Hidden gem: Onancock, Virginia – Metro US

Hidden gem: Onancock, Virginia

Hidden gem: Onancock, Virginia
Virginia Tourism Corporation

insight guides

The town is Onancock, with a population of about 1,500. Once a port for steamboats plying the Chesapeake Bay, it drifted into obscurity when that era ended -— until entrepreneurs, artists and corporate refugees revitalized it. Onancock has urban amenities with wetland views and bay breezes.

Park your car and forget it; walking is the way to get around. You’ll want to get closer looks at the Victorian ladies, including B&Bs like the Colonial Manor Inn and the Inn at Onancock, that line the streets.

Artists and artisans are inspired by the region’s light and atmosphere. You’ll find traditional sailboats-at-sunset paintings and tapestries exploding with colorful abstract designs. During monthly Second Fridays, studios stay open late. The Red Queen Gallery showcases local artists and high-end crafts in a light-filled, cheerful space, and Jack Richardson’s Fine Art displays his oils along with works by other artists.

The theater scene is at the North Street Playhouse. The year-round schedule is an eclectic mix of stage plays, one-night readings, dance, revues and new productions. The restored 1950s-era Roseland Theatre hosts the International Film Series on the second Thursday of the month, highlighting foreign films.

Outdoors, SouthEast Expeditions provides guided kayak tours through the marshes to find waterfowl, wildlife — and wine. The “paddle and sip” trips visit area wineries via kayak. Hop on the ferry to tiny Tangier Island, one of only two inhabited islands in the Chesapeake. Book early to stay at a B&B. The seafood on the island was probably swimming in the bay that morning.

Back on the mainland, Mallards has water-view dining. Market Street Grill, Bizzotto’s, Charlotte Hotel and Restaurant, and The Inn and Garden Cafe are all good choices.

For more information, visitwww.onancock.org.

For more travel tips, go to www.insightguides.com.