A bateau enters rapids on the James River. Credit: vacanals.org
If you want to see living history floating down the James River, head out to Maiden’s Landing in Goochland County (where Rt. 522 crosses the James River) this Sunday to watch the closing of the James River Batteau Festival.
Batteau were shallow-draft, flat-bottomed boats used to move commercial goods on the James River (and many other North American rivers) starting in the Colonial period. The 32nd annual JRBF, which launched from Lynchburg’s Percival’s Island last Saturday, celebrates the boats and that manner of travel by sending batteau down the James on an eight-day journey toward Richmond. It’s quite a spectacle, one that terminates this year just a short drive (maybe 30-40 minutes) from downtown RVA.
Looking for something different to do with the kids? This is a great option — one that only happens once a year.