Delve into the deep heritage of Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Barrier islands are long, skinny land masses bordered by the ocean on one side and lagoons on the other, serving as storm protection for the main coastline and refuge for indigenous wildlife. The Eastern Shore’s series of islands is one of the longest stretches of undeveloped land in Virginia, with a storied connection to the oceanside environment and community. At theBarrier Islands Center in Machipongo, visitors can experience coastal life of the past in historic poorhouses-turned-museums. 

While storms in the 1930s forced barrier island residents to relocate to the Eastern Shore’s mainland, the rich history and traditions of the area endured and are carefully preserved through exhibits at the Barrier Islands Center. With free admission to the museums, a plethora of classes, regular craftsmen-led lectures and workshops, and celebrations throughout the year, the Center is simultaneously a hub of cultural learning and fun. BarrierIslandsCenter.org


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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