Get to Know Rappahannock County
Rappahannock County's early settlers were small farmers, primarily of English descent, but also Scotch, Irish and German. Rappahannock was designated a distinct county in 1833 and took its name from the river that has its source in nearby mountain springs.
In July 1749, a 17-year old George Washington noted in his journal, "in the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . I laid off a town." The young surveyor, assisted by two chainmen, laid out the Town of Washington in the same five-block by two-block grid that exists today. The town officially was established by the Virginia Assembly in 1796. Though there are now 28 Washingtons in the United States, this is "The First Washington of them All." Today Washington serves as the county seat and is home to the famous The Inn at Little Washington, as well as country inns, shops and galleries.
Historic villages include Woodville (1803), which thrived until the 1920s when a tornado destroyed much of the town. Today, it is a beautiful but smaller version of its original self. Amissville (1810) and Sperryville (1820) lie near the eastern and western boundaries of the county. They were originally important waypoints on the series of turnpikes that ran across the Blue Ridge and eastward to the port at Alexandria.
Flint Hill (1820s), lies astride the historic Richmond Road, once a major thoroughfare from the mountains to the state capital. On the same road at the northern edge of the county is Chester Gap. This mountain passageway offers panoramic vistas of the Piedmont on one side and the Shenandoah Valley on the other.
Today, scenic Rappahannock County retains its rustic charm, hosting wineries, orchards, farms and charming villages.
County Historical Marker Guide
Towns & Villages
Civil War in Rappahannock County
African American Heritage
Our Sustainable Way of Life