Ever have a place you’ve visited just stick with you – certain sights and events bringing the place fresh back into focus? As I crossed the sunrise-laden bridge this morning, I was reminded again of a visit a couple of years ago to a little portside town in Virginia – to a little town called Urbanna.
I think about this place every time I see a sunrise. I think about it every time I pass over the river on the way to work. I think about it most every time I lay my eyes on a boat. Sometimes I consider this a burden and wish it to be lifted from me; to regain the ability of forming my own thoughts and memories from such sights. It doesn’t seem meant to be, though – and this morning was no exception.
Urbanna is located on Virginia’s middle peninsula on the Rappahannock River, which eventually spills into the beautiful and majestic Chesapeake Bay. This historic town was originally established as a port for the shipment of tobacco to England. The old tobacco warehouse built in 1766 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves today as the Visitors Center. This warehouse is located on Virginia Street, which ironically enough is one of my favorite streets there.
The town itself is as friendly as the day is long, and the locals seem to go out of their way to please you. They are proud of their towns history and the fact that aside from the annual Oyster Festival which attracts 70,000 each November, Urbanna is still able to maintain that hometown feel. As you walk through town, it’s almost as though nothing at all has changed since the fifties. The in-town drugstore still has a fully-operational diner inside, complete with swivel-seat barstools. Even the streets seem to want to tell you their story as you stroll down them.
I learned being rocked to sleep by the waves is one of my most favorite things, as well as waking up the next morning to the sunrise over the water. I ended up adapting to that little sailboat so quickly it about made my own head spin. Within a day I’d perfected my way around atop and below the boat – finding out exactly what I could hang onto and what I couldn’t, and what I could swing from and what I couldn’t. 🙂
I was sad to learn of the vineyard I visited closing down in 2010, White Fences Winery and Vineyards. What a nice drive over the bridge where you can see the Rappahannock River merging with the Chesapeake Bay. Unlike some local wineries, White Fences had acres and acres of vineyards to walk. The massive greenery would hold your imagination captive for as long as you would allow it.
The town slogan, as it appears on main page of their very well-put-together website:
“Turn off the main road. Or cruise up the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay. To the slightly off the beaten track tidewater town of Urbanna,Virginia. Home of Virginia’s official oyster festival, more boats than folks and laid back innkeepers, shopkeepers, chefs and townspeople who’ll help you shuck your stress and slip into an island state of mind.”
Yep… in this case, I’d say the city slogan fits quite well.