NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Sussex County, Virginia - A place for nuts and those who love them (Peanuts, that is)

By: Michelle Harper

Sussex CountySince the days of Jimmy Carter, Plains, GA has long held the reputation of being the peanut center of the country. Few people realize that the first commercial peanut crop was harvested right here in the heart of Virginia in Waverly, Sussex County around 1842. This proud heritage continues to this day, which is demonstrated by the many locations throughout the county that pay tribute to this humble goober. The entire journey into the wonderful world of peanuts can be completely covered through a ride along Rt. 460. Within a few miles you can learn more than you ever thought possible about peanuts.

Miles B. Carpenter MuseumThe first stop is a visit to the Miles B. Carpenter Museum Complex in Waverly, which is home to the First Peanut Museum. In addition to a myriad of peanut memorabilia to encompass the complete history of the peanut, the complex also includes the home of Miles B. Carpenter, the folk artist who is probably best known for his depiction of the slice of watermelon with a bite taken out of it. The museum is located near the intersection of Rt. 460 and Rt. 40 and is open Thursday through Monday from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Admission is based upon voluntary donations.

Peanut FieldsAfter being totally immersed into the world of peanuts, you probably can't help but get a bit hungry for a taste of this versatile nut. Not to worry, just a few miles down the road in Wakefield, VA lies The Virginia Diner, noted as "Peanut Capital of the World". This popular establishment boasts down-home cooking and offers complimentary peanuts while you wait for your delicious meal consisting of many peanutty delights ranging from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a slice of unbelievably tasty peanut pie.

Antique Gas EngineDirectly across the street from The Virginia Diner, lies the Plantation Peanuts of Virginia store, where you can view one of the first mechanical peanut diggers located in front of the building. Inside, you can find many different peanut products including those based on the company's original Waverly recipe. You can also learn about all the many different ways to store, prepare and cook peanuts in a wide variety of recipes.

Peanut MuseumWhile, there may be many other locations throughout Virginia and the United States that claim peanuts as their mainstay, Sussex County, Virginia holds the undisputed title for being the first to realize the potential of this wonderful crop. So, for a great day trip to satisfy both your mind and your appetite don't miss Sussex County, Virginia. You will never look at Mr. Peanut the same way again.

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