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Port Royal pier Grand Opening Saturday, May 14

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm

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After nearly 300 years, history is repeating itself in the Town of Port Royal with another new pier jutting out into the Rappahannock River at the terminus of King Street. No longer needed for shiploads of tobacco, this one was built for fishing or just enjoying the panoramic view, and it is also fitted with a soft-launch facility.

A Grand Opening will be celebrated Saturday, May 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and will include light refreshments.

The 200-foot-long pier is fully accessible to those with disabilities, and provides unparalleled fishing opportunities in the middle reaches of the Rappahannock River, as well as a unique chance to watch bald eagles and ospreys as they also fish the waters.

Next to the pier river travelers can launch canoes and kayaks as a starting point for three paddle trips following the Port Royal Water Trail.

“This is the only place in 20 miles of shoreline with free access to the river,” said Bill Wick, Town Councilman.

Designed by Ned Donalson of Portabaga Bay, it was built where a pier has been located since the early 1700s and Wick said he hopes this one will serve the community for another 100 years.

“You can’t believe how strong it is,” Wick said. “The pilings are enormous.” The pier is attached to steel beams anchored into a huge block of concrete.

The entire installation, funded by grants from the National Park Service, Friends of the Rappahannock, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and other organizations, is a part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

While checking out the pier, visitors may also want to explore Port Royal’s antique shops, tour its Museum of American History or Museum of Medical History, walk the trails of the Port Royal Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge, or simply stroll around the town to view the restored homes and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The pier will be open daily from dawn to dusk.

Wick called it a gift to the people of Port Royal and Caroline County.