It’s mid-July and I’m just now getting into the swing of summer. It’s been a bit dreary around here lately, dampening my general enthusiasm for outdoor summer events. Saturday’s excursion was nearly a bust as well, but thankfully my adventurer buddy was more positive than I and we agreed to forge ahead.
The plan was to visit the Second Saturday Scottsville art festival (20 minutes south of Charlottesville, VA) and the Hatton Ferry (a few miles to the west). It rained the night before and all that morning, so I was sure it was going to be a washout. But the skies cleared in plenty of time, and the excess rain helped keep the river level abnormally high for this time of year. So it was all good.
1. Hatton Ferry
Based on the literature and assurances of the local historical society, Hatton Ferry is the very last pole-operated river ferry in the US. Per the brochure: In 1870, Buckingham County issued a court order authorizing Thomas P. Gantt, an Albemarle distiller, to operate a ferry across the James River. Clearly the good folk of Buckingham would spare no expense in getting their liquor fix!
The ferry switch ownership a time or two before moving to VDOT, which continued its operation into the 1980s. Now it’s run by a non-profit with funds raised through donations. It would have gladly given them more cash if I’d had it, because it was worth every penny. Beautiful day, peaceful jaunt across the river, a little wildlife and a lot of happy tubers bobbing upstream. We even got to join in the poling. And I didn’t drop the pole in the water or fall overboard! Hoo-rah!
Scottsville is a quaint and well-preserved little town outside of Charlottesville. As such, I thought it would be a little more…active. There were plenty of signs leading visitors to various locations, but very little art. It took me a minute to realize that the art was passively displayed on walls and counters in designate spots. A little too passive, me thinks. We could have counted the number event attendees on two of our four collective hands. We even had a vendor drag us to her table, just to have an audience. At least there was a bit of music here and there, as well as some good beer and eats.
And as you can tell, we had a good time. but missed the rest of our posse.
l-r: James River Brewery; Tubers on river (top) and dragonflies hitching a ride on the cables (below); Fearless skipper and his lil’ buddy; a gorgeous day on the river; Fluvanna Fluss on tap (top) and two happy girs (bottom); flood gauge at ferry crossing, highest marking in 1972/Hurricane Agnes.