Parksley (population 837) is a mostly undiscovered gem in the middle of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Only about 8 miles north of Onancock, this town doesn't get the same publicity as its older, waterfront sister.
More people should visit ... there's a variety of interesting shops and many large Victorian homes on tree-shaded lots. A good general website about the town is located at parksley.com.
History and Walking Tour
Parksley is a planned town, built when the railroad came to the Shore. Streets were named after railroad executives. It was incorporated in 1904.
The Eastern Shore Railway Museum tells the tale of the town's history and displays artifacts from the railroads that operated on the Delmarva peninsula since the mid-1800's. An old railway station and railcars too.
Many of Parksley's nicest Victorian homes are on the opposite side of the railroad tracks from the Railroad Museum. Enjoy a stroll through the quiet residential neighborhood. The homes around town are all private residences. You can look from the street, but please don't disturb the occupants. Restrooms are available next to the big public parking lot on Dunne Avenue.
Shops and Restaurants
There are quite a few shops in Parksley's busy downtown. Jaxon's (18509 Dunne Ave) is an old-fashioned variety store ... if Jaxon's doesn't have it, you don't need it. What's Your Fancy (24266 Bennett St) is a gourmet kitchen and gift shop. There's also a grocery store, drug store, hardware store, appliance store, sporting goods shop, and others.
The Club Car Cafe (18497 Dunne Ave) is a nice place to stop for lunch or dinner. Good traditional American meals at fair prices. The Hazelnut Cafe (18491 Dunne Ave) offers good soups, pastries, and coffee.
The nearest hotel is the Days Inn in Onley.
Parksley's best selling points are the big old homes on moderate-size lots. Large trees surround the homes and shade the porches and the street. You can walk to the stores downtown from almost anywhere.
There are many wonderful places to live on the Eastern Shore, but there are a few pitfalls to avoid too. Real estate agents may only tell you the positives. Be an informed buyer and you'll be a happy buyer.
Directions to Parksley
From the South: from the Bridge-Tunnel, travel north on US Highway 13 about 55 miles. Turn left onto Parksley Road (Route 176). There's a stoplight and signs at the intersection. Continue straight into town.
From the North: from the Maryland-Virginia border, travel south on US Highway 13 about 15 miles. Turn right onto Parksley Road (Route 176). There's a stoplight and signs at the intersection. Continue straight into town.
Map of Parksley, VA. You can see that the town is a simple grid by the railroad.