“The last pole ferry in America!”
The Hatton Ferry is the last pole operated ferry in America. America moved west on these ferries and it is only fitting that the last one is still working on America’s River, the birth place of the first permanent English settlement, Jamestown on the James River. The ferry has crossed the river for over 140 years. It has carried farm products, the mail and vehicles both horse drawn and motorized from Buckingham County to Albemarle County and back. The Hatton Ferry is located outside of Scottsville and runs from Saturday 9-5 and Sunday Noon-5 from mid-April through the end of October. It is operated during most federal holidays during the operational period.
We went to Hatton Ferry at about 10:00 on a lovely Saturday morning. There was no one around at the time, other than the Captain (we forgot to ask his name and his hat said "captain," so that is what we have called him). While it was slightly nerve-wracking to drive the car onto what essentially amounted to a flat 25-ton board of metal and wood, it did seem perfectly safe. We paid a $20 donation ($10 for the car, $5 per person) and crossed the James River in about 15 minutes.
It was a really neat experience. Captain let us push the boat with the pole, told us a bit about the history of the Ferry, and gave us "passes," brochures, and postcards. It turns out that Hatton Ferry was close to being closed down a few years ago, but the local historical society kept it open and it's now run entirely by volunteers. By the time we'd reached the other side, tubers and kayakers had started arriving--apparently it gets busier throughout the day, so make sure to get there early.
Overall, it was a neat historical experience, and well worth the detour.
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- Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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