December is a wonderful month in Virginia. The lure of outdoor adventure leads many to the woods to hunt White-tail Deer. Gracious homes are decorated in distinctive Christmas trimmings. And an old tradition of lovehas it’s roots in the worst of times. This is what visitors will find at Chippokes Plantation State Park this holiday season.
Everything starts off with the sound of hunting dogs and the Annual Southern Heritage Hunt is held on the first Saturday of December. Men, women, and children enjoy the fellowship of a traditional blessing of the dogs and a hearty breakfast. With plenty of park staff on hand, harvested deer are quickly picked up, registered, and prepared for the freezer. Some choose to donate meat to Hunters For The Hungry. In this season of sharing and tough economic times, these donations are well received as they are needed. A managed deer hunt without the bells and whistles takes place on the 18th of this month as well.
A visit to the mansion is as beautiful as it is interesting. Rather than “bobble head” Santas and singing Rein-deer, the decor is of the period and style of the antebellum South. Fine place settings grace the dinning room table. Fire place mantles are dressed in evergreen boughs and red ribbon. Tour guides are very knowledgeable about the furnishing and design of this unique home and are happy to answer any questions.
The Christmas tree is decorated with cut outs of slaves jumping over miniature wooden brooms. Given time off from their work, they would use this time of year for special celebrations like weddings. The bride and groom jumping over a broom was to symbolize their new life together. Many African-Americans do this as part of their weddings today.
If you didn’t make the hunt, call and make your reservation for next year (we accept reservations eleven months in advance for the Southern Heritage Deer Hunt). In the mean time, enjoy a holiday stroll on the grounds and admire the beauty and heritage indoors.