One of the best things about camping is experiencing life without a clock, time away from emails and simplicity that’s so hard to find in the modern day. If you want to extend the peacefulness that comes with a stay at Camp Cardinal, point your car to nearby Guinea.
This historical nook of Virginia doesn’t have a fancy museum or a waterfront restaurant. Its beauty is in its land and water and the hospitality of longtime residents, whose families that date back generations, call the small communities here Maryus, Jenkins, Perrin and Achilles, among them, home.
This handy step-by-step itinerary provides all the know-how for your day trip.
Begin with breakfast at Achilles Shopping Center at 9361 Guinea Road. There’s no sit-down service but there is inexpensive homecooked breakfast fare to start your day on the right note. A family of four can spend as little as $10 and get something for everyone. Ask about Lou’s fried chicken to bring home later. It’s legendary. Truly.
Now you’re ready go get on the road for the Guinea Heritage Driving Tour that starts at Buck’s Store Museum at 8850 Guinea Road. Most of us don’t think of going on a drive due to traffic and construction. You won’t see too many cars on Guinea’s two-laned roads. Buck’s, a once-thriving business that sold groceries and supplies and doubled as a post office, is now operated by the Guinea Heritage Association. It’s only open on Saturdays and it’s fun to go inside. Don’t think because museum is in the title that it’s formal inside. Buck’s is full of authentic artifacts or merchandise that used to be sold there, a treasure hunt of nostalgia.
The driving tour continues onto Guinea Road past two churches, First Morning Star Baptist and Union Baptist. Working the water is what’s near and dear to this community where watermen made a hard living dredging for oysters or pulling up crab pots, so it’s no surprise that most of the highlights on the tour relate to water. They include Perrindise Marina & Boat Ramp and Maundy/Monday Creek overlook, where the view of the Guinea marshes is something to inhale. Don’t miss Browns Bay Scenic Overlook and Kayak Launch, one of the most photographed and painted sites in Guinea. If you have a kayak, launch there or at Guinea Marsh Wildlife Management Area Outlook at the end of Kings Creek Road.
You’ll complete the driving tour passing back-to-back landmarks that are still active in this tight knit community. Achilles Masonic Lodge #281 and Red Men’s Hall sit across from each other at 9376 Guinea Road. Red Men’s Hall housed Sioux Tribe #9 and a woman’s auxiliary called the Order of Pocahontas. Finish up at Bena Country Store, which has space for a horse-drawn buggy to pull up.
Before returning to Camp Cardinal, you’ll want to make a stop at Scoot’s BBQ, awarded the best barbecue restaurant in Virginia by Virginia Living Magazine. It’s hard to put into words how tender the brisket is, the pork and chicken barbecue are heavenly and there’s too many good sides to pick one. Pick up a pound of barbecue for sandwiches for the next day or a late-night snack! You’ll love the sauce!