I gave up trying to talk myself into driving in one day to Wilmington for the start of the East Coast Greenway’s annual weeklong ride, deciding to break it up with a stop in Richmond.
The appeal: the Virginia Capital Trail, 50 miles of off-road trail from Richmond (the state capital) to Jamestown, the first settlement. It was finished a few years ago and is a spur route of the East Coast Greenway.
I had time for an afternoon ride and debated where to start: Richmond or somewhere mid-trail? I only knew of Charles City, so that’s where I went. Turns out I was 20 miles from Jamestown … that would be 40 miles round trip. Could I do it?
Here’s your answer:
Whatever city makes Charles City worthy of the name, I never saw. But I did see plenty of signs for “plantations.” And one, it turns out, was owned by the 10th president of the United States. That would be John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest, apparently named because he felt he’d been “outlawed” by his Whig party. (I’m guessing that this lifelong defender of slavery didn’t exactly take from the rich and give to the poor, though.)
Tyler was the back half of the campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” in the 1840 presidential campaign, Tippecanoe referring to William Henry Harrison, who defeated Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana, not far from today’s Lafayette, named after…
(Update with an odd fact I just learned: William Henry Harrison was born on another plantation in Charles City County. These Virginians are birds of a feather.)
Did I say Lafayette? That fighting Frenchman was here too. Plus someone else from 4th grade Indiana history. Don’t know about Alexander Hamilton.
One of the things I liked about this trail was the number of historical markers. And they don’t sugarcoat everything. Threw kids overboard and then shot them in the head? Wow.
Ok, this one is a bit brief on the end of slavery.
And one last photo. Is that a brighter section a current in the Chickahominy?
2 thoughts on “Virginia Capital Trail, part 1, or the back half of “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too””
Charles City is as rural as rural gets. Though, it was one of the original eight shires of Virginia.