CHIPPOKES PLANTATION STATE PARK
Chippokes Plantation State Park is one of the oldest working farms in the United States. Chippokes is a living historical exhibit located in a rural agricultural area along the James River in Surry County. In addition, the park has a wide variety of traditional park offerings, including a swimming complex, visitor center, picnic facilities, and hiking and biking trails. The plantation has kept its original boundaries since the 1600s and has a variety of cultivated gardens and native woodland. The formal gardens surrounding the Chippokes Mansion are accented by azaleas, crepe myrtle, boxwood and seasonal flowers. The plantation grounds are also home to the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum
Chippokes Plantation State Park is operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with the Chippokes Plantation Farm Foundation. The Virginia General Assembly created the foundation in 1977 to establish, administer and maintain the model farm. Funding for the foundation comes from farmland rent payments, donations, admissions and gift shop sales.
Captain William Powell, a prominent colonial gentleman, received a grant for 550 acres of river frontage on Chippokes Creek in 1619. This is the first record of ownership for this land. The plantation and the bordering creek were named for an Indian chief who befriended the early English settlers. Under the ownership of Colonel Henry Bishop in 1646, the plantation was expanded to its present boundaries encompassing 1,403 acres.
In 1854, Albert Carroll Jones built the present Chippokes Mansion, which overlooks the historic James River. This Italianate structure was built of brick, stuccoed and painted on its river facade. Chippokes was once the site of one of the few legal distilleries in the Commonwealth. Local legend has it that the mansion survived the Civil War because Albert Jones sold his brandies to both sides during the war. The plantation changed owners many times before it was bought by Thornton Jeffress of Rochester, New York and V.W. Stewart of Wilson, North Carolina in 1918. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart moved to Chippokes and put much effort into restoring the property and compiling a detailed history of the plantation. Upon her husband's death, Mrs. Stewart, in order to preserve the plantation in its entirety, donated Chippokes Plantation to the Commonwealth as a memorial to her husband in 1967. Mrs. Stewart hoped that the plantation would be made into a park and preserved as a working farm to interpret day-to-day farm life through the centuries.
Chippokes Plantation State Park is operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with cooperation from the Chippokes Plantation Farm Foundation. The Virginia General Assembly created the foundation in 1977 to establish, administer and maintain the model farm.
Funding for foundation efforts are from the General Assembly with matching private donations.
A conference shelter with a kitchen is available for a fee to use for wedding receptions, meetings, or special events. Available on a reservation basis only by calling the park.
Rental periods: Mon-Sun: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Historic area grounds: Mon-Sun, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Mansion Conference Room: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Pool complex: This facility may be reserved before or after normal pool hours by calling the park, (757) 294-3625. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. - noon or 7 p.m. - 9 p.m..
Olympic size swimming pool and separate kiddie pool open Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; on Friday through Sunday and holidays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m..
Chippokes Plantation State Park is located near Hampton, Hayes and Newport News
Picnic areas include drinking water, grills and restroom facilities. Picnic shelters are also available on a reservation basis by calling the Reservation Center 1-800-933-7275 or in Richmond 225-3867.
Chippokes Plantation State Park Picnic Shelters
Two shelters are available for rent. They can be rented from 8 a.m. to dusk (all day). Click here for park fees.
Reservations for shelter are recommended and can be made by calling the Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARK (or 225-3867 in Richmond). All shelter guests must pay applicable parking and swimming fees. Parking, swim fees and other concessions are not included in the shelter rental.
Amenities: All shelters have grills, picnic tables and access to restroom. They are all located in the vicinity of the Visitor Center with a view of the James River.
Cancellation policy: No refund within 14 days before reserved date. Before then, there's a cancellation fee.
Shelter #1: Small shelter. Can accommodate 30-35 people. No electricity.
Shelter #2: Large shelter. Can accommodate 60-65 people. Has electrical outlet.
The park has 3.5 miles of hiking and bicycling trails, a half-mile of which is accessible to people with physical disabilities, through the historic area, as well as an auto farm tour road. The park also has an equestrian area with about 10 miles of riding fun available around farm fields as well as two long, multiple-use trails.
Chippokes Mansion Tours: Tours of the 19th century Chippokes Mansion are available weekends April through October and other times by reservation for groups of 10 or more. In the spring, special tours of the mansion and gardens are offered in conjunction with Garden Week. During the Christmas season, the mansion is decked in Victorian period decorations and open for tours.
Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum Tours: Opened in June 1990, the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum uses more than 600 antiques to interpret rural early American farm life. The seven building complex is open for self-guided tours. Contact the park for museum hours.
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Surry County. From I-95 and I-295, take Route 10 towards Hopewell. Follow Route 10 East for approximately 40 miles to Surry. Turn left at the intersection of routes 10 and 31 (this continues on Route 10). Turn right at the blinking light. Turn left at Route 634 (Alliance Road), and the park entrance is four miles on the left.From southside Hampton Roads (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach): Take I-64 East to 460 West. Take exit to Route 10 West (through Smithfield), approximately 15 miles. Make right on Alliance Road (Route 634). Park is four miles on left.From Newport News/Hampton: Take James River Bridge (Route 17 South). Make right on Rt. 258. Take Route 10 West (through Smithfield) approximately 15 miles. Make right on Alliance Road (Rt. 634). Park is four miles on left.From Williamsburg: Take Jamestown Road to Jamestown and follow signs to ferry. Once the ferry lands across the river at Scotland, follow the road to Route 10 and make a left. Turn left at Route 634 and continue to park entrance on the left. (The ferry is free.)