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The office of Bay River Realty is located in Callao, VA, which is centrally located in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck Region. The Northern Neck is made up of Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland Counties. Essex County is not technically part of the Northern Neck, but is located on the southern side of the Rappahannock River, and just a short drive from most areas of “the Neck.” The Northern Neck is surrounded by water on three sides. To the north is the Potomac River, to the east is the Chesapeake Bay, and to the south is the Rappahannock River. Each one of these major bodies of water has smaller rivers and creeks that feed into them. There are hundreds of miles of shoreline around the Northern Neck and just about every type and size of waterfront property you can imagine is offered for sale. Here you can enjoy freshwater and saltwater fishing, boating (sailing, power-boating, kayaking, or canoeing), crabbing, water-sports, and duck hunting. If the water lifestyle doesn’t excite you, don’t worry, there is also a fine selection of inland and country homes as well as homes in one of our small towns, farms, and undeveloped tracts of land. Deer and turkey hunting are also popular to this area.

Westmoreland County is the birthplace of President George Washington and General Robert E. Lee. There are dozens of other historical attractions throughout the region as well. Life in the Northern Neck is relaxing and peaceful. Here you won’t experience the hectic pace of life offered in the big cities. We have a few stoplights, an occasional siren from an emergency vehicle, and even a small town argument or two, but overall, life in the Northern Neck is very satisfying. The air smells fresh and the sounds of nature are soothing to the soul. If we get an itch to visit the “big city”, there are several to pick from which are two hours or less from “the Neck.” Richmond, VA, Fredericksburg, VA, Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, and Norfolk are about one to two hours away (unless you hit one of the major traffic jams on I-95 or I-64!) High speed internet, local shopping, and fast delivery of online orders remove most needs of having to go into the city. We have great restaurants that rival the big town eateries. Our medical facilities are pretty good as well, and provide great service for most day-to-day medical needs. Several of the nation’s top-rated doctors and hospitals are within an hour or two….and some of these doctors have second or full-time homes here as well.

Take a couple of days to come visit Virginia’s Northern Neck. See what so many have discovered and find out why others left the city for the slower pace of life offered here. Who knows….your visit may just turn into your next home!

Stratford Hall Great House The Northern Neck is steeped in history, which one can feel just walking along the grassy trails from where confederates once fought, to the birthplace of the Father of our Nation, George Washington.

The Northern Neck rests on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and is surrounded by the Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River to the south. It includes the counties of Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland and Westmoreland.

In the winter of 1607–1608, the famed Captain John Smith, credited as the first European to discover the region, traveled up the Rappahannock River with the Powhatan Indians, landing in what is now known as the village of Morattico. Originally inhabited by eight Virginia Indian tribes who established villages along its shores, the Northern Neck is one of the most historic regions in Virginia. Smith referred to it as “a place heaven and earth never agreed better to frame man’s habitation.”

The original Northern Neck Land Grant in 1661 was first contrived in 1649. It encompassed all the lands bounded by the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. Most of the early development occurred on the eastern end of the peninsula where the Potomac and Rappahannock provided navigable waters. The English built stately homes, many of which still exist. They farmed tobacco for export to England, which became the basis of the Northern Neck’s economy during the Colonial era.

Washingtons Birthplace home The Northern Neck’s most famous son, George Washington, born on Pope’s Creek off of the Potomac River, called the region “the Garden of Virginia.” Our nation’s fifth president, James Monroe, was born in Westmoreland County in 1758.

The Lee family of Virginia called the Northern Neck home and built Stratford Hall in the 1730s. A son of Thomas Lee, Richard Henry Lee, co-wrote the Westmoreland Resolves, which proposed American independence in 1766 in protest against the Stamp Act. Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee were the only two brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence.

During the Steamboat Era, from 1813 to 1927, the Northern Neck was home to a network of about 600 steamboats that moved people and products throughout the region. In addition to bringing produce, cattle and tourists, the steamboats made the Northern Neck more accessible to Baltimore and Fredericksburg, providing residents with entertainment from the James Adams Floating Theater that circulated ports of call throughout the Bay region.

Stratford Hall Great House

The area also developed a strong seafood industry. Reedville, in Northumberland, was once the wealthiest town in the United States due to its menhaden fishing industry. That industry still remains strong today. The waters of the Potomac River, Rappahannock River, the Chesapeake Bay and their tributaries provide a haven for boaters, fishers and water enthusiasts. A short travel across the Downing Bridge from Warsaw to Essex brings residents to Tappahannock, a center of shopping and industry with hundreds of shops, unique stores and restaurants that specialize in local seafood and fresh-farmed foods.

