Located at the lower end of Lancaster County, Virginia, Irvington is situated on two peninsulas extending into Carters Creek at the confluence of the Rappahannock River with the Chesapeake Bay. Originally known as Carters Creek Wharf, its name came from the sheltered creek on the Rappahannock River. The creek was named for the father of Robert “King” Carter. Corotoman, the estate Robert Carter inherited from his brother John, was located on the banks of Carters Creek to the southwest of what was to become Irvington. Robert Carter served in the early 1700s as Agent for Lord Fairfax in the Northern Neck Proprietary and as Acting Governor of the Colony. Carter was also instrumental in the 1732-1735 construction of Christ Church, recognized as the most perfect existing example of early Virginia architecture.
With a population of 425 residents, Irvington has always been surprisingly sophisticated town. In the early days, Irvington attracted the elite of Washington, DC and Baltimore to the Carters Creek Wharf. The town boasted a waterfront hotel, dancing pavilion, skating rink, shops and an, even, opera house. In 1947, The Tides Inn opened, continuing the legacy of refined hospitality. Today, the “Inn” is not the only draw. With great restaurant, coffee shop, art gallery, museum and boutiques, the allure of Irvington endures.
Narrow drives with unpaved lanes meander off the main road to homes that are sited to enjoy the glorious wide water views and harbor boats of all manner at private docks. Abundant seafood in the Chesapeake Bay provided the basis for the economy as fishing, oystering, crabbing, and related processing industries became dominant in the area, with Carters Creek serving as a leader in the fish and oyster trade. Carters Creek still accommodates commercial waterman, as well as sailors, water-skiers and kayakers. Carefully preserving its architectural heritage, Irvington integrates Victorian homes, farmhouses with wrap-around porches, and watermen’s cottages with the contemporary to create a charming, yet chic setting.