In both these towns, the first thing you notice are the bridges.
In West Point, you might actually miss the town center as you cross over the Mattaponi and Pamunkey on VA 33. These smaller rivers come together here to form the York, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay near Yorktown.
In Tappahannock, the historic district is overshadowed by the mile-long Thomas Downing Bridge that carries cars over the Rappahannock River to the Northern Neck.
The towns in Virginia’s Middle Peninsula region both have a connection to Captain John Smith. The Englishman explored the site of present-day West Point in 1608. In the same year, he was driven back by Native Americans when he attempted to land his ship at Tappanhannock. Smith helped establish Jamestown, the first permanent European Settlement in North America, and is often associated with the story of Pocahontas.
In West Point, I trotted along parts of all three rivers and down Main Street. On the quiet Saturday morning the dry cleaner seemed to be the most happening place. West Point, with a population of about 3,000 and located about 33 miles northeast of Richmond, is the biggest town in King William County. The county with a rich Native American history includes the U.S.’s two oldest reservations.
In Tappahannock, I started at the base of the bridge. I zigged-zagged the small historic area a couple of times to get in my mileage. The town, a major commerce center in the 17th and 18th centuries, is in Essex County. Established in 1692, the county is about 100 miles south of Washington, D.C., and has a population of about 10,000.
20 runs down, 114 to go.
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