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River Cruises



As a guest of The Essex Inn, you will find that there are plenty of recreational activities in and around the Inn to fill the days of your Virginia vacation!

Spend your time enjoying golf at one of the local courses, cruise the Rappahannock River on a boat tour, or canoe or kayak on one of our nearby creeks. The area is perfect for bike rides through town or along lovely country roads. Embrace your adventurous side and choose some new and unique dining experiences. Explore local wineries and enjoy beautiful tours and delicious wine tastings. Exhaust yourself shopping in the many antique and specialty shops that you will find in the Tappahannock, VA area. There are many historical sights nearby including Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee's birthplace, and George Washington's birthplace just down the road. After a day filled with sightseeing and adventure, unwind in the luxurious accommodations of The Essex Inn bed and breakfast!

For more information or a calendar of events, please visit the Northern Neck Tourism Commission at; the River Country Tourism Council at; or the Essex County Web site at


Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Hawks, Herons, Egrets, Song Birds, and Fly Catchers, you get the idea. There is an abundance of our winged friends to be seen in the new Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It consists of over 7,711 acres and is distributed in a patchwork on both sides of the river and measures 65 river miles long. Hardwood and pine forests, steep shady ravines, forested swamps, tidal marshes, wet meadows, ponds, and grasslands make up the diverse habitats, which have attracted about 208 species of birds. The state's largest wintering roost for bald eagles is located within the refuge, along with shorebirds, neo-tropical migrant songbirds, and marsh birds that rely on the corridors of the river for spring and fall migration. Barn owls nest in the high cliffs of the area as well.

The Hutchinson Unit of the refuge is just outside of Tappahannock and has 2 miles of accessible wildlife-viewing trails, a fishing pier, and a canoe/kayak launch. Across the river is the refuge headquarters at the Wilna Unit with trails, fishing, and excellent wildlife observation points.

Alternately, you could sit on the Inn's back porch and see Anna's Hummingbird, Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, and a roosting Osprey or two among other friendly and curious birds that happen our way.

Bring your binoculars and field guides, and we will supply you with plenty of brochures and a map to get you going. If you'd like a picnic lunch for the trail, we can provide that too!


Queen Street Antique, Brian Penniston - 227 Queen Street, Tappahannock
Mayhew's Antiques, Donald Mayhew - 321 Queen Street
Nadji Nook Antiques, Gabriella Rakes - 303 Queen Street
Antique Mall across Highway 17 from Food Lion, near the theatre.

Ask us for the brochure with a wine map for all the wineries.

Tappahannock is ideally located right near the bridge over to the Northern Neck, the gateway to the wine country. There are about 9 different wineries in this region that are easily accessible, where you can enjoy tasting rooms and the lovely settings among the vineyards. Experience a day out driving to the various wineries or take the Captain Thomas Rivah cruise from Tappahannock to the Ingelside Winery for a tour and a luncheon. By car, you could stop at one of our quaint little "Rivah" side villages for lunch and try some of the region's excellent seafood options. We are famous for oysters and soft-shelled crabs.

Ingelside Vineyards, Oak Grove, VA 22443 - (804) 224-8687 -
It is one of the oldest and largest wineries in Virginia and part of a 3,000-acre estate, which has been owned by the Flemer family for more than one hundred years.

Belle Mount Vineyard, Warsaw, VA 22572 - (804) 333-4700 -
At Belle Mount Vineyards, you can enjoy complimentary wine tasting and tours of the vineyard and winery.

Athena Vineyard, Heathsville, VA 22473 - (804) 580-4944 -
Only vineyard in Northumberland County. New and exciting site overlooking waterfront.

Oak Crest Winery, King George, VA 22485 - (540) 663-2813 -
Enjoy our Bordeaux-style reds and Rhine-style whites in the relaxed Old World atmosphere of our post-and-beam tasting room, unique gift shop with deck, and quiet picnic area.

Vault Field Vineyard, Kinsale, VA - (804) 472-4430
New vineyard offering several Virginia Governor's cup winners. Located in Kinsale on historic Vaultfield Farm.

River Cruises

Rappahannock River/Winery Cruise and Tangiers/Chesapeake Cruise
Reservations required - (804) 453-2628 -

Urbanna Cruises - 804-366-1778 -


Hobb's Hole Golf Course. The Hobb's Hole Golf Course and Restaurant are located behind the Tappahannock Wal-Mart. They are open daily from 7 a.m. to dark. For more Information please call 804-443-4500.


Within walking distance of The Essex Inn:

Lowery's Seafood Restaurant
Founded in 1938 by Wesley and Lorelle Hutchinson Lowery, is located at the corner of Route 17 (Tappahannock Blvd.) and Earl Street, and is open 364 days a year for lunch and dinner. Being on the Rappahannock River insures locally caught seafood, crabs, shrimp, clams, and oysters. No reservations needed - (804) 443-4314 -

Ferebee's Food & Spirits
Located on the corner of Route 17 and Main St. in Tappahannock, Ferebee's is not only a restaurant, but also a bar. Open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am to 9:30pm daily and on most nights until around 12 midnight for drinks, it is a sports bar offering wide-screen television events. Hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, homemade soups, appetizers such as nachos and grilled shrimp, and steaks, pasta, and local seafood dishes. Live music on the weekends and karaoke some evenings. - (804) 443-5715

Java Jacks Coffee House
Java-Jacks Coffee House introduces the essential coffee house style to downtown Tappahannock. Located at the corner of Virginia Street and Church Lane (Route 17/360), Java-Jacks is open six days a week, every day except Tuesday, from 7am to 8pm. - (804) 443-5225

Within a 5-minute drive of the Essex Inn:

Hobb's Hole Restaurant
If you are looking for a fine dining experience in Tappahannock, this is the place for you. It is located just off Highway 17 on the Hobb's Hole Golf course. Steaks, prime-rib, pasta dishes, seafood items. Good salads and desserts. We have always had a terrific meal there. The staff is very welcoming and does a great job. Full bar, outdoor drinks and dining on the patio. Live music on the weekends. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. All around good dining.

The Buoy 17 - 1309 Tappahannock Blvd. - (804) 443-8024
A new restaurant on Highway 17 South, not far. Casual, family atmosphere eating establishment. Clean and bright with nautical ambiance. Simple, straight-forward meals specializing in seafood with a few meats and steaks. Though the food is tasty, I am sure it is not fresh seafood.

Roma Ristorante Italiano - Highway 17
A Tappahannock institution featuring friendly staff and authentic Northern Italian cuisine and a great salad bar. Half-price pizza night on Wednesdays. Nice food and service. -

Los Portales - Highway 17
Great Mexican food and Margaritas! Specialties include their Mole sauce, soft tacos with Carnitas, their shrimp Quesadillas, and lots of authentic regional Mexican food. Their soups for two are particularly unique. Open 7 days a week from 11am-10 pm.

Further a field - within 30 minutes:

Northern Neck Gourmet
Warsaw - just across the Rivah on Hwy 360 and on into the village, located at 115 Main Street. NNG is famous for being the only gourmet deli in the area, extensive wine selection sold by the bottle. Everything is available to eat in or take out - picnics encouraged. (804) 333-3012

Port Urbanna Waterside Grill - (804) 758-1221
Located on the water in Urbanna, this spot is perfect for the view. Serves lunch and dinner daily. Varied dishes, many with seafood. Fish tacos, Shrimp Louis Salad, and an award-winning traditional New England style Clam Chowder.