Northern Neck Real Estate: Southern Style and Charm

We've been working hard...

Posted on Fri, Nov 06, 2015 @ 05:05 PM

After several months of working in the hot blazing sun, on rainy days and in the chilly mornings we are almost finished with the new home of Northern Neck Burger!  

This photo is a week old, most of the changes are on the inside.  Jay and Steve from Northern Neck Burger conducted the staff interviews under a tent in the parking lot yesterday.  It's all about the details at this point.

But you'll soon be able to sink your teeth into a mouthwatering wood fired grilled burger!  Here's a sampling of the new Tappahannock menu:

CLASSIC “NN” BURGER:  Topped with Classic American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Creamy “Rivah” Sauce

APPLEWOOD BACON CHEESEBURGER:  Thick-Cut Applewood-Smoked Bacon, American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Rivah Sauce

BLUE BURGER:  Rich Blue Cheese Crumbles, Caramelized Onion Marmalade, Mixed Greens, Balsamic Vinaigrette

TERIYAKI SWISS MUSHROOM:  Teriyaki Sauce, Swiss Cheese, Sautéed Portobello Mushroom, Mixed Greens

BAJA GUAC BURGER:  Topped with Fresh Guacamole, Habanero Jack, Salsa, Jalapeno.

PORCH BURGE:  Red Wine Reduction Sauce, Brie Cheese, Apple Chutney, Mixed Greens, Balsamic Vinaigrette

FRENCH ONION BURGER:  Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Garlic-Dijon Aoli

BIGGER BOAT BURGER:  Double Wood-Grilled Burgers, Double ApplewoodSmoked Bacon, Lettuce, Double American Cheese, Tomato, Red Onion, “Rivah” Sauce

CHESAPEAKE BURGER:  Virginia Crab Imperial infused with Pimento Cheese, Mixed Greens, Balsamic Sauce, Red Onion, Tomato

WOOD-GRILLED VEGGIE BURGER:  Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Roasted Peppers, White Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, “Rivah” Sauce

WOOD-GRILLED MAHI MAHI SANDWICH:  Mixed Greens, Red Onion, Tomato, Housemade Tarter Sauce

SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH:  Topped with Classic American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, House Mayo.

Yum-O!!  There will be a dog friendly patio (how cool is that, dog lovers?), live music, and free wi-fi to name a few of the amenities offered by Northern Neck Burger.  I think Tappahannock will be happy to have them here!  

To see their full menu, click here.

No, we don't have a definite opening date yet, but soon, my friends!  Soon!

Moving - A Game Changer

Posted on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 @ 03:27 PM

Moving can be difficult.  It can be scary and anxiety ridden.  Moving is typically due to a major life change.  A new job, a new town, a new marriage, a broken marriage, the loss of a spouse, or downsizing due the inability to care for your own property any longer.  At Packett Rentals we give you our best to make the transition into your new life easier. 


All the reasons that require a move will require a new normal.  They all require adjustment, courage, and strength. Often times I end up in the counselor's chair.  I usually rely on the old adages when I'm not sure how to respond.  One step at a time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

Everything appears scary at first, but by doing your move and changing your life one step at a time you will get there!  I've told my tenants to take baby steps until they feel more confident.

I’ve moved in fresh faced college graduates who have left their home state, families, and much loved pets behind to make their first real step into adulthood.  I’ve given them lists of places to shop, eat, medical care, and pointed them to the direction of the public library for free wifi until they’ve gotten their own wifi set up.  I’ve introduced them to locals with similar interests so they can find a small community within a small community—a place to belong. 



I’ve seen illuminating joy on the faces of those embarking on a new marriage.  The excitement of moving into a new home as a single unit...the new living room suit, new dishes, and a carton of milk in their new refrigerator excites them beyond belief!  Ahhh…young love.


I’ve listened to heartache as a result of a dissolution of a marriage.  I’ve heard the accounting of the overwhelming insecurity of living alone, dining alone, and doing alone after decades of marriage and togetherness.  I suggested getting out by taking a walk, connecting with co-workers or friends at church to help ease the loneliness.  I’ve introduced some of these lost ones to their neighbors in hopes that they will take them under their wing and assist them on their way out of the land of the lost.

I’ve assisted some of our elderly tentants with their garbage, keys, and name a few.  I’ve heard stories of sorely missed husbands and never forgotten wives, heard tales about their children and grandchildren and listened to many narratives offered up by these older and wiser citizens.  I’ve giggled at their bafflement of the younger generations.  I’ve taken their parent-like advice and tucked it into my heart.  I’ve heard both sides of the story from a few of them who are friends, but get on each other's nerves from time to time.  They do make me laugh!


So here at Packett Rentals, a division of Packett Properties, we’ve seen just about all of it.  We’ll guide you when you ask for guidance and help you find your way around the 'Neck whether you’re new to the area or new to going it alone. 

What to expect during the building process....

Posted on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 @ 04:16 PM

Building your new home is exciting, especially when you understand how the process works. The following overview outlines the typical steps your builder will take in the construction of a home and will help keep you abreast of what happens at key stages.

1. Prepare site and pour foundation: Often, site preparation and foundation work are performed by the same crew, but this may not be the case with a wooded lot. Using a backhoe and a bulldozer, the crew clears the site of rocks, debris and trees for the house and, if applicable, the septic system. The crew levels the site, puts up wooden forms to serve as a template for the foundation, and digs the holes and trenches. Footings (structures where the house interfaces with the earth that supports it) are installed. If your home is going to have a well, it will be dug at this point.


If the home has a full basement, the hole is dug, the footings are formed and poured, and the foundation walls are formed and poured. If it’s slab-on-grade, the footings are dug, formed and poured; the area between them is leveled and fitted with utility runs (e.g. plumbing drains and electrical chases); and the slab is poured.

Once concrete is poured into the holes and trenches, it will need time to cure. During this period, there will be no activity on the construction site.

After the concrete is cured, the crew applies a waterproofing membrane to the foundation walls; installs drains, sewer and water taps and any plumbing that needs to go into the first-floor slab or basement floor; and backfills excavated dirt into the hole around the foundation wall. 

2. Complete rough framing: The floor systems, walls and roof systems are completed (collectively known as the shell or skeleton of the house). Plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing is applied to the exterior walls and roof, and windows and exterior doors are installed. The sheathing is then covered with a protective barrier known as a house wrap; it prevents liquid water from infiltrating the structure, while allowing water vapor to escape. This reduces the likelihood of mold and wood rot.

3. Complete rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC: Once the shell is finished, siding and roofing can be installed. At the same time, the electrical and plumbing contractors start running pipes and wires through the interior walls, ceilings and floors. Sewer lines and vents, as well as water supply lines for each fixture, are installed. Bathtubs and one-piece shower/tub units are put in place at this point because there’s more room to maneuver large, heavy objects.

Ductwork is installed for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, and possibly the furnace. HVAC vent pipes are installed through the roof, and insulation is installed in the floors, walls and ceilings.

After the roofing goes on, the house is considered “dried in.” The electrician then installs receptacles for outlets, lights and switches and runs wires from the breaker panel to each receptacle. Wiring for telephones, cable TV and music systems is included in this work.

Note that HVAC ducts and plumbing are usually installed before wiring, because it’s easier to run wires around pipes and ducts than vice versa.

4. Install insulation: Insulation plays a key role in creating a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate while significantly improving a home’s energy efficiency. One of the most important qualities of insulation is its thermal performance or R-value, which indicates how well the material resists heat transfer. Most homes are insulated in all exterior walls, as well as the attic and any floors that are located above unfinished basements or crawl spaces.

The most common types of insulation used in new homes are fiberglass, cellulose and foam. Depending on the region and climate, your builder may also use mineral wool (otherwise known as rock wool or slag wool); concrete blocks; foam board or rigid foam; insulating concrete forms (ICFs); sprayed foam; and structural insulated panels (SIPs).

