Join your tour guide at the Isle of Wight County Museum and embark on a trip into the past. You will note that Isle of Wight County has Revolutionary and Civil War heroes as well as artifacts related to our Cold War Nike Missal Site, and a life-size smokehouse and recreated country store. You will see the world’s oldest ham and the oldest peanut on display as well as view a video of the making of the largest ham biscuit.
Leave the museum and prepare to step back in time as you visit the 1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse which contains artifacts from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. We will continue our tour as we stroll through the historic district, learning about the English and Scottish ship captains who chose this lovely spot along the river for their homes. Why did they come? What made them stay? What family secrets and surprises might you hear? You will learn about the ham and peanut industries that put Smithfield on the map AND you might even uncover a few family secrets! Soldiers, privateers and other characters will be introduced to you as you stroll along.
Plan to stop for lunch at the Smithfield Station with a view of Windsor Castle Park where the town of Smithfield was born. From this location you will also have an excellent view of the corporate headquarters of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer and home of the famous Smithfield Ham.
Another option for history buffs is to begin your tour with a guided tour at Historic St. Luke’s Church and Museum, Virginia's oldest church.Then meet a tourism guide at the Visitor Center at 319 Main St. This would be a good time to sample some coffee, a cookie or muffin at the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery & Cafe. You can even cross the street to the Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Foods’ flagship ham shop and restaurant to sample their many varieties of peanuts!
While in town, we’ll be sure to take in a visit to Christ Episcopal Church and their Tiffany windows and the lovely Colonial, Federal, Gothic and Victorian homes all along our route. Lunch or dinner at the Smithfield Inn (1752) will give you a flavor of the old South with some recipes dating back to the early days of our town.
Smithfield & Isle of Wight County are proud to host three sites on the Virginia Civil War Trail.