Follow the bridge to sparkling Lake Matoaka

Between the Police Station parking lot and Alan B. Miller Hall is a zigzag wooden bridge that leads into the distance and finally disappears in the mysterious woods. Harboring a curious mind, you might have stepped on the bridge and followed the path covered by foliage on one fall afternoon after class, walking into a world that hides itself from the hustle and bustle of Ukrop Way.

At the end of the downward slope to Matoaka Amphitheatre, Lake Matoaka sits as the background. A dock at the left of the amphitheater stretches out into the open water. A gentle breeze mixed with coolness and humidity will refresh you in an instant. Occasionally, there are students boating on the lake, with their paddles generating ripples that reflect the sun. Farther away, forests surrounding the lake begin changing color from green to yellow and red.

Acquired by the College of William and Mary in the 1920s, Lake Matoaka was originally used as a mill pond. It was named after the famed Powhatan princess, Pocahontas, who was also known as Matoaka and who is remembered today for her anecdotal love story with the English settler, John Rolfe.

Pick a random autumn afternoon when the sun shines warmly, and allow yourself to wonder down the dock of Lake Matoaka, sit back on the bench, leave a book open in one hand, and enjoy a tranquil moment of transcendentalism. Walking along the riverbank, you may even find a fossil shell or a glossy pebble.

Whether you desire distance from your life’s routine or are just seeking a place to share with a loved one, Lake Matoaka will be your destination.

The Boat House on Lake Matoaka, operating on Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends, offers canoe and kayak rental to students at the College for free.


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