Blanket insulation, which comes in batts or rolls, is typical in new-home construction. So is loose-fill and blown-in insulation, which is made of fiberglass, cellulose or mineral-wool particles. Another insulation option, liquid foam, can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected or poured. While it costs more than traditional batt insulation, liquid foam has twice the R-value per inch and can fill the smallest cavities, creating an effective air barrier.

Fiberglass and mineral-wool batts and rolls are usually installed in side walls, attics, floors, crawl spaces, cathedral ceilings and basements. Manufacturers often attach a facing such as kraft paper or foil-kraft paper to act as a vapor barrier and/or air barrier. In areas where the insulation will be left exposed, such as basement walls, the batts sometimes have a special flame-resistant facing.

5. Complete drywall and interior textures; start exterior finishes: Drywall is hung and taped so the seams between the boards aren’t visible, and drywall texturing (if applicable) is completed. The primer coat of paint is also applied after taping is complete. Contractors begin installing exterior finishes such as brick, stucco, stone and siding.



6. Finish interior trim; install exterior driveways and walkways: Interior doors, baseboards, door casings, window sills, moldings, stair balusters and other decorative trim are installed, along with cabinets, vanities and fireplace mantels and surrounds. Walls get a finish coat of paint and are wallpapered where applicable.

Generally, exterior driveways, walkways and patios are formed at this stage. Many builders prefer to wait until the end of the project before pouring the driveway because heavy equipment (such as a drywall delivery truck) can damage concrete. But some builders pour the driveway as soon as the foundation is completed so that when homeowners visit the construction site, they won’t get their shoes muddy.


7. Install hard-surface flooring and countertops; complete exterior grading:Ceramic tile, vinyl and wood flooring are installed as well as countertops. Exterior finish grading is completed to ensure proper drainage away from the home and prepare the yard for landscaping.


8. Finish mechanical trims; install bathroom fixtures: Light fixtures, outlets and switches are installed and the electrical panel is completed. HVAC equipment is installed and registers completed. Sinks, toilets and faucets are put in place.  

9. Install mirrors, shower doors and finish flooring; finish exterior landscaping: Mirrors, shower doors and carpeting are installed, and final cleanup takes place. Trees, shrubs and grass are planted and other exterior landscaping completed.




10. Final walkthrough: Your builder will walk you through your new home to acquaint you with its features and the operation of various systems and components, and explain your responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep as well as warranty coverage and procedures. This is often referred to as a pre-settlement walkthrough. It’s also an opportunity to spot items that need to be corrected or adjusted, so be attentive and observant. Examine the surfaces of countertops, fixtures, floors and walls for possible damage. Sometimes disputes arise because the homeowner discovers a gouge in a countertop after move-in, and there’s is no way to prove whether it was caused by the builder’s crew or the homeowner’s movers.


For safety as well as logistical reasons, builders discourage customers from dropping in unannounced at the construction site. If you’d like to pay a visit, be sure to arrange it in advance. Chances are your builder will conduct regular walkthroughs to bring you up to speed on the progress of the work.

When you decide that you are ready to build your first home or your dream home call Packett Builders, Inc. Building a new home can be challenging and overwhelming and that's exactl why you need a professional with years of experience.  That's why you need Packett Buiders, Inc. 

Gregory Packett, CEO of Packett Properties, is undoubtely the most unique developer in the Northern Neck, and Middle Peninsula Real Estate scene. 


After starting his company from scratch nearly two decades ago, Gregory managed to purchase his first real estate property at the ripe ol' age of 21, and built his first house at 23.  He is currently remodeling he old Nadji Nook antique store in downtown Tappahannock, soon to be the future home of Northern Neck Burger Company and his business office.  His take charge, and aggressive, yet modest personality has earned him an impeccable reputation which reflects in all his dealings. 

Gregory's commitment to excellence and superiority, transcends beyond your initial meet and greet, and transaction hand shake.   Here's what you won't find with just any ol' builder.....

