4. St. Luke’s Historic Church & Museum – Smithfield, Virginia
In a sleepy corner of southeast Virginia, St. Luke’s appears unassuming at first glance. Inside, dark beams and plaster walls are washed in sunlight filtered through panels of stained glass. You would never guess that three centuries ago, this serene space was swept up in the turbulence of America’s early days.
The Brick Church, as it was once known, was built in the late 1600s as the sole worship place in a swath of farm country. When church members decamped in the 1830s, the neglected building fell into ruin until locals stepped in to save the important piece of history. Their descendants, among others, founded the nonprofit Historic St. Luke’s Restoration as part of an extensive refurbishment completed in 1957.
While it’s no longer a place of worship, St. Luke’s carefully restored mix of architectural styles and its historical legacy appeal to those lured by tales of the past, period beauty, and simple moments of reflection on peaceful grounds.
Visit stlukesmuseum.org for hours and admission information.
Photography by Kip Dawkins