In 1608, shortly after the Jamestown settlement was established, Captain John Smith crossed the James River and obtained 14 bushels of corn from the Warraskoyack Tribe, first residents of present-day Isle of Wight County. Established in 1634 as one of the original 8 shires of the Virginia Colony, the county remains largely a rural community with its quaint towns of Windsor and Smithfield. Agricultural products, like tobacco, cotton, peanuts, soy and corn have helped sustain the county's economy. Ham production made the town of Smithfield famous.
Begin your visit at the Smithfield Visitor Center, also home to the Arts Center @ 319. This unique facility offers tourist information, a gallery/gift shop and the opportunity to chat with resident artists. Be sure to pick up a map and brochure on the town's Porcine Parade - eight life-size statues of market hogs, painted by local artists to reflect an aspect of the town's rich history, culture & recreation. Also ask for a Passport to Savings discount card for area merchants and our Children's Coloring & Activity Book which offers a scavenger hunt through town shops, restaurants and attractions to win a free ice cream cone or Ringo's donut!
Further down Main Street is the Isle of Wight County Museum, with its overview of the county's history, a country store, new smokehouse exhibit and the world's oldest ham (1902). Visit the museum gift shop for souvenirs that reflect the agricultural nature of the area or stop by Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Foods' flagship cafe and gourmet grocery, serving the finest of Smithfield Foods products. Also be sure to stroll down Main Street with its unique shops and art galleries.
Darden's Country Store is a classic country store, where visitors can tour the family's smokehouse and farm or work their way through a corn maze. Summer Wind Vineyards & Christmas Tree Farm offers tours, or visit the alpacas at Woodland Trail Farms. You can even purchase fresh natural Angus beef, pork and fresh country eggs at Windhaven Farm in Windsor.
In Windsor is Commonwealth Gin, a working cotton gin offers tours and visit Zuni Gourmet Peanuts. Indika Farms is one of several Century Farms, farms that have been in operation for at least 100 consecutive years. Many offer tours with advance notice.
The Smithfield Farmers Market is held each Saturday morning from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with specialty markets monthly throughout the year.