Thursday, August 17, 2017  

City Profile  

Imagine this, you are walking down the streets of a quaint country town. There are so many people that the entire town had to close to traffic for the entire weekend. Children are being pulled in wagons, while dogs are pulling their owners to the next tempting smell. The sound of laughter and live music fills the air. You pick up a dozen steamed oysters and some stew and find the perfect piece of curb to watch the parade. If you haven’t guessed already the town is Urbanna and the weekend is the first in November, you’re at the Urbanna Oyster Festival.

The first Urbanna Oyster Festival was held in 1957. This was a time for the townspeople to gather and local merchants to showcase their goods and services. In 1961, the name of the festival was changed from “Urbanna Days” to the “Urbanna Oyster Festival” to showcase the delectable bivalve that was so important to the economy of Urbanna. In 1988, the Virginia General Assembly deemed the Urbanna Oyster Festival the official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth.

What began as a few town folks gathering on the streets has quickly turned into a weekend long affair that brings merchants and visitors from all over the state to Urbanna. Over the two days of the festival approximately 75,000 visitors turn out. The parade that originally was just a few antique cars is now two parades; the Firemen’s Parade on Friday night and the official Oyster Festival Parade on Saturday that features marching bands, pageant queens, shriners, antique cars, floats, and so much more.

While the Urbanna Oyster Festival is not to be missed by locals and those from far away, the town of Urbanna itself is so beautiful it is a shame to only visit once a year. The town that is now Urbanna was originally settled by a tribe of Indians. After Captain John Smith’s journey throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries the town was settled by an Englishman, Ralph Wormeley. Urbanna, the “City of Anne,” was named for England’s Queen Anne in 1705. There are seven buildings in Urbanna’s historic district that have been in continuous use since the colonial period. In this port town the sailing vessels used for trade have changed to sailing vessels used for pleasure, but the charm the water adds to this town is unwavering.

While the history of the town is quite amazing, even non-history buffs have found Urbanna to be an ideal location to stay; either as a permanent resident or as a weekend visitor. The dining, shopping, lodging, and marinas abound in this classic southern small town.


In Urbanna you will find a meal to that will suit all tastes. From a quick sandwich at Marshall’s Drug Store’s fountain or Moo’s River’s Edge to fine dining in trendy Café Mojo.

Atherston Hall Bed & Breakfast is a lovely location for friends to gather for afternoon tea. You can schedule an appointment to have your traditional English afternoon tea served with fresh scones and jam in the inn’s lovely interior or on the patio.

Cross Street Coffee is one of Urbanna’s newest restaurants. They offer a variety of gourmet coffees and serve sandwiches, soups, and salads for lunch.

Café Mojo offers fine dining selections in a relaxed and friendly environment. The personality of the restaurant and 
staff and the exquisitely prepared offering make it no wonder that so many locals and out of towners have made this restaurant a destination.

If you are looking for a great slice of pizza in Urbanna look no further than Angelo’s Colonial Pizza. Along with pizza Angelo’s also offers a wide variety of Greek and Italian subs, salads, and pastas.

Marshall’s Drug Store is the place to go if you are looking for just the right touch of small town charm. Their breakfast and lunch counter offers fresh made to order food at a real 1950s soda fountain.

Moo’s River’s Edge is a sandwich shop and ice cream parlor. They are the home to the Urbanna dog which is a quarter pound wiener topped with pulled pork barbecue, cheese, onions and other goodies.

Payne’s Crab House is the place to go if you are looking for fresh Rappahannock River hard or soft shell crabs.
When you want the freshest in seafood to take home Shores and Ruark Seafood is the place to go. Their dockside seafood market offers everything from oysters to rockfish.

If you are looking for classic homemade southern goodness Something Different is the place for you. They offer smoked and roasted meats, soups, stews, and sides. Their to go options make them perfect for just you, your family, or all of your family and friends.

If you are looking for something fast and fresh why not stop by Urbanna Market. Their self-service hot food and salad bar make a quick easy meal to take back to work or to take home.

Virginia Street Café offers their patrons a wide selection of local seafood and all the fixings. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Walton’s is an original oyster shucking house and the perfect place if you are looking to take home oysters in the shell by the bag or bushel or fresh-shucked by the pint or quart.

Once you finish dinner you might as well stay in Urbanna overnight and take advantage of all their wonderful lodging options.


