Isle of Wight is located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, on the south bank of the James River. As of 2000, Isle of Wight has a population of 29,728 in its 319 square miles, and includes two incorporated towns: Smithfield and Windsor. It is located within a thirty minute drive of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, and is serviced by the Norfolk International Airport. Isle of Wight is also conveniently located within a two hour drive of the Outer Banks resort areas.
Isle of Wight is one of the oldest seats of county government in the Nation. Isle of Wight County was founded in 1634, and is one of the eight original shires of the colony of Virginia. Much of its rich history is preserved today in its historical sites. St. Luke’s Church, built in 1632, is the nation’s only original Gothic church and the oldest existing English church in the United States. The Hattie Drummond House, located in downtown Smithfield, was built in 1858 and serves today as Smithfield’s Visitor Center. The Isle of Wight Courthouse, constructed in 1800, is still in use today and a popular tourist attraction.
Isle of Wight County provides residents with a charming combination of rural and commerical environments. Today, Smithfield’s Historical District is home to more than 70 historical buildings, including historic homes from the Colonial, Federal, and Victorian eras, as well as a collection of unique antique stores and restaurants. Isle of Wight is also the home of Smithfield Foods, Inc, a Fortune 500 company, and is well known for its famous Smithfield ham and peanut production.