Dear future guests,
Even though the GiaMaria's listing might cause you to think only about a fun place to spend a night or a holiday, she is in reality just a piece of a unique and wonderful experience. And this becomes apparent from the moment you turn onto a wooded National Park service road that parallels Civil War breastworks, beautiful homes, and a couple of well kept farms before it terminates at Fort Hoke Brady. From there you will pass through a coded gate, and as you approach Richmond Yacht Basin (Virginia's oldest marina) only a few feet away, you will see one of Richmond's best views; America's first river; the James. But before I get into telling you about what lies ahead for you to enjoy, let me tell you about Homeaway's Ranking Metrics System. I do not know exactly how long ago it was introduced, but what I am proud to say is that out of its current 691 rental properties, the GiaMaria has been rated at times as their #1 property, and never less than their #3 property.
Now: for the James River and the calm old oxbow where the GiaMaria is berthed, it is an awesome place to spend your time. In fact, it is a place like no other in the entire United States, and I will make an honest attempt to back up this statement in the description that follows with the few words allowed. As for the vessel, she is a 50' Chris Craft houseboat that has been completely remodeled inside and out in order to give our guests a home like atmosphere without losing the feel of being on an old riverboat. It is modern in every sense of the word. It has been reconstructed to have a large bathroom with a full sized vanity, a 4' designer shower, ventilator fans, and its own USCG certified sanitation system. It comes complete with a queen eleven inch memory foam mattress (Sleep Innovations) and high quality bedding, a small but complete galley and a large salon for relaxing. Outside you will find a very large upper deck for morning coffee or sunning that offers great views and a lower covered bow deck.
See attached pictures. But it is not just the GiaMaria that you will enjoy. It is also about her unique location.
The Richmond Yacht Basin is a gated facility for members and guests, yet there is nothing stuffy about it, and it is only 9 country road miles from downtown Richmond. It also has the distinction of being the oldest marina on the James River and its setting cannot be duplicated because it is surrounded by a beautiful island, the Richmond National Battlefield Park and a well kept privately owned farm. It is also only one mile from Osborne Landing, a county owned facility including a new fishing pier, a Bass Master's boat launch, great walking trails along the river, canoe and kayak launch ramps, pavilions for picnics/cookouts, bathrooms and wonderful playgrounds for kids, and it is always kept in tip-top shape, and yet it is all free to the public.
After a beautiful canopied drive which will take you to the marina, you will find yourself standing on the ground where so many famous people lived and events took place that shaped our nation's history. Some of the historical characters who lived in the nearby Indian settlement of Arrohateck included Chief Powhatan's son, Tanx or (Parahunt) and Pocahontas his daughter, who married her English born husband John Rolfe. Pocahontas and John Rolfe after marriage made their home here as well, and with the aid of many nameless slaves, (black, Indian and white) they saved Jamestown and the first English colonists by producing a type of "Varina" tobacco that would have tremendous economic value in many European countries. It is a spot where Captain John Smith found his "sweetest water" during his explorations of the "wilderness", and in later years of sail the area surrounding those springs became a local stop over known as "Sailor's Tavern". People like George Washington, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Anne Hill Carter, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, Susannah Bowling, the Marquis de Layfayette, Benedict Arnold, Gen. Cornwallis and many other great men and women passed thru this oxbow in the James River on their way to transform our nation. Battles on land and in the river were fought here too, during both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. For example, Benedict Arnold sank the Colonial Fleet in January 1781 before burning Richmond within eye site of the GiaMaria during our Revolutionary War. And Union Ironclads like the Monitor and Galena fought other Ironclads like the South's CSS Virginia while trying to pass Drewery's Bluff, the confederate "Annapolis" in order to subdue Richmond, but that never happened.
And Just around the river's bend east of Richmond Yacht Basin is Henricus, the London Company's second settlement after Jamestown in the New World. Unfortunately the original "citie" was destroyed by Opechancanough, Chief Powhatan's successor "brother" during the Indian massacre of 1622.
Today however Henricus is a thriving reconstruction of what it was like in the days of Sir Thomas Dale's early 1600's "town", and many of my guests who have visited there say it is on par with Jamestown.
And just down the road heading east along Route 5 (our Virginia Bi-Way) are plantations like Shirley, still owned and operated by the same family since its beginning in 1613, Berkley, where Taps was first composed and played, and where the first Thanksgiving was held, (probably no turkey included). Westover, the home of President William Henry Harrison (Ole' Tippecanoe), Sherwood Forrest, the home of President John Tyler ("His Accidency") and Evergreen, the birthplace of Edmund Ruffin, who is considered to be the father of modern agriculture and the southern firebrand who is credited with firing the shot that began the Civil War lived nearby too. And these are just a few of the historical events or attractions to be found within a few minutes of the docking space of the GiaMaria, and we haven't even touched on the historical attractions going west on Route 5 into Richmond such as St John's Episcopal Church where Patrick Henry told the King of England, to go to hell, OOPS! I meant to say, "give me liberty or give me death", or Hollywood Cemetery where a great many historical figures are buried like the Presidents Monroe and Tyler and a Confererate favorite general, JEB Stuart. Within minutes too, if you are a Civil War buff, then you are in luck because you will be set squarely in the middle of where the Battle of the Crater took place, as did Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, White Oak Swamp, Deep Bottom, Chaffin's Farm, Pamplin Historical Park and City Point (Gen. Grants headquarters during the siege of Petersburg) among many other well known and not so well known battle sites and fortifications.
Much about our old and dusty beginnings causes us to be proud, but at the same time ashamed of it, but because of the lessons learned from our past, the Richmond area today has become a bright and shiny area said to be set like Rome on seven hills.
For example, there are many and varied museums, river rapids above Richmond to be enjoyed by those brave enough to take the plunge, sports events of every kind, major universities and hospitals like Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia, world class car races (Richmond International Raceway )and cycling (the UCI world championship 2015) as well as the Richmond Marathon (rated the 18th largest in the nation). There are also restaurants galore from local favorites to world class dining. Richmond is fast becoming a gourmets delight and the Craft Brewery Capital of the South. Chic shopping districts like Carytown, River Road, Short Pump or Stoney Point are all within a short distance, as are outlet malls and several large shopping centers.
Watersports and tours of many kinds are offered in several nearby places. Major garden tours (voted one of the best in the country) like Lewis-Ginter Botanical Gardens or Maymont Park as well as national, state and local parks are all within minutes of the GiaMaria. And in one to two hours by car you can be in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Charlottesville or Virginia Beach or Washington, DC, or Williamsburg or Jamestown, or Yorktown, or Petersburg, or Kings Dominion, or Busch Gardens, and several major outlet malls.
We even now enjoy the Virginia Capital Trail. It is a cycling/walking, running hard surfaced path of 52 miles between Richmond, the Capital of Virginia, and the Colonial Capitals of Williamsburg and Jamestown. And all of this is only a sampling of what you will find within a stones throw of the GiaMaria.
The area though is also a wildlife lover's delight. There are many native species of plants and animals such as rare Lady Slippers, Bald Eagles, ancient swamps of Cypress and Junipers, Running Cedar, and Song Birds galore. There are Foxes, both red and silver, and occasional Bobcats, beavers and otters. We are also a flyway for many species of animals, such as Butterflies, Ducks, Geese, Humming Birds, Robins, Northern Bald Eagles, and fishes spawning in the spring such as Striped Bass, American and Hickory Shad, eels, and in the fall the ancient Sturgeons that jump out of the water weighing more than 500 pounds.
And if you like fishing, we have both Large and Small Mouth Bass, several species of Catfish, record sized Crappie and several local guides will guarantee that you will catch a catfish of 40 pounds or more during late fall and throughout the winter.
And on a totally different note, if dancing is your thing, then the tobacco company is just down the road where you can party late into the night or we can hook you up with a lively Argentine Tango group for some lessons or a Milonga. One thing is for sure concerning our area, you will not be hard pressed to find many free attractions or other places of interest in which to fill your time, because it is all here.