Chippokes Plantation State Park is located just across the James River from Jamestown, site of the first European permanent settlement in the New World. The land dates from 1619 and is one of the oldest continuously farmed properties in the United States, but the campground has only been open since 1998. The park’s Farm and Forestry Museum displays thousands of artifacts, including a bull-tongue plow from the early 1600s.
Exhibits show the various stages of farming, such as preparing the soil, planting, cultivating, and harvesting, as well as the related tasks of the blacksmith, wheelwright, cooper, and cobbler. The theme is how successive improvements in tools enhanced the lives and productivity of the farm families. Tours of the 19th-century mansion are given on weekends April–October. The formal gardens are a must-see with their azaleas, crepe myrtles, and boxwoods. This side of the James is most directly accessed via the Jamestown– Scotland Wharf Ferry, while the closest bridge to the east is in Newport News and to the west is in Charles City County.
© Randy Porter/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.