Tag Archives: Kayaking

“INTERN”Pretations: A Summer Job at Menokin

Haiku by Erin McClain

Went down to the creek
Brought our paddles and kayak
Stepped over small frogs

“Watch out for Beavers!”
Moonlit water splashed my boat
The mozzies were out


Reflection by Silas French

It may be a surprising thing to hear about any job as an intern, but working at Menokin is like a dream job. Our sort of “official” job is handling kayak rentals, but since it hasn’t become well known in the community yet, we have hours of extra time to spend on odd-jobs and projects. That could be something that sounds like busy work, like organizing closets and weed whacking, but even those have been fun.

There is so much to explore in Menokin’s current stage of development: I’ve found cool, old slides of the house, and they even have a copy of the original architectural plans for the house!

There are plenty of other things that need to get done though. Our biggest project this summer has been cataloging the many different plant and animal species on the property and on Cat Point Creek. We’ve photographed and identified over 60 already, and that’s not even including all of the species we’ll surely find in the creek.

One species we found stood out to me: Queen Anne’s Lace, or (as I discovered) Wild Carrot, is an elegant white flower with a small, but supposedly delicious, carroty root. However, any aspiring foragers should be wary of its look-alike, Poison Sumac, which can be deadly if eaten. When looking for wild carrot, it is important to note the distinct carroty smell of its root (which Poison Sumac lacks).

(c) 2016, Leslie Rennolds

Menokin is a beautiful place to explore, and the trails are peaceful and far-removed from the busy background noise of civilization. Rolling roads wind downhill by the Rolling Road Trail, scenic views of the creek are dotted along the Picnic Table Trail, and ancient-looking trees tower overhead on the House Trail.

Cat Point Creek is always fun to go kayaking along, and I go out there frequently to refresh the Visitor Center’s marsh bouquet.

At the time of my writing this, I’m sitting inside the Ghost Structure to keep out of the rain. It was built using the labor-intensive techniques that were used in the days of Menokin’s construction, and it has a look that compliments the glass house idea. When it’s not a rain shelter for me, it’s used as Menokin’s outdoor classroom.

(c) 2018, Silas French

Another benefit of working at Menokin is that it’s the coolest old house anyone will find out here (but that goes without saying). Even though they haven’t begun building the glass structure, the ruins (and the rest of the property) are full of archeological discoveries waiting to be found. This project is already drawing in an international audience of architects, archeologists, and educators, which may be surprising until you think: Who wouldn’t want to work on a glass house on the frontier of historical preservation?

(c) 2018, Silas French

(c) 2018, Selfie by Silas French and Erin McClain

Silas French and Erin McClain have made the most of their time at Menokin this summer.

Both are 2018 graduates of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science. Silas will be attending VCU in the fall and Erin is heading off to William and Mary.

These two have been a great asset to Menokin. We wish them luck as they begin their college experience.

Kayaks Ready to Rent

It’s hot outside! And Menokin is the cool place to be kayaking out on Cat Point Creek!

Our friends at USF&W loaned us their trailer to get all the new boats down to the creek. Silas, one of our summer interns, painted the rack and set up all of the boats. He’ll be ready to teach you how to paddle and assist your launch. Be sure to bring a hat and sunblock.

Now it’s easy to learn how or just come explore. Free lessons are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-12pm, just call or email Alice at 333-1776, afrench@menokin.org to reserve a boat. Come meet our new ACA trained kayak instructors Silas and Erin.

Already know how to paddle a boat? Menokin has rentals available now, too! Sit-on-top singles rent for $10/2hours; or paddle together and save in a tandem (two-person) kayak for $15/2hours. Rentals are available Tuesday through Saturday, 10am until 6pm, and include a US Coast Guard certified life jacket, paddle, and kayak.

Got your own paddle boat or board? You can come out anytime until 7pm, every day of the week and use our launch free of charge.  Menokin is a Chesapeake Bay Gateway and also part of the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail. You can access the flat water of Cat Point Creek from our soft landing.  After your adventure, take a minute to add notes about your adventure in the waterproof log book we keep nailed to the tree.

Download our printable paddle guide. Happy paddling!

Learning and Lounging on Cat Point Creek

Dr. Duane Sanders, River Program Coordinator, Biology Instructor

Students from St. Margaret’s School Outdoor Adventure program spent three afternoons in May kayaking on Cat Point Creek at the Menokin Plantation. Students learned about wildlife supported by this ecosystem and how the system can change over time. They also relaxed and had some fun!

What do Cape Charles, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Staunton, Warsaw, and Winchester have in common?

They’re all in Virginia. And they’re all hosting the Smithsonian Institution’s Water/Ways Exhibition.

Exhibitions to Be Hosted in Cape Charles, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Staunton, Warsaw, and Winchester
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH), in cooperation with the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) and six organizations across the state, will help Virginians examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element through “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program.

From above, Earth appears as a water planet with more than 71 percent of its surface covered with this vital resource for life. Water impacts climate, agriculture, transportation, industry, and more. It inspires art and music. With VFH funding, the “Water/Ways” exhibition will explore this essential topic in six Virginia communities from May 2017 through May 2018.


Menokin WaterWays Exhibit

July 15, 2017 / August 27, 2017

 


That’s right! The Menokin Foundation in Warsaw, VA is one of six sites across the state to host this traveling exhibit which will criss cross the state over the next 11 months.

This massive, colorful, informative and interactive exhibit will wind and curve its way through the Menokin Visitor’s Center (we measured; it’ll fit!), provoking contemplation, conversation and  community awareness.  Admission is free.

Check out the Water/Ways page on the Menokin website to learn about Community Paddles and a grand opening festival where the community is invited to paint Warsaw’s sidewalks to look like a river. And the Warsaw/Richmond County Main Street Program will be providing free popsicles and watermelon!

