The Essex Inn: B & B on the Middle Peninsula
The Essex Inn, History and Elegance
This beautiful 1850 Revival Mansion in Tappahannock, VA is a gorgeous bed and breakfast that’s loaded with history and fun. If you enjoy golfing, fishing or just cruising the Rappahannock River, you’ve come to the right place.
You can also bike into town, canoe on the many unspoiled creeks in the area, or visit the nearby towns of Glouchester, Urbanna, Irvington, or Kilmarnock.
Wine tasting is available at Ingleside winery. If you’re feeling more adventuresome, you can visit any of the 10 wineries in the area. And, there’s also plenty of antiquing to do.
Plus, there are quite a few gourmet restaurants in and around Tappahannock. Just ask us and we’ll be happy to share some of our favorites with you. One thing’s for sure, you don’t want to miss Tappahannock’s landmark seafood restaurant, Lowry’s.
History Of the Essex Inn
If you’re like so many of our guests, the Inn inspires you to ask a lot of questions about its history. The house has its own history but it’s woven in with the Civil War. Built in 1851 by Dr. Lawrence Roane, it’s a Greek-Revival style house. The main house has 12 rooms, each one with its own fireplace.
Front and back porches are original, and have fluted columns in the classic Greek tradition. Heart-of-pine floors can be found on the first and second floors.
Behind the main house is an 1840’s servants’ quarters, which also housed the kitchen and laundry facilities.
There are lots of stories. One of the favorites is this. Supposedly, Union troops were firing from the Rappahannock River onto Tappahannock, when a young man climbed one of the chimneys of the house and fastened a bed sheet to it. This act of neutrality saved the house from bombing.
The house was home to Union soldiers twice. In April 1862, Union troops destroyed a Confederate fort on the Rappahannock. The house was then occupied by northern soldiers for nearly a month. Two year laters, in June 1864, the home would again be occupied by Union troops during Draper’s Raid. The house remained Union occupied until the war ended.
After the war, Dr. Roane’s son, Captain Lawrence Roane, Jr of the Confederate 55th Infantry, once again took possession.
As you can imagine, the property changed hands many times, but always as a private home. In 2002, it was bought and converted into our beloved Essex Inn.
We hope you’ll consider staying at the Essex Inn, and enjoying its rich history, as well as the surrounding area.