Rappahannock County is located in Virginia’s Piedmont Region, a destination rich in natural beauty, American history, farmlands, quaint towns and inns, wineries and fine dining. The county is geographically unique with access to the serene Blue Ridge Mountains and our Nation's capitol of Washington, D.C.
The County seat, Washington, is about 65 miles southwest of Washington, DC, and 120 miles northwest of Richmond, the State Capitol. The County extends north and south 24 miles and east and west about 21 miles. It has an area of approximately 267 square miles. The northwestern boundary is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and separates the County from Page and Warren Counties. The Rappahannock River forms the northeastern boundary and separates the County from Fauquier County. The County is bounded on the southeast by Culpeper County and on the southwest by Madison County.
Taking its name from the river that has its source in the small streams in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Rappahannock became separate from Culpeper County by an Act of the General Assembly in 1833. The five villages, Amissville, Chester Gap, Flint Hill, Sperryville, Woodville, and the Town of Washington have significant historical value. Washington is the County seat. Fondly called “the first Washington”, and somewhat less politely referred to as “little Washington” to distinguish it from its larger cousin, it was surveyed and plotted by George Washington in 1749 and was established as a town in 1796. The villages of Rappahannock were frontier posts or crossroads. Today, these small residential clusters represent a focal point for County residents providing retail services, meeting places, post offices, and church activities. As it was in the 1700's, Rappahannock's economy is still agriculturally based with the surrounding villages providing basic services for the farms.
The County's residents have strong economic and social ties with jurisdictions on all sides, although the western boundary of the Blue Ridge historically has acted to lessen contacts with Page County as opposed to the more direct accessibility of Warrenton in Fauquier County, Culpeper in the County of the same name, and Front Royal in Warren County which while over the Blue Ridge, is nevertheless served by a primary road providing relatively easy access. This in turn has led to a regionalization of many trading activities by County residents, people in the northern portion of the County (Flint Hill, Chester Gap) are more apt to shop, bank and attend events in Front Royal, while persons in the south and west (Sperryville, Woodville) often patronize Culpeper establishments, and persons in the east (Amissville, Washington) tend to favor Warrenton businesses.
Rappahannock County has the traditional County Board of Supervisors form of government. The County has five voting districts that are decennially revised based upon population: Hampton, Jackson, Piedmont, Stonewall-Hawthorne, and Wakefield. One supervisor is elected from each district. The Board of Supervisors is elected to serve four-year terms and is basically responsible for the legislative, administrative, and financial aspects of County government.