For Washingtonians, Irvington, Virginia is a great place to spend a weekend. Located almost down at the tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, Irvington is a tiny town of fewer than 500 residents. Despite its small size, Irvington and its environs have much to offer visitors.
Irvington served as a steamboat town during the 1890s and early 1900s. The Steamboat Museum on the town common offers visitor a glimpse of what the era was like. Also located on the town common is the big monthly market that takes place every first
Saturday from April to November.
Food is important in Irvington. Nate’s Trick Dog Cafe, where oysters “Shanghai” are a spicy delight along with more traditional raw, roasted or fried bivalves, fresh fish and meat dishes, is an excellent place to dine. It’s a popular place with the locals and serves sophisticated food in a friendly atmosphere. The Local serves breakfast and some unusual sandwich combinations, including a classic pulled pork barbecue sandwich “with or without cole slaw.”
The Hope and Glory Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast in town, is another place to get some excellent food. The inn is located in a former schoolhouse with two entrance doors — one for girls and one for boys. Along with a fine restaurant, Hope and Glory has a cozy bar, well-appointed rooms and cottages in a flower-filled garden. Hosts Dudley and Peggy Patteson make sure their guests are happy.
Irvington is home to the Tides Inn, a resort and spa catering to golfers, fishermen and families, as well as oyster lovers visiting the area to explore Virginia’s “Oyster Trail.” The Inn is planning to turn one of its buildings into time-share condos, an added attraction for Washingtonians.
Just outside the town, identified by a giant corkscrew, is the
Dog and Oyster Winery, a family business owned by the Pattesons, that produces some award winning wines. It’s named for the rescue dogs who protect the vines from the deer that feast on the sweetest grapes.
Not far from the vineyard is the beautifully restored mid-eighteenth century Historic Christ Church. The brickwork, distinctive roof, compass-head windows, high-backed wooden box pews and rare triple-decker pulpit make the church a unique building. The church is used for services every Sunday during the summer and is available to all denominations. A small museum explains the history of the church and its construction.
There are many other small towns in the vicinity with interesting histories and sights, crafts, restaurants and numerous places to stay. Several towns offer week-end performances by community theater groups. For example, the Lancaster Players perform regularly in White Stone, a few miles south of Irvington. The audience sits at tables for four or six, and enjoys gratis plates of cheese and fruit. Drinks can be ordered and enjoyed during the performance, and “a good time is had by all.” White Stone has a cozy waterside restaurant, Willaby’s Cafe, specializing in oysters for theater-goers who would like a meal before the play.