Starting in 1930, if you were traveling down the East Coast’s Delmarva Peninsula to all points south (and vice versa), you had to take an hour-and-a-half ferry ride that shuttled you between Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel shortly after it opened c. 1964.
Photo courtesy the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel via Facebook.

Then, in 1956, lawmakers decided that the ferry took way too long for travelers (i.e. tourists) to reach either side of the Chesapeake Bay and conducted a feasibility study to see if a more fixed way (i.e. a bridge) to get people across the bay was, indeed, feasible.

The study concluded that a vehicular crossing was possible, so they built the 17.6 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) and opened it in 1964, cutting 1 ½ hours off of travel time.

Putting Stuckey’s on the Map in Mappsville

Carl Mintner and Frank Stuckey Jr. (Stephanie’s great-uncle) saw this as an opportunity to open a Stuckey’s location in Mappsville, Virginia in 1965 for travelers using the new bridge-tunnel. 

It was located about 66 miles north of the Bay Bridge Tunnel (or just about the time you’d need a pee break if you’ve grabbed a cup of coffee right off the bridge and used founder W.S. Stuckey’s method of finding new locations for his eponymous pecan shops).

Image: Stuckey’s Corp.

There you’d find everything you’d need to “relax, refresh, and refuel”: buckets, barrels, and boxes full of candy (including the famous Stuckey’s pecan log rolls), crates of Virginia smoked hams, and shelves full of fireworks and kitschy souvenirs like ceramic bathtub-shaped ashtrays with a leggy female bather telling you to “Put your hot butts here”. And let’s not forget the sparkling clean restrooms!

A grill stood in the southern corner of the shop that served up Stuckey’s own brand of roadside food that included pimento sandwiches, chili dogs, and Stuckey’s answer to the Big Mac – the King of the Road burger. For morning people there was also the classic Stuckey’s 99¢ breakfast: two eggs, toast and jelly.

Mappsville Stuckey’s Still Sticking Around

Though Minter and Stuckey sold the store to current Katherine and Marinos Kalmoutis in 1997, very little else has changed. Indeed, walking through the doors of Stuckey’s in Mappsville today is like entering Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s Wayback Machine set to 1965.

Now THAT’s what we call a burger fit for any King or Queen of the Road! Image courtesy Nick Young via Facebook.

Here, you’ll still find buckets, barrels, and boxes full of candy (including the famous Stuckey’s pecan log rolls), crates full of Virginia smoked hams. And of course, there are still shelves full of fireworks and kitschy souvenirs (though, today, they’re a little more politically correct than the aforementioned ceramic bathtub-shaped ashtrays.)

And of course, you can also still get a delicious breakfast (including the local favorite “scrapple”), tasty sandwiches, good-sized subs and other delectable road trip fare at the Stuckey’s Southern Grille.

So, the next time you’re planning on a trip up or down the Delmarva Peninsula, be sure to make a Stuckey’s stop at the Mappsville Stuckey’s part of your road trip itinerary.

Things to See and Do Around Mappsville Stuckey’s

Once you’ve finished buying boxes of pecan pralines (and a few pecan log rolls for the ride home), fireworks for the Fourth of July, and a handful of state souvenirs for the folks back home, here are some other things you can see and do while you’re in the area:

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Scenic Overview (57 Miles): Stop off at the CBBT’s scenic overlook to view the mighty surge of the Atlantic Ocean, the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, and the soaring grace of the engineering marvel that is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The Miniature Statue of Liberty (27 Miles): Located on Exmore’s Main Street, this mini-me version of Lady Liberty sits next to the Exmore Fire Department just in case she gets a little out of control with that torch.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor’s Center (11Miles):  Find out how NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility helps support launches from the Earth to the Moon and beyond.  Be sure to also check out when the next rocket launch is and how you can view it here.

Nutter D. Marvel Carriage Museum
Image courtesy of Connecting Delmarva

The World’s Largest Frying Pan (71 Miles): One of six of the “world’s largest” frying pans, this 10-foot-in- diameter, 18-foot-long (with handle) beast of a frying pan is located at the Nutter D. Marvel Carriage Museum in Georgetown, DE. Originally built for the first Delmarva Chicken Festival in 1949, it was retired in 2014 when the festival ended its 65-year run.  The frying pan weighs 650 pounds and could cook around 350 chickens at a time in about 200 gallons of oil.

Eastern Shore Railway Museum (8 Miles): See historic rail cars and equipment including a restored train station with railroad memorabilia from the lines that once operated on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

 Cape Charles “Four”-fer (54 Miles): That’s right. Cape Charles, Virginia doesn’t offer just one, just two, or even just three, but FOUR off-the-beaten-path roadside attractions that are a must-see for anyone traveling the Delmarva Peninsula.

  1. The Concrete Fleet. The Concrete Fleet are eerie crumbling relics of 9 of the original 24 concrete ships contracted by the U.S. Maritime Commission during World War II and brought to Kiptopeke Beach in order to protect the ferry terminal that once stood at Cape Charles during severe weather.
  2. LOVE Sign. As part of their “Virginia is For Lovers” campaign, the Virginia Tourism Corporation created a bunch of “LOVE” signs from junk and erected them all over the state. You can see one of them right here in Cape Charles. If you would “love” to see the rest of them, click here.
  3. Lighthouse Water Tower. It’s a water tower that looks like a lighthouse that was designed in 1992 in homage to the old Cape Charles lighthouse.
  4. Statue of Neptune.The 7-foot bronze statue of the Roman God of the Sea was installed June 13, 2015 at the northern end of the boardwalk near Washington and Jefferson Avenues.

Want to make your road trip even more divine? Then be sure to have plenty of Stuckey’s Pecan Divinity on hand for your next staycation or family vacation. For a limited time only, take $5 off of a box of 24 of our 1.7 oz.  Pecan Divinity Bars. Each one is a generous serving of our Georgia Grown pecans baked in a light and fluffy Southern nougat treat. They’re really melt-in-your mouth heavenly! Get yours today only from www.stuckeys.com.

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!