10 things to do in Urbanna
Compiled by Larry Chowning
- A stroll on Virginia Street down the hill to the Urbanna Town Marina at Upton’s Point will take visitors back to a time to when ships arrived from England bringing goods for the colonists and carrying tobacco back across the ocean. Urbanna was once an international port of trade. The deep-water creek today is a hub of recreational boating activity and the town marina is the centerpiece.
- The Urbanna Visitor’s Center is housed in the 18th-century Scottish Factor Store on Virginia Street. Scottish merchants came to Urbanna in the 1700s to help create towns by opening stores and commercial shops. The visitor’s center will soon house the town’s John Mitchell Map, which was used during the Treaty of Paris for defining the boundaries of the newly independent United States. Mitchell, creator of the map, once lived in Urbanna.The rare map was purchased in 1980 as part of the town’s 300th anniversary.
- Taber Park is on Rappahannock Avenue and is the town’s recreation center. The town pool, playground and activities area are all in the park. The park is the site of the Urbanna Farmers’ Market on the second Saturday of each month, and the Music Under the Stars concert on the third Saturday of each month.
- Marshall’s Drug Store on Cross Street has a classic, old-fashioned lunch counter, a reminder of the days when most American towns had a drug store with a soda fountain. The drug store also has a variety of merchandise including toys, books, candies and home decor. Marshall’s enjoys the reputation as having some of the best homemade milkshakes in the region.
- Waterman’s Park at the end of Colorado Avenue commands a wide view of the Rappahannock River in a very pristine setting. The park is owned by the Town of Urbanna and is open to the public.
- Something Different on Virginia Street is a restaurant that’s truly something different. Customers are served ice tea in mason jars and eat on tables made from boards that came off an indoor horse race track. Framed feed sacks and other antique farm items decorate the walls. But most importantly, the restaurant serves outstanding food.
- Haywood’s Variety Store on Watling Street offers a unique shopping experience in a 19th-century setting. The store building is the third oldest commercial building in Urbanna. It was built in the 1880s by John Ross and his wife Edmonia. Curtis Haywood owned and operated the store throughout most of the 20th century and that’s why the store has retained his name.
- The oldest commercial establishment in Urbanna and Middlesex County is R.S. Bristow Store on the corner of Virginia and Cross streets. In operation since 1876, Bristow’s is a cornerstone of the town business community, featuring upscale clothing in a general store setting.
- Urbanna Bridge provides a panoramic view of Urbanna Creek looking east toward the Rappahannock River and west toward the headwaters of the creek. Urbanna Creek is one of just a few deepwater creeks on the south side of the Rappahannock River. Walking across the bridge and into Urbanna, the 1890s Urbanna Baptist Church is one of the first structures visitors see. Throughout town on Cross and Virginia streets are art galleries, restaurants, clothing stores, gift stores and much more.
- On every other Thursday night, the Urbanna Auction Company on Rappahannock Avenue holds an old-fashioned auction where unusual treasures go the highest bidder. The smell of freshly-cooked popcorn fills the air as bargain hunters socialize and look over the soon-to-be-sold auction items.