The Northern Neck
King George Travel Blog› entry 19 of 28 › view all entries
The Northern Neck is the region of Virginia between the Raphannock River and the Potomac River. It was one of the first areas of Virginia to be settled after the colonists pushed out beyond Jamestown and Tidewater. Yet, it is still largely a rural landscape with farming and fishing the main industries and endeavors. Both rivers are very wide here and in the 17th and 18th centuries seagoing ships were able to sail up the Chesapeake Bay and then up the rivers to dock at plantation wharves. Sea captains traded directly with the plantation owners, like they were independent entities, bringing in English goods and shipping out tobacco and other agricultural products. River traffic dominated Northern Neck transportation well into the 20th century, so railroads never came here and roads were few.
The second sons of English families, unable to inherit at home, found plenty of land here. Families that wou;ld become famous later in Amercian history, like the Washingtons (George Washington) and the Lees (Robert E. Lee) got their start on the Northern Neck in the 17th century. Thus, there are many historic sites and historic house museums to see on the Northern Neck.
King George, Virginia, (named for King George I) calls itself the Gateway to the Northern Neck. It is on Virginia Route 3, the main highway that leads through the Northern Neck. Only some twelve miles (19 km) south of the increasing suburban sprawl of Fredericksburg, King George is still a small rural market town. It is the county seat of King George County with the Court House and churches dominating King's Highway, the main street.