Virginia's River Realm
Any Gilmore Girls fans out there? If you remember the show a little bit, or maybe you were/are a huge fan you probably admired Stars Hollow, the fictional town featured on the show. You may have daydreamed of living in such a place. If only such a place existed! Well look no further than Kilmarnock, Virginia. Located in Virginia's River Realm, in the "Northern Neck", lie several charming small towns. I encourage you to visit this area if you love a good road trip, supporting locally owned businesses, salt water fishing or boating, and naturally beautiful settings. For this post I am going to focus mainly on Kilmarnock.
We are SO lucky to have family in the Northern Neck. My husbands family owns The Great Wicomico Oyster Company and Chesapeake Green Farms. Both are small companies located just outside Kilmarnock, in Heathsville. They are focused on sustainability and zero waste. Chesapeake Green Farms concentrates on natural meats, unique herbs and produce, and environmentally friendly soaps. They make soap from the byproduct of the bio diesel used to run the equipment for the oyster company. The bio diesel is created by using used fryer oil collected from several local restaurants. This allows for a negative carbon footprint. Cool right!?
They also operate Land and Sea Farm Market, which is a fantastic one stop shop for local meats, produce, treats, plants, and specialty products. And a side venture, Salty Bob's Oyster & Seafood Co., a seafood catering company who can be found at premier festivals, wine and oyster events, beer festivals, and BBQ events. If you're ever in the area eat an oyster taco for me!
Ok, back to Kilmarnock...
Highlights of Kilmarnock-
Hughlett Point Nature Preserve A coastal nature trail? Yes, please! Here you will find wildlife, beautiful water views, undeveloped beaches, wooded and beach trails. This preserve has the best river beach in the area! Pro tip: Wear bug spray. The mosquitoes can be bad in the wooded areas after a good rain. Also, there are no public restrooms available.
Downtown Kilmarnock This downtown area, reminiscent of Stars Hollow, is filled with cute, locally owned shops. One of my favorite stops is Front Porch Coffee. Not only does this coffee shop offer delicious coffee, but it is the cutest coffee shop inside and out that I have ever visited. The owners are also very friendly.This is the perfect stop before exploring the other cute downtown boutique and antique shops and dining spots on award winning main street. And don't forget to grab a snack at Northern Neck Popcorn Bag, which boasts over 50 different flavors of popcorn! The best part is sampling before you pick your flavor.
Kilmarnock Town Centre Park Kilmarnock Town Centre Park is located steps outside the downtown area. The park offers a great play area for kids and dogs, paved walking trails, and really nice restrooms. They hold many family events and concerts here through the year as well. If you have kids there are enough things to love about the playground alone! The play area offers a small free splash pad, and a water pump play area, in addition to a natural play ground built into a hill. If your children are under 4, the playground may be a little much for them. I suggest heading just two minutes away to the equally lovely, but more traditional Joe Curry Memorial Park.
Good Luck Cellars This charming locally owned winery is part of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. Good Luck Cellars offers a spacious facility for both wine tasting and events. My favorite feature of the winery is the expansive wrap around porch with views of the 12 acre vineyard. I encourage you to stop by for a glass of wine, Wine Down Friday, or one of the Oyster Crawl events when you visit the area.
Seriously this is a really lovely area where you could plan a very enjoyable weekend for the whole family, or a couples or girlfriends getaway! Stay at the historic Kilmarnock Inn, or search on line to find a local B&B or an Airbnb.
Got a long weekend? Stop by some of my other favorite spots located just a short drive away.
-Travel by boat or car to Reedville, Virginia, a historic fishing village, to dine at the infamous Crazy Crab. Here you can dine on fresh seafood outside on the patio, or inside, while taking in river views. While your dinner settles walk over to Chitterchats for some seriously delicious ice cream! There will most likely be a line!
-Willaby's Cafe has some of the best brunch and views around. This charming restaurant boasts a small beach on the Rappahannock River in White Stone, Virginia.
-Bethpage Miniature Golf & Ice Creamery is a bit further outside Kilmarnock, but it's a lovely drive. This cow themed mini golf course is located in the town of Urbanna, which also holds a lot of small town charm and is home to the Urbanna Oyster Festival every fall. Their ice cream is the perfect refreshing treat after a family game of mini golf!