What is Virginia’s Northern Neck?

This history-laden peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers has impact. Impact because of the Washington and Lee families who settled here, built homes, farmed tobacco, and raised families who grew up to chart the course of the United States’ development. Impact that predates John Smith’s 1608 explorations when the Virginia Indians encountered Smith’s shallop, or sailing barge, in the Northern Neck’s numerous navigable creeks and along the rivers. In fact, it all started about 35 million years ago, when the Chesapeake Impact Crater was formed by a hit from a mountain-sized meteorite off the coast of Virginia to create the Chesapeake Bay.

Though the Virginia Indians are now gone from the Northern Neck, English settlers kept their names on their villages, creeks, and rivers. The dense quiet woods that provided the resource for the early log homes later propelled the timber industry, when sawmills dotted the area. The mill ponds remain, which bear the names of old families whose descendants live here today, and appear unexpectedly around curves on scenic drives through the Northern Neck and provide mirror-like reflections of the surrounding forests.

Come visit our historic B&Bs, see African-American schools that continue to educate about the African-American journey, stroll in our downtowns, and get some great seafood, and then pair it with your favourite local wine, or craft beer from three local breweries. The Northern Neck is about an hour and a half from Richmond, and three hours from the Washington metropolitan area. To plan your trip to Virginia’s Northern Neck, visit northernneck.org, or call 804.333.1919.