Through his hands-on approach, Gregory has become an industry leader in all facets of Real Estate sales and development in the Northern Neck, and Middle Peninsula.  There's no job too big, and no job too small for this visionary developer, so don't be suprised when you see Gregory digging trenches, laying plumbing, knocking down walls, building decks, and installing fixtures in your future home.     

New home construction, land development, waterfront property, commercial properties, rental properties.....Gregory has done it all, and has a reputation in the local community of being a hard working guy with impecible integrity. 








Small Town Living in the Northern Neck

Posted on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 04:12 PM

I’m a come here.  I’ve lived here almost 30 years, so the moniker has started to wear off, but I’m still one of them.

I grew up in a small town so I wasn’t surprised, bored or shocked when I moved here.  However, I have a friend who moved here from up North a few years ago who is still delighted by small town living. 

When he goes to Walmart or a restaurant he still gets excited by the fact that he knows that person, and that person AND that person!  I’ve tried to explain that sometimes the locals wish to get in and get out of Walmart as quickly as possible.  Sometimes it’ll take you two hours to get out just because you must stop and chat or else you'll be considered rude.   

 My friend stated that in New York people were easily angered and thereby inexcusably rude, often using inappropriate language, just because they knew they’d never see you again.  That attitude doesn’t go over so well here.  You’ll learn (hopefully the easy way) that everyone is related to everyone or they know somebody who knows somebody, so if you’re rude or ugly it’ll get back to them and ultimately you.  Don’t do it!

Manners are expected here. 

Please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir.  Hello and good morning are expected.  People hold the door for you and you must thank them.  One thing you don't want be know as here is rude!

My friend was moving from his rental house into his newly purchased home and was having a lot of anxiety about moving.  Who would he hire? Were there even moving companies out here?  Where would he get help?  I told him that you didn’t hire anyone here, you simply picked up the phone and called your friends.  It takes one call to make it happen.  And it did.  The trucks and trailers showed up.  Friends and their family loaded his belongings onto their trailers and into their trucks and moved his belongings to his new house.  It didn’t cost him a dime.  Oh, he tried to pay them but they wouldn’t take his money.  I explained that here you just pay it forward. At some point someone will need help and call him. It’s okay.  Really.

It's the same policy if you have to borrow something...say a tractor or a cup of sugar? Just pick up the phone, someone will be willing to loan you what you need.  

Sick?  Oh, yes, it’s true. If you get sick or are going through a distressing time your front door will turn into a revolving door.  They will bring you home cooked food, coffee, paper goods, toilet paper (I’m not kidding) and most of all--support.  That’s how they do it here.  They think of everything that you might need, and then some, in your time of distress.  If you’re sick they’ll cut your grass, take you to the doctor, and pick your child up from school.  They won’t stop until you’re able to stand on your own two feet.  Sometimes they don’t ask if you need help, they just do it. 


In the summer time you'll have squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peppers and zucchini running out of your ears. Everyone who has a garden will share their bounty with you.  In the winter time it could be deer meat.  After a big snow, if you can't get out, they'll even shovel your driveway.  

Yes, it’s true.  Everyone will know your business.  And most of the time that’s okay unless you’re in the witness protection program.  Most don’t mean any harm in what they say or repeat, they’re just sharing news. 



So what if you have to drive an hour to the city to go shopping, an art museum or fine dining?  You won’t find the simple goodness in a big city that you’ll find living in a small town in the Northern Neck. The adjustment is worth it. 


Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Valley - Hutchinson Unit

Posted on Fri, Sep 04, 2015 @ 10:23 AM

The Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Valley was established for land conservation and to protect wildlife and fish resources including the bald eagle.

The RWRV has a unit located just north of Tappahannock, Virginia known as the Hutchinson Tract and consists of 727 acres along Mount Landing Creek. This tract contains 1.5 miles of accessible wildlife viewing trails (but you can get a demanding five mile walk—more on that later).  It also has a fishing pier, observation decks and seating located throughout the trails, a canoe/kayak launch (I’ve used it many times), and interpretive signs to help educate the reader about wildlife, birds, conservation and the refuge. 


