After exiting the ferry on the “Surry Side” I headed down a lovely green country road, fields and fields of peanuts growing on each side.
Virginia IS Peanut Country ---there are often little country shops and stands along the road side where you can buy not only Virginia peanuts, but Virginia hams as well!
Taking the road-less-traveled, I wasn’t sure what I would cross paths with, but when I came to a sign telling me that Smith’s Fort Plantation was ahead, I had to take the turn ---only --- I missed it!
I had to go up the road a bit to find a place to turn around and double back ---
And it was so worth it!
I found myself traveling up a tree covered drive that seemed to go on for miles:
I sure felt like I was going to wind up at some place like “Twelve Oaks” from Gone With the Wind!
To my dismay, even through I was there at 10am ---it was a Sunday, and the house wasn’t open. But I was free to wander around the grounds, and it was just what I needed for a leg stretch at this time.
I did a little more research and this is what I found:
The plantation received its name because it was the location of Captain John Smith's "New Fort," built in 1609, located directly across the James River from the Jamestown colony. The fort was quickly abandoned due to dry rot and a rat infestation.
The same land was later given by Chief Powhatan to John Rolfe as a dowry for the hand of Pocahontas when Rolfe and Pocahontas married. Archaeological surveys of the property have revealed that a number of structures have existed on the property and the present, restored main house was built by Jacob Faulcon in 1751.
Is that cool or what? Having heard of Pocahontas all my life, this really was like walking through history! Not to mention that Shamu and I rode over on the Pocahontas Ferry ;c)
We get the idea that because the word “PLANTATION” is used, that the house is going to be a huge structure of Georgian architecture. Not always. Many plantation houses were modest “normal” sized homes ----and I sure wished I could have had a chance to tour the inside of this one. But I was happy to walk the grounds…that crepe myrtle tree is in full bloom and is gorgeous! Up closer to the house is an ancient magnolia. The size of the trees alone make the house look that much smaller, dwarfing it in comparison.
Imagine the lady of the manor stepping out of that front door dressed for a journey to town, or maybe to church or to visit. Imagine the lives, the births, the deaths, the every day occurrence of waking up to greet a new day of plantation life ---in the Virginia summer heat and humidity without the benefits of electricity, air-conditioning or other modern conveniences.
Yes. I’m a modern girl! I love revisiting the past, but I’m so happy to be living where I live now!
Next trip? I *AM* going to be there when it is open to see inside!