It’s no secret how cool it is to paddle the Middle Peninsula’s spectacular water trails. Where there’s water, there’s also fresh seafood — none better than what hails from the Chesapeake Bay, the York River and surrounding waterways. Craft beer from these parts hits the spot, too, especially if you’ve worked up a sweat beforehand in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.
It requires some DIY planning to personalize the experience to your tastes and comfort on the water. The Shucking Awesome Paddle and Pub Crawl webpage gives you a step-by-step guide, so it’s no heavy lift. The hard part is with so many choices, where do you start?
Decide on a launching point using this interactive map, which offers beginner, intermediate and advanced suggestions for water trails. If you’re not sure still, it’s best to pick a beginner route and work up to more advanced options. Never hurts to review safety tips, either!
If you want to spend as little time in the car as possible, choose your launching spot with that in mind.
For example, you can dock and dine at Hole in the Wall, located just over the Gwynn’s Island Bridge in Mathews. The team at Hole in the Wall will even bring the grub (fresh crab cakes, shrimp tacos or how about a burger topped with crab?) right to you.
Merroir in Topping also offers outdoor dining (the porch is even heated) right on the Rappahannock River, and you’ll fall in love with the views from Urbanna Seafood and Rawbar, right off Robinson Creek. Don’t overlook Gloucester’s YROC Coastal Bar & Grill, located in the Yacht Haven Marina — sashimi ahi taco, anyone?
Another option. Start paddling at a launching point that isn’t walking distance to a pub, spend as long as you like on the water where the hours slip away from you, return to your car, and point it toward a favorite pub or another you haven’t tried out before. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking (and hungry).
No need to feel guilty about devouring all that good chow or a pint that’s calling your name. Let’s say Funked Cluster from That Damn Mary in Hayes because sometimes you want to get funked up.
You’ve earned it after a day of paddling — a scenic and satisfying way to burn calories and leave that everyday stress on the shore.
If you’re up to it, share your journey by tagging #VACoastalWilds.