I ran across the refuge (literally) by accident when I joined a small, local church running club several years ago.  My first run was this group was through the refuge.   I knew there was a refuge just north of Tappahannock, but I didn’t know that anyone could walk, fish, bird watch, kayak, or picnic in the refuge.  I wasn’t really sure what a refuge was or did.  I can now say, five years later, that I have learned so much and now have a deep appreciation for our local refuge and what they do to educate the public and keep this piece of land pristine for all to enjoy. The upkeep is primarily done by volunteers.  I've seen several senior citizens cutting grass, weeding, removing limbs, picking up trash and countless other jobs.  I try to do my small part by picking up any trash in my line of vision.


I had a few rough years when I would seek solace and refuge in the refuge (funny, right?) by walking and running 6-10 miles a day during my twice daily visits to the Hutchinson Tract.  I would go at sunrise and again at sunset.  The beauty of both the sunrise and sunset combined with the natural beauty of the wild grasses, the bunnies, herons, osprey, deer, and the color palettt of the sky that only God could create slowly breathed life back into my weary soul. 

Back to that five mile hike I mentioned earlier, you can get a healthy hike/walk/run through the Hutchinson Tract.  Simply start on the designated trails, near the parking area, winding along Mount Landing Creek and keep on walking and winding your way along the trails.  You may see a bald eagle, beaver or even an albino deer (TRUE STORY).  When you come out of the designated trails you end up on the bypass. Go to the end and hang a right.  This will take you up a MONSTER of a hill!  When I first started my jaunts in the refuge I would have to climb parts of this hill on my hands and feet.  It’s that steep and I was that out of shape.   When you crest the top and scale the fence (if you want to scale the fence) you will be at Mount Landing Road.  And now you have to turn around and make it back to your car.  It’s a great workout on the fitness meter. 


Kayaking and canoeing from the refuge is easy and delightful.  They provide a parking area and a metal ramp for quick ingress and egress to the creek.  Once you cast off to the left you can paddle your way up into small inlets and see the many beaver houses erected.  If you’re lucky you’ll get see to see a few of these little guys swimming around.  If you’re brave then you can go right and enter the Rappahannock River.  When I choose this direction I stay close to the shore and out of the way of the big boats.  I haven’t gathered the courage to go across the Rappahannock to the Richmond County side, but one of these days I’m going to do it.


Bunnies! Bunnies!  Bunnies!  I have never seen so many bunnies gathered in one place as I have in the refuge.  It sort of reminds me of Watership Down with the multitudes of bunnies—even the sad part when they do the controlled burn.  These cute, fuzzy, little creatures appear to be fairly used to the human species trekking back and forth and don’t always dart off.  You can get up close to many of them by walking slowly while speaking in a soft voice before they decide that you are indeed bigger and run for cover.

I’ve also run into a skunk family.  The mama and her babies showed no fear, .they would waddle around, rubbing their noses in the grass on the side of the road and just stare at me.  I would, of course, make my way to the opposite side of road just in case mama decided to spray me, but she never did.  Oh, you can often find turtle nests in the spring on Macgruder Loop.  I’ve seen their nests and evidence of their hatchings, but so far I’ve missed the big moment.  Maybe next year. 

In the fall, when the leaves change, reminds me that there are seasons in life as well as in the weather.  Again, God’s vibrant palett in both the sky and foliage fills your senses with a great appreciation for the beauty and simple peace offered in the refuge. 


I haven’t even touched on the marsh grasses, flowers and indigenous plants located throughout the refuge.  You’ll have to go see for yourself. It's worth the drive from anywhere in the Northern Neck or Middle Peninsual area.  The Hutchinson Tract is one of my favorite places on earth.  I hope you enjoy it as much I as I do. 


 For a map of the Hutchinson Tract click here. 



Topics: Northern Neck Adventures