In King and Queen County, history is the name of the game. As the site of a Civil War controversy, the home of the family of Louisiana Territory adventurer William Clark and Revolutionary War Gen. George Rogers Clark and the location of an infamous colonial uprising, King and Queen has certainly impacted America's development. Whether you're interested in soaking up these landmarks, or having a modern-day escapade, King and Queen has lots to offer.
1) The King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum
This gem of a museum is located in King and Queen Courthouse, and includes pieces from throughout King and Queen's history. There's no better way to learn about the place you live than to see how it developed over time, and the Tavern Museum shows just that. Come to the museum to see a recreation of what a King and Queen house would have looked like in days past, a log cabin schoolhouse, a horse-drawn carriage that was donated to the museum by someone who remembers riding in it to school, glass bottles of different origin found in the area and a variety of antique Virginia treasures. The museum is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays from 1-5 p.m. There is no fee to visit, but donations are appreciated.
2) The King and Queen County sky
You can get a bird's-eye view of Tidewater by booking a trip with No Limits Skydiving on Lewis B. Puller Memorial Highway. Enjoy a beautiful view of the region before jumping out of your plane over the York River, and having the thrill of your life as you drift back down to the Middle Peninsula Regional Airport. No Limits Skydiving is open seven days a week, and packages start at $220, with discounts available for larger parties, military service members and guests with birthdays within a week of their appointment. Call 434-532-6570 or visit nolimitsskydiving.com for more information.
3) Site of attack by Nathaniel Bacon
In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon led an uprising to flush Native Americans from the land, and depose English-imposed Gov. William Berkeley – Bacon's own cousin. In the revolt, dubbed Bacon's Rebellion, his makeshift militia drove the friendly Pamunkey tribe to this spot in Dragon Run State Park, where seven tribesmen were killed, and 45 captured. Berkeley issued a proclamation against the colonists' behavior, and the resulting political consternation allegedly built up to the Revolutionary War. For history lovers, this site, on Farley Park Road near Mascot in Dragon Run, is of extreme importance.
4) King and Queen Fish Cultural Station
The King and Queen fish hatchery is important not just to its local county, but to all of the communities in Virginia. Established in 1937, the hatchery works to bolster the population of native marine species all over the state, so people can continue to fish in local lakes. This warm water hatchery raises species such as largemouth bass, bluegill and walleye. If huge rearing ponds of baby fish interest you, be sure to call 804-769-3185 and schedule a tour. The facility is located at the end of Fish Hatchery Road off of Route 14, and is open to guests from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.
5) Newtown Dragway
If you've ever experienced the need for speed, satisfy your desire safely and off public roads at the Newtown Dragway sand racetrack on Byrd's Mill Road. Whether an aspiring racer or an avid spectator, Newtown Dragway has plenty of events for you this summer, with various all-terrain vehicle and truck nights. Be sure to check out their schedule at newtowndragway.com to pick the event that best satisfies your race craving.
6) Tucker's Recreation Park and Marina
If the river is calling your name this summer, search no further for weekend fun than Tucker's Recreation Park and Marina. This complex at 224 Barn Road in Shacklefords is perfect for fishermen and boaters alike. With boat rentals, a boat ramp and dock slips available, head out to catch big fish after picking up supplies at Tucker's Marine and Bait Store, or bring your kayak to paddle down the York. For the more adventurous boaters, try researching the John Smith Water Trail at smithtrail.net, and follow the same path down the York he made when exploring Virginia for the first time.
7) J. C. Graves Museum
In the 1890s, about 30 years after slavery was abolished, King and Queen County built a schoolhouse for African American children of the area. One of the school's teachers for many years was Rev. J. C. Graves, the pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church at the time. The church bought the schoolhouse after it closed in 1937 and converted it into a museum in Graves' honor. Located just behind New Mount Zion Baptist Church on Rose Mount Road in Walkerton, the museum now teaches people about the struggles and accomplishments of African Americans in King and Queen County over the years. To learn more, call 804-769-2357 and make an appointment to visit the museum.
8) The King and Queen archives building
An offshoot of the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum, this building holds the records of the King and Queen Historical Society. If you have questions about your heritage, stop by and ask a volunteer to help you locate the right files. Even if you don't think you have any King and Queen ancestors, some of the documents kept in-house (like the handwritten 1600s gift of the courthouse land to the county) may interest you. The archives building is located in King and Queen Courthouse, and it is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
9) Dragon Run
One of King and Queen's most famous attractions is Dragon Run State Park, an area of protected swamp and forest land that borders the Piankatank River on Farley Park Road. Dragon Run is widely known for being one of the most pristine watersheds in Virginia, and is a beautiful afternoon destination for nature-lovers of any age. Put on your boots and come out for a hike in this remote ecosystem, bring your binoculars for a bird-watching expedition or dust off your fishing pole to angle for catfish. Hunting is also permitted in Dragon Run State Forest during hunting season, with the proper permits. Visit dragonrun.org for downloadable trail guides.
10) Site where Union Col. Ulric Dahlgren was shot
Most people know how important Richmond was to the Civil War, but few have heard of King and Queen County's contribution to the fray. In 1864, Union Col. Ulric Dahlgren conducted an unsuccessful raid on Richmond, and had to turn back into King and Queen, where he was shot and killed. When a 13-year-old boy of the Richmond Home Guard was searching the deceased Dahlgren's pockets, he discovered papers detailing instructions to murder Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his advising cabinet, and then to burn down Richmond. Confederate and Union supporters alike were incensed by the outlined plan, which was published in the Richmond newspapers, as it could have resulted in massive civilian casualties. If you're interested in the Civil War, be sure to make the short drive down to the corner of Stevensville, Bunker Hill, and Hockley Neck roads to see where this national controversy started.
Williams can be reached at 804-824-8289.