Find Your Inner Artist in the River Realm
There’s a lot to be inspired by here: the people, the views, the wildlife, the solitude, the history, the food. Artists from around the world come here to take it in. Some stay. Some visit. Others shepherd them in.
You can take on the arts scene here via one of two Artisan Trails: River to Bay Artisan Trail or the Northern Neck Artisan Trail. You can read our big bad blog post about both of these united collections of artists. Each trail leads you around our rivers and bays to dozens of artist studios and stores.
We curated a list of some of our favorite spots to visit. Stop in if you are an artist yourself. Find the supplies and the community you need to thrive. If you’re a collector, discover something uncommon and inspiring from a curated collection.
4395 Irvington Road, Irvington
Cottons, wools, silks, metallics–whatever threads you’re hunting for, you’ll find them at the Village Needlepoint. Beginners and virtuosos alike will feel at home in this cottage of canvases, needles, stencils, and more. Needlepoint supplies and resources aren’t commonly found, so you’ll discover others making the pilgrimage here from near and far. The team at Needlepoint also hosts Stitch Ins and Retreats. Learn new skills, connect with other stitching mavens, and bring some of your own art home to remember the River Realm and your days spent here. Call for more information: 804-438-9500.
4462 Irvington Road, Irvington
Some of our favorite treasures hide in an old gas station. Today, it’s an art gallery representing more than 200 artists from around the country. For starters, you’ll discover the Irvington Oyster necklace, cast in silver by Smith Silver Works. Each one is different than the next because they are cast using real Rappahannock River oysters. Other pieces nod to the River Realm like Dean Whitbeck’s exclusive collections of paintings of watermen, crabs and other riverscapes. There’s always something new thanks to monthly artist visits. On Fridays and Saturdays, guests can meet and greet the artists and watch demonstrations. More than 200 artists from across the United States.
419 Rappahannock Drive, White Stone
Allure is much more than an art gallery. It’s a hub and home for artists all over the world. Founder Jeff Cherry, is an artist himself. He attended the VCU School of the Arts in Richmond, VA. He transformed the three-story Victorian style building. Downstairs, you’ll discover a rotating featured exhibit in the Main Gallery, which usually launches with a preview reception that feels like a party. Year-round, the Center rotates regular pottery, paintings, sculptures, and jewelry from Virginia-based artists. Upstairs, artists rent studio space to bring their pieces to life. Outside, the stage and yard regularly host concerts, food trucks and other events. Check out the metal Osprey nest outside, too. The piece of art can also be used to help Ospreys build nests. The birds have experienced habitat loss all over the rivers and bays. You can purchase the metal nest for your yard, which is chemical-free and easier for the birds to weave in branches.
4504 Irvington Road, Irvington
There’s more for hands-on artists at Sewlovelee. The local sewing and quilting hub is full of fabrics of all colors, textures and patterns. The team can help you find the right material and supplies for your next quilting, crafting, or garment creation, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. They’ll work with both modern and traditional sewing styles, too. They host lots of events through the year too so you can tap into your creative side. Sewlovelee also offers one-of-a-kind retreats. Create the quilt of your dreams during the day and sleep at night at Covehaven House, a historic two-story farmhouse from the 1880s. Call Sewlovelee to inquire about dates and pricing. (804) 438-5800.
16507 General Puller Highway, Deltaville
Out in Deltaville, this refined shop of local art, books and consignment marine gear is a treasure chest waiting to be discovered. Whether you fancy yourself a pirate or not, you’ll find some booty to take home. Nauti Nell’s carries model crab boats by Wayne Hamlet, complete with mallets for your crab feast. Watercolor paintings by Stella Jones (a Henrico, VA native) are ready for your river home or to bring a bit of the river back to your office and living room. Other finds include locally produced cookbooks, a collection of Virginia-authored books, handmade candles, and engraved glassware.
202 Virginia Street, Urbanna
You’ll have a hard time leaving this packed building of antiques, art, books, and other rare finds. Urbanna Harbor Gallery & Art not only carries found items, but features majestic paintings and artwork from local artists. The scenes and images are inspired by the region’s oyster and water culture. With 5,000 square-feet of treasures, this is the perfect place to take home a souvenir to remember your trip to Urbanna.
19 North Main Street, Kilmarnock
It’s all about community at the RAL Art Center. The non-profit is powered almost entirely by volunteers. The cooperative gallery space hosts educational events and programming for artists and collectors of all kinds. Join in on a paint night to connect with locals and travelers like you. Dance and socialize during concerts. Sharpen your own skills through workshops about oil painting, silk screens, and drawing. You can also shop a collection of pieces for sale at the Center. Maybe even visit with a bear or two !
Save The Date:
Every year during the first weekend in June, the River Realm is taken over by art! Arts in the Middle welcomes 100+ artists to the beautiful tree-lined Hewick Plantation in Urbanna. Artists represent a variety of mediums and localities. Live music and local food abound all weekend long.