As you know from my last post, we had our vacation at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry. Chippokes is right across the James River from Jamestown and Williamsburg but mom and dad have been to those places many, many times. So they decided we would make our day trip to Smithfield, Virginia.
When I heard this I was so excited because Smithfield is the home of the international company called Smithfield Foods and they make great bacon and pork delights at their Smithfield plant. The company was started in 1936 by Joseph W. Luter Jr. and Sr. They started getting really big in 1981 when they bought another Smithfield meat company Gwaltney.
This is a picture of the plant that is still in Smithfield. The smells coming from that place drove me wild! The plant and town are on the Pagan River - maybe you have heard of Pagan Hams.
You can see the river in this picture from the Smithfield Station Restaurant where mom and dad had a nommy seafood lunch. The plant is in the distance.
The Corporate Headquarters of this international company are in Smithfield. If you had to work in an office every day, this place looks pretty nice.
But if you think Smithfield is just about the plant and corporate headquarters you would be wrong. There is lots to see and do even if you are one of those vegetarians.
First, the river is really pretty. Little Creek goes into the Pagan River in the town and not far away the Pagan goes in the famous James River which ultimately empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Smithfield has been working on a beautiful new park called Windsor Castle Park. They were still working on some of the wooden boardwalk that crosses the wetlands around Little Creek when we were there.
That isn't all! If you like interesting old houses, Smithfield has some great ones and a walking tour so you can see them all. My favorite ones are the Victorian houses. I like all those castle looking turrets and fancy stuff.
This is my most favorite house, the P.D. Gwaltney House on Church Street.
There is shopping too! A lot of the old houses have been converted to stores and businesses especially on Main Street. This house is part of Victorian row, also know as the Painted Ladies, which consists of five typical houses of the late Victorian time period (early 1900's), each featuring bay fronts and gingerbread trim. The houses were built around 1901 by Burton W. Hearn, who, himself, lived at 346 Main Street.
This is my favorite store of all on Main Street and a really cute Victorian House too. It is my favorite because it is called Pet Persona and it's a pet store! This is where dad bought me the tiger I already ate. He also bought me two gigantic piggy hooves. I have been working on one all day to day and I am having trouble making much of a dent in it.
Most of the stores on Main Street are pet friendly and actually allow dogs to come inside!
So there is a lot more to Smithfield than bacon and it was a good day trip from our cabin. On the way back we stopped at historic Fort Huger and Fort Boykin. Both are on the James River. Fort Boykin was first used in 1623 and was constructed to protect the Jamestown colonists from Native Americans and raiding Spaniards. Jamestown was selected because it was up the James from the main waterway so they could put up forts to give them plenty of warning in case of attack. Fort Boykin also made history during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War. Fort Huger is a Civil War fort.
Other things to see in the area include Bacon's Castle (no bacon there really I'm afraid) and the Surry Nuclear Power Plant. They have an information center where you can learn all about nuclear energy. I will tell you that security is really tight. The plant is located on Hog Island which is also home to the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area. To go there you will have to go through the power plant security.
Well that's about it for this trip!