyster, the promise of a back road or secret cove and the pleasure of sharing a table with friends. A place where you can catch your breath, calm your mind and live your dreams.
MEET THE RIVER REALM
Incorporated in 1930, Kilmarnock has been the region’s commercial center since its early beginnings and received its name as a result of merchant connections to Kilmarnock, Scotland. Main Street is a beautifully renovated, pedestrian-friendly showcase of independently owned shops and restaurants, featuring boutique clothing, fabulous antiques stores, unique wine, jewelry and decor shops. Even a locally-owned grocery store with it’s own butcher shop. A slice of Americana, Kilmarnock offers events like it’summer carnival and its Lighted Christmas Parade, the longest running night parade in Virginia. Or catch a concert on the Half Shell Stage or take the kiddos to River Play at Town Centre Park. Visit Scotty’s Yard, dog park with your best friend. Make Kilmarnock one of your stops in the River Realm.
This town is a gateway to the Rappahannock River. Home to adorable shops, a gourmet market and the local theater troupe, White Stone makes an excellent stopping spot or a great place to recharge. Epicureans will delight in foods from the River Market or fresh oyster or crabs from R.W. Hall Seafood. White Stone is also home to several restaurants including Willaby’s, overlooking the Rappahannock River and the Sandpiper, known for its extensive seafood selection.
Along State Route 3 is the community of Lively, a jumping off point to interesting adventures along the northern shores of the Rappahannock. Experience nature at Belle Isle State Park, nearly 900-acres, allowing visitors to explore a diverse ecosystem of shoreline and forests, home to many predatory birds, deer, reptiles and other wildlife. The park also offers a campground, picnic shelters, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, and motor boat and car-top launches. Guests can also enjoy overnight lodging at Bel Air and the Bel Air Guest House, as well as bicycle, canoe, kayak and motorboat rentals. Don’t forget to visit the quaint community of Morattico with an excellent Waterfront Museum or take a trip on a ferry across the Corrotoman River. Many unique things, only found in Virginia’s River Realm.
Home to a four-star resort, the Tides Inn, Irvington has been attracting visitors for a long time. Experience the town by bicycle, enjoy coffee at the Local along the way, or a great meal at Nate’s Trick Dog Café and there’s also interesting art to be seen at Objects. From spring to fall, discover the excitement of the Irvington Farmer’s Market. Over 100 vendors set up shop at the heart of the town, offering art, produce, furniture and fresh food. Don’t forget to stop at Dog & Oyster Vineyard, where you can bring your own four-legged friend and taste fine wines paired with local seafood.
Urbanna, is one of the oldest towns in America, established in 1680! This charming waterfront village is located just off the scenic Rappahannock River. Dock your boat at one of Urbanna’s many marinas for easy walk to this enchanting small town filled with boutique shops, restaurants, antiques, galleries and a trove of 18th century historic buildings. Don’t forget to visit during “Virginia’s Official Oyster Festival” which draws over 50,000 attendees each November. Other great events include the invigorating Cocktail Class Wooden Boat races in May, and Arts in the Middle, a fine arts show with over 100 participating artisans, in June. Bethpage Camp Resort offers award winning outdoor recreation with a water park, lake beach, boat cruises and miniature golf.
Saluda is conveniently located off Rt. 17, and is the Middlesex County seat. Catch a glimpse of the home where the most decorated Marine in American history, Lt. General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, spent his retirement years. Secluded Oakes Landing boat ramp offers an entryway into the Rappahannock River. G’s Country Store feels like home with made-to-order breakfast and lunch. Norman’s Produce is a great place to get seasonal plants, organic produce and natural décor. Meander through the Middlesex County Museum’s local history collection. Stop by for a “Virginia is for Lovers” photo opportunity at the LOVE sign at the Chesty Puller Park.
Originally known as Sandy Bottom, became Deltaville in 1909. With over 22 marinas, it is best known for its sailing, fishing, and boating, supporting the official naming as, “The Boating Capital of the Chesapeake Bay.” Enjoy colorful coastal shopping where you’re sure to find that special treasure. Don’t miss Cocomo’s for island style dining with a view of the water. There’s some good ole’ fashioned summer fun at the vintage, 1948 Deltaville Ballpark, home to the semi-pro baseball team, the Deltas. Learn all about the local waterman at the Deltaville Maritime Museum and launch your kayak at Holly Point Nature Park. Each spring, the Deltaville Seafood Festival spills out into the streets for arts and crafts, fresh local seafood, music, paddleboard racing, an antique boat show, crab racing and more! Why you’ll want to go according to Chesapeake Bay Magazine: The singular town with more boats than residents
Nestled on the banks of the Rappahannock River, Topping is the home of Merrior, the waterfront tasting room of the Rappahannock Oyster Company. These worldly renowned oysters are literally grown in the surrounding waters. Watch oysters come right off the boat and onto your table. Book your personal flight at Hummel airfield and see the magnificent Chesapeake Bay from the sky. Savor the exquisite, authentic German fare at Eckhard’s and experience the great outdoors RV style at Grey’s Point Camp.