Raft and roll
The time has come to float. Not just metaphorically, but literally– float on down a cool, blue river of tranquility. The heat has escalated to a point that not even the heaviest rainfall can alleviate it: water seems to evaporate as soon as it hits the ground. But there’s always one source of fresh water that never seems in a short supply, and that’s the James River.
Historically significant and majestic as it winds its way through central Virginia towards Richmond, the James, like any large body of water, attracts us to its shores for fun or contemplation, picnics, vacations, or reverie. Scottsville, the closest sizable river town, has several small boutiques and some exceptional dining possibilities, but if it's the river that calls your name, two options should not be ignored. James River Runners and James River Reeling and Rafting supply what the water-bound need.
James River Runners are located several miles north of Scottsville on a beautiful tract of land that also houses the Hatton Ferry. They offer canoe, kayak, raft, or inner tube trips down the river. They furnish all paddles, life vests, parking, transportation, and general comfort to make a day on the river as enjoyable as possible.
For a half-day basking in the river, take the inner tube trip. The River Runners transport you to your chosen put-in spot and then you float leisurely back at your own speed, taking cues from the currents and patterns of summer breezes.
James River Reeling and Rafting is a similar outfit located in downtown Scottsville: they also offer tube, canoe, kayak, and raft trips. They provide instruction, guidelines, and maps as well as a cooler tube to transport your yummy sundries. Both organizations offer overnights and fishing trips where you can try your hand at reeling in some channel cat or crappie.
There appears to exist some competition between the two operations as they both claim to have the finest equipment and courteous staff. But competition can be a good thing when it comes to providing the best entertainment of the day. There’s plenty of room on Virginia’s longest river for everyone to have a sunny outing, including blue herons, ospreys, and bald eagles soaring overhead.
Reservations strongly urged for both places with a phone call almost mandatory. Prices and options vary. No flip-flops, only tennis or river shoes allowed. No glass containers or Styrofoam coolers. No pets. Minimum ages: children four years for raft, six years for canoe/tube, 10 years for kayak. Open 8am-6pm, April through October. James River Runners, 434-286-4FUN and James River Reeling and Rafting, 434-286-4386.