The Waterman’s Heritage Tourism Training Program is detailed in a new YouTube video. Hear Virginia Waterman’s Association president Ken Smith discuss the program.
A group of enterprising working watermen from the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula is offering “hands- on” tours to the general public through the newly launched “Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tour Program” (watermentours.com). The spring kickoff of the program will occur at Merroir, 784 Locklies Creek Road in Topping, VA on April 24, 2015.
The opening ceremony will begin at 10:30 AM on the docks at Merroir, followed by a special tour for the media from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Merroir will be open for business as usual and lunch can be purchased on-site following the media tour.
Tours for the general public will be available on the hour from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and can be purchased in advance and reserved for $15 per person (watermentours.ticketleap.com) or the day of the event for $20 (as space is available). Due to anticipated demand, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
“Watermen need to diversify now more than ever,” says Glenn Markwith, Virginia Sea Grant-funded program coordinator of the Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tour Program.
He reflects on a story of a friend of his, a dairy farmer whose business met hard times due to industry trends. To supplement his income, he “diversified”—taking Girl Scouts on hayrides, growing asparagus, and selling Christmas trees in December.
“I see parallels there with Virginia’s working watermen. We need to explore every available opportunity to keep our working watermen where they love to be—out on the water,” says Markwith. “That’s one of the main reasons for the program.”
Rappahannock Community College’sWorkforce and Community Development Office, in partnership with Chesapeake Environmental Communications, recently won the Community Economic Development Award, in the over-100,000 population category, from the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), which covers the southeastern United States from the District of Columbia to Texas.
This honor recognizes the success of the Watermen Tourism Training Program, a project that combines community development, business retention and expansion, and community involvement throughout the Northern Neck-Middle Peninsula region.
At the spring conference of the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA), the winner of the association’s 2014 Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA) in the over-100,000 population category was the Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck region. The award recognized the area’s Watermen Tourism Training Program — a project that combined community development, business retention and expansion, and community involvement.
This program was developed by Rappahannock Community College’sWorkforce and Community Developmentoffice in collaboration with Chesapeake Environmental Communication; it offers guidance for watermen who wish to supplement their incomes by developing tourism-based businesses.
Have you ever visited Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck regions? Known for its beautiful waters where the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers meet, an abundance of crabs, oysters and sunshine, the birthplace of George Washington, is one of Virginia’s hidden treasures.
Now, thanks to Virginia’s Waterman Training Program, visitors can experience the watermen’s unique heritage through guided tours given by the region’s watermen themselves.
The Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) recently announced the Virginia’s Waterman Training Program as one of the winners of the 2014 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA).