Trail News

Spend a Day on the Water After a Night at the Essex Inn

September 1, 2022

If you’re looking for a special water retreat, spend a night at the Essex Inn in Tappahannock.

You’ll love it there.

The recently refurbished Victorian BNB offers its two single-seat kayaks to its overnight guests free of charge. The Inn is just one block from the Rappahannock River and close to many other waterways, such as the Chesapeake and Mobjack bays and the York, Mattaponi, Pamunkey and Ware Rivers along with Dragon Run.

Innkeeper Greg Huff is happy to help if you need a hand carrying a boat to the water. The Inn also provides lifejackets and all other equipment for a fun day on the water.

The Rappahannock is shallow at launching point and Huff typically recommends first-timers paddle along the banks of St. Margaret’s School toward Hoskins Creek. The Episcopal girls boarding and day school is sprawled along some of the most valuable riverfront land in Tappahannock — students used to arrive by steamboat when the school opened in 1921 prior to the opening of the Downing Street Bridge that links Tappahannock with the Northern Neck.

“You’ll see the face of all the houses that are now part of St. Margaret’s,” Huff said. “Many of them date back to the 1700s and have some unique architectural features. The houses look very much like they did back then. Not much has changed.”

Be on the lookout for birds, too. It’s not unusual to see bald eagles anywhere in Tappahannock. Birders who paddle will delight in being there from April through September during osprey mating season.

Dock for a spell at Hoskins Creek, one of the premier water trails on the Middle Peninsula. The tidal tributary of the Rappahannock meanders all through Tappahannock. While most paddlers bask in the lovely coastal scenery, some choose to fish from their kayaks.

“You’ll see a variety of sea life, some freshwater and some saltwater,” Huff said.

Hoskins Creek is among several Town of Tappahannock projects underway for expansion. The master plan calls for shoreline improvements that include a boardwalk, bath house, pier and increased water access.

Recreational fishing and paddling groups have become regulars at The Essex Inn, bringing their own kayaks and gear for a weekend on the water.

Inn guests can set sail in time to experience one of the glorious sunrises on the Rappahannock or sleep in and fuel up with a gourmet breakfast.

Huff prepares three-course breakfasts that start with fresh pastries and include the fresh bounty of the area. Served in the Inn’s elegant yet comfortable dining room, you’ll be ready to enjoy all that awaits in this “Rivah” town that prides itself in its storied heritage and warm hospitality.