Exploring the Chesapeake Bay area of VA.
With so much history, natural beauty, good eats and water in Northern Neck, there’s no end to the Instagramable moments you can find and create in this part of Virginia. This region, which encompasses the northernmost of three peninsulas (also known as necks), beguiles with its rich, heartwarming scenery and heritage year-round. Of course, since it is largely encircled by water, the area truly goes off in the fair weather months. This, combined with the fact that it’s within a comfortable driving distance from several East Coast metropolises, makes the Northern Neck a popular destination in the summer. Don’t worry though, there are still ample places where you can take a good selfie without worrying about someone photobombing your shot.
One look at your Discovery Map and you’ll see that a seemingly infinite number of inlets, creeks, rivers and bays outline Northern Neck like ridges on an oyster shell. Make that bushels upon bushels of oyster shells. You can tell it’s a place to explore by land and water. Situated on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay and bordered by the Potomac River to the north and the Rappahannock River to the south, Northern Neck boasts many different types of water upon which to play. And who doesn’t love a water shot? Try a water reflection shot–that can be truly dazzling.
About thirty marinas pepper the shorelines and there, too, you’ll
find a flotilla of photo options. Many are full service, which means that many
feature little waterside restaurants along with boat rentals for everything
from large powerboats to kayaks and SUPs. Try to get the shot of your
super-athletic friend just as he or she loses his balance on the Stand Up
Paddle Board. That should be a keeper. Or, you can stand in front of a big yacht,
take a picture, post it and let your friends guess if it’s yours. Do keep them
guessing. Chesapeake Boat Basin is a reputable place to go to either buy a boat
or stock up on supplies. Like most large marinas, their ship’s store is always
filled with good stuff, including some nice souvenir-type items.
Steamboats formed a large part of the history in Northern Neck; they were used to transport goods and people long before roadways and motorized vehicles handled the job. And as you can see from looking at a map, there weren’t many logical routes here for the railroads either. No, it was all about the water. Still is, in some respects. Go to the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington and make sure you have your picture taken in front of something really cool such as at the helm of the museums’s new Potomac Pilothouse or next to a model of an old side wheel steamer. Pretty cool, huh?
While you’re down this way, consider taking a picture at Historic Christ Church and Museum in Weems. An Episcopal church built between 1732 and 1735, this little brick treasure is one of the best-preserved Colonial churches in America. Its sweet, simple and stately Georgian design will wow architecture aficionados and history buffs alike.
Northern Neck’s geography lends itself to be well suited for boating and fishing. There you can find a boatload of photo opps, especially at sunrise or sunset. Westland Beach, or Windmill Point to the locals, a 150-foot stretch of sandy beach in the far southeast corner of the region, provides an idyllic setting for classic beach views. Think sand castles, walking in or out of the water shots, toes-in-the-sand shots, colorful beach towel and umbrellas shots. You can take it from there. Remember it’s all in the details for photos–just like for life. Oh, and color brightens up everything, particularly when it comes to cobalt-blue water and skies.
Head north to historic Reedville for more history and great views. Stop at Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve and or Dameron Marsh Natural Preserve for more great nature shots. The Reedville Fisherman’s Museum is a must. There you’ll learn how important the fishing and seafood industries have been in these parts over the centuries. Reedville is still extremely important today as a major fishing port–it’s second only to Kodiak, Alaska. You’ll find all kinds of inspiration for picture-taking there whether at the museum or just standing in front of one of the beautifully restored buildings on Main Street. It’s a National Historic District, so expect loveliness. Or, how about a shot of a big seafood plate at the Reedville Market (formerly Tommy T’s), the restaurant sandwiched in between Main Street and the waterfront just across from the museum?
Northern Neck’s rich soil makes for a fortuitous environment for growing grapes. Not sure if many of the founding fathers that hailed from this region would have guessed that but visiting wineries here is a most delicious way of whiling away an afternoon. Why not go to Good Luck Cellars? And be sure to take your selfie in front of their sign. Or, the sign to Good Luck Road. Cheers, here’s wishing all of you the best of luck.