Beginning in 1607, Jamestown settlers affectionately called the opposite shore of the James River the "Surrey Side" to honor their homeland.
The Jamestown colony was perceived as a miniature London, because it lay on both sides of the James River as London lies on the Thames. The section of London south of the Thames is in the shire of Surrey, so settlements on the south side of the James River were referenced as "over on the Surrey side".The name "Surry" was retained when the county was chartered in 1652.
19 October 2016 -This is from last fall, containing most of an original write-up posted from the road, combined with more pictures and information after returning home. A merged consolidation of sorts.
Had a laid back day. Stayed somewhat near the house and explored the closer surrounding area instead of searching out the bigger points of interest - as I am usually inclined to do while on the road.
Chippokes Plantation State Park is not very far away. It always pops out at me on the map, but I've never taken the time to scope it out. I'd head out in that direction and enjoy the Virginia country roads and the unique sights peculiar to the region. Every area has it's own specific feel. Just open up and tune in.
Thankfully, the wrong road was chosen - and it turned to dirt. What an incredible start to the day. It kept switching from sandy, to grassy, to dirt two track. More like a green lane in places, while it meandered along side various fields of corn, soybeans, or peanuts and would run in and out of the woods and often along side the woodline.
Then the trail was swallowed up by a forest and narrowed significantly as I progressed. The GS and I pushed forward until the trail finally ended on a small bluff overlooking a tributary of the James River that serpentined it's way through the marshy low land. Nothing to do but a 360, and enjoy it again, in the reverse direction.
After 5 days on the road, anxious thoughts of work, routine, and the Detroit Metro rat race have finally diminished - and been replaced with a euphoric sense of freedom. Feels like I've been wandering longer than I actually have. In a good way. An exhilaration that material things can never match.
Eventually, I made it to Chippokes Plantation State Park and snooped around there for a good hour. A very serene setting, especially so, because I was the only one there on this Wednesday afternoon.
Had the place to myself. Enjoyed browsing many old antiques and ancient farm implements they had displayed along with their impeccable grounds and old buildings.
Had to stop along side the road and walk out into a cotton field. I've noticed them before on various road trips, but never actually put my hand on a cotton ball and felt the moist fluffy consistency of it. Now I have.
Another fantastic day weather wise also. Sunny and low 80's down here.
Stopped by a few other various historic locations. This area, dating back to the 17th and 18th century, is a treasure trove for history buffs, as this is where it all started in America. Not that I am one, but the older I become, the more intereting it becomes. Stopped by the Smith's Fort Plantation also. Captain John Smith that is. Quite the wild man. Explorer extraordinaire.
More information and photographs of these places later. The fact that we - and life itself - is so radically different now, makes the old history and lore even more fascinating. Picked up a few brochures to sift through, with the intent of further educating myself, and hopefully you, on the subject. Delving deeper keeps the mind sharp.
Attempted to ride out to Hog Island Wildlife and Game Refuge, another place I always see on the map that sparks my curiosity, but came upon a large armed barricade and power plant, so I turned around and left, assuming that it can't be accessed by the public. Later while at the Surry County Courthouse and visitor center, the lady there informed me that you simply pull up to the gate and they will allow you access. Glad I asked her about it. Next time.
Had lunch at the Surry Seafood Company down on Gray's Creek. Stellar food and a very nice setting. Have some pictures from the spring time visit when they first opened that I still have not posted.
There was an interesting senior there dining. A World War Two Veteran. Not too many of them left. He is 95 years old and still very spry. Had a cane but still moved very swiftly and spoke authoritatively. A local from Surry also. Mentioned that he used to run around these creeks and woods as a kid. I said, "Things must be much different." He said, "You can't imagine."
One bummer is that Mamma D's has closed up. Was so looking forward to some more of her wings smothered in Ma D's sauce.
Best dark, spicy, and vinegary sauce I ever had. It'll clean out your sinuses. Who knows better than a Black Southern woman ? Surry Seafood Company will have to do for dinner and drink for Dad and I this evening.
The Surry County Courthouse -
Surry County is unique in the South to have preserved and protected original county records that were established in 1652, avoiding destruction from the British in the American Revolution and the Union Army during the Civil War.
Bacon's Castle -
Also known as Arthur Allen's Brick House. He built the structure in 1665.
Bacon's Castle is the only surviving example of Jacobean architecture in North America.
It is also the oldest existing brick dwelling in Virginia.
Chippokes Plantation State Park -
On the way back into Chippokes I passed some interesting roadside cemeteries. Old school burial.
That is where I would like to be buried. In the woods. Talk about quaint. That is how it was meant to be.
Random abandoned farm house.
Chippokes Plantation is one of the oldest continuously farmed plantations in the country; a working farm since 1619.
The plantation and bordering Chippokes Creek were named for Algonquian Chief, Chipoaks, who befriended the early English settlers.
I spotted some sharp old tractors at the comprehensive Farm and Forestry Museum. Spent a little time marveling at all the old farm implements.
The Jones-Stewart Mansion also resides on Chippokes. Construction of the mansion began in 1852 with materials available on the property.
Local legend is that the mansion survived the Civil War unscathed because Mr. Jones sold his popular brandies to both Confederates and Yankees during the war.
Adventure is inherent in man !
After a satisfying day of roaming, my Dad and I had dinner at the Surry Seafood Company and caught the sunset over Gray's Creek.