“Flood-tide of the river, flow on! I watch you, face to face,
Clouds of the west! Sun half an hour high! I see you also face to face.”
“Road Trip!” Those words can often
revive dreadful memories, but isn’t getting there supposed to be part of the fun? It is in my book! One of the most unique opportunities in Virginia is a different kind of “Road Trip,” and that is, taking the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry.
My friends and I began our special adventure at “The Coffee House,” located in Williamsburg Crossing at the intersection of Rt. 199 and Rt.5 (757-229-9791). There we fueled our bodies and psyches with great home brewed lattes and cappuccinos. After being warmly greeted and served by one of the owners, Charles Benbow, we headed down the road to Glass House Point, where we would load onto the ferry headed to Scotland/ Surry County, VA. (BTW, it was raining “cats and dogs!” Nothing stops Captain Neverwet!”)
Did you even know there was a ferry in Jamestown? I didn’t! This ferry is the largest inland ferry operation in Virginia. The first automobile ferry crossing was the initial voyage in 1925 by the “Captain John Smith.” In 1945, the Virginia Department of Transportation took over the operation, and provides 24 hour, free service. You can’t beat that! (www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp or 1-800-VA Ferry)
As we ride past the Jamestown entrance, we join other vehicles to load onto the boat at Glass House Point. Because there are no traffic lights and no place to go, except onto the ferry, everyone is calm, cool and collected. The presence of security guards, who randomly screen passengers and their cars, lend an atmosphere of safety and reassurance of a protected crossing.
The seamless ferry operations are a complex synergy of vessels, docks, terminals, naval and marine services working together providing efficient and friendly service to all. The captain and crew were so accommodating and welcoming!
As we ventured across the James River, we all got out of the car and settled in for the 15-minute traverse.
Despite the rain and fog, it was nostalgically romantic and exciting. The silence of the crossing, save for the hum of engines, allowed my mind to wonder about the history of the area, it’s secrets, stories and mysteries. Leaning on the rail, I fell into a “river loafing” mode and enjoyed a brief communion with the water, air, land and sky. The rat race of auto travel was halted by the confinement of space and stillness. The paradox of being immobile, while being mobile, is like living in a momentary vacuum of time.
Before you know it, you “awake” from a reverie of awareness as you are greeted by seagulls, cormorants and ospreys. Their sounds are lyrical combinations of whistles, harmonies and sirens that beacon visitors to the shore. Of course, the underlying message is “food!” The birds are everywhere…on the pilings, in the air (obviously!), and on the beach. A father holds his son on his shoulders as they throw breadcrumbs to the birds circling the end of the boat in a flurry to catch a bite.
Arriving on the other side of the James River in Scotland, we embark on a tour of our next week’s adventure in Surrey County, VA.
In the meantime, check out the ferry web site for schedules and vehicle restrictions, and enjoy the ride!
Until next time….
PS An osprey nest sits atop one of the