DescriptionSurry County, on the southern banks of the James River, harbors several historic sites—from a rare castle to church ruins reputed to be haunted (Second Southwark Church off SR 10). Until 1652 these lands were part of the James City Shire, which also encompassed Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.
At the core of Surry County is the town of Surry, a small country village exuding old-world sensibility. To fully appreciate Surry's charm, take a walk past some of its long-standing structures. Jacobean Bacon's Castle, with its three chimneys and cruciform shape, is one of Surry's most distinctive landmarks. Stroll along the sand walkways of its garden for closer inspection of the colorful hollyhocks, snapdragons and columbine.
The 1854 mansion at Chippokes Plantation State Park also is surrounded by formal gardens comprising azaleas, crape myrtles and boxwoods. (If you're visiting the state park in July, the crape myrtles will be in full bloom, plus the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival takes place the third weekend of the month. You'll sway to country, bluegrass and gospel music during this event highlighting the county's three main industries.) And though its brick exterior is lovely, the house at Smith's Fort Plantation shelters such delightful architectural elements as fluted pilasters, a cornice, arched cupboards and pine wood paneling.
If you're an adventure seeker, explore the 3.5 miles of hiking and bicycling trails at Chippokes Plantation State Park or visit the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area, which covers 3,908 acres of land in Surry and Isle of Wight counties. Hog Island is ideal for fishing, with carp, blue catfish and striped bass often found near the entrance to the Hog Island tract (located on a peninsula just north of the junction of SRs 10 and 617). In this section of the wildlife management area, you can access two observation platforms off Hog Island Road. The tidal marshes, ponds and pine forests found here attract a variety of fauna, including eagles and assorted shorebirds.
From late April to early May you can pick your own strawberries at College Run Farms at 2051 Alliance Rd. Other fresh produce items are available in summer and fall; phone (757) 294-3970.
Things to SeeBacon's Castle