The Northern Neck is an area rich in history yet with all the amenities of today’s technology and products. It is a beautiful and amazing place to call home.

Stratford Hall Great House Government workings on the Northern Neck are very community oriented, with elected officials taking into consideration each citizen’s input before making decisions.

Each county has a similar and basic hierarchy.There are elected planning, wetland, utility, and other commissions. These commissions look at zoning, use permits, water and sewer, and many issues or requests from citizens, and then vote and pass on their recommendation to the county’s Board of Supervisors. Each district has its own elected representative on the county’s board. In many instances, the representativeis readily available by email or phone if a citizen has a concern, question or suggestion.Supervisors meet monthly and listen to status reports from all of their departments, including local EMS workers, Sheriff’s, VDOT representatives and school officials amongst others. They also hold public input sessions and welcome specialty groups to talk at their meetings.They debate current issues and set annual budgets to best serve taxpayers while providing the highest services possible.Staggered elections occur every two years; with normally two to three seats open for the running.All elected officials must live within the district they serve, most also work, shop and greet people daily in those same districts.

Stratford Hall Great House Additionally, in certain larger townslike Warsaw, Kilmarnock, White Stone, Irvington, and Colonial Beach, there are town councils. They are composed of mayors and a number of officials who help facilitate the town’s needs to best serve their citizens. Town council elections are staggered as well and often bring out lively debate that can lead to new and exciting progressive projects for that area.

Each county also has a head administrator hired by the board. The head administrator acts as a general liaison to the public and ensures that officials are kept abreast of all current issues.

Each town and county has their own website to contact departments with questions or concerns, including the Treasure’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, Zoning Departments, as well as all other services available to each citizen.

Government on the Northern Neck is exciting and meetings are often largely attended. It is a shining example of how citizens and officials work together to help create a better community.

To contact a local government office, please click on one of the links below:

Essex County
Lancaster County
Northumberland County
Richmond County
Westmoreland County

Stratford Hall Great House For parents looking to relocate to any new area, education is always at the top of your checklist. Ensuring that your child receives the best education possible is a large part of any parent’s decision to move.

The Northern Neck boasts some of the best public schools in Virginia, with new facilities in both Lancaster and Northumberland, and another new construction projectscurrently in Richmond and Essex Counties. Students attend accredited schools, many of which have been cited as some of the best in the state, including Richmond County Public Schools, which is one of only 38 districts in the state that have met annual standards of excellence last year. In addition to the public schools, there are also a few private schools that are attended by people from around the world.

The average student-teacher ratio is approximately 19:1 across the region and special classes are available for gifted children as well as those needing special help to ensure their success. With high graduation rates, the area also boasts excellent statistics for those going on to secondary schools.

Amazingly, the region is one of the few offering special education services for children with disabilities at no cost to the parent, with classes taught in school by specialized staff.

Stratford Hall Great House One thing that will separate your child’s education in the Northern Neck from any other region is the community’s involvement in the schools. With a wildly popular PTA, JTOTC program, parents who constantly donate time and effort to the schools, teachers who stay late to help their charges and students who look out for each other, your child will be in a safe environment where they can flourish. They will find themselves part of a community where teachers will always know them by name from kindergarten until they graduate. Their education will be put first and they will grow up with a sense of true community and an American Spirit that is unique to the Northern Neck and its educational facilities. In addition, school superintendents welcome any prospective parent to contact them in person to discuss their district and the unique programs they offer. For more information on each school district, please visit their websites or call the superintendents directly.

Essex County Schools
Lancaster County Schools
Northumberland County Schools
Richmond County Schools
Westmoreland County Schools
Aylett Country Day School
Chesapeake Academy
St. Margaret’s School
Rappahannock Community College

The Northern Neck has bountiful lodging options for its many guests and tourists. From private, two person cottages on the water like the unique Cats Cove Bed and Breakfast in Callao,the Hope and Glory Inn, and a luxurious spa and private villa hotel in White Stone, to everything in between, travelers have a wide array of beautiful and affordable places to stay during their visit to the Northern Neck.


Below are just a few of the amazing places to lodge during your trip to this historic and beautiful region:


Back INN Time B&B
A classic, turn of the century B&B, located in the heart of Lancaster County, walking distance to downtown for shopping and dining.

The Bell House Bed & Breakfast
821 Irving Avenue, Colonial Beach
Circa 1882 Victorian house on the Potomac River with private baths, wine and cheese, and full breakfast.

Calm Waters Rowing
Lancaster, VA
Bed, Breakfast & Rowing: If you enjoy hiking and/or birding, there are trails just a mile away where the bird life is abundant.

Cats Cove Cottage
2273 Mundy Point Road, Callao
Peaceful and private waterfront cottage for two with a deep-water dock and a heated swimming pool. Breakfast is served on weekends with homemade jams and jellies.

Chestnut Cove B&B
Morattico Creek
Unique stained glass package: Create your own glass panel in a two-day workshop with B&B accommodations. Enjoy waterfront ambience and delicious meals.

Creekview Farm Bed & Breakfast
735 Norwood Church Road, Morattico
Share the farm’s tranquility, gardens, dock, and antiques with English hosts, Margaret and Jerry.

Dragon Run Inn
Church View
Come relax in a 1913 farmhouse, with yesterday’s atmosphere and today’s convenience.

The Essex Inn
Experience the grandeur of this Greek revival inn located in historic Tappahannock. Four rooms and four suites, all with in-suite bathrooms, luxurious amenities and DSL or wireless access, full gourmet breakfast.

Fleeton Fields Bed & Breakfast
2783 Fleeton Road, Reedville
Elegant waterfront home on the Chesapeake Bay near historic Reedville. Kayak, canoe, and bicycles are available.

Flowering Fields Bed & Breakfast
2783 Fleeton Road, Reedville
A little piece of heaven located close to White Stone, Kilmarnock & Irvington between the Chesapeake Bay & Rappahannock River.

The Gables, A Victorian MansionBed & Breakfast Inn
Brick Victorian sea captain’s mansion on Reedville’s historic Main Street.

GrandView B&B
114 Riverside Lane, Reedville
A cozy 4-room inn with spectacular views near the quaint fishing village of Reedville. Wheelchair accessible, pet friendly, boat slip.

Greenwood Bed & Breakfast
99 Maple Street, Warsaw

A Georgian-style home built in 1882 furnished with antiques.

The Inn at Levelfields/Calm Waters Rowing
1859 Antebellum mansion on 54 acres with walking trails, swimming pool, and rocking chairs on the front porch.

The Inn at Montross
21 Polk Street, Montross
A Bed and Breakfast with beautifully appointed guestrooms, located behind the courthouse on the square.

The Inn at Stratford Hall
Stratford Hall
Come stay at either the Cheek Guest House or the Astor Guest House on the 1,900-acre plantation that four generations of the Lee Family called home.

Kilmarnock Inn B&B
34 East Church Street, Kilmarnock
Nestled in the heart of downtown, with walking to shops, restaurants, and more. Great for romantic getaways, corporate retreats, and family gatherings.

Lancaster Tavern Bed and Breakfast Inn
8373 Mary Ball Road, Lancaster
Unwind in one of our suites with antique furnishings and modern amenities.

Ma Margaret’s House
The perfect place to get away from the city and enjoy the tranquility of country living with family and friends, or service your business needs to entertain clients. Relax on the upper level veranda or arrange to enjoy a full-body massage right in the privacy of your room.

Rosebud Bed & Breakfast
15353 Kings Highway, Montross
Nestled in the Town of Montross, Rosebud is conveniently located near several of the area’s finest day-trip destinations — twelve local wineries, Stratford Hall, George Washington’s Birthplace along the Northern Neck Loop of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Near restaurants, shopping and small town strolling.

Hope and Glory Inn
Historic schoolhouse and cottages, eclectically styled and hopelessly romantic. Travel & Leisure ranks it one of their Top 30 Great Inns in the country, USA Today and CNN agree. It has 30 rooms, a pool, dinners, a bar, spa treatments, a vineyard, and cruises.


Belle Isle State Park
Many secluded campsites, water and electric hook-ups, bathhouse. Five pop-up campers for rent. Fire ring, grills, and picnic table. Camp store and gift shop. Reservations at 1-800-933-PARK (7275).

Chesapeake Bay Camp-Resort
382 Campground Road, Reedville
Waterfront camping, slips, boat ramp, crabbing pier, pool, mini golf, canoe rentals, A/C cabins & lodges. Big rig 50 amp sites. Cruise to Smith Island from campground.

Coles Point Plantation
307 Plantation Drive, Coles Point
Come camp with us! Whether it’s a single RV, tent or a group we have room for you.

Heritage Park
2570 Newland Road, Warsaw
Wooded campsites on Cat Point Creek. Five year-round cottages for nightly or weekly rental. Pool, hiking trails, canoe rentals. On-site winery and vineyards; tours and tastings.

Westmoreland State Park
Wooded campsites, water and electric hook-ups. Bathhouse. Fire ring or pedestal grill, picnic table. Six camping cabins. Includes access to seasonal swimming pool. Camp store and gift shop. Boat ramp. Reservations call 800-933-PARK.


Holiday Inn Express
599 North Main Street,
68 rooms and luxury suites, swimming pool, full hot breakfast, in-room coffee. Wi-Fi in rooms.

Holiday Inn Express
Tappahannock, VA
63 rooms and luxury suites, swimming pool, full hot breakfast, in-room coffee. Wi-Fi in rooms.

Northern Neck Inn
4522 Richmond Road (Route 360 East), Warsaw
38 rooms, including luxury suites, swimming pool, continental breakfast, fitness room, Wi-Fi. Discounts available.


Tides Inn
The intimate 106-room Tides Inn is located in Irvington tucked away on a private, waterfront peninsula in Virginia’s Northern Neck. This Chesapeake Bay hideaway features golf at the Golden Eagle, spa, marina, pool, touring the Virginia Wine Trail, and sailing, canoeing or paddle boarding the waterways.

Medical & Emergency The Northern Neck boasts some of the best medical facilities in the region with a network of doctors, hospitals and specialty centers all within a short drive. Riverside Health Systems has a number of pediatric, general and elder care offices that have been cited as some of the best in the commonwealth.Additionally, Riverside has a full hospital in Tappahannock offering the latest in healthcare with a 24-hour Emergency Room and a full service facility including a special clinic for those with blood, liver or kidney disorders. In Kilmarnock you have Rappahannock General, recently acquired by Bon Secours. The facility offers quality, state-of-the-art health care in a convenient, friendly setting.Both hospitals are easily accessible and just minutes away from most homes on the Northern Neck. They were both just cited as two of the best hospitals in the country for their patient satisfaction scores as well as their level of care in specialized areas.

Medical & Emergency The Northern Neck also has a free health clinic, a dialysis center and an active Red Cross that is a constant in the community.Within an hour’s drive there are also major medical facilities in both the City of Richmond and Fredericksburg, including Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, Bon Secours- Richmond, Richmond Medical Center, Henrico Doctors Hospital, Mary Washington Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Fredericksburg, Pratt Medical and many more.

Medical & Emergency Each county of the Northern Neck has their own Emergency Medical Response department staffed by dedicated workers who only care for the well-being of their patients. Living on the Northern Neck can truly be good for your health in more ways than one!

Local Economy The Northern Neck has a varied and thriving economy that has recently been growing rapidly. It offers unique opportunities to both new and established businesses.

For many years, agriculture, timber, and fishing have been the main industries of the region, with rolling and sustainable viable crop and tree farms, as well as the largest menhaden fishery on the East Coast.Although big box stores do dot the region, new stores have begun to flourish due to county incentives that provide tax easements for new businesses and an enterprise zone unique to the area. Top-notch restaurants, delicatessens, clothing boutiques and much more have begun to spring up across the Northern Neck, providing jobs and bolstering the economy.

Local Economy Industrial parks in each county offer a low cost of living and have enticed several large-scale operations. Officials look forward to not only a booming industry but also the rise of retail businesses including coffee shops, clothing, and convenience stores, as well as many other amenities.

Despite the rapidly growing economy, rural ties and honor to a rich history will remain at heart in the Northern Neck. All open and future businesses are expected to blend in with the lush scenery and be a benefit to it.

Local Economy As the economy grows, so does the population, bringing in more business, culture, and wonder to an already amazing place to call home.

Looking to purchase a new home can be a daunting task even for the most experienced buyer. All too often, the property you want the most comes along with a tax tag that would require the purchaser to take on a second job just to afford.In many regions, taxes for less than an acre of property near or on the water can cost over $10,000 a year.

Not on the Northern Neck! We have some of the lowest tax rates in Virginia while still offering the same services you would expect in many big cities.Both property and land taxes are some of the best in the commonwealth. Arrangements can be made to have them included in your mortgage, or paid separately to the county either annually or on a payment method of your choosing.

When looking out across your property, you will know that not only do you have the house of your dreams, but that you also got it at a rate that is fair and extremely affordable.

Below are the current tax rates (per $100 of assessed value) for the fiscal year in the four counties of the Northern Neck as of August 2014:

Real Estate Rate
Personal Property Rate
Contact #
$2.04 Vehicle $1.52 Other
$3.75 Vehicle $0.01 Other
King & Queen
$3.94 Vehicle $1.10 Other
Town of Kilmarnock
Town of Montross
Town of Tappahannock
Town Warsaw

Compare that to the City of Alexandria, where you will be paying $1.038 per $100.Here on the Northern Neck, you can afford to buy the same dream house on as much land as you want without worrying about that nasty tax bill.

It is important to note property values and recent reassessments when calculating what your average annual tax bill will be. Also note that each county has special deductions and benefits for the elderly, infirm persons, and often for veterans.

Recreational Activities Although the Northern Neck retains its rural heritage, there is never a dull day at the region. With hiking trails, wine tastings, water sports, fine arts and entertainment, the Northern Neck is a hub of culture and activity for both indoor and outdoor enthusiasts.

Central to the Northern Neck’s activities is the YMCA. With branches in all four counties, the YMCA is a regular gathering place and much more than just a gym. It has a wide range of activities for all of its members, from toddlers to seniors. Membersenjoy fitness classes, day trips to exciting locations, club and social activities, evening soiree fundraisers, festive community luncheons and popular annual races amongst many other activities. Everyday, hundreds of people come to work out, talk, enjoy time with the community, and also get excellent tips on how to stay healthy and happy.The Richmond County YMCA also offers an award-winning pre-school and after-school care for children, as well as activities geared to engage teens, and an amazing summer camp.

For art enthusiasts, there are a number of guilds and galleries to enjoy with unique events such as “Art on the Water,” which introduces local artists and their work during fun evenings of music and libations.

Music lovers will be enthralled by the Northern Neck Symphony featuringtalented musicians, both local andfrom across the East Coast. There are also a number of choirs, music groups and concerts – from jazz, to folk or classical – with performances throughout the year.

Wine connoisseurs will be particularly pleased with the region’s vineyards. With nearly a dozen wineries, the Northern Neck is well known for tastings at farmers’ markets, special events, and personalized tours to the vineyards.

Recreational Activities For those who love fishing or water sports, there could not be a better fit than theNorthern Neck. Surrounded by the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Rappahannock River, the region is a welcome arena for those who enjoy canoeing, sailing, motor boating, swimming, and especially fishing. From croaker to catfish and rockfish, the region’s waters are teeming with the best catch just waiting to be reeled in.

The Northern Neck also boasts an impressive amount of historical museums and sites, many of which date to the founding of our country. Visitors can see firsthand where George Washington and James Monroe were born, as well as the homes of Robert E. Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee. It has a steamboat era museum which truly takes one back in time, and many other local museums and historical sites.

For those looking for outdoor fun, the region has a multitude of hiking trails and an active Audubon Society that regularly hosts walks. There are also two state parks that offer special tours and activities throughout the year.Horticulturalists will be thrilled by the extremely active Master Gardener’s Club and arborists will enjoy the beauty and splendor of the man-protected refuges where dense forests are home to many different species of trees, birds and animals.

Recreational Activities The region is also home to a growing population of Bald Eagles, which can be seen up close and personal at the Rappahannock Refuge during rehabilitation releases. They can even be seen during a regular drive down towards the water, where many of the splendid birds have built their nests.

There are day trips by boat up the Rappahannock River where you can view the scenery while enjoying local wines. You can also take a quick cruise from Reedville to Tangier Island, one of the most unique crab fishing villages in the country. It has retained its heritage and is reminiscent of walking into a beautiful, bustling village in the late 1800’s.

The Northern Neck is truly an amazing place to call home, with something for everyone!

For more information on planned day tours or specific sites, visit

Area Virtual Tour


Berry Farms


Emergency Services

Fishing Charters

Hospitals / Medical Facilities

Local News Sites

Museums & Historical Attractions

State Parks



County Sites


Farmer's Markets

Golf Courses




Tide Charts

Vineyards / Wineries


HP Map Richmond County Lancaster County Northumberland County Westmoreland County King & Queen County Middlesex County Middlesex County
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