After paddling one of the Middle Peninsula water trails in Gloucester, Mathews, Urbanna, Tappahannock and West Point, turn your adventure into an excursion on foot trekking trails of a different sort.
Experience one of the walking trails — picturesque sidewalks that meander through scenic downtown Main Streets in each of these localities.
Linger, browse, shop, taste and savor these special places:
Gloucester Main Street
Imagine a storybook novel about a village and that’s Gloucester Main Street, which stretches for several blocks on brick sidewalks, hanging flower pots and window boxes en route. More than two dozen retail boutique shops line the two-laned Main Street that’s immaculately kept. The finds inside are unique — art inspired by coastal living, local produce, home décor, women’s accessories and an apothecary committed to wellness. Find lunch at one of several restaurants that specialize in seafood, Thai, comfort food and barbecue; leave room for dessert at Sweet Tooth Cafe.
Tappahannock Prince Street
This river town doesn’t have a street named Main, but Prince, Duke and Queen streets all connect this close-knit downtown that continues to recover from a fire that swept through several of its buildings in summer 2022. And the community there unites under an officially designated Tappahannock Main Street. A handful of locally owned shops and restaurants make browsing fun here, and Acme Antiques is its own universe. The antique mall contains thousands of vintage collectibles as well as new soaps and jewelry made by regional artisans. Save room for ice cream next door with 36 handspun flavors on a menu that also includes slushies and smoothies. If you’re eager for more walking, don’t skip the self-guided downtown walking tour of historical buildings. Dock at Hoskins Park. (BTW, Tappahannock and Gloucester each are designated as official Main Streets.)
Mathews Main Street
You’re in for a real treat visiting Mathews Main Street, a charming village of shops with treasures that reflect the spirit of this nautical community. You’ll find pottery, antiques, home décor and lovely artwork from artists and crafters inspired by this outdoor-centric region of Virginia. With so many places to stop for lunch, you won’t go hungry. The Mathews Visitor Center located inside Sibley’s General Store is an ideal starting point. Dock at one of several marinas in town.
Urbanna Virginia Street
Stroll this port town’s version of Main Street that’s Virginia Street, a collection of boutiques filled with furnishings, fashion, gifts, jewelry and fun finds. An antique mall features the works of more than 70 professional artists. Dine waterside, too, where the views are as good as the fresh seafood. Dock your boat at any of the marinas downtown.
This walkable West Point Main Street is a gem with ample outdoor seating on a seasonable day. Find gifts for the blue crab lover and feast on the fresh bounty that comes from its proximity to the Rappahannock, Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. Don’t leave without checking out The Exchange on Main, multiple boutiques and vintage treasures inside the Exchange Hotel building. Like Tappahannock, West Point offers a self-guided historical walking tour. Dock at Glass Island Landing, West Point Creek, 5th Street or Beach Park.