Ecology and Horticulture
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.
Guided Trail Hike
Enjoy a 1-hour guided trail hike at our Woodland Trail, with the Tides Inn Resident Ecologist, Will Smiley. Please meet in the front lobby and dress appropriately for the weather.
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.
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.
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. *This experience is offered seasonally.
Take a leisurely bicycle ride and enjoy a tour of the pollinator gardens, vegetable garden and Bee Meadow with our horticulturist, Matt Little. *This experience is offered seasonally.
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
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.
Upon request, guests can also get involved with other on property volunteering experiences, from assisting Will Smiley in planting oysters on the oyster reef, to planting wetland grasses to aid in our Shoreline Restoration efforts. Please call us at (804) 438-5000 to learn more.
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.