Chippokes Plantation State Park

June 30, 2006
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1122427_etc_chippokes_2.jpgWhat more fitting place to park your rig during a vacation to one of America’s most
historic areas than on the grounds of one of the nation’s oldest working farms? The
approximately 1,600-acre Chippokes Plantation was established in 1617, just 10 years after
Jamestown was settled directly across the James River in Virginia. Though the existing
plantation house dates back to the 19th century, the property’s boundaries have remained
the same over the centuries and, despite now being a state park, the farm continues to
produce cotton, corn, peanuts and soybeans. Besides shaded, full-hookup campsites, hiking
and biking trails, a visitor center and an olympic-size swimming pool, there’s the
opportunity to visit an antebellum mansion and check out antique farm equipment.

 

A tour of
the Chippokes Mansion provides a glimpse into how the owners of the plantation might have
1122427_etc_chippokes_1.jpglived in the mid-19th century, as they enjoyed a fairly luxurious life surrounded by formal
gardens and attended by servants.

 

By comparison, at the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum,
exhibits celebrate the simple farmers who kept the plantation running by producing crops
and raising livestock. More than 600 artifacts are on display, including simple hand-forged
tools that were used for building the farm. The museum has some unusual items, such as an
oxen-drawn plow, called a rooter or a bull tongue plow, and a pre-Civil War wooden-tooth
cultivator.

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