Looking for a fun day activity near Chester Bed and Breakfast? Take a day and visit the James River in Scottsville! On its way from Botetourt County to the Chesapeake Bay, the James River takes a sharp horseshoe bend in the center of Scottsville’s downtown area and treats visitors and residents of Scottsville to a variety of river activities. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, tubing, rafting, fishing and more, all within easy access from Downtown Scottsville. From downtown, you can access the James River from a boat launch just off of main street or, a few miles west of town, there is a small public park and the Hatton Ferry.
The Hatton Ferry is another hidden treasure of Scottsville, as it is the last poled ferry in the United States. Establish in 1870, the Hatton Ferry still takes visitors across the James on weekends in April and October and offers a unique step back in time to see how the ferry got folks across the river before the Scottsville bridge was built. Now completely run on donations, it’s definitely worth a little drive to see the ferry and visit the newly installed exhibit about the ferry and its history.
Even if you are a visitor, getting on the water is easy with the help of Scottsville’s many river outfitters, who offer canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and tubing trips and equipment, as well as guides and shuttle services. They make a day on the river easy to plan and stress-free, so all you have to worry about is whether or not you’ll get a good tan.
The James River is also known for some of the best small mouth bass fishing in the nation, so bring your own gear or rent equipment. Many river outfitters offer high-quality fishing equipment for rent for full or half days, and will let you in on what’s biting, the best bait, and where the sweet spots are.
For a special treat, come by Scottsville’s leg of the James in June for a glimpse at the James River Batteau Festival! This year, the eight-day festival will stop in Scottsville on June 21st, giving you the chance to check out the authentic replicas of the sleek, shallow-draft merchant boats that used to travel the James for trade. Stay for the evening festival and be treated to the cultural heritage of this legendary river basin in music, song, dance and storytelling.
If you are in Scottsville for a day, a weekend, or a week, be sure to fit the James into your schedule somewhere. Whether it’s just for an hour or a whole weekend, one thing is for certain, nothing is better than spending a hot summer day relaxing in the James.