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July 24, 2019

Places To Go: Virginia Capital Trail

Now that you have more free time on your hands, it’s time to get out and explore!  Richmond is THE destination for an outdoor lover, so if you want to devote your days to the pursuit of outdoor fun, you're in the right place.   

One of our favorites in the Richmond area is the world-class Virginia Capital Trail, a paved pedestrian and bicycle trail.  This glorious regional amenity is a 52-mile dedicated multi-use trail connecting Richmond and Williamsburg along the beautiful and historic Route 5 corridor.   The trail is for everyone,  beginners and experts alike.  You can bike, run, walk, skateboard, dog walk, etc.  Go yourself, with friends, or the whole family.   A great outing for your visiting grandkids!   You can start your adventure in the heart of Richmond, Williamsburg, Jamestown,  or anywhere along the 52-mile trail.  There are over 45 attractions along the way – parks plantations, museums, restaurants, hotels and camping sites,  historical sites, and more.  There are multiple places along the trail and in Richmond to rent bikes and there are even guided tours.

The Virginia Capital Trail links the first settlement in Jamestown, the Colonial Capital in Williamsburg, and Virginia's modern seat of government in Richmond. The shared-use trail highlights the rich historical, cultural, and environmental assets along the Route 5 Virginia Byway.  Did you know this Virginia Byway is the corridor of America's first westward expansion and the oldest inland transportation route in North America?   Pretty cool, right?

In Williamsburg, the trail begins at the Governor's Mansion and follows the Colonial Parkway to Jamestown Island, the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The trail then turns west, crossing the Chickahominy River, running through historic Charles City County, passing original James River plantations, the homes of Presidents John Tyler and William Henry Harrison, and numerous Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields. In eastern Henrico County, the trail returns to the banks of the James River and reaches the heart of the modern waterfront in downtown Richmond, where it connects to the Canal Walk and the James River Park System.

Recently, one of Cornerstone's staff members and her husband decided to drive to Charles City, about 45 minutes from downtown Richmond, to Cul’s Courtyard Grill to start their biking adventure. Here's what they had to say, 

"Cul’s is right on the VCT and is a great place to rent bikes. We decided to head toward Richmond and stop at the Shirley Plantation Vineyards for lunch and enjoy the view of the James River.  Along the way, we rode past wheat fields, cornfields, farms, streams, and through forests.  We made a few detours before arriving at Shirley Plantation Vineyard, but the ride was worth the view, and a delicious lunch!  Heading back to Cul’s we had already decided that our reward for our 20+ mile bike ride would be a piece of their famous bread pudding. And believe me, after burning all those calories, that was one delicious, guilt-free dessert!! "  


Not far from your Cornerstone home, a brand new outdoor adventure filled with history, community, and fun awaits. From waterfront event sites to state parks to 18th and 19th-century plantations, the variety of attractions along the VCT means there’s something for everyone. Take a look at a few sights along the trail that we plan to visit  while doing more exploring of this vibrant and bountiful trail: 


Museums

With the entire trail is immersed in centuries of American history, one of the best ways to experience it all is through its many museums, including the Valentine Museum, Virginia’s Holocaust Museum, the Virginia Historical Society, and of course, Colonial Williamsburg, “the world’s largest living history museum.”


Virginia State Capitol

Home to the Virginia General Assembly, which was first established as the House of Burgesses in 1619, the Virginia State Capitol is a national treasure that you won’t want to miss. Take a guided tour of this gorgeous, Roman-style building designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1785.


Rocketts Landing

Similarly, Rocketts Landing offers a unique way to enjoy the James River by foot or by bike within the city. Stroll along this lovely stretch of land where boaters enjoy the boundless water, diners enjoy gourmet meals, and walkers experience it all from the comfort of their own two feet. 


Shirley Plantation

"On a bluff overlooking the James River, Shirley Plantation offers stunning views and a history like no other attraction in America. Encompassing over 700 riverfront acres, Shirley Plantation is America’s oldest farm and family-owned business and is lived in and actively managed by direct descendants of the original builders."

 

Shirley Vineyards

Take a detour off the Virginia Capital Trail and experience the magic of Upper Shirley Vineyards, a one-of-a-kind estate, winery, and restaurant. With scenic views, rich history, and a fine culinary experience, the Shirley Vineyards is a luxurious rest stop along the magnificent trail. 


Westover Church

Travel back in time to 1731 and experience the church where everyone from farmers and slaves to presidents including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt worshipped throughout the years. Restored in 1867, this unique historical landmark is unlike any other. 


Berkeley Plantation

Close your eyes and imagine its the 18th century… With artifacts, antiques, manicured gardens, and the James River right behind the mansion, this won’t be especially difficult to do! Experience Virginia’s most historic plantation, where the first official Thanksgiving was held in 1619, “Taps” was composed in 1862, former president William Henry Harrison was born, and so much more. 


Cul’s Courthouse Grille

The Nance-Major Store, currently known as Cul’s Courthouse Grille,  was built by Julia Nance-Major and Edward Major in 1872. The house and store face south across Courthouse Road toward the circa 1750 Charles City Courthouse. The general store provided dry goods, sundries, agricultural supplies, and tools that were necessary to support the local agricultural economy.  In 2009 the store was renovated and became Cul's Courthouse Grille serving a Southern Cuisine, including many healthy options.


Historic Jamestown Settlement

America's first permanent English Colony! "Near the site of the original colony, Jamestown Settlement tells the story of 17th-century Virginia, from the arrival of English colonists in Jamestown in 1607 to the cultural encounters and events that planted the seeds of a new nation."


Colonial Williamsburg

"Where history never gets old."  This 18th-century city is "the world's largest living history museum." With over. Visit three different museums and immerse yourself in the abundant history of this colonial town.   


Jamestown Beach Event Park 

Located in charming, one-of-a-kind Williamsburg, this beachfront oasis beside the James River offers family-friendly fun all year. In the summertime, you can enjoy a plethora of warm-weather activities, from fishing and swimming to sunbathing and grilling with your family and friends. 


Carlton Farms

Do you have a soft spot in your heart for horses? Carlton Farms, nestled near Jamestown Settlement, is your new home away from home for blissful adventure. Head over to take your very own riding lesson or to simply say hello to the beautiful horses that live and thrive there. 

Take advantage of your freedom from home maintenance and enjoy all the amenities of living in a great location.   From all of us at Cornerstone Homes, happy summer and hope to see you along the VTC! 

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