"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." - Anatole France
If quarantine has you feeling stressed and in need of some harmony, round up your family and friends for a road trip to remember! Spend the day in Surry County, Virginia where you can get away from it all and take in a leisurely hike, delicious food and drink, quirky driftwood art, and so much more.
Hidden under the trees of Chippokes Plantation State Park lies a subtle trail where guests can literally take a step back in history. Today the trail is tranquil and quiet, enabling one to relax and take in all the natural beauty of the area. However, in the late 1660s, this would have been a bustling dirt road filled with farmers and oxcarts taking their products to the James River to sell.
"Chipoax Road", the first documented road on the south side of the James, was the lifeline that connected the early settlers' farms to Cobham Wharf, where they would sell their goods and subsequently send them by ship to consumers.
The road, although highly valued by local farmers, was sometimes a torment to the property owners at Chippokes Farm, who were responsible for its maintenance. In 1802, and again in 1812, the Paradise family petitioned to have the road closed. This was never permitted, and by the mid-1800s, then-owner Albert Carroll Jones not only owned the wharf, but also had installed a toll house where the road came onto Chippokes property and was charging farmers and merchants for its use.
Today the trail follows a section of the road from the housekeeper's cabin between cabins 2 and 3 and winds along the sides of the road for a beautiful view of College Run Creek. It is a 1-mile trail that serves as a "down and back" hike, although plans are being made to connect it to another existing trail within the park which leads to the Farm and Forestry Museum. Chipoax Trace Trail is a unique opportunity to experience our country's history in a different way. It provides a link to the farmers, fishermen, merchants, and enslaved people for whom this road was a pathway to survival.
In addition to the Chipoax Trace Trail, the park offers additional hiking trails, gardens, Farm and Forestry Museum, picnic areas, playground, programmed activities, and sandy beach along the James River.
Begin or end your journey on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry for a unique scenic experience. View Surry from the James River - the same way Capt. John Smith and the Jamestown colonists did in 1607.
Upon your arrival in Surry, follow Route 31 to Meats of Virginia. Here, you can purchase a picnic lunch to enjoy along your journey. No matter what your tastes - you are sure to find a sandwich and sides that will make your mouth water.
Surry has a quirky, laid-back vibe and many "little-known" secrets that we want you to be able to experience. So, after your hike on the Chipoax Trace Trail, take a short drive back to the Town of Surry to discover some of those secrets.
At Just for Kicks Cupcakes, you'll find Oz-themed sweets. We recommend that you follow the Yellow Brick Road - and take Toto with you!
Farmer Joe's Greenhouse, Florist and Gifts is a fixture in Surry. Abundant lovely plants and gifts in a small space. Say "Hello" to Joe and Marge!
Don't miss a chance to visit Hampton Roads Winery. This is a working farm and offers a self-guided farm tour. But, if time is short, enjoy a tasting of their award-winning wines and spend some time watching the goats run up and down the World's Tallest Goat Tower. There's no shame having a glass of wine before dinner!
We recommend ending your day in Surry at the Surry Seafood Company Restaurant. If weather permits, dine out on the deck where the views of Gray's Creek, designated a Virginia Scenic Waterway, are best enjoyed. The restaurant offers the best seafood south of the James as well as soups, salads, burgers, steaks, and more!
Had a wonderful day? We hope you'll plan your return trip real soon!