The Inn at Urbanna Creek Bed & Breakfast is located in Urbanna’s historic district in a three story, 1870s Victorian home. The variety of accommodations at the Inn has something for all tastes. They have king or queen rooms, a suite, or even a private cottage just off the Inn’s gardens. Innkeepers Suzanne and Lee Chewning brought their Charleston style with them to this elegant bed and breakfast.

Nestled within the walls of a 19th Century sea captains home you will find Atherston Hall Bed & Breakfast. When guests enter their rooms they will find fresh linens and elegantly adorned private baths. In the common areas they can enjoy their afternoon tea, or perhaps take it out into the Inn’s traditional English garden. Owners Judith and Bill Dickinson opened Atherston Hall after managing hotels and private estates throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

If you are looking for accommodations to keep the whole family busy look no further than Bethpage Camp Resort. This is a 700-site campground located on the banks of the Rappahannock River. Guests can enjoy the resorts sand beach, marina, pools, basketball and tennis courts, and so much more.

Liberty at Compass Quay offers modern day amenities in the character of days gone by. This inn is located on the site of the original Hurley’s Hotel. It has 15 rooms each with a private creekfront balcony. The character is reminiscent of when back when city folk beat the heat at porch-lined, white clapboard waterfront inns. Guests and visitors alike will find shopping and banquet facilities on the inn’s property.


After a lovely lunch or once you awake from your peaceful slumber, why not check out all that the shops of Urbanna have to offer?

BayBerries on the Waterfront is located on the property of Liberty at Compass Quay. There you will find a beautiful selection of scrumptious foods and handcrafted gifts from all over the world.

If you are in the market for a new dress or a lovely clutch you must stop by Cyndy’s Bynn. Their selection of ladies clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry comes in all styles, colors, and sizes. Once you have finished adorning yourself you can work on adorning your home with their selection of custom silk flowers, glassware, home décor, and so much more.

The Garden Club is no longer just for those with a green thumb. In fact, The Garden Club in Urbanna is the place to go for quality upscale home furnishings at a fraction of the price: they sell everything at below retail! Check them out for all of your home decorating needs.

Haywood’s Variety Shop has a variety of beautiful antiques amongst their new and gently used furniture. You will also find decorative accessories for your home in this charming 1870s storefront.

Hingley’s at the River is another great location for those looking to decorate their home. Visitors may browse through their selection of furniture, antiques, and gifts while having a cup of coffee or tea.

Make Thyme is a local destination for all of your garden needs. They offer a wide variety of potted herbs, perennials, annuals, and home and garden accents. When you are in Urbanna next be sure to make time to stop in for a visit.

Nearly New Thrift Shop is a place where many in Urbanna stop to browse through what has been tossed out by others. This store is completely manned by volunteers and all of the proceeds are donated to the Middlesex County Libraries.
Nimcock Gallery houses a beautiful selection of antique furniture and bibelots, prints, and paintings.

Only One offers a wide selection of wearable art, in the form of a handbag. Best of all, unlike many designer fashions your new handbag will be the only one of its kind. Their resident artist also does portraits and murals.

If you are looking for that perfect invitation or stationary look no further than Papeterie. Their products are sassy, sexy, sophisticated, and serious. They also have a wide range of cards and gifts to browse.

RS Bristow’s Store is the “Home of Good Goods.” They have been open since 1876 and showcase their men’s and women’s apparel, shoes, jewelry, and such in the traditional general store fashion. Inside you will find original wood floors, glass display cases, shelves stocked full of beautiful, quality products.

Rappahannock Jewelry is a destination for many visitors looking to take home a new and beautiful bobble. They have a wide assortment of nautical, sterling silver, and fourteen karat gold jewelry. You can also have many gemstones custom crafted into beautiful designs, for a look that is truly your own.

If browsing through thousands of square feet of antiques and collectibles is your cup of tea, Urbanna Antique Mall should be your first stop in Urbanna. They carry a huge selection of antique furniture, rugs, chandeliers, china, and so much more! Stop by and you are likely to find just what you have been looking for.

Urbanna Republic carries a wide assortment of women’s and men’s casual clothing and accessories just perfect for the casual atmosphere of Urbanna. Some of their products lines are Fresh Produce, Tommy Bahama, Margaritaville, and Sperry. Stepping into Urbanna Republic immediately gets you into the river way of life.

For more information on all that the town of Urbanna has to offer visit their website, www.urbanna.com. You can also check out the schedule of events for the Urbanna Oyster Festival at www.urbannaoysterfestival.com.