Hike into History
Hike into history at Chippokes Plantation State Park which offers over 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Follow the Chippoax Trace Trail along the path of one of the earliest documented roads in Colonial Virginia. The trail terminates at College Run Creek where you’ll want to spend a moment taking in the unspoiled beauty of the woods. In another part of the Park, you can take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the historic James River looking for fossils and shark’s teeth, find your favorite fishing spot in the park, or wander through the formal English garden behind the Jones-Stewart Mansion.
Not far from Chippokes, you will find College Run Farms. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in June you’ll find the time is right to pick your own blueberries and try some of their delicious home-made ice cream. In October they are all about pumpkins—so many varieties it’ll make your head spin! You’re going to want to give their pumpkin ice cream a try!
Looking for more “pick-your-own” adventures? Try Drewry Farms, a “boutique farm” with non-GMO, pesticide-free berries in Spring and early Summer. When available, they also sell produce, eggs and meats produced on the farm.
If hiking, fishing, birding, or wildlife photography is your thing, you will want to visit the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area. Hog Island gets its name from the 17th Century practice by English settlers of allowing their hogs to forage at the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the lower James River where the animals could be more easily contained. Today, the 3,908 acres that make up the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) include tidal marshes, diked impoundments, pine forests, controlled ponds, and planted fields. You might expect to see eagles, osprey, an array of shorebirds, and even upland wildlife species within the WMA.
You can continue your trek into in 1600’s by hiking to the site of a second fort begun by Captain John Smith in 1609. Raised earthworks still remain on the property of Smith’s Fort Plantation. Although never completed due to the harsh conditions of the “starving time” in the Jamestown Colony, guests today can hike the half-mile down and back to discover this interesting historical “secret”.
With all this adventure you’re going to need a bite to eat! So, head to the Surry Seafood Company for a delicious meal on the banks of Gray’s Creek. The creek is a 6-mile-long tributary of the James River and was explored by Capt. John Smith in 1607. The adjacent marina includes a well-maintained boat ramp, kayak and canoe launch, 45 floating docks, fishing pier, and a public bath house, so plan on paddling or dropping a line in if you have time.
End your day at the Hampton Roads Winery where you can explore this working farm by means of a self-guided tour. Taste locally sourced wines and wine slushies, walk through the vineyard, and watch the goats frolic up and down the World’s Tallest Goat Tower.