 

What will your next Menokin Experience be?

A Whole New World – St. Margaret’s Paddle Club Explores Cat Point Creek

By Alice French

Kevin Goff, the new Director of the River Program at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, VA, has created this co-curricular activity group called SSOAK: Science, Service, and Outdoor Adventure Krew.

This particular group goes out with SMS faculty Cupper Dickinson and Kevin on weekday afternoons, and will soon be launching larger scale SSOAK activities on weekends for other students who want to participate.

October 12th was the second time they have visited Menokin since our new road was completed. One of the girls said that “Menokin was her favorite of all the places we’ve been kayaking the past 5 weeks”.

Kevin added, “Mine too.”

St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.
St. Margaret student members of SSOAK paddle Cat Point Creek at Menokin.

 

 

 

 

Paddle - 10.12.15 Paddle - 10.12.15_a

A Kayak Trip Along Cat Point Creek

By Christina Markish

Menokin’s newly improved road to Cat Point Creek featuring a kayak and canoe launch and turn-around is complete! The new trail features a turn-around and parking for at least four vehicles down on the waterfront.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony opening the road will be Saturday, November 14th at Menokin. A special thanks to the National Park Service for their $99,000 grant through the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network to make this project a reality!

The Kayak Divas take to the water at Menokin's new access point to Cat Point Creek.
The Kayak Divas take to the water at Menokin’s new access point to Cat Point Creek.

While the road was not yet complete, a group of ladies known as the “Kayak Divas” took a trip down the trail and launched their kayaks from the Menokin shore for a little early exploration. The Divas included past President of the Menokin Foundation, Helen Murphy, and former board member, Penelope Saffer, amongst other leaders involved with Menokin. The reviews are in: the ladies said the kayak trip was as good as Dragon Run!

Heading up Cat Point Creek. (All images courtesy of Paddle Master, Lois Spencer.)
Heading up Cat Point Creek. (All images courtesy of Paddle Master, Lois Spencer.)

Launching from the Menokin shoreline, the ladies turned theirkayaks towards the right and headed out. Early wildlife encounters included a bald eagle siting – what a beauty! As the ladies continued towards the Westmoreland County border, past duck blinds and fishing holes, the creek narrowed. It began to wind through beautiful wildflowers, bushes and trees. Yellow flowers were in bloom everywhere… it really was beautiful!

Kayak Divas1
Former Menokin trustee, Helen Murphy, proves her statement that there is just as much laughing as there is paddling when the Kayak Divas get together.

After winding through the narrow creek for nearly two hours, the ladies hit a stopping point where a tree blocked them from proceeding much further (without having to do the limbo) so they turned around to head back to Menokin. On their return, they raved about the beauty they encountered between the wildflowers and eagles. It is a trip they plan to repeat again once the new trail is complete!

Interested in launching your kayak or canoe from the Menokin shore? The trail is open to the public and launching is free! Just contact the Menokin Foundation to make a reservation: 804-333-1776 or menokin@menokin.org.

And please join us November 14th from 11:00am – 1:00pm for the grand opening of the new trail at Menokin. The event will feature food, refreshments, a nature hike, ribbon cutting ceremony, and – of course – the opportunity to be one of the first to launch your kayak or canoe from the Menokin shore using the new trail!

“Intern”pretations – Episode 2: Bri

bri basile interned at menokin for six weeks this summer. today is her last day! she was raised in the suburbs of philadelphia, and is a rising sophomore at PENN STATE, pursuing a degree in architectural engineering. 

 

Reflection No. 1

Bri“It is the middle of June and I am in the middle of my travel back in time for the summer. Well not really, but life has definitely been a little different for the past couple of weeks. I am what you could call a true Yankee. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Allentown, Pennsylvania and now study at Penn State. Yes, I have traveled to many different places, but I have never lived outside of Pennsylvania and am now in Warsaw, Virginia.

Warsaw is a small town surrounded by countless beautiful farms and old, 18th century houses, which is exactly what brought me here. For the summer I am interning at the wonderful Menokin Foundation, which brings my interests of history, architecture, and engineering all together. Their plan is to build a glass house around the colonial house, to help stabilize and showcase what the house originally looked like. I find it fascinating how they plan to combine the modern glass structure with the old brick house. I know from looking at the models and plans that it will be truly and piece of artwork once it is completed.

If there is anything I learned from my first few days was that I will have to come back during and after construction of the final project. “

Reflection No. 2

“When Alice asked me if I wanted to go kayaking with couple of people from the National Park Service I expected to kayak for a half hour to forty-five minutes not for four and a half hours. Even though it was a really long time and I had sore arms for about a week, it was completely worth it!

Cat Point Creek is really a place that has not been touched by humans and you can truly become one with nature. Even on the slightly cloudy day I watched eagles and other birds fly across the sky and fish jumping out of the water. Not only did the animals fascinate me, but also the bright flowering plants all along the sides.

I could definitely spend weeks just paddling along and taking pictures of everything I saw and would encourage you to do the same as long as you promised not to destroy the true treasure it is.”

Bri has been learning how to use and edit footage from a Go Pro camera. This little video was shot on her marathon kayaking excursion on Cat Point Creek.

 

INTERNPRETATIONS ARE BLOG POSTS AUTHORED BY OUR INTERNS. THIS GLIMPSE OF MENOKIN AND ITS PLACE IN THE LIVES OF THESE COLLEGE STUDENTS IS OUR ATTEMPT TO REPRESENT AN ALTERNATIVE POINT OF VIEW Of A MENOKIN EXPERIENCE. THE ONLY INSTRUCTIONS ARE “WRITE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE.” WE HOPE TO FEATURE AN INTERNPRETATION EACH WEEK.