A trip to the Occoneechee Visitor Center is time well spent! Here you'll discover and deepen your ancient American history knowledge through a paneled timeline. It begins with a depiction of the Palco-Indian Period, 10,000-8,000 BC, a time when America's first inhabitants roamed the land we now call Virginia, and explains each period leading up to the 1650s when the Occaneechi Indians inhabited the area. The timeline continues with the sad story of Virginia Councilman Nathaniel Bacon leading a group of Henrico men southward to slaughter the Native Americans and ends with the Saponi tribe eventually migrating south into North Carolina as social conditions for free non-whites worsened in Virginia. You'll also learn why Occoneechee is spelled so many different way.
Copyright: Patty Elton-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
"The Occoneechee Story," a living hut and artifacts
In addition to the paneled history lesson, visitors will see a bark hut creation, an authentic Indian dress, and a "Projectile Point Traditions of the American Southeast" exhibit, an artifact display presented by guest collectors. Uncovered by archeologists and now on display are daily life items that include clay pots, antler rake, stone hoe, and an assortment of cutting and chopping tools.
The visitor center is also home to the very reasonably priced gift shop where Native American items hold the theme. The center also provides the guest with friendly service, amphitheater reservations, park maps, reservoir maps, park program schedules, and a list of nearby restaurants.
A large meeting room is home to the interpretive programs where children create their own dream catchers and other Indian-related wares. There is a soft drink machine and picnic table along side the building while shady picnic tables and accompanying grills lie behind the center at water's edge. An ADA restroom is available.
The expansive lawn out front is home to the Native American Heritage Festival and Pow Wow held each spring during the second weekend of May.
Directions from Clarksville, VA: Occoneechee State Park is on U.S. 58, 1.5 miles east of Clarksville in Mecklenburg County which rests on the North Carolina border. After entering the park and passing the contact station, turn left and follow the main park road. The visitor center sits upon a hill near the end of the road. Well marked.