James River

The James River, the southernmost river on the Chesapeake, is a famous old name for oysters. To get to the original Jamestown colony, the colonists had to navigate upriver through twenty miles of oyster shoals. Unusual eddies in the river captured oyster larvae and kept them from being washed downstream, