Essex County

County Offices
Courthouse Square
Tappahannock 804-443-4331

Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 481
Tappahannock 804-443-5241

Town of Tappahannock
915 Church Lane
Tappahannock 804-443-3336

Essex County is located on the Rappahannock River just over 40 miles from Richmond. In the center of Essex County is the incorporated Town of Tappahannock, the commercial and industrial hub for the region. The county is home to just under 9,000 residents. Located on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, Essex County is centrally situated just outside the Washington to Norfolk urban crescent. The historic cities of Fredericksburg and Williamsburg are within an hour’s drive. Bounded on the northeast by the Rappahannock River, Essex County has water access to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. This region has long had a history of agriculture and that continues today with more than 150 farms located in the county. The region is most famous however for its colonial heritage with Captain John Smith being one of its first visitors in 1608.

Essex County is also the gateway to a peninsula of agricultural land and quaint small fishing villages that lies between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, known as The Northern Neck. This is the birthplace of three U.S. presidents, Washington, Madison, and Monroe, as well as Civil War general Robert E. Lee, and retains many of the vestiges of colonial plantation life.

Essex County has managed to preserve its pristine environment over the centuries. While residents have quick and easy access to the vast resources of Greater Richmond, they can return home to timeless beauty in woodlands, meadows, and fields of wildflowers or riverfront adventures. Easy access to Interstate highways and the serenity of the unspoiled countryside have transformed this region into a bedroom community for many commuters to major regional employment centers.


Although County residents enjoy a slower pace and relaxed lifestyle, the close proximity of Virginia’s capital city ensures access to premier cosmopolitan amenities. Area youth receive an excellent education in the local school district, where a strong core curriculum complements the extra-curricular activities and special programs for the gifted and challenged. The county public school system includes, Tappahannock Elementary, Essex Intermediate, and Essex High are all accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school system focuses on a reading plan, computer education, and a gifted and talented program. Other local schools include St. Margaret’s School, an Episcopal girls’ boarding and day school, Aylett Country Day School, a private Early Childhood through 8 school and Tappahannock Junior Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school serving K-8 students.

For higher education, residents of Essex County are served by Rappahannock Community College’s two campuses in Warsaw and Glenns. Each offers programs in college preparatory, vocational, business, technical programs and trades. Within an hour’s commuting distance of Essex are some of the finest colleges and universities in Virginia, including the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg and the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond

Healthcare needs for residents are served by two local facilities, Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, which has 100 beds and is located in Tappahannock. It offers services in X-ray, nuclear medicine, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, family medicine, emergency services, cardiology, and orthopedic surgery. Riverside Middle Peninsula Hospital has 71 beds and offers general medical and surgical care, ICU and 24-hour emergency services. Additionally residents can make the short drive to Richmond for non-emergency hospital needs.


Today, many views in the county still look like the same beautiful landscape that the first settlers to the region saw centuries ago. Wherever you choose to settle in the county, you’ll discover a rare blend of the past and present. Established neighborhoods offer housing choices that range from elegant Victorians and charming colonials shaded by large old trees, Cape Cods, contemporaries, two-stories, and ranches in communities that offer a small-town flavor and friendliness.

Recreational facilities within the county include the Hobbs Hole Golf Course and several recreational facilities run by the county. Naturally with its riverside location on the Rappahannock River, water based activities are a big part of living in the area. Fishing and boating are popular and there are several public boat ramps available in Tappahannock at the end of Prince Street and Dock Street. Public and Marina Ramps are also available throughout the county on both the Rappahannock and it’s tributaries. The county also maintains several parks, and the Marsh street swimming pool as well. In addition there are vast expanses of county and state parkland and sparkling waterways throughout the region to provide opportunities for outdoor adventures that include canoeing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and fishing.

For those who want to adventure outside of the county, Virginia Beach in the Hampton Roads area to the southeast offers miles of surf and sand, a boardwalk, and superb resort amenities. Closer to home is the Historic Triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown Island and Yorktown. Celebrated as the largest historic attraction in the nation, Colonial Williamsburg covers 173 acres with restored shops, homes, taverns, and public meeting places. Jamestown marks the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, and Yorktown celebrates the birth of a nation as the British Army surrendered to General George Washington. And just 40 minutes to the northwest the Greater Richmond metropolitan area provides a broad range of cultural and recreational delights. Golf courses, sports clubs, fitness centers, river parks, and entertainment complexes are available throughout the region.

With its lush riverfront landscape, traditional values, easy access to cosmopolitan amenities, riverfront adventures and a little something for just about everyone, Essex County is a great place to call home.


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