Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fort Boykin Park, Smithfield, VA

Today we ventured to Smithfield to go to the very secluded Fort Boykin Historical Park. How to get here? From downtown Smithfield--head northwest on Church Street, go past the Smithfield Packing Plants, turn right on Blounts Corner Road, turn right on Morgart's Beach Road (which is a dirt road) and in about 2 miles you'll find the park on the left.
The parking area and the picnic area are together.
There is a sign that explains a little history of the park. It's been around since1623 when a fort known as the Castle was constructed to protect the Jamestown colonists from Native Americans and raiding Spaniards. Atop a bluff overlooking the James River, the site’s commanding view makes it a keen observation point. Fort Boykin was re-named during the Revolutionary War after Maj. Francis Boykin, a local merchant who served on Gen. George Washington’s staff and who owned the property.
Between June 1861 and May 1862, the Confederate Army rebuilt the fort as a part of their defensive system. It was one of in a series of earthworks designed to prevent inland invasion by the Union, whose buildup at the mouth of the James River posed a severe threat to Richmond, the Confederate capital. So the entrance to the park is up over some very steep steps that go over the earthworks. Greyhounds normally have trouble with steps that steep--but mine took the steps in a few leaps.

There really are no paths, other than the concrete walkway down to the beach area. The whole park is very shady with lots of old trees so it's a nice place to walk in the hot summertime.
The beach on the James River is very secluded, too. There was a man swimming with a lab and a Rottweiler--they were the only ones we saw during our whole time there.
Sammy and PG enjoyed going into the water for a dip. I probably could have let them go swimming--but I'm not sure how well they swim.

Fort Boykins is on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. It is part of the eBird System, the bird database run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. And, Fort Boykin is home to the commonwealth’s second oldest black walnut tree. This tree, over 200 years old, has been named to the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project.

Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG