Grandview Nature Preserve
State Park Drive, Hampton, Virginia
Image posted with permission by the photographer, Anthony K. Prater (please go check out his Flickr photostream and don’t miss his gorgeous collection of images from the Preserve) – I’ve also previously posted his images of Pollocksville, NC).
If you find yourself on US 17 near the cities of Hampton and Newport News, Virginia – a detour to the Grandview Nature Preserve is definitely worth your time. The Preserve, which forms the northeast corner of the city of Hampton, covers over 475 acres of salt marsh, tidal creeks, and beachfront along the Chesapeake Bay. The Preserve is open to the public for free, and there is limited parking available along State Park Drive. You can find maps of the preserve here and here.
While you are there, you’ll want to walk the half mile gravel road to the beach, and then follow the beach until you reach the Lighthouse Ruins. The Back river Lighthouse was built in 1829, and stood for 127 years until being destroyed by Hurricane Flossy in 1956. All that remains today is a pile of rocks (here’s another view) out in the ocean. The walk to the Lighthouse Ruins is about two miles round trip.
The Historical Marker found at the Lighthouse ruins states:
One mile north, the Back River Lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling stood for 127 years. The lighthouse was built for $4,250 in 1829, automated in 1915, and decommissioned in 1936. A guide for watermen and a meeting place for the community, the “picturesque Grand View Light Station” also served as a “mecca for local and visiting artists” according to a 1950 local newspaper. The lighthouse was one of the oldest structures in the area until neglect, wind, and water took their toll. Hurricane Flossy completely destroyed it in 1956, leaving only a pile of stones in the surf to mark the remains of the 30-foot tower.
Additional Links for more Information:
You can find a wonderful blog post about a visit to Grandview Nature Preserve over at The Water Witch’s Daughter