The Tides Inn, with its world-class spa or Back in Time B & B, with its welcoming home-like setting are comfortable destinations for your overnight stay and if your kids are like mine – on that first Saturday, they will be up early and ready for action. So, while others are sleeping in - load up the kids and head over to Carried Away Cuisine on Main Street in Kilmarnock for a homemade bacon egg and cheese breakfast biscuit (mind-blowing good). They also have cookies for the kids that are as delicious as they are artistic (nothing wrong with a cookie for breakfast!). I recommend calling ahead and getting them to go so that you can get out and explore the area.
A short jaunt up the road is Kilmarnock’s Town Centre Park. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches and while you wake up with some caffeine and breakfast- your kids can run, play on the playground. If it’s hot – cool off in the waterworks (super fun!)....just be sure to pack a change of clothes and a towel.
After the park, stroll downtown and be sure to check out places like Burkes Jewelers for a Northern Neck knot or oyster-themed jewelry pieces. If you still have time and the kids aren’t too tired, check out the Kilmarnock Antique Gallery and Rivah Auction House’s consignments for oyster plates and other bargains or Pearl for unique artisan-made gifts. While in town, be sure to stop in the Lancaster By the Bay Chamber of Commerce to check out local concerts and activities going on around the area that you and your children might enjoy.
Later that day, enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at Good Luck Cellars. They have a very peaceful spot with a huge wrap aro und porch and view of the vineyards. Pack some snacks to picnic on their porch (don’t forget the Whitley’s peanuts) while the kids run and play in the grassy area. We usually bring a Frisbee or something to keep them occupied so we have more time to sip.
For dinner, head to Willaby's for an on-water view and some of the best locally-sourced hospitality and seafood. In particular, their spicy Buffalo Oyster appetizer and Ma’s Oyster Stew, made with fresh-caught local oysters are two signature dishes you won’t want to pass on!
On day two, drive up to Belle Isle State Park for an early morning canoe trip along their 7 miles of Shoreline. Stop in the town of Morattico and their Waterfront Museum which was one a general store, now preserving the history of their working waterman settlement.
Meander your way to the Dog and Oyster Vineyard. This stop offers a lovely relaxing stop where your children can leave their mark on an oyster shell and your entire family will enjoy the delicious oyster tacos made fresh with local oysters by Byrd’s Seafood while you pair them with a perfectly appropriated wine! What a great spot to recap your day and taste the flavors of Lancaster County, on Virginia’s Northern Neck.
“World-class places with a home-town feel"
For ideas of what to do and where to go on Virginia’s Northern Neck check out travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy’s visit as featured at the Lonely Planet “Follow your appetite down Virginia's Oyster Trail"
Look for us at local festivals and events around the state.