Need a saltwater fix? If you’re in Central Virginia, the closest place is West Point, which happens to be one of my favorite places to catch croakers. A West Point getaway? Why not?
It turns out that West Point is ideal as a home base for those who like to catch a few fish, see some beautiful countryside and enjoy some terrific food.
West Pont is located on Route 33, about a dozen miles east of I-64. The quiet town is about 30 miles from Richmond. From most of Central Virginia, it’s two hours or less. A decent place to hole up is the Washington Burgess Inn, the one and only motel in West Point.
West Point is home to Smurfit-Stone, a manufacturer of heavy paper for corrugated containers. Big, billowy smokestacks and pine logs stacked 100 feet high welcome visitors, as most people pass through the small town and head for the main attractions of the Middle Peninsula – places like Matthews, Gwynn’s Island, Deltaville, Urbanna and Tappahannock.
I always thought of West Point as simply the busy intersection right after you cross the first bridge heading east. Main Street, however, is perpendicular to Rt. 33, running north and south. Tucked away in West Point are magnificent homes, turn of the century Victorian masterpieces. Historic walking tours are available as well as Riverwalk Trail.
West Point is in the heart of great fishing waters, bordered by the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers, which merge at West Point to form the York River. There is an excellent ramp at West Point for those who have a boat. From shore, there is a tiny city park with river access at the south end of West Point on Main Street. Some really nice croakers haunt those water around some old abandoned oyster beds.
For sight seers, there’s Urbanna and Deltaville close by and across the Rappahannock River check out White Stone and Irvington: Beautiful, beautiful country with lots of sights and places to visit.
As for eating, which ranks right up there with fishing in my book, I have some great suggestions.
First, in the town of West Point, there is a place called Diggs Seafood that makes deviled crabs so good that you’d smack your momma if she reached for the last one on the plate. Diggs also offers specialty dishes like crab muffins, as well as fresh and cooked seafood and crabs to go.
Also, just east of West Point, check out a Greek restaurant called Nick’s Spaghetti & Steak House. It’s owned by Nick and his son Jimmy and they do things right. Known as a steak and pasta eatery, Nick’s had fresh seafood on the menu and I once ordered a combination seafood platter that was out of sight. It’s served piping hot and fried or broiled to perfection.
Another “must visit” restaurant while on the Middle Peninsula is the Sand Piper Reef, a delightful establishment located on the banks of the Piankatank River. It’s just off Rt. 198, not far from Gwynn’s Island. Their seafood is unbelievable. The Sand Piper has the best grouper I’ve ever put in my mouth. The service is outstanding with romantic dining available outside on the porch overlooking the river.
Finally, if you make it as far as Tappahannock, stop by Lowery’s Seafood Restaurant, a landmark on the Middle Peninsula. This family owned restaurant has been in business since 1938, and is still going strong. Lowery’s serves wonderful, fresh seafood and great breakfasts as well.
To check room availability at West Point, call the Washington Burgess Inn at 804-843-3881. It’s not a fancy place, but I’d stay there again in a heartbeat.
For a quick and easy getaway, give West Point a try.