Rappahannock County

RappcoIn 1749 a young surveyor wrote the following in his journal, “….in the Blue Ridge Mountains …. I laid off a town.”   The seventeen year old apprentice surveyor was George Washington and the town he laid out, Washington, Virginia was named after him in 1796.  The Rappahannock County seat looks pretty much the same now as it did back then.  That’s just one aspect of the uniqueness of Rappahannock – its timelessness.

Rappahannock County is one of the few places on the Eastern seaboard that has survived into the 21st century without so much as a traffic light, let alone fast-food restaurants, chain stores, and all the other attendant “conveniences” of modern life.   What Rappahannock does have is peaceful farms, quiet villages, and the gentle pastoral landscape of the Virginia Piedmont with the Blue Ridge Mountains looming in the distance.  At times it’s hard to believe that Washington, DC is just a little over an hour away.

What keeps Rappahannock County such an idyllic “island” and rampant development at bay, is a combination of far-sighted zoning laws, conservation easements, the protective barrier of the Shenandoah National Forest, and a fierce commitment among its residents and the Rappahannock real estate community to hold on to the scenic landscapes make Rappahannock unique among its neighbors.

If you appreciate those values, and enjoy a life that combines a lively interest in the natural world and small-town civic mindedness, then you’ll feel right at home here.  On the other hand, if you need the ultimate retail experience right outside your door, I’d suggest you look elsewhere, as you’ll probably not be happy living in Rappahannock.  For more information about Rappahannock real estate for sale contact me.   For more information about the county and its workings, click here.

While most visitors and new residents are attracted to Rappahannock County because of  its solitude and remove from the hustle and bustle of big city life, the County is awash in things to do and places to go.  An abundance of bed & breakfasts, country inns, restaurants, and terrific local farm products mean you’ll never go hungry.  The great outdoors in the form of mountains, streams, forests, and fields provides great activities for the body, while the vibrant local artistic scene of galleries, theater, and lectures feeds the mind.


Things to Know about Rappahannock County


rappco2A mild temperate climate for the most part, but July and August are known for their heat and humidity.  The Virginia Piedmont is lush with greenery in the summer. Average summer daytime temperatures are in the mid 80s and reach into the 90s in mid and late summer.  Afternoon thunderstorms are fairly common in  late summer.  In the autumn the landscape is awash in fall color. From September to November daytime temperatures are quite comfortable in the 60s and 70s.  The countryside is somewhat subdued in the winter, but still shows some evidence of greenery, with snow falling perhaps three or four times in the season, but rarely enough to accumulate (except at higher elevations), and average daytime winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.   Spring brings out an explosion of flowers and average daytime temperatures in the 50s in March, 60s in April, and in the 70s by May.


The 2000 census showed a full-time population of  6,972. Washington, VA, our county seat is the biggest town in the county, with a population just shy of 200. Weekend residents and visitors swell those numbers, especially in the Spring and Autumn.


Rappahannock has a small population base with not a lot of demand for government services.  As a result taxes are low (Rappahannock real estate taxes are currently $0.58 per $1,000 of value).   Folks in Rappahannock want to keep it this way.  Lots of services and amenities are provided on a volunteer basis, and the community is quite active in supporting the public schools, local arts,  preserving the environment, etc., by contributing their time and money.


Services you’d expect from a local suburban jurisdiction (trash pick-up, recreational facilities, etc) are non-existent here, and Rappahannockers are just as happy without them.

Favorite Pastimes

Manor FarmFox-hunting, gardening, attending community events, hiking, hunting, fishing, volunteering, rusticating.

Press Mentions

Every so often the outside world “discovers” Rappahannock, which duly horrifies the locals.  We prefer being undiscovered, but here’s what they’ve been saying about us:

New York Social Diary – May 15, 2013

Washingtonian Magazine – August 2011

New York Times – September 12, 2003

New York Times – September 26, 1999


See my Rappahannock real estate listings below.