What is 35 Mile Drive? Literally 35 Mile Drive is another name for River Road West, a scenic Virginia byway in the Richmond, Virginia area. The stretch of road in question runs 35 miles through Goochland County. Some highlights from the road….things to do, places to see, right in Richmond’s back yard.
Let’s start at the Henrico/Goochland county line and head west.
Tuckahoe Plantation- Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home. He attended the one roomed school house still there and open to visitors. Could it be that TJ’s appreciation for architecture and domes was inspired by the domed schoolhouse ceiling? Like many a historic property, Tuckahoe is believed to have a few supernatural residents. A popular destination for filmmakers, you could say that Tuckahoe is Goochland’s Little Hollywood. Today, Tuckahoe has a farmer’s market on Sunday afternoons during the summer, selling their grass-few beef, eggs and other seasonal items.
Mother Mary of the Church Abbey- Since 1994, it has been the home of fifteen monks living in the Benedictine tradition. It is also houses the Shroud of Turin Center, a workshop destination for scholars and the faithful. There is a gift shop with monk-made items like sweets, jams, honey, textiles and a bookshop. Also, it is home of Benedictine Academy and the Bobby Ross Field. Ross (class of ’55) is a famed football coach and inductee into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Thistledown Alpacas- Goochland has a growing alpaca population. Several farms are open to the public.
Brookview Farm- A certified organic farm. 2007 Stewards of the Land, a national award by the American Farmland Trust! They sell their organic grass-fed beef through Lulu’s Local Food Co-op.
James River Work Center- The state farm. Home to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Greener Pastures Program. Rescued racehorses are given a second chance at life when their racing careers are over due to age, injury or performance. Horses are matched with offenders in a training program. Offenders graduate with a Groom Elite certification, giving them job skills to work in the horse industry. Many of the horses are available for adoption. It’s the only program of its kind in Virginia. Now home to 30 horses with 30 Groom Elite graduates! The TRF National President , Robin Williams, started the program and lives in Goochland.
You could say the state farm is Little Hollywood West. HBO’s John Adams was filmed here. Boston harbor and Braintree still sit waiting for a sequel perhaps on the Powhatan side.
Tanglewood Ordinary- A historic property family-dining Southern style! Fried chicken, anyone? Don’t miss their collection of Post magazines.
Tucker Park at Maiden’s Crossing- Goochland’s newest river park in development. Will be the site of a music ampitheater, birding platforms, trails, fields and primitive boat launch.
Brightly Bed & Breakfast- Historic B&B, one of only two in Goochland. Beautiful gardens.
Nadolski’s Butcher Shop- Specialty boutique butcher with locally sourced meats, specialty items, sausages, wine, beer and cheese. Home of many special events.
Goochland Courthouse- Built in 1826 by Cumberland builder Valentine Parrish and Dabney Cosby (a Staunton brickmason who had worked for Thomas Jefferson at UVA.) TJ’s influence is seen in the architectural details including the Tuscan portico, full Tuscan entablature, temple form and color scheme of red brick and white trim. Did you know, the brick wall was built around the complex to keep out wandering cattle!
White Hawk Music Cafe- Goochland’s musical metropolis! Combines music education (over 100 students in guitar, piano, voice, banjo, mandolin) with live performances and cafe food. A gathering spot with pickin’ parties every Thursday night, open mic on Tuesdays, and live music on the weekends.
Orapax- 700 acre hunting preserve for quail and pheasant. Customers come from over 39 states and six countries!!
Rapalee Taxidermy- Showroom open to the public, see dynamic mounts of over 100 animals from around the world.
Byrd Cellars Tasting Room- Sample wine from three local vineyards. Part of the 35 Mile Drive Wine Trail which includes Grayhaven Winery, Windsong Winery & Byrd Cellars.
Rassawek- Stunning property, home to the Spring Jubilee Heritage & Wine Festival May 21-22. Vineyard (Byrd Cellars) and village of reclaimed structures with historical value. Available for private rentals. Can see three counties and the James River corridor from the gazebo (formerly of 6th Street Marketplace!) Two restored log cabins, James Madison’s Montpelier greenhouse (now the wine tasting room,) music pavilion, ponds and trails. Named for the original Monacan Indian settlement along the river nearby.