Tucked away and secluded on the Pagan River, historic Smithfield is a charming diversion for cruisers who want to enjoy a colonial-era town and beautiful natural surroundings just off the James River. The Pagan River was recently dredged and as of 2010 is now maintained to a minimum depth of 10 feet, creating ample depth for vessels with 6 ft draft to navigate from the James River.
Smithfield Station Marina Inn, Restaurant & Marina is a Smithfield focal point, with a 4 star hotel and restaurant complementing a state of the art marina in protected water.
Isle of Wight County, Smithfield's home county is also the site of the original settlement at Jamestown; the area is the home of numerous historic sites dating as far back as the early 1600's.
The scenery along the Pagan is delightful, with sweeping grasslands and strikingly attractive homes and yards providing enchanting
scenes at every turn and twist of the narrow river. While residential development has become a prominent feature on the southern shore, farther up-river elegant old mansions top the high river banks to port, and vast marshlands to the north and south provide pleasing vistas.
Transient slips are available at Smithfield Station Marina, just be mindful of the current when docking. Here you’ll have
the use of a swimming pool and showers, not to mention the prospect of a fine meal. The marina-inn complex is on the
eastern edge of the town’s historic district, within easy walking distance from all of Smithfield’s historic homes and attractions. It is hard to miss; the docks are flanked by a large main building that replicates a New England village, an old Atlantic life-saving station and an exact duplicate of the screwpile lighthouse that once guarded Hooper Strait. Those arriving by water have the added advantage of being able to enjoy a “back door” view of stately colonial and Victorian homes that is unavailable to visitors who travel by land.
Smithfield is perhaps best known for the world famous Smithfield Ham and "became your one stop shop for all things ham" around 1780. It has been going strong ever since. The town of Smithfield itself was revitalized in the 1990's through an extensive beautification project. There are recreational activities for all- golf, bike trails, bird watching and more.
For more info:
Smithfield and Isle of Wight
Use Chart 12248 and Hampton Roads tide tables (For high tide at Smithfield (Pagan and James Rivers), add 1 hour 29 minutes; for low tide, add 1 hour 23 minutes.)
The Pagan River, three miles up from the James River Bridge (60-foot closed vertical clearance lift bridge, requires advance notice to open), carries good depths to Smithfield. There is ample depth for vessels with 6-foot drafts to get up to Smithfield Station Hotel, Restaurant and Marina. A fixed bridge with a 12-foot closed vertical clearance limits exploration of Cypress Creek off of the Pagan River at Smithfield. A 30-foot vertical clearance bridge is just upstream of the Cypress Creek junction on Pagan River proper. The Pagan River carries commercial traffic to its upriver town.
When you reach marker “18” it almost appears that the river is coming to an abrupt end. Continue to follow the channel and, after several more turns, the marina complex at the edge of Smithfield will come into view.