enthusiasts and boaters alike will enjoy a peaceful day
on the water at Gray's Creek, a 6-mile-long deep-water
tributary of the Lower James River. Part of the Captain
John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Gray's
Creek was designated as part of the Virginia's Scenic
Rivers Program in the summer of 2020. The program seeks
to identify and protect waterways with "outstanding
scenic, recreational, historic and natural characteristics
of statewide significance for future generations."
already in use by the Indigenous peoples, Gray's Creek
was first explored by Captain
John Smith and the Jamestown settlers in 1607. Construction
of a second fort along the creek began in 1609 when Capt.
John Smith was ordered to establish a defensive fortification
on the south side of the James River. However, as the
Jamestown Colony struggled to survive harsh conditions
during "the starving time" that year, construction
of the fort was abandoned.
County Department of Parks and Recreation offers Kayak
Adventure Tours along Gray's Creek (currently suspended
due to COVID-19 restrictions) launching from the Surry
County Marina. Guided by staff, guests can explore
the marshes and swamps that support an abundance of wildlife
and waterfowl. Contact Surry County P&R for more information:
Discussion of Gray's Creek begins at 6:20 in video.
of the James
from south of the
Surry County is located across the
James River from the historic sites of Jamestown, Williamsburg,
and Yorktown. It is centrally located between Richmond,
the tri-cities, and Hampton Roads.
A 15-minute free ferry ride across the James
provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation, provides
a unique view of the land. It's not hard to imagine what
the first colonists experienced as they traveled on the
same river 400 years ago.