King William County has some of Virginia's — and the nation's — most interesting sites, from its pivotal Native American history, to its many plantations and colonial interest spots. Make a day trip out of touring these unique King William landmarks, or just visit one to add some local excitement to your weekend plans.
1. Pamunkey Indian Reservation
The Pamunkey Indian tribe, whose reservation is located at the end of Powhatan Trail, is instrumental to the character of King William County. The Pamunkey Indians are one of few tribes recognized by the state, and the first nationally recognized Native American tribe in Virginia. Chief Wahunsonacock, widely known as Chief Powhatan, is the father of Pocahontas and a member of the Pamunkeys. The Pamunkey Indian Museum on the reservation is a great weekend destination for anyone who wants to learn more about Pamunkey history and culture.
2. Mattaponi Indian Reservation
The Mattaponi Indian tribe has also lived in King William County for hundreds of years, and their reservation is situated on a picturesque hill over the Mattaponi River. The Mattaponi have their own museum at 1271 Mattaponi Reservation Circle, which documents the history of their tribe.
3. King William Courthouse
The King William Courthouse on King William Road is one of a kind. This complex expertly blends past and present, with its Civil War monument, King William Historical Museum, and active local government. This building was built in the early 18th century, and is the oldest American courthouse to stay in continuous use. The museum is open on weekends or by appointment, but you can come by and marvel at the courthouse any time.
4. Lester Manor Village
Just before you reach the Pamunkey Indian Reservation, Powhatan Trail turns into Pocahontas Trail by Lester Manor Village, a historical recreation of the Lester Manor railroad station village in its early 20th century glory. It even includes the train car, number 100, that carried presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman on their whistle-stop campaigns, according to owner Carroll Lee Walker. This picturesque site is perfect for taking fun photographs. If you're feeling particularly enthusiastic, dress the part, and set your camera's filter to sepia, for an image that will look straight out of the early 1900s.
5. Zoar State Forest
Are you up for some outdoor adventures this summer? Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy coming out to the Zoar State Forest on Upshaw Road in Aylett, to enjoy the beautiful weather with a picnic or a walk. With over 380 acres of land to play in, Zoar State Forest certainly has the space you need to stretch your legs. This is also a great place to fish or canoe, since the park has access points to both Herring Creek and the Mattaponi River.
6. Chelsea Plantation
For history lovers, Chelsea Plantation is a must-see. This home at 874 Chelsea Plantation Lane was built in 1709 and is in excellent shape, with private residents maintaining the plantation's grounds and artifacts. This home has special ties to the grandmother of Robert E. Lee, Revolutionary War Gen. Marquis de Lafayette and President George Washington. Tours are available on Thursday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by appointment. Call 804-843-2386 to visit the plantation.
7. The Sharon School
Distinct from the Mattaponi tribe, the Upper Mattaponi tribe also calls King William County home. In 1917, the county built the Sharon Indian School for the children of the Upper Mattaponi tribe. It was rebuilt in 1952 and operated as a school until the 1960s. This was one of the last closed Native American schools in Virginia. The building now serves as the Upper Mattaponi Tribal Center, between King William High School and Rumford on King William Road. To learn more about the Upper Mattaponi tribe, this is a great place to start.
8. Old St. John's Church
Old St. John's Church on St. John's Church Lane is a jewel in the crown of any true historian. Built in the 1730s, this church has been carefully restored, and is now used for services and special events. Apart from being a social cornerstone in the lives of early King Williamites, Old St. John's Church is also known for its role as the parish of Carter Braxton, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
9. Sandy Point State Forest
Sandy Point State Forest, located at the end of Sandy Point Road, is an equestrian's dream. This park, which has over 2,000 acres, has almost 15 miles of roads and trails for public use. Don't have a horse? Try a mountain bike, or go on foot, and make a hike out of your experience! Hunting is also permitted in Sandy Point State Forest, with the proper licenses, so be sure to take advantage of the 12 public duck blinds when fowl season rolls around.
To see an interactive map of this series, visit bit.ly/TRSpacesPlaces. More points and destinations will be added to the map throughout the summer. If you'd like to offer sugges- tions, or you think we've missed something , then let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.