To Do at Tides Inn: 2021 Refresh in Irvington, Virginia

Tides Inn is located outside the quaint, historic town of Irvington, Virginia. This Chesapeake Bay staple has been welcoming guests for 74 seasons but now with a refined look in 2020.

We met a couple who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at Tides Inn and found out they celebrated their honeymoon here years ago.  Talk about history!! The Tides has been a local favorite for generations but with new ownership and renovations, it’s a beautiful mix of modern amenities with the same nautical, vintage feel.

I’ve been hearing so many special stories and experiences so rest assured, it’s the same Tides, with a facelift.

Getting There

  • A little over a 1-hour drive from Richmond
  • A 2-hour drive from Hampton Roads
  • 3-hour drive from D.C

If you plan to go by sea, you can dock your boat there overnight in the marina.

The Perfect Extended Weekend

Arrive and enjoy the terrace, the grounds here are beautiful and the terrace overlooks the marina and pool below.  Take a moment and walk the property.

Get out on the water and boat cruise around Carter Creek.  The resort has pet friendly accommodations with certain rooms that have an exterior entrance so activities can be done with your fur-guests.  If you don’t want to bring your pet, the general manager brings his family pet on-site so he has now become a mascot for the property.

Champagne & Oysters at Fish Hawk

After an evening boat ride we pulled up to the newest restaurant, Fish Hawk Oyster Bar, for casual poolside treats. The menus includes a raw bar and we celebrated with an oyster roast on the beach.

Feeling like I gained a new skill and appreciation for oysters during my time at The Tides Inn.

Did you know an oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day?! The ecology and environment around the Tides Inn is very important and they are focused on investing in not only sustainable practices but educating and helping to replenish the oyster population.

You can experience the oyster sanctuary by boat charter and then learn the history, harvest, and prep that goes into the delicacy. Not to mention, learn the tips and tricks of shucking.

If oysters aren’t your delicacy of choice, you can sip champagne or signature cocktails served by Rosie -the vintage bar cart.

There are so many surprises and spaces to explore on property.


When staying at larger properties, I always call room service an hour before I’m hungry.  I was shocked to call down and hear it would be just 15 minutes.  While breakfast in bed is always a treat, the dining room was beautiful as well.

Enjoy the river by Kayak or Canoe

We had Will Smiley, the river ecologist join us and it was fascinating to hear the measures that they have taken to create a living shoreline.

The 3.6 million dollar project was still underway during my visit but it’s slated to be complete within the summer of 2021. Not only are they creating the living shoreline to prevent erosion but also to contribute to the habitat of Carter’s Creek.

The Tides Inn waterfront project will include:

  • 18,000 square feet of new living shoreline
  • 150 linear feet of oyster reef
  • 42 new trees
  • The preservation of approximately 30 old-growth trees
  • The addition of 10,600 shoreline plants and 10,900 upland plants
  • 1,300 linear feet of new wharf along the water’s edge

Bike Ride to Explore Irvington

Tides has an incredible list of experiences depending on your interest.

  • Culinary
  • Sailing School
  • Historic Sites
  • Golfing
  • Fishing

First stop was a short trail through the woods where we arrived at the bee hives.  They are in the midst of planting a wildflower field right next to the bees which will be a beautiful attraction when they are in bloom.  The beekeeping guest experience has a few different levels depending on your interest. One is more interactive and one where you’ll learn about the lifecycle of bees. Either way, Jessica is part of the Northern Neck Beekeeper Association and was a wealth of knowledge.

Wine Tasting at Dog & Oyster Vineyard

The Dog & Oyster winery was close enough for us to bike there, I love when resorts offer ways to stay in vacation mode without having to drive.  For those not great with direction, just look for the giant corkscrews to guide you.

It’s a small vineyard with a great story.  I bet you didn’t know Irvington, Virginia has a similar process to Bordeaux, France.  That’s right, grapes in both locations thrive in sandy soil and a similar secret ingredient- oysters! The water used to irrigate grapes contains oysters, this unique process is certainly worth a visit on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail.  It makes sense, two of the world’s most sought-after delicacies pairing together to create award-winning wine. If you want a full history, ask for Dudley.  He’s the oyster guy and quite the storyteller.

Dinner in Chef’s Kitchen with Demonstration

A lovely dinner where we were joined by the Executive Chef who educated us on what locally sourced produce was utilized for our meal that evening and provided a cooking demonstration that smelled as delicious as it looks.   If you’re interested in a private dining experience that will make you feel like you’ve entered an episode of Chef’s Table, I can help with arrangements.

Ashburn Suite Tour

Part of the refresh includes four new luxury suites.  The Ashburn Suites are named after the original farm that E.A. Stephens purchased to build the Tides Inn. The suites feature a spacious living area with a sleeper sofa, modern spa-like bathrooms with double vanities, a separate shower and a deep soaking tub.

If you’re going for a special occasion I highly recommend upgrading to an Ashburn Suite.

Book with Melted&Moved for perks:

  • Daily breakfast for two guests per room
  • $100 resort credit
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

History at The Tides

The county of Lancaster was a dry county until the mid 1970’s – What to do?!

Tides bought a big boat and created a “whiskey run” to Urbana so guests could load up on their favorite libations. Once back at the Inn, they would become a member of what was known as the Chesapeake Club for a dollar and that’s how they’d get away with having the liquor on site.  They would receive a key to one of the 100’s of liquor lockers located at the entrance to the restaurant.  Today, the tradition continues and we were each given a liquor locker key with a bottle of wine to enjoy.

The rich history and traditions shine in their hospitality and their new renovation provides the upscale accommodations that we need on the Northern Neck.

Ready to plan your Chesapeake Bay stay?

Let’s set up a discover call to discuss how we can co-create the perfect trip for you.

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