About the Inn
The Essex Inn was built in 1851 by Dr. Lawrence Roane and is an imposing Greek-Revival style structure of white stucco over brick atop a high English basement. The home has twelve original rooms, each with its own fireplace, surrounding large central hallways on each floor. The front & back porches are original, with fluted columns also in the Greek style. Inside, original heart-of-pine hardwood floors can be found throughout the first and second floors. A two-story brick structure behind the main house was built in the 1840's as servants' quarters and housed the property's original kitchen and laundry. The fireplace and hearth in each of these rooms has been preserved, including the old swinging iron bar used to hang pots over the fire. The home has a rich history. It is rumored that during the Civil War, when Union forces were firing on Tappahannock from the Rappahannock River, a young man climbed one of the chimneys and fastened a white bedsheet to signal neutrality, saving the home from the bombardment. In April of 1862, Union gunboats destroyed a Confederate fort on the Rappahannock, just south of Tappahannock. Union troops occupied the home for about a month. In June of 1864, the home was again occupied by Union forces during Draper's Raid and would be held until after the end of the war, when it was occupied by Dr. Roane's son, Captain Lawrence Roane, Jr., of the Confederate 55th Infantry. The property changed hands many times over the following years, but remained a private residence until when it underwent significant renovations and opened as the Essex Inn.
Greg and Jennifer Huff have been the owners of the Essex Inn at Tappahannock since April of 2021. Both were raised in North Carolina, and Greg is a retired History teacher and swim coach, while Jennifer continues to work remotely in the pharmaceutical world. They bring broad experience to the Inn, with years of planning, property management, and food service.
We fell in love with the Inn the first time we walked through the doors, and hope that everyone will be able to feel the thrill of the history and ambiance that the Inn provides. We are incredibly honored to be a part of the Tappahannock community, and look forward to helping to create many more years of memories at the Essex Inn at Tappahannock.