By: Terry Harris, Staff Writer
Appeared In: August 23, 2017 edition
SURRY – If you’re looking for a little adventure before school starts – or just a chance to spend some time out on the water with wind in your hair and a smile on your face – look no further than the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. It’s a great local adventure, it’s fun, and it’s free!
“I love it! It makes me want to go fishing,” enthused seven-year-old Connor Whitesell as he and his little sister, Natalia, gazed out across the water on a recent crossing with their family. Wide-eyed five-year-old Natalia described her favorite part of the trip as “standing out where the wind is blowing. It’s amazing!”
Their mother, Teresa Whitesell, explained that the little adventure was part of their family vacation in Williamsburg before returning to their home in Pennsylvania, and described the 20-minute ride as, “such an easy and fun way to see the Jamestown settlement from the river!”
Even for locals who take advantage of the ferry which connects the two ends of highway 31 – one on each side of the James River – sometimes as part of a daily commute, it can still be a lot of fun.
“I love this ferry!” said Joyce Montgomery, a local woman who was taking a ride on the Pocahontas on her way home to Claremont after a day of shopping in Williamsburg with her friend Perry Harrell. “I’ve been riding it for 70 years!”
And how much fun the ride can be for locals became apparent as the two were suddenly engulfed in a bear hug from John Stagg – who just happened to be the father of Tom Stagg, the captain of the Pocahontas.
For locals and visitors alike, great views abound during the crossing, ranging from magnificent sunsets over the open water to friendly birds serenading passengers to even the occasional sailing ship, and expert staff members make getting on and off a breeze even for the uninitiated.
And as Nina Napolitano with the DOT confirmed that the ferry service will soon be saying farewell to The Virginia, opportunities to take one last ride on the oldest of the ferryboats are dwindling fast. This smallest and oldest of the ferryboats, commissioned in 1936, soon will be replaced with a larger boat similar to the Pocahontas. The date is not yet available, but it is expected to be within a few months,
So whether you’re looking for a little adventure with favorite kids – of any age – or a solitary photographic adventure as you enjoy cool breezes across the water, this is affordable for anyone – and just down the road. From Surry, boarding is at 16289 Rolfe Highway, Surry, Virginia 23883-3102, and on the east side of the river, passengers can drive aboard at 2110 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg. The free rides are available about every 30 minutes during the summer, and a full, year-round schedule, as well as other information about the ferry, can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp.