A Day on the Farm
Article originally published at Vacations 2 Discover.
We were visiting Jamestown, Virginia when we heard from some locals that we had to take the ferry across the James River to Surry County to see some of the farms on the other side of the river.
It was summer, and we had plenty of time to spare, so we figured, "Why not? The ferry sounds like fun."
Farms and Fruit and Pumpkins and Such.
That trip became the first of many to Surry County to pick berries in the summer and pumpkins in the fall, sip some wine, and spend time enjoying rural Virginia. Just a short, free ferry ride away from Jamestown and Williamsburg, Surry County is one of coastal Virginia's hidden treasures—as everyone who has been there can agree. There are several “on the farm” opportunities available to you, depending on the experience you want to have.
Drewry Farms in Wakefield, Virginia, is a great place to find delicious, fresh, and pesticide-free blueberries and blackberries in the summer. Our family likes to do the picking ourselves, so we love the u-pick option, but we saw others who purchased pre-picked berries—the much faster option!
If you're lucky enough, you may even be able to purchase some meat shares of free-range, grass-fed cattle and hogs. For the Galloway Beef Share, you'll get an eighth of the steer—roughly thirty-two pounds of meat—and all sorts of cuts from steaks to roasts.
The pork comes from an old-world heritage breed called Mangalitsa—a hog with a lot of lard and known as some of the tastiest pork in the world. Unfortunately, you can't find it in many places in the United States, so consider yourself fortunate if you're able to snag a share of a fourth of the hog and enjoy mouth-watering ribs, sausage, and bacon.
Living on a Farm.
Although we never had the chance to stay at the Historic Palmyra Inn, built around 1745, and enjoy life on the farm, it's something we want to try. The house is surrounded by four hundred acres of land—half of which are wooded, which is excellent for taking a stroll. Or, if you prefer, sit on the back porch and enjoy gazing at the stars at night. We all love the peaceful, quiet setting of Drewry Farms and seeing the animals grazing and the blackberry and blueberry orchards in full bloom. Life is good.
We enjoyed a quiet, relaxing time at the Hampton Roads Winery, known for its wine and beef. More than just a winery, it's also a working farm that produces pasture-raised red Angus beef. We stopped by the tasting room, which sometimes even has live music, and made sure that we shopped the store on the way out to get their choice beef to go. If the weather is sweltering, be sure to try a wine slushie. They even have virgin ones for the kids and anyone else in your party not drinking.
Make sure you take time to wander the grounds. The World's Tallest Goat Tower is between the owner's private residence and the two-story tasting room. Designed by Dave Sheldon, co-owner, the Goat Tower stands thirty-four feet tall amidst an enclosure of Nigerian Dwarf Goats and consists of more than five thousand bricks. The structure has even inspired a variety of wine and wine slushies. Hampton Roads Winery is a must-visit, especially if you have a lot of adults in your group.
William & Mary - History and Tradition
Finally, perhaps one of the most well-known farms to William & Mary students and visitors to Williamsburg and Jamestown is College Run Farms, just a few miles from where you exit the ferry on the other side of the river. We love picking blueberries in the summer and pumpkins in October—pre-picked products are available as well, depending on your preference. After getting through the hard work of picking berries (or pumpkins), we love sitting on the truck tailgate to enjoy some delicious homemade ice cream.
College Run Farms ice cream is worth the drive because it's so good—and reasonably priced compared to chain ice cream shops. In addition, the flavors are seasonal, so there's always something new to try. Strawberry is our favorite for the summer and pumpkin in the fall, but there are always a few flavors to choose from, including less common flavors like blueberry and strawberry cheesecake to tried-and-true favorites like chocolate and vanilla. SIO- noted in his Google review and gave it five stars! One of the best farms in the area. It is 45 minutes from downtown Suffolk. But we love to come here twice a year to pick blueberries and enjoy fresh and natural blueberry ice cream."
A Few of Our Favorite Things
Surry County has become our go-to place to escape the hustle and bustle. Whether you're looking for a fun adventure with the kids picking berries and eating ice cream during the dog days of summer, a peaceful evening with your girlfriends sipping wine, or you want to step back in time and stay in an eighteenth-century farmhouse, we've found that there's something for everybody. And chances are that you'll keep coming back to this friendly, rural area.