Burning of The Socks: Origins of Our Odd Tradition =York River State Park Williamsburg VA


John Gresham, Education Support Specialist, York River State Park

Click to EnlargeYork River State Park first kicked off the canoe and kayak season with the “burning of the socks” ritual in 2011. Celebrating a water sport by setting something on fire seemed like a good idea in and of itself. But, as with all traditions, this oddity of our park does have a history.

Bob Turner, a long time worker at a yacht club near Annapolis MD, is said to have been the founder. The winter of 1976-77 was particularly cold. Bob and some of his fellow boat workers were more than ready for the spring equinox, the traditional start of the boating season. When that first day of Spring came, they took off their socks, placed them in an old paint can, and ignited them. They toasted their new ritual with cold beer.

Of course, we are not offering alcoholic beverages. But, at York River’s “Burning of the Socks,” we do offer a bit of tradition as we burn our worn out, natural fiber hosiery, honor those who started the tradition as we read “Ode to the Sock Burners,” and supply humor as we sing our invented hymn, “I Wanna Burn My Socks.” If the water and air temperature adds up to 120 degrees or above, our interpretive staff will lead guess on the first paddling trip of the season. Bring your own watercraft, or rent a canoe, solo, or tandem kayak from us. The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 11. Our rain (or too cold) date will be Saturday, April 25.

Click Here for a location map of York River State Park

Kayak Classes at Waller Mill Park in Williamsburg VA

Instruction by: Tim Jones
Cost: $65 per person / per class
*$50 if student provides their own kayak*
Registration: Pre-registration is required
Each class is limited to 5 participants
Class Times: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Class Dates: September 14th, 20th or 27th, 2014
October 5
Class information: Classes will end with a 30 – 45 minute tour of the reservoir. Students must be at least 16
years of age. Children ages 12 to 15 may participate if a parent or guardian is also a member of the class.
Beginner / Intermediate Classes: Kayak, paddle and personal flotation devices are provided. No
experience necessary for beginner / intermediate classes. Advance classes: If you are interested, please
contact Waller Mill Park (757) 259-3778 to be placed on an interest list. The park will contact the instructor for
availability. 2014 Kayak Classes – No Refunds Unless The Class Is Canceled By The Williamsburg Parks &
Recreation Department

BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak) @ New Quarter Park

BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak) to New Quarter Park in Williamsburg It’s time to BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak) to New Quarter Park in Williamsburg VA this Saturday, July 19, for our 3rd Saturday, staff-led and FREE kayak adventure on Queen’s Creek. Join Mike Young at 9 am at the softball field, sign in, and then drive to the put-in. The out-and-back paddle takes a little over 2 hours, so you’ll be back to take out your watercraft by noon. The forecast calls for a high of 83 degrees and mostly sunny skies, with a light breeze out of the northeast. You’ll be paddling on the falling tide with a low at about 11:30 am. No kayak? No problem. Call Chesapeake Experience by noon on Friday at 757-259-6859 to rent one for $30. 

Kick-Off The Paddling Season: Burn Your Socks at York River State Park in Williamsburg VA


Click to EnlargeThe Burning of the Socks got a lot of buzz at York River State Park two years ago. This quirky tradition of sailors in the Annapolis, MD area was a great way to start the Canoe & Kayak Season and the first guided paddling trip of the year. Last year’s cold weather kept people away from the water.
We will not let one bad year kill our new tradition!
Get your gear ready and an old, worn, and ugly pair of socks prepared for the fire. The Burning of the Socks will be held on Saturday, April 12th with the festivities beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Click Here to read the entire story.
Click Here for a location map of York River State Park.

Kayak Queen Creek from New Quarter Park on July 20

Bring your own kayak or canoe to New Quarter Park on Saturday, July 20, for an out-and-back paddle on beautiful Queen’s Creek. You can relax while you are led by park staff and see Ospreys, Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Bald Eagles on the way.

image Participants should arrive by 9 a.m. and expect to launch by 9:20 a.m. The paddle will last approximately two and a half hours with take-out occurring at approximately noon. The program is free and open to the public. It is recommended that you bring with you water, a snack, and sunscreen.

     Kayaks are available to rent for this event. Call Parks and Recreation for rental information.

     New Quarter Park is located in upper York County at 1000 Lakeshead Drive, next to the Queens Lake neighborhood.

     For more information or to add your name to the New Quarter Park e-mailing list, call York County Parks and Recreation at 890-3500 or New Quarter Park at 890-5840.

Kayaking in Gloucester

Bay Country Kayaking is a family owned and operated kayak eco-tour company founded for the purpose of sharing our love of the scenic waters of coastal Virginia and educating others on their ecological, cultural and historical significance. Previous involvement of family members in the charter boat and kayak industries, combined with their participation in social outreach events with organizations such as the National Audubon Society, Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Wounded Warriors and Dragon Run Day, provided the impetus for going forward with a kayak guide service on our home waters.

B.C.K.’s goal is to offer the most personalized kayak eco-tour Ware River photoexperience of any operator in the Chesapeake Bay region. To reach that goal, we secure ongoing education and training for our guides, utilize quality equipment and offer premier locations for our guests to paddle and enjoy.

Based in Gloucester, Virginia, Bay Country tours are convenient to area residents, as well as visitors to Richmond, Newport News, Hampton, and the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, VA. Tour locations range from the headwaters to the mouths of Chesapeake Bay tributaries such as the James, York and Piankatank Rivers, and Mobjack Bay. Our paddle tours are of interest to those who enjoy wildlife, birding, sightseeing, and simply being outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings.

More info here