Discover the magic!

The Olde Towne experience has been treasured by visitors the world over-an opportunity to shop our fine antique shops, visit our galleries and unique specialty stores, enjoy excellent dining, both indoors and out in one of our many fine restaurants and pubs. Discover all of the magic yourself.
Discover Olde Towne Portsmouth!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tastes of Appalachia Features Regional Food and Music at the Commodore Theatre

Chef Susi Gott Seguret prepares foods of the Appalachia.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
12:45 - 3:00 pm
at the Commodore Theatre
421 High Street
Portsmouth VA.

Award winning chefs Dale Hawkins and Susi Gott Seguret will discuss approches to preparing foods of Appalachia with a multi-course lunch will be held at the Commodore Theatre located in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia. Music about Appalachian food and drink will be performed by Dr. Katie Hoffman on vocals and Brett Tiller on the banjo. This event will highlight the exhibit "Changing Appalachia" at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center just across the Street.
Chef Dale Hawkins discusses foods of the Appalachia.

To make reservations or for more information please visit the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center Gallery Shop or call 757-393-8453. Tickets are $10.00 for balcony seating (does not include lunch) and $45.00 in the dining area which includes lunch. Beverages are extra.

Here is a link to the article 'Taste of Appalachia' offers sampling of regional music and food at Portsmouth's Commodore Theatre written by Virginian-Pilot reporter Lia Russell: Taste of Appalachia.

Friday, April 25, 2014

She-Crab Soup- Mannino’s Italian Bistro is Hard to Beat

According to a recent blog written by the Virginian Pilot’s food reporter Lorraine Eaton, expect tough competition in this year's East Coast She Crab Soup Classic. Crews last year from 19 restaurants toted urns and crab and vats and crab claws and ladles and squirt bottles of sherry over to the Oceanfront for the annual East Coast She Crab Soup Classic held at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Mannino's Italian Bistro in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia.

There were thin soups and soups you could stand a spoon in. There were soups flecked with carrots and soups with ribbons of onion. Two soups were served with a crab claw garnish; one came with a sweet potato biscuit. Some were hot, some were not.

"This is serious competition, people." Lorraine wrote. " Mannino’s Italian Bistro has been the team to beat in past years. As a judge, I can attest to the fact that not a single chef around here is conceding the title and the competition remains fierce.”

We agree. As a lover of all things delicious, there are few things that stands out from the pack than Mannino's she crab soup and Olde Towne residents and visitors know it.

Another food review written after the 2013 East Coast She Crab Soup Classic by George W. Culver stated: "the huge lump crab they put in their soup is as big as your thumb. Seriously. The soup is served with large pieces of crab and a sweet creamy soup with great mouth feel." This soup won first place in both the critics and the peoples choice awards!

And what is equally as sweet as Mannino's she crab soup is that you can dine at Mannio's Italian Bistro here in Olde Towne year round and order their award winning soup as often as you want. Mannino's Olde Towne is located at 606 High Street, Portsmouth, VA. 757-966-7522. Mannino's Italian Bistro Website.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Changing Appalachia: Custom to Cutting Edge will be on  display at the
Portsmouth Arts & Cultural Center through July 6, 2014.
Folks are fascinated by “things Appalachian” but many people know little about the culture.  Old stereotypes about the region still persist with many people still associating the mountain region too strongly with log cabins, snake-handling, moonshining, and poverty.  These have been elements in the culture, but they are
only a small part of a more interesting and nuanced whole.

The goals for this exhibition are to help dispel many of the stereotypes and introduce visitors to the realities and riches of Appalachian life.  It will highlight something about mountain culture that has often been ignored or, at worst, denied:  the Appalachian penchant for assimilation of new ideas and innovation on old ones.  The exhibition will focus on the diversity of the region in expressive culture, race, ethnicity, and the politics of culture.

The exhibition will be at the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center through July 6, 2014. For more information, call 757-393-8543.

The Portsmouth Arts & Cultural Center is open:·
Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. · Closed Mondays

400 High Street, Portsmouth, VA
Portsmouth Arts & Cultural Center

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Enslaved Woman and her Dressmaker Daughter

April 24, 2014
At the Commodore Theater
421 High Street
Portsmouth, VA
(757) 393-6962
Doors open at noon
Lunch may be purchased from noon-12:45
Talk begins at 1:00 p.m.

Historian, Kathleen Curtis Wilson will tell the story of an exceptional African American family in Appalachia
Historian Kathleen Curtis Wilson
Virginia and explain what is known and not known about skilled enslaved women and the importance of new discoveries in the field of African American studies.  Her presentation includes photographs of textiles made by Lizzie Bolden, photographs of her mother and father, members of her family and other freed slaves living and working in Bath County.

Historians have long underestimated the importance of the skills that enslaved individuals possessed because there is no body of work to study.  That is especially true in Appalachia.  In the world of textiles and clothing, it is accepted that many skilled slave artisans spun thread and wove cloth, stitched slave clothing from coarse fabrics, did the fine (but tedious) finish quilting on their mistresses’ showpiece quilts, or were hired out as dressmakers, earning money for their masters and sometimes saving enough from their earnings to purchase freedom.  However, there is little physical evidence of these skills to support further scholarship.  Since slave-made textiles have traditionally remained with the master’s family, historians have had no way to authenticate the original maker of a quilt, bedcover, or other piece of cloth that has only a vague provenance.

Elizabeth Morris Bolden, Lizzie, lived in Warm Springs, VA all of her life.  She and her husband hand one
Lizzie's quilt, Warm Springs, Virginia
daughter, Alice.  What makes her story worthy of historical documentation are the textiles she leer behind, evidence of her skill as a seamstress and her status in the community.  Five textiles have passed from mother to daughter along with remembrances of Lizzie’s life and details of her sewing career.  At a time when African Americans in Appalachia had few opportunities for more than unskilled employment, Lizzie had her own business as a dressmaker for clients in the community. Lizzie’s great granddaughter, Perlista Y. Henry, will be at the presentation to answer questions at the end of the talk.

Kathleen Curtis Wilson is a Fellow at the Virginia Foundation of Humanities, Charlottesville, VA.  A renowned authority on Appalachian crafts, Wilson is craft section editor for the Encyclopedia of Appalachia. As an Appalachia textile historian, Wilson has been documenting, photographing, and writing about regional craft traditions for more than 25 years.  Currently she is working on her first novel, The Fabric of Wishful Thinking.

The talk is being held in conjunction with the exhibit Changing Appalachia: Custom toCutting Edge at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. This program is sponsored in part by the Commodore Theater, Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, the African-American Historical Society of Portsmouth and the Thomson Family Foundation of Minnesota.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Olde Towne FirstEvents Features Opening Reception, Free Music & Much More!

Thank goodness spring has finally arrived and has luck has it, good weather for this weekend’s Olde Towne Portsmouth FirstEvents. Held the first full weekend of each month, Olde Towne Portsmouth's business community and the City of Portsmouth Museums offers free concerts, events and activities including the Olde towne Antiques to Flea Market, free museum admissions, an exhibit opening and a lot more. Here’s a listing of some of the events available to you during April’s Olde Towne Portsmouth FirstEvents weekend!

Friday, April 4
Concert In the Courtyard - Free Music Series
5PM - 8 PM

Celtibillies & Good Foot Dance
Enjoy music in the courtyard from the Celtibillies & Good Foot Dance. Presented by the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center and PortsEvents. Admission is free as part of our First Weekend programming series. Corner of High & Court St. , 393-8543
Friday, April 4
Changing Appalachia: Custom to Cutting Edge
Opening Reception: 5PM – 8 PM
Drawing from an abundance of natural resources from the Appalachian region, artists and artisans adapt the heritage of mountain culture by assimilating new ideas and innovating on the old to create dynamic craft and visual art.  The exhibit offers maps, photos of the region, paintings, glass, textiles, ceramics and baskets to showcase the diversity of the region.
Admission is free as part of our First Weekend programming series.

Olde Towne Antiques to Flea Mark
Saturday, April 5
Olde Towne Antiques to Flea Market
10AM - 2 PM
Held inside the Middle Street Garage, corner of London and Middle Street.
Great finds of all kinds! The Olde Towne Portsmouth Antiques to Flea Market is this Saturday. Antiques to Flea Market Visit the Olde Towne Portsmouth Antiques to Flea Market the first Saturday of each month and hunt through the eclectic collection of unique and antique wares. With over 70 dealers and vendors exhibiting, you will discover a great selection of antique and estate furniture, architectural antiques, china, silverware, art and prints, sporting gear, musical instruments, books and ephemera, hand-made crafts and toys, as well as decorative accessories and flea market items of all types and one-of-a-kind items priced to sell. Free Admission & Free Parking.
Don't forget that Olde Towne has some of the best antique shops, art galleries and specialty stores anywhere in Coastal Virginia and beyond. Great shops and nurseries for your spring gardening too! Top it off with a delicious meal in one of Olde Towne's chef-owned and run restaurants. Make a day or a complete weekend of it and discover what Olde Towne has to offer!

Bank of America MuseumsR on Us
Saturday, April 5th  9 AM - 5 PM
Sunday, April  6th  11 AM - 5 PM
The Children's Museum of Virginia is proud to participate in the Museums on Us® program sponsored by Bank of America, which provides cardholders FREE access to some of the nation's finest arts, cultural and educational institutions during the first full weekend of every month. For details, visit
Family Fun and Activities at The Children’s Museum of Virginia:
221 High Street
Saturday, April 5
Noon - 4 PM
Nano Day at the Children's Museum
Participate in experiments check out interactive demonstrations and meet the scientists who bring this cutting-edge technology to our everyday life.  Your eyes will be Huge after seeing these activities about this small-scale science!  Co-hosted by Norfolk State University. Included with museum admission. Free for members.

Treehouses - Look Who's Living In Trees!
On display NOW – May 17 at the Children’s Museum of Virginia
Spend some time hanging out in the trees. Immerse yourself in an indoor tree house and explore first hand who lives in trees. This traveling exhibit is on loan from Sciencenter- Ithaca, New York and was developed by EEC! The Environmental Exhibit Collaborative. Included with admission. Free for members.
Saturday, April 5
2 PM at The Commodore Theatre
421 High Street

The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center Presents STORIES & SONGS: Appalachian Ballads and Ballad Books
Book-signing and Presentation with Sharyn McCrumb, Katie Hoffman, and Jack Hinshelwood
In coordination with PACC’s Changing Appalachia exhibit, the Commodore Theatre will host award-winning Southern writer, Sharyn McCrumb, who is best known for her Appalachian Ballad novels including many New York Times Best-Sellers such as The Ballad of Frankie Silver, She Walks These Hills, The Ballad of Tom Dooley, and St. Dale, winner of a Library of Virginia Award. McCrumb will be joined by Katie Hoffman and Jack Hinshelwood for a discussion on ballads and ballad books. To make reservations or for more information, please visit the Gallery Shop at 420 High Street or call 757-393-8543.
Crackerjacks and Grand Slams
10 AM - 5 PM
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and Lightship Portsmouth Museum
2 High Street on the Portsmouth, Virginia Waterfront
Come and discover the history of baseball in Portsmouth!  Did you know Portsmouth had its own Cubs team?  Who were the “Truckers” and how did they get that name?  Come on “in-ning” and enjoy crafts and activities celebrating a true American pastime.  Admission is free as part of our First Weekend programming series.

First Sunday Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch
Enjoy liesure Sunday dining in one of Olde Towne's exceptional restaurants. Olde Towne Portsmouth has become well-known for it's selection of outstanding dining establishments.  Call your favorite Olde Towne Restaurant today for details!