Boykin’s Tavern is named for Francis Boykin, who served as a lieutenant with Patrick Henry and later camped with George Washington at Valley Forge. Boykin inherited this land in 1780, as well as the house that had stood there since 1762. A smart businessman, he donated land for the Isle of Wight Courthouse of 1800 and jail. This way his tavern was conveniently located right next door for meals and refreshments needed by court officers and personnel, curious observers and travelers.
Historic Boykin’s Tavern is the only surviving structure associated with the Isle of Wight Courthouse of 1800. Located on one of the oldest thoroughfares in Virginia, Route 258/Courthouse Highway, the tavern provided accommodations during the 18th and 19th centuries when transportation was limited and roadways were marginally functional. Attendant to the courthouse, the tavern served as a meeting place for influential state and local government leaders as well as the center for social activity within the county. Additionally, the tavern, which houses architectural facets that are rare in rural Virginia, played a significant role in both the Revolutionary War and Civil War.
Used as a private home early in the 20th century, the tavern was purchased by the County in 1973. Recognizing the value of such a landmark, Isle of Wight took the initiative to have the tavern placed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.Boykin’s Tavern Museum 17130 Monument Circle Isle of Wight, Va. 23397 (757) 365-9771 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday Closed January, February, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Feb. 23, June 1 and Oct. 5. Walking Tour of the Isle of Wight Courthouse Complex. 3 p.m. Join us as we explore this 19th, 20th and 21st century site and share the story of its beginnings as well as a few tales of capers and duels. This tour begins and ends at Boykin’s Tavern.
March 30. Piggy Cottontail and the Great Egg Hunt. 2 p.m. For Peeps Sake! The Bunny is busy with all his Easter duties, but his sidekick Piggy Cottontail offers crafts, photo opportunities and an egg hunt at Boykin’s Tavern for children ages 12 and under. A great family event! $5 per child. Reservations required.
Aug. 3. Gaming Night. 1-4 p.m. In the days before iPods, high definition TVs, and the Internet, games were one of the many ways people passed the time. Bring the family for a day of early 19th century amusements. Join costumed interpreters as they teach and play both children’s games and those which Mr. Boykin might have made available for his older guests. Hosted by the Regency Society of Virginia. Free.
Nov. 16. Boykin’s Tavern Scarecrow Muster: Something to Crow About! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A grouping of crows is called a murder, a storytelling or a muster. Our muster of scarecrows on the lawn of Boykin’s Tavern will accent the agricultural focus of our county as we celebrate the bounty of fall. Enter your own scarecrow creation in this contest for a chance to win the title of King Crow.
Dec 14. Holidays at the Tavern. 1-5 p.m. The tavern is decorated for the holidays with greenery and period decorations. Stop by for a visit with St. Nick, refreshments, a visit with some living historians, a discussion of holiday history, a few memories of Christmas past or a last minute Christmas gift. Pre-registration for visits with St. Nick are suggested.