Portsmouth Off The Beaten Path

  • The Washington Ditch Trail
    The Washington Ditch Trail
    by Tom_Fields
  • The swamp
    The swamp
    by Tom_Fields
  • The boardwalk
    The boardwalk
    by Tom_Fields

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Portsmouth

  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Great Dismal Swamp

    by Tom_Fields Written Jun 4, 2008

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Washington Ditch Trail
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    This is one of the largest swamps in the Southeast. It has several hiking trails, the most popular being the Washington Ditch Trail. This takes you four and a half miles into the swamp, and is easy to walk (you remain high and dry). It follows a ditch originally surveyed by George Washington himself. Along the way, if you're observant, you may spot some wildlife. At least you'll get a good workout.

    I didn't hike the whole distance, but it takes you to a Lake Drummond, deep in the swamp. There is also a boardwalk near the trailhead, which takes you through some interesting parts of the swamp.

    To get here from Portsmouth, take Highway 13 west to Suffolk. From there, take Highway 32 south to the west entrance, which will be on your left. Follow the signs. To visit the east side, take Highway 17 south from I-64. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm (closed on holidays).

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Portsmouth Lightship

    by grandmaR Written Nov 19, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lightship from the river

    Even though it was the first of November it was just too hot for me to walk to the National Historic Landmark Portsmouth Light Ship.

    Lightship Vessel #101 was launched on January 12, 1916. Her first station was off Cape Charles, Virginia beginning in the Fall of 1916. She was named CHARLES and her home port was Portsmouth. During the next 8 years she sustained 8 collisions with ships passing through the Capes...

    In 1924 she underwent an overhaul. The rebuilt ship was sent to a new station in 1926. Renamed OVERFALLS, she was stationed off Cape Henlopen, Delaware, with Cape May, NJ as her home port. During the next 15 years she was hit about 16 times by ships...

    In the beginning of 1964 she was ordered to Boston for decommissioning. While underway to Boston she broke down and had to be towed in.... The ship was donated upon request to the City of Portsmouth, Virginia on April 24, 1967, her original home port. Since it is the custom to take on the name of the station where standing duty, the ship was renamed PORTSMOUTH.

    This information was supplied by the Lightship Museum.

    Winter Hours
    Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; open on Mondays that fall on a holiday.

    Summer Hours:
    Between Memorial Day and Labor Day;Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

    The $3 admission fee covers both the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and the Lightship Museum.

    From I-264 in Portsmouth, take Exit 7 for the downtown area. If coming from the Downtown Tunnel from the direction of Norfolk, take the first (hard) right out of the tunnel. Follow signs to Crawford Pkwy.
    Go several Blocks to London Blvd and turn right. The Lightship is near the intersection of London Blvd and Water Street.

    Take the Elizabeth River paddle boat ferry from Waterside at downtown Norfolk.
    The ferry docks first at Riverfront Park (walk north to the ship), and then at Portside (walk south to the ship). The fare is $0.75.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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