Would You Stay Overnight At One of the Most Haunted Parks in Virginia?
One thing everyone who's ever even heard of Virginia, one of the first of the fifty Unites States, knows that it comes with a rich history, and that means a lot of ghost stories, too. I was shocked to learn many of the tales aren't too far from home.
Have you ever heard of First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach?
It has quite its slot in American history. On April 26, 1607, around one hundred settlers ended up here and created the first elective government in English America before moving up the James River and then founding Jamestown.
It's a beautiful park stretching 2,888 acres along the Chesapeake Bay. There are 1.25 miles of lovely beach to stroll down and over 19 miles of hiking trails through different protected habitats like salt marshes, freshwater ponds, beaches, forests, and cypress swamps. First Landing Park is a registered Natural Landmark and is also home to a maritime forest community, one of the most endangered habitat types.
Visitors can check out the picnic area and the lake or stay overnight at a campsite or in a cabin (which I prefer). The campgrounds are currently open, though there are COVID-19 restrictions that you can view on their website.
The Chesapeake Bay Center offers an aquarium and a lab run by the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science center. Even without the lure of ghosts, if you're looking for a fun time out, look no further than First Landing State Park.
But we're here for the ghost stories, and First Landing State Park doesn't disappoint.
Long ago, at the start of the 1700s, many terrible pirates called Chesapeake Bay home, including Captain Edward J. Teach--Blackbeard--the most horrible and famous pirate that ever lived. The area they frequented was the perfect place to look out over the tranquil sea for merchants with a booty to steal or Navy ships on a pirate chase.
According to legend, one day, after Blackbeard and his crew captured an unfortunate merchant ship, they spotted the Navy coming in fast from the west. There was no time to enjoy the spoils of their hard work, forced to bury their treasure on the beach and fleeing through the waterways leading through the park and back to the sea before heading to their home base in North Carolina.
The plan was the crew would return the treasure once the heat died down a little, but they had no such luck. The Navy ended up finding Blackbeard in the Outer Banks of the Carolina coast. Blackbeard fought to the death, but he was beheaded by Lt. Robert Maynard in the end.
No one has found Blackbeard's fabled treasure. And though he died in North Carolina, some say he returned to the place he loved most and that if you head out to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at around 8 pm, you just may run into the fearsome pirate.
But he is not the only ghost haunting First Landing State Park. Campers have also heard tribal drums and "whooping" in the night.
I, for one, am terribly excited to book a cabin. Would you stay overnight at First Landing Park?
"Think Outside photo contest First Landing State Park" by vastateparksstaff is licensed under CC BY 2.0