One of the newest parks in this area is Windsor Castle Park in the town of Smithfield. It takes its name from the plantation house which anchors the park. The first European to own the property was Arthur Smith who patented the land in 1637, and it was his grandson, Arthur Smith III, who donated a few acres to establish the town of Smithfield. Sometime in the mid 1700's the current house was built, but has been remodeled several times over the centuries. It is a typical Tidewater plantation with the main house facing the water showing off the money side, as most guests always arrived by boat. There are several dependencies of varying ages still intact on the property including a kitchen house, smokehouse, barns, a log corncrib, graneries and others.
The town of Smithfield was built on pork and is home to the iconic ham the bears the town's name. It's a great place to live (unless you're a pig), with a vital downtown, historic architecture, galleries, restuarants, shops, good schools, marinas, all surrounded by the natural beauty of creeks, rivers and marshes. At one point the several hundred acres that make up Windsor Castle were for sale, and looked destined to be turned into a vast development of the "new urbanism" style. However, Smithfield is not urban, but a thriving small town that already has a vibrant Main St. In a twist on the Smith's original gift, in steps Joeseph Luter III, founder and former CEO of Smithfield Foods, who drops first $5,000,000 then another $2,000,000 to buy Windsor Castle and 200 acres of its original land. Luter did so to save the land and create a park for the town of Smithfield. Today the park is still rather raw looking but already has walking trails, lots of newly planted trees, a path for mountain bikes, a fishing pier, a dog park, a fruit orchard and the sweetest kayak launch on Cypress Creek, which is why I was there.