Virginia is a state filled with history, natural beauty, and interesting old buildings. It’s also the perfect state to go small-town hunting. Virginia has some of the oldest and most fascinating small towns in the United States, and each is distinctly unique. From a real-life Farmville to towns with under 200 residents, you can find almost anything in Virginia! Take some time to visit these towns, or at least read about what each has to offer. You may discover your new favorite getaway spot!
This small town of under a thousand residents is often overlooked, but those searching for Virginia’s best simply can’t miss it. Middleburg, like many places in Virginia, has a history that goes as far back as America’s earliest days. In fact, it was founded in 1787 by an officer of the Revolutionary War. Part of its long history is a fox hunting and horse riding tradition that continues to this day. If you’re not into hunting, go horseback riding. Or, check out Aldie Mill, a metal factory that was once powered by waterwheels and go winetasting at Greenhill Winery.
Staunton was settled in the Colonial era, around 1732. It was once the regional capital for a large area in Virginia, back in the days when it was at the edge of civilization and the wilderness. During the American Revolution and the early days of the independent United States, this city played a significant role in administration. In later times, the city was notable as the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson. Today, it’s a beautiful place to admire historic architecture, watch a play a Blackfriar’s Playhouse, or visit one of several wonderful museums.
Take a break from the grind of life and head to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia! Abingdon is a delightful destination town for people who love fresh mountain air. In fact, this is a great place to explore the hills—the Appalachian Trail is not far, and the Virginia Creeper trail starts right in town. When the sun has set on the mountains, hikers can head to town to enjoy plenty of fun and entertainment. The most popular activity is Barter Theater, where you can see even high-profile entertainers perform.
Smithfield is most popular for its delicious ham. In fact, Smithfield Foods is the biggest producer of pork products! There’s more to Smithfield than just the pigs, however. In the 1750s, over a hundred years after its colonization, the town was established as a significant seaport and trading area. The town has remained a lovely and lively place to live, despite the scars of canons and bullets that the area suffered over both the American Revolution and the Civil War. Today, there are still many beautiful surviving historic structures dating back hundreds of years.
This resort island is just the place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life! There’s nowhere else in Virginia quite like it. The town is all about tourism, so visitors find plenty to do wherever they go! There are delightful beachside homes to stay in, art galleries to browse, and sandy shores to walk. One favorite tourist activity in Chincoteague is a visit to Assateague Island, where you can watch some of the few remaining wild ponies in America.
You probably heard the name “Lexington” come up again and again in your grade school history textbook. Although Lexington, Virginia isn’t that Lexington, it does have important history from the same Revolutionary War time period! If you want to hear the stories, you’ll have to take a tour of historic homes and buildings. One of the most famous is the home of Stonewall Jackson. Besides the buildings, Lexington also has a stunning landscape and beautiful vineyards.
This microscopic (read: less than 200 residents) town is absolutely beautiful. This is quiet little place to go and enjoy small town life for a while. Stay at one of the homey inns, dine on scrumptious down-home food served by friendly people, and wander through the picturesque streets and surrounding countryside. The most important day of the year in Monterey is the Maple Festival, which brings thousands of people to this very tiny town!
Onancock is a small town on the eastern shore of Virginia. This means fantastic water views and plenty of watersports to try! The most popular thing to do on Onancock is take a canoe out into the water. You could spend all day boating around, but you certainly don’t have to. The town also has a downtown area with quaint shops, a cinema and theater, and lots of delicious restaurants.
Guess what? There is an actual, real-life Farmville! And this one won’t earn you dozens of annoying Facebook notifications from your friends (thank goodness). Rather, the real Farmville is a lovely little place whose streets are lined with historic storefronts and friendly faces. In fact, despite its carefully-maintained historic appearance, the town is a thriving center of commerce! Business is booming in Farmville, and plenty of entrepreneurs are getting in on the actions. Another distinctive feature of Farmville is its status as America’s first two-college town, a testament to its academic culture.
Warrington has come a long way since the 1700s, when all that existed was a little trading post called the Red Store. Today, after decades of wars, fires, scandal, and rebuilding, Warrenton has emerged as a one of Virginia’s most beautiful places to spend a lifetime or a weekend. There’s plenty to do—from touring haunted houses to browsing through interesting museums, you certainly won’t get bored in Warrenton. The town is also near Whitney State Forest, so visitors can enjoy camping or hiking while they’re in town.