By Kurt Michael
Recently my family and I took a mini vacation to Williamsburg, VA. While my wife and kids opted for shopping, I headed toward historic Yorktown, the site where the British army surrendered to the American troops, ending the Revolutionary War. Over the bluff toward the York River (See Map) is Water Street. During colonial times, the waterfront served as a major port for exporting tobacco from local plantations but now it is a place to enjoy the river. And so my day began….
After a short drive along the Colonial Parkway, I reached my destination — River Walk Landing. The streets were lined with small shops and restaurants overlooking the York River … but I didn’t come for the shopping or the food. I was there to find Patriot Tours and Provisions and rent a stand up paddle board.
I gave the shop keeper my credit card and in return received a two-hour rental for an 11.5-foot long stand up paddle board. My resolve was simple. I was going to cross the York River from Yorktown to Gloucester.
I walked past historic houses and down to the beach area where I met a shop employee who provided a stand up paddle board, paddle, and life jacket. With my gear in one hand and the board in the other, I was ready to shove off. The shop employee graciously took some photos to document my departure.
The water was calm and dotted with jelly fish. Twenty minutes into my journey I had reached the half-way point and to my surprise I saw three bottlenose dolphins making their way down the channel to the bay. I finally reached Gloucester 45 minutes after leaving the beach and then spent some time paddling around the area before heading back. The return trip was uneventful and I arrived safely from where my journey began just in time to avoid an approaching rain cloud.
I returned the board and as I walked back to my car I imagined a time before there was a bridge and power boats and cars. Like the merchants of colonial times who would travel back and forth from Yorktown to Gloucester, I had completed the simple crossing while at the same time enjoying a relaxing day on the river.
Read more SUP adventures from Kurt Michael:
– Lake Anna – September 2014
– Rivanna River Reservoir, Charlottesville – September 2014
– Beaver Creek Reservoir, Charlottesville – September 2014
– Sherando Lake near Waynesboro – September 2014
– York River, Yorktown – July 2014
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Photos by Kurt Michael (unless otherwise noted)