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What do you know...about Hampton? After reading this, you'll be able to talk about Hampton with as much familiarity as a resident.
  • Are Hampton and Hampton Roads the same thing?

    No, Hampton refers to the City of Hampton, located at the center of the Hampton Roads metropolitan statistical area. The region consists of nine cities and six counties. In North Hampton Roads (The Peninsula) these include Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, Gloucester County, James City County, Mathews County, Isle of Wight County and York County. South Hampton Roads (Southside) is represented by Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Currituck County in North Carolina is also included due to the large number of residents employed in the Hampton Roads area.

  • Does the name Hampton Roads refer to water or land?

    Both...The name serves a dual purpose, describing both a body of water and a geographic region. Originally known as the Earl of Southampton's Roadstead, the body of water bounded by the mouths of the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay is a roadstead, a nautical term describing a protected anchorage. It was named after Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southhampton, and a leader of the Virginia Company of London which financed early English efforts to colonize the New World. Shortened to Hampton Roads, the name of the water has come to be used to refer to the land as well.

  • How is Hampton the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in North America? Doesn't Jamestown have that distinction?

    The three ships captained by John Smith, Christopher Newport and Bartholomew Gosnold paused at Point Comfort, where Fort Monroe is located today, before continuing upriver to establish Jamestown. The colonists settled there in 1607, but due to severe hardships and the eventual growth of Williamsburg the site was not continually inhabited. On July 9, 1610 English colonists settled on the site of a Kecoughtan Indian village. They initially maintained the name Kecoughtan before eventually taking the name Elizabeth City County and Hampton. This small collection of homesteads was the beginning of the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in North America.

  • Built in 1728, how can St. John's Church be the oldest English parish in America?

    The current church on Queen's Way is the fourth site of worship for the Elizabeth City parish. The parish was established in 1610 near present-day LaSalle and Chesapeake Avenues in Hampton. In 1623, the settlement moved east of the Hampton River and a second parish site (1623-1667) was established on ground now part of Hampton University.

    The second site was abandoned in 1667 and that year the third parish site (1667-1728) was constructed on the west side of the Hampton River. Like the previous structure, the third church was a wood building and was used for about 60 years. During the 18th century, Hampton commerce and community centered on its busy port and waterfront, and the fourth (and final) parish site (1728-PRESENT) was constructed. Completed in 1728, the cruciform building was built with the sole purpose of being closer to the population base. During both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the British heavily damaged the church. In 1861, during the Civil War, the church was burned and only its walls remained standing. Contributions were raised at the war's end to restore and rebuild the sanctuary.

  • Why do they call Hampton the City of Firsts?

    • America's first continuous English-speaking settlement
    • America's first English Christmas
    • America's first free public education
    • America's first organized teaching of African-Americans
    • America's first site for NASA
    • America's first training ground for U.S. astronauts
    • Hampton's Point Comfort is the arrival site of the first Africans in English North America
    ...and many more!

  • I'm going to be in Hampton for a limited amount of time. What can I do to experience the history and essence of the city in a short amount of time?

    Some quick ways to fully enjoy Hampton's lively spirit and history include a three-hour tour aboard the Miss Hampton II, a visit to the Hampton History Museum and exploring at the Virginia Air & Space Center. Don't forget to take in an IMAX film and to go for a whirl on the Hampton Carousel next door.

    You can enjoy all of these sites with the Sea to Stars Ticket, specially priced and available at the Hampton Visitor Center and the Virginia Air & Space Center.

  • What are the most kid-friendly attractions in Hampton?

    • The suspended aircraft, interactive exhibits and IMAX films at the Virginia Air & Space Center

    • Feeding and petting the animals at Bluebird Gap Farm

    • Exploring the waterways aboard Miss Hampton II. They'll get a kick out of Fort Wool, the island fortress in the center of the Hampton Roads harbor

    • Riding the restored horses and chariots at the Hampton Carousel

    • Beach-exploring programs at Buckroe Beach and Grand View Nature Preserve

    • The Pomoco Family Movie Series on Tuesday evenings and Storytelling in the Park on Friday afternoons, both at Bluebird Gap Farm

    • Fishing in the open water aboard the Ocean Eagle or casting a line from a john boat at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. Your kids will think the turtles are super cool!

    • Looking at the aircraft and spacecraft on display at Air Power Park

    • Playing in the fountains at Peninsula Town Center

  • How did Blackbeard's Point get its name?

    The landmark was named for the infamous pirate, also known as Edward Teach. In 1718, by order of Virginia's royal governor, Lt. Robert Maynard tracked the menacing pirate to North Carolina's Outer Banks.  A battle ensued and Blackbeard fell to his death. The vanquished pirate's head was displayed on a spike located at the mouth of the Hampton River as a warning to others who may be tempted by piracy. The site became known as Blackbeard's Point. Hampton annually celebrates the demise of Blackbeard with the Blackbeard Pirate Festival held on the downtown Hampton waterfront.  The event features pirate encampments, character vessels, battle reenactments, and fireworks.