10 Things to Do in the Summer in WPKW
Summer is officially here and we could not be more excited to welcome visitors from around the country to the Town of West Point and King William County! Whether it's a one day adventure, girls' trip, or overnight getaway, there's much to see and do in WPKW. We invite you to stay awhile...for a different point of view.
Visit Historic Downtown West Point
The Town of West Point has a long and unique history related to its location in Colonial Virginia and its American Indian heritage. West Point was once the site of an Indian village named Cinquoteck, chief village of Opechancanough, brother of Chief Powhatan. Historians believe that this was the site where Captain John Smith was taken as a prize captive in 1607. Later, in 1664, the West Point area became part of a large land grant made to Captain John West. In 1691, an act by the General Assembly arranged the purchase from West Point Plantation of 50 acres of land for the development of Delaware Town. A rail line was completed in 1859 to White House across the Pamunkey from West Point, and, in 1860, an iron drawbridge was built across the river. All of this was destroyed during the Civil War. Only four houses from that time survive today.
West Point became an incorporated town in 1870 and soon became a thriving commercial port and resort destination. The City of Richmond used West Point as its eastern shipping terminus. Traffic included schooners, then later steamships and barges. West Point was also the first terminus for the Richmond York River Railroad, another factor in the Town's growth. West Point became a destination for socializing and recreation. The Terminal Hotel stood at the site of the existing Beach Park and was a popular attraction for both tourists and visitors. After the decline of tourism, a shipyard built in 1917 and a pulp mill built in 1918 revitalized the Town.
Today, downtown West Point's historic tree-lined Main Street is home to boutique and antique shops such as The Exchange on Main and Divin' Off the Dock, the popular home furnishings store, Wyatt-Ogg Furniture Company, as well as local eateries where you can find some of the best seafood around - The Blue Crab of WP and Three Rivers Seafood. After your meal, stop in The Lazy Cow Ice Cream Parlor or C. Allen Confections for a sweet treat! Visitors from around Virginia enjoy afternoon strolls throughout downtown, taking in the unique architecture of historic buildings, churches, and homes that include period representatives from the Victorian Italianate, Queen Anne, and Gothic Revival architecture styles, as well as Sears mail-order houses. At the end of Main Street, visitors can take in breathtaking river views at Beach Park, where the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers meet to form the York.
Paddle the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers
With multiple launch points throughout King William County and the Town of West Point, you can choose your own adventures all throughout the summer. From a scenic paddle down the Mattaponi River from Aylett, to a peaceful trip down the Pamunkey River, to a more lively paddle on the York River from downtown West Point, there's an experience for everyone.
After a long day of paddling our waterways, we invite you to stay awhile and enjoy dinner at one of our many restaurants. If you stay overnight, spend the next day visiting some of our many boutiques and attractions, or enjoying a relaxing afternoon at one of our nearby wineries or brewery.
Launch sites: White's Landing, Aylett Boat Ramp, Zoar State Forest, West Point Creek, Glass Island Landing, West Point Beach Park, and 5th Street Beach. Before you paddle the waterways around the Town of West Point, be sure to download the West Point Paddler's Guide.
Learn at the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center
The Pamunkey Indian Reservation is a Native American reservation located in King William. The reservation lies along the peaceful Pamunkey River. The Pamunkey Reservation contains approximately 1200 acres of land, of which 500 acres include wetlands and creeks. The reservation was confirmed to the Pamunkey tribe as early as 1658 by the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of Virginia. The treaty of 1677 between the King of England, acting through the Governor of Virginia, and several Native American tribes including the Pamunkey is the most important existing document describing Virginia’s relationship towards Indian land.
The Pamunkey tribe early ancestors had locations as far north as the Middle Peninsula of Virginia and as far south as southern Hampton Roads Virginia. A burial mound, reported to contain the remains of Chief Powhatan, Father of Pocahontas, is also located on this Reservation next to the railroad tracks. Powhatan’s brother, Opechancanough, is also buried on the Reservation. To plan your visit to the Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center, please visit https://pamunkey.org/museum-cultural-center.
Golf at Queenfield
Queenfield Golf Club is a beautifully secluded 18 hole course located in Manquin, Virginia. Amenities include a spacious 20 station driving range, practice putting green, practice bunker, pitching green, and a USGTF Certified Teaching Professional on staff. Hotdogs, snacks, and cold beverages are available at the turn.
Five tee lengths provide a course for every type of golfer. Queenfield's L93 bentgrass greens are some of the highest quality putting greens in the state. Visit http://www.queenfieldgolf.com/to learn more and book your tee time.
Dine by the River at Three Rivers Seafood
Located in downtown West Point at 7th Street on the Mattaponi River, Three Rivers Seafood offers riverside dining with a menu of fresh and local seafood, including crabs, oysters, fish, and shrimp, as well as non-seafood dishes, craft beer, wine, and more!
Three Rivers also features a fresh market with local favorites such as crab and shrimp dips, ready-to-cook seafood and accompaniments, and cold drinks. The Market offers live bait, ice, baked goods, snacks, and gifts.
Come by water, fuel up and dock your boat, and enjoy a delicious meal by the river. Visit Three Rivers on Facebook or call 804-297-6496 to order your seafood and plan your trip.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Zoar and Sandy Point State Forests
Zoar State Forest is a great place for hiking, wildlife-watching, paddling, and fishing. This 378-acre site lies along the slow and alluring Mattaponi River. You can launch a canoe at a put-in along Herring Creek in the forest, paddle a short distance to the Mattaponi, and float and paddle about 4 miles to the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries boat landing at Aylett. The trip takes about 2½ to 4 hours. On a hot summer day, you can take a swim. Try snorkeling, and you might find mussels on the bottom.
Hiking at Zoar includes the 1.4-mile Mattaponi Bluffs Nature Trail and the nearly half-mile Herring Creek Loop Nature Trail. You might even see some gorgeous, red cardinal flowers. The Zoar property was donated to the Virginia Department of Forestry in 1987. As for the name ... when English settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607, at least eight Indian towns lay along the Mattaponi, including one in the Zoar area called Passahunkack."When Robert Pollard acquired the land and built his home there in the late 1700s, the village of Aylett was a thriving commercial center with a racetrack, gambling and drinking,” a Department of Forestry brochure says. “Pollard thought of the town as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. He named his home place Mount Zoar, after the Biblical town spared upon the destruction of those two cities." For more information, please visit http://dof.virginia.gov/stateforest/list/zoar.htm.
The 2,053-acre Sandy Point State Forest is located approximately 13 miles southeast of Central Garage off Route 30 at the end of Route 641. This serene state forest is characterized by abundant water resources. There are 180 acres of tidal wetland and 288 acres of non-tidal wetland in the forest.
The forest has approximately four-miles of frontage on the Mattaponi River. There are five miles of perennial streams, and three miles of intermittent streams with associated areas of wetland. Enjoy biking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, running, walking, and wildlife watching. For more information, visit http://www.dof.virginia.gov/stateforest/list/sandy-point.htm.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry on Fridays in West Point
There's always something fun happening on summer Friday nights in the Town of West Point! Food Trucks by the River at The Pavilion at Riverwalk Park offers delicious local fare from a variety of food trucks, wine from Gauthier Vineyard, river views, live music, sunsets, and more!
The West Point Chamber of Commerce's Jammin' on the Point summer concert series features free concerts with local artists, beer and wine, food trucks, and dancing! All events are family-friendly and dogs on leashes are welcome! Visit our Events page for details and to plan your summer Fridays in West Point.
Experience Local History
The King William County Courthouse was built around 1725. The one-room, T-shaped, hipped-roof structure likely replaced the original wooden frame courthouse structure. The historic building is not only the county’s oldest public building, but is purportedly the oldest public building in use in Virginia and the oldest courthouse of English foundation in continuous use in the United States.
Housed within the King William County Courthouse is the Historical Museum. The Museum is designed to be representative of the geography and multi-cultural background of the county, and is open to the public to promote education, understanding and appreciation of King William's common heritage through visitation, field trips, and research. To learn more and plan your visit: https://kingwilliamhistory.org/.
Located in historic downtown West Point, the West Point Museum and Historical Society offers a unique and fascinating view of West Point’s storied past as a resort and port town.
The Historical Society of West Point was established in 2008 and, in 2015, acquired this building for the creation of a local museum. The sturdy brick structure began its life as a branch office of the L. E. Mumford Banking Company. It took its place among a number of brick buildings erected on D (now Main) Street in the wake of a devastating 1903 fire that leveled the town’s largely frame-constructed business district. Mumford, a Cape Charles merchandiser, had moved into the financial sector in 1895, establishing a dozen branch banks in eastern Virginia and Southern Maryland before he sold his banking assets to invest in seafood and real estate in 1915.
Subsequently, the building housed a number of businesses, including a florist shop. Despite many changes over the years, much of the bank’s original features remain, including the original vault and a colorful mosaic floor. This historic museum displays artifacts that illuminate West Point’s long and interesting history and features a beautiful Reflection Garden tucked in a quiet space along Main Street. For more information, visit https://hswpva.org/.
Shop 'Til You Drop
From the country roads of King William to the tree-lined streets of historic downtown West Point to the crossroads of Central Garage, there are unique treasures to be found in shops and boutiques in every corner of WPKW.
If it's vintage you fancy, The Exchange on Main in downtown West Point features West Point Antiques. If it's one-of-a-kind gifts, fashion, accessories, home decor, and more, check out Divin' Off the Dock, Wyatt Ogg Furniture Company, King William Florist, The Corner Cottage, Pearls and Chicks, and many more. For hardware, outdoor decor, Simply Southern, Yeti, Swig, and more, West Point Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply, and 360 Hardware are must stops. To plan your shopping trip, hop over to our Plan Visit page and scroll to "Shop."
Catch Fish and an Amazing Sunrise at Glass Island
Glass Island Boat Landing and Fishing Pier is owned and managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and is located in the Town of West Point. This popular facility offers fresh and saltwater fishing access, a boat ramp, picnicking facilities, a kayak/canoe launch, parking for approximately 35 vehicles and trailers, and expansive views of the Mattaponi River and Lord Delaware Bridge. And, according to the locals, some of the best sunrises in Virginia happen right at this very spot.
To visit Glass Island, turn left on Glass Island Road just before reaching the Lord Delaware Bridge and follow the road to the parking lot. For more information about Glass Island as well as to obtain a fishing license, please visit https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/.
For more about all there is to see and do in West Point and King William, be sure to check out 30 Things to See and Do on our blog. For a full list of accommodations, restaurants, places to shop, and attractions, click here. We can't wait to welcome you to WPKW!