Ecology and Horticulture

Trails of Tides inn sketch

Trails of Tides

While a guest at our resort, we invite you to connect with nature on two trails: the Shoreline Trail and the Forest Trail. Our resort ecologist and horticulturist have been instrumental in helping create and maintain these trails, as the Tides Inn embarks on a multi­phase sustainability project to conserve the waterways and land. Please see our concierge for more information or a map of our trails.

Chesapeake Gold

Guided by the Tides Inn ecologist, learn why Eastern oysters are the keystone species of the Chesapeake Bay. They are ecologically essential for the health of the bay, purifying the water for their food. An adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day.

Beekeepers tending to a hive

Beehive Experience

Explore a day in the life of an apiarist with our beekeeping experience. After a short walk through the Forest Trail to the Bee Meadow, you will meet with our resident beekeeper for a brief introduction on the most vital pollinators, the European honeybee. Opening your eyes to how it feels to be inside an apiary, the beekeeper teaches you about the extraordinary life of the honeybee. This workshop will conclude with a honey tasting of local, raw honey. *This experience is offered seasonally.

Bird Exploration

Our on-site expert will lead you through our Forest Trail, Bee Meadow and Shoreline Trail with all the tools you need to learn about our local fowl. This experience is outdoors and includes walking for a significant portion of the tour. Guests should be prepared with proper footwear and clothing suitable for the weather.

Garden Tour

Enjoy a tour of the pollinator gardens, vegetable garden and Bee Meadow with our horticulturist, Matt Little.

Beautiful Swimmers

The Blue Crab, also known as Callinectes Sapidus, which translates to “beautiful swimmer,” is an icon of the Chesapeake Bay. First, aboard our ecologist’s boat, you will learn how to set a crab pot. Upon returning to the dock, you'll inspect crustaceans and other wildlife in miniature aquariums. This experience concludes with a sampling of freshly cooked Chesapeake Blue Crab accompanied by beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages. *This experience is offered seasonally.

Special Offers and Packages

Richmond International Film Festival

The Tides Inn is honored to be featured in the 12th Annual Richmond International Film Festival. The documentary, titled Conserving Carter’s Creek, highlights our shoreline restoration project and will debut on Tuesday, September 26 (7 pm) as part of the Global Visionary Summit at Pocahontas State Park near Chesterfield, VA.

From September 24 – October 1, we invite you to experience our shoreline first-hand with a very special offering which includes:

  • Luxurious Accommodations
  • A guided walk with Will Smiley, our resident ecologist, on the Shoreline Trail to showcase the shoreline restoration efforts
  • $100 Resort Credit
  • Film festival in-room welcome amenity: When you arrive in your room or suite, we will have our documentary playing for you to enjoy your own private film screening with popcorn, theater size candies and Champagne.
  • Two tickets to the Richmond International Film Festival

One-week advance booking required. To learn more or make a reservation, please contact Jim Guttau.


The Tides Inn launched a new “voluntourism” program in which guests volunteer while in residence at the resort – in collaboration with our environmental partner, Friends of Rappahannock (FOR). This nonprofit organization was crucial in our shoreline restoration project, which created the Shoreline Trail, oyster reef and new habitats for wildlife.

Guided by a representative from FOR or our resident ecologist, guests may participate in a variety of activities, such as plant trees or wetland grasses in our area’s waterways. This experience, which reduces erosion and increases habitat for wildlife and aquatic life, will begin in April 2023 and is weather dependent.

This experience is $200 per person and includes a picnic lunch and round trip transportation; a portion of proceeds for each voluntourism experience sold will benefit FOR.

To learn more or make a reservation, please contact Jim Guttau.

Meet Our Team

Meet our Resident Ecologist, William

With a Master’s Degree of Education in Sustainability, Will leads immersive experiences on Carter’s Creek and the Rappahannock River – from a “Chesapeake Gold” tour about Eastern oysters to “Beautiful Swimmers,” featuring Blue Crabs. His ultimate goal is to have guests leave the resort with a better sense of stewardship and the desire to improve waterways near their hometowns. 

Meet our Resident Horticulturist, Matt

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and experience in groundskeeping, facility management and commercial landscaping, Matt has created new educational experiences for guests – in the resort’s Forest Trail and Bee Meadow. A master gardener since age 16, Matt states the favorite part of his job is sharing his knowledge of nature with guests.