About the Middle Peninsula

About the Middle Peninsula


In Tidewater, Virginia – Approximately 3 hours southeast of Washington, D.C. and within 75 minutes of Richmond and Colonial Williamsburg. Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, Essex, King and Queen and King William Counties make up the region.


Most of the counties that comprise the Middle Peninsula were formed in the late 1600’s, except Mathews County, which was formed in 1790 from Gloucester. Interestingly, Middlesex was formed from Lancaster County, which is separated from Middlesex by the Rappahannock River.  The influence of England and Native American Indians is noted in the region through names of places and bodies of water.  Folklore says that in 1608, a stingray stung Captain John Smith while spear fishing at Stingray Point, and Native American Indians in Lancaster County saved his life with a poultice made from mud at the bottom of Antipoison Creek. As late as the1930’s, local residents relied on area port-of-calls along the region’s rivers and creeks for delivery of goods and services from cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, to towns, such as Tappahannock, West Point and Urbanna.  Today, Deltaville, at the southern tip of Middlesex County, is the third largest harborage of boats in the lower Chesapeake Bay, and it is affectionately called the “boat building capital of the Chesapeake Bay” from its past reputation as a wooden boat-building leader through the 1960’s.


The Middle Peninsula covers 1,293 square miles, and it lies between the Peninsula and the Northern Neck. Elevations in the region range from sea level along the shoreline to 200 feet above sea level at the region’s most western point. The region is defined by water, most notably, the Rappahannock River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the York River.  It also includes the Piankatank River, Mobjack Bay, the East River, the North River, the Ware River, the Severn River, and the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers, rich with Native American Indian history.


Out of a total 834,425 acres, 218,453 acres are in farms with an average of 338 acres. Over 541,839 acres are forestland. Grains, poultry, dairy products, meat animals, timber and paper are the primary commodities. Gloucester is known for its commercial daffodils.  West Point is known for its paper mill.


Farming and fishing, which includes shell fishing, have been the industrial base of the region. The seafood industry also includes aquaculture. Recreation on the region’s rivers, creeks and Chesapeake Bay continues to stimulate growth in the marina industry. The region’s unparalleled boating and sailing opportunities support the Middle Peninsula’s marinas, boatels, boat yards, yacht brokerages, sailing and charter fishing services, campgrounds, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, golf courses, and local shops. Tappahannock, West Point, Gloucester Courthouse, Gloucester Point, Saluda, Urbanna, and Deltaville are the retail and commercial centers of the region.


The Middle Peninsula has a modified continental climate with mild winters and humid summers. The average temperature from June to August is 76 degrees and the average for December through February is 44 degrees.  The average rainfall is 47 inches.


The Middle Peninsula has more than 120 churches representing over 15 denominations including Protestant and Catholic.

Clubs & Organizations

There are two 18-hole public golf courses with dining facilities and pro shop; Hobbs Hole Golf Club in Essex and Piankatank River Golf Club in Middlesex. King William offers a private 18-hole golf course at Queensfield Plantation. Also, Gloucester and Tappahannock have nine-hole public golf courses. The region offers many sports clubs and swim clubs, as well as, sailing and yacht clubs. Deltaville has two semi-pro baseball teams, the Deltas and the Mariners. The Mathews YMCA, and the Middlesex YMCA, both with limited services, and the Riverside Wellness Center with full services in Gloucester and Tappahannock, offer wellness and fitness programs.

Historic Sites & Attractions

  • Walter Reed Birthplace, Gloucester Colonial Courthouse, Rosewell – Gloucester
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science Aquarium – Gloucester
  • Sally Tompkins Cottage, Gwynn’s Island Museum, New Point Lighthouse – Mathews
  • Chelsea Plantation, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian Reservations – King William
  • Rosegill, Wilton Manor House, Old Tobacco Warehouse – Middlesex
  • Gravesite of Lt. General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller/ Christ Church – Middlesex
  • King and Queen Courthouse Tavern, Chisciak Trail – King and Queen
  • Essex Historic Colonial Courthouse – Essex


The Middle Peninsula has a population of approximately 91,000.


Each county has its own public library, some with branches. Most offer summer reading programs for children, guest speakers for adults, and internet access for adults and for children with parental permission.


Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester and Rappahannock General Hospital in Lancaster County offer medical and emergency care for the region. Volunteer rescue squads and fire departments serve the region.


There are several assisted living establishments, some with 24 hour nursing care, in the region.  The neighboring Northern Neck offers facilities, as well.


Real estate tax per $100 of assessed value is the following:

  • Gloucester – $0.65
  • Middlesex – $0.53
  • Mathews – $0.54
  • Essex – $0.86
  • King and Queen – $0.54
  • King William – $0.82

Personal property tax per $100 of assessed value for vehicles, boats, planes and other personal property varies and each locality uses different valuations.

For details, contact the county Commissioner of Revenue. Sales tax is 5% State income tax ranges from 2% to a maximum of 5.75%


The Middle Peninsula is within 75 minutes of the Richmond International Airport and the Norfolk International Airport, with daily flights to New York, Atlanta and other major points. Hummel Field in Middlesex, the Tappahannock Airport in Essex, and the Middle Peninsula Regional Airport in West Point are airfields for small, general aviation. Nearly 60 marinas, with full and/or short term dockage, supplies, services and amenities serve the Middle Peninsula, and destinations by power boat, such as Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and the beginning of the Intracoastal Waterway between Portsmouth and Norfolk, are within a half day of the region.

Annual Events

  • King and Queen Historical Society Program – January
  • King William County Heritage Celebration – April
  • Crewe Regatta at Williams Wharf/ Mathews – May
  • Spring Tour de Chesapeake Bicycling Festival/ Mathews – May
  • Gloucester Daffodil Festival – May
  • Upper Mattaponi Pow Wow/ King William – May
  • Volvo Leukemia Regatta/ Deltaville – June
  • Art on the Half Shell/ Urbanna – June
  • Deltaville Heritage Days – July
  • Guinea Jubilee/ Gloucester – September
  • Mathew Market Days – September
  • Fall Tour de Chesapeake Bicycling Festival/ Mathews – October
  • West Point Crab Carnival – October
  • Virginia Motor Speedway Fall Classic/ Middlesex – October
  • Barbecue at Rosewell Ruins/ Gloucester – October
  • Urbanna Oyster Festival – November
  • Jackson Creek Christmas Cruise/ Deltaville – December
  • Coastal Rockfish Tournament/ Deltaville – December