For those who use the word antique as a verb, Tappahannock is the town for you. There are some nice stores scattered across the Northern Neck, but they aren't located as strategically or clustered as close together as the ones in Tappahannock. You can find everything from country treasures to rare furniture, the stores in Tappahannock have the lot. Since people come to town from the Northern Neck to get supplies, they (especially the holidaymakers) like to spend a goodly part of the time shopping for antiques.
St. John's Episcopal Church, built in 1849 under direction of Rev. John Peyton McGuire, is the only purely Gothic Revival structure in the county. St. John's is also one of the earliest churches of this style in Virginia. What makes this church stand out is its simplicity. It has gone through several restorations and expansions including an impressive number of stained glass windows.
This house is now the center part of a much larger building, as school wings were added on each end in the 1920s; but the original building can still be seen on the outside by the four large chimneys and original roof lines. The original home was built by Dr. Thomas Gordon on the land that was once the Coleman Plantation. It changed hands several times over the years. The family of Judge Thomas Roane Barnes Wright sold it to start St. Margaret's Episcopal Girl's School which it remains to this day.
This Georgian mansion was built on the corner of Duke and Water Lane about 1850 by Dr. Lawrence Roane. His son inherited it and exchanged hands several times over the years and decades. The exterior bricks are stuccoed and now painted white and the front and rear porches both have fluted columns. This 12-room home became the Essex Inn in 2000.
This impressive brick building was built in 1848 facing Prince Street. It has large columns and semi-columns on the front, two storey windows, and walls almost 3 feet (1 m.) thick. In 1926, Alfred I. DuPont renovated the interior and installed a clock steeple as a gift to the people of Essex County. The structure not only featured the court, but it also had a fireproof clerk's office and record room where they kept records from as far back as 1686.
The two-storey brick house with a dormer roof is believed to be older than 1750 when its first recorded owner was Archibald Ritchie. When the port of Tappahannock was established about 40 years later, the collector of customs for the town and the county of Essex lived here. Allen Douglas Latane who owned and edited the Rappahannock Times lived here and it remains a private home to this day.