Virginia’s Northern Neck

It’s a place that had always intrigued me, but until recently I had never been to.  The reason was simple, it’s a peninsula that isn’t on the way to anywhere else.  Which in reality is a good thing, allowing the area to develop a character all it’s own…far from the hustle and bustle of the nearby I-95 corridor/megalopolis.  Here, small towns and sleepy waterways reign supreme, adding to the area’s relaxing atmosphere.  Driving through Reedville, we passed by an oyster and shrimp feast at the local fire hall.  We would’ve stopped had we not just filled up at the Northern Neck Burger Company (seriously some of the best burgers that we’ve had anywhere).

Working on my upcoming book, one of the primary things that brought me to the area were the natural sights along the Potomac.  Our first visit was on a gorgeous fall day to the beautiful cliffs at Westmoreland State Park, where it is possible (and encouraged!) to find ancient fossils such as sharks teeth.  In addition to beautiful scenery, the neck has an incredible bald eagle population.  I was able to see and photograph numerous eagles just by driving down major highways.  Outside of Alaska, this was the largest amount of bald eagles that I’ve seen.

Despite the area being “off the beaten path” of today’s travels, it wasn’t always that way.  The Potomac was once a major shipping thoroughfare for goods grown on the Neck’s rich soils.  The productive agriculture gave root to some of Virginia’s most famous families.  In fact, George Washington, James Monroe, and Robert E. Lee were all born here.  So significant is the area’s history that the New York Times wrote an article about it, titling it “Virginia’s Forgotten History.”


12 thoughts on “Virginia’s Northern Neck

  1. A lovely article on a lovely area of our state! Another great place in the Northern Neck is Westmoreland Berry Farm.


  2. Great work! As a photog blessed to live in the NNK, I’d suggest if you ever come back to the area, to check out Tangier Island. It’s absolutely fascinating. Like stepping back in time. Lots of interesting architecture and local culture.


    1. Thanks Teri,
      I can’t wait to come back and hope that I finally get a chance to make the trek to Tangier…It sounds like a neat place!


  3. I was born in the Northern Neck. We have the most beautiful waterways along the Potomac and Rappahannock. Our area is filled with rich history and the most beautiful of all wildlife. On my short paddle up Peedee creek in my kayak, I saw deer, wild turkey and of course the majestic of all birds , the handsome eagles. The creek is also jumping with bass and ring perch. I think that I live were most people vacation. Live on the farm that I was born on. Can’t get better than that


  4. Thank you for showcasing the Northern Neck. I came here to teach French in 1977…and I am a stuck COME HERE.!!! I wouldn’t Change this choice at all.
    Sandy Newsome


  5. I lived in the “Neck” for 42 of my 47 years. The place is rich in history, from Washington, the Lee family (not just Robert E.), Monroe, and a few other notable names. Next trip stop at the Westmoreland County Museum in Montross and the other museum’s across the Neck. I love my new home in the Keys, but will always be a “No Necker”!


  6. Thanks everyone for your comments. I really enjoy reading about all of the different places to see, but most of all I enjoy hearing about how immensely proud everyone is to be from there/living there. That speaks volumes!


  7. I had the opportunity to be raised in the neck and attended school, also had the pleasure to have known and loved the great family and friends there.


  8. Tom, when you come back please be sure to visit the Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge, which has preserved several beautiful spaces along the Rappahannock River and its tributaries. Also, Belle Isle State Park, in Lancaster. I love your photos and can’t wait for your book!


    1. Hi Hannah, I hope to have more time to explore Rappahannock NWR next time… hopefully via kayak! Thanks for the tip on Belle Isle, I’ll check it out. Best, Tom


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