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Rivah Visitor's Guide



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Welcome to Deltaville

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by Larry S. Chowning

In 1909 the U.S. Postal Service accepted a local recommendation to change the name of a Chesapeake Bay community, and Sandy Bottom became Deltaville.

Deltaville’s history, however, goes back much further than 100 years. In 1608, the year after Jamestown was settled, a group of English explorers led by Captain John Smith came upon the community while exploring the tributaries of the Bay.

In the water, Smith and his men saw fish. Smith stabbed one and pulled it to the surface. The fish turned out to be a stingray and as it emerged from the water its poison tail punctured Smith’s arm. Smith’s health deteriorated so fast that his colleagues dug him a proper grave.

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Deltaville is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.  The U.S. Postal Service approved the name “Deltaville” for a post office in 1909.  Before that year, the community was known as Sandy Bottom and had a post office under that name since 1835. A Deltaville Centennial display will be on exhibit in the community center on Heritage Day, July 4, and a special Centennial Stamp and postmark will be available.

But Smith survived, and that point of land on the eastern tip of what is now Middlesex County forever became known as Stingray Point, and part of Deltaville today.

Deltaville is sandwiched between the Rappahannock River, Chesapeake Bay and The Piankatank River. Historically, it has a renowned reputation of being the wooden deadrise boatbuilding capital of the Chesapeake Bay. From about 1900 to the 1990s, more wooden deadrise boats were built in the Deltaville area than anywhere else on the Bay. The largest deadrise ever constructed was built in 1927 by a Deltaville boatbuilder.

This maritime heritage has been captured by the Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park. A visit to the museum will educate those on the heritage and culture of Deltaville, and the nature park and its beautiful grounds will relax the soul. 

The park’s nature trail travels through a wooded area highlighted by bronze statues of wildlife. 

The museum is on Mill Creek, a small branch of Jackson Creek. Along the shoreline there is a Pierwalk that allows visitors a close-up look of the water.

Shipwrights are in the process of rebuilding the “F.D. Crockett,” a Chesapeake Bay log boat that was used as a seafood buyboat. Visitors can walk along the Pierwalk and view the log structure and its splendid fantail stern.

For serious boaters, Broad and Jackson creeks have several full-service marinas and there are two large West Marine retail stores in downtown Deltaville.

On the fourth Saturday of each month, visitors can catch a Farmers’ Market under the shade trees on the museum grounds.

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For sailors who enjoy catching a fair wind in the Bay, Deltaville is conveniently located to the Bay. There are several marinas that cater to sailboats. There is even a local sailmaker.

On most Friday and Saturday nights, visitors can catch a ball game at the Deltaville Ballpark. The community is home to the Deltaville Deltas and the Middle Peninsula Mariners, two semi-pro baseball teams.

Over the years Deltaville has become a vacation destination for many. Its spacious waterfront on the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay provides the setting for numerous summer and retirement homes.

There also are many fine restaurants, bait and tackle shops, and unique stores throughout Deltaville. It even has a public library and ABC store, but no stoplights.

Deltaville Centennial

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the community of Deltaville, the Deltaville Community Association (DCA) will sell a special commemorative envelope on July 4th during Heritage Day.

The envelope has been printed with a design recognizing the DCA. Also on the envelope is a photo stamp of the Deltaville deadrise “Bay Raider” built by Willard Norris.

On July 4th, Patty Hall, the Deltaville postmaster, will cancel this genuine postal stamp using a pictorial cancellation that commemorates Heritage Day and the date “July 4, 2009.”

The envelopes will be sold on July 4th for $5. Sheets of 20 of the Deltaville deadrise photo stamps also will be sold for $30 a sheet. The special 100th anniversary cancellation can be used up to 30 days after the event. The DCA will take orders after July 4th and sell the stamps and envelopes until their stock is depleted. 

July Events

July 4 — Heritage Day and Deltaville’s Centennial Celebration begins at 9 a.m. and continues into the night with a fireworks finale at the ballpark at 9 p.m.
July 11 — Kid’s Explorer Day at Holly Point Nature Park. The “Stingray Point Story” will be told by John Smith himself, and pirate shows and other fun activities are featured from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
July 11 — The “Groovin’ in the Park” concert series on the museum grounds will feature “The Orderlies” from 6 to 8 p.m.
July 12-18 — Family Boatbuilding Week at the museum.
July 18 — Skiff races and fish fry at the museum.

For more information on Heritage Day events, call 776-7117. For more information on museum events, call 776-6950 or 804-815-3102.

posted 07.01.2009

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