Last Month, I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Smithfield, Virginia as a guest of the Smithfield® brand and today I am excited to share with you, this journey.
Smithfield, Virginia is a quaint town that is full of historic landmarks, fantastic bed & breakfast Inns, shops and remarkable restaurants located right on Main Street. It’s also the headquarters of the Smithfield® brand. The world’s largest supplier of pork and pork products and better known as “Ham Capital of the World”. It’s approximately takes one hour to drive from Norfolk International Airport and only short drive from Williamsburg.
Downtown Smithfield is the heart to where this small town story begins. From the cozy bed & breakfast inns to the charming shops and delicious dining of the Smithfield foods.
When I arrived at the beautiful Smithfield Inn, it was like a timeless era that still stands.
Established since 1752, the Smithfield Inn is enriched with history. How much history do you ask? Well, even George Washington stayed there and no I’m not joking. With 8 room accommodations to choose from, you can choose to stay in the Inn Suites or the Garden House which is located behind the Smithfield Inn. The cozy room that I stayed in was called The Joseph W. Luter III Suite. It was amazing! From the king size poster bed to my living room with a working fireplace, it was simply stunning.
This was my first time staying at a bed & breakfast inn, I was sincerely fascinated with the decor and how incredible my room appeared. I even had a few opportunities to taste and sample some of their heavenly entrees and appetizers served at their restaurant. So if your ever in the area, you gotta try Mozell Brown’s Smithfield Ham Rolls. This appetizer has been a staple to the restaurant for over 50 years. Amazing right?
Along with the Smithfield Inn and restaurant they also have a tavern on site. Which is a great spot to meet up with friends or co workers for cocktails and grab a bite to eat.
Another great restaurant that I had the honor of visiting was the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery & Cafe. Their breakfast menu was out of this world and affordable too! Oh my where do I start. This cheerful cafe offers daily pastries which includes their cinnamon rolls, sticky buns and danishes. A scrumptious breakfast is exactly what I needed to start my day. I recommend the Eggs to Order. Don’t forget to order a side of Southern Biscuits while you’re there. They were so yummy! It’s been weeks and I’m still thinking of my meal there. So good!
Next, I toured the Isle of Wight County Museum. What a captivating place this was.
Walking into this museum certainly took me back to a era that once was. During this guided tour, I was able to see the world’s oldest peanut and observed P.D. Gwaltney Jr’s world’s oldest pet ham. One of the exhibits that really caught my eye was the turn of the century country store. It was so awesome walking in and checking things out that once were. It truly brought me back in time and to think, how the residents of Smithfield did their shopping.
After our great tour of the museum, we did a walking tour around the downtown area. I got to see historian homes that are still picture perfect even til this day. The historian Kathy certainly knows about this town. Her guidance was pure joy and full of fun as she pointed out century old landmarks and beautiful colonial homes. It’s like stepping back into time. The picture of the house below was actually owned by Captain Samuel Wentworth.
Do you remember reading and learning about him in your U.S. History Class?
With all this walking, it was time for lunch over at the Taste of Smithfield. This family style restaurant serves up some of the best southern recipes in town. Let me tell you, it was so hard to resist my Chicken Salad sandwich and Mac n Cheese topped with bacon bits. I will say, I could only eat half but took the rest back to my suite for a midnight snack. Ha-Ha
Since I was visiting the town of Smithfield and a guest of the Smithfield® brand, I got a chance to take a tour of Smithfield’s very own Smokehouse. The Smokehouse is not open to the public but I felt rather important to have been given this opportunity to do so. No media cameras were allowed inside the plant but what an awesome experience to see first hand how their Ham’s are cured, smoked then sent to packaging. Did you know it takes between 50-60 days before that delicious ham is sent to your local grocery store? I was pretty amazed how this process takes place. The Smithfield® brand is dedicated to bring consumers the best tasting pork and ham products. I know for myself, I can’t live until I have my Smithfield Bacon on a Sunday morning. So so good!
I’ve served my family Smithfield products for many, many years. From their delicious Country Hams, Ham Steaks, Pork Shoulders, Bacon, Pork Ribs, Pork Chops, Lunch Meat, Marinated Pork Loin, Smoked Sausage you name it, I’ve tasted it.
If you thought my day ended there think again. Later on that evening we got a chance to visit the Aberdeen Farm in Smithfield, Virginia. What a beautiful place this was. The panoramic view of the water was just breathtaking. After sampling some delicious wine and cheeses it was time for our main course, a very tasty pig roast. It was quite the experience and one heck of a way, to end my day.
On our last day visiting this charming small town, we enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Smithfield Inn prior to checking out from our rooms. Our day began visiting the Smithfield Innovation Center as we took a tour of this advanced facility where new products are developed and new ideas come to mind.
During the tour of the plant, we seen a worker developing a new flavored sausage which was pretty interesting to see. We also seen a demonstration of how the meat of a pig is cut. It was quite remarkable!
Before heading to the airport, we had one final stop at the Smithfield Station. This lovely restaurant sits only steps from the water. The weather was awful that day so we ate inside but what a lovely view it was.
The Smithfield Station serves tasty seafood, chicken, pasta, pork and steak. Actually, they have a little bit of everything on the menu specially if your in a mood for something different. For lunch, I chose the Chicken Isle of Wight entree. This amazing chicken dish was stuffed with swiss cheese, Genuine Smithfield Ham and roasted peanuts then it was covered with a cream sauce. I’m still drooling over it. It was delicious!
This trip to Smithfield, Virginia will be one that I will always remember. The southern hospitality showed no mercy. These folks were as friendly as can be. With endless smiles on their faces and the joy they expressed about their town makes me wanna revisit again and again. The sweet southern charm of this small town is only a sample what you will receive when your life needs a recharge.
I would like to thank the Smithfield® Brand along with the Smithfield Inn, the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Cafe, the Taste of Smithfield, Smithfield Station and Smithfield Tourism for welcoming me to learn more about your fantastic small town and great tasting foods.
So tell me, What would you first see while visiting Smithfield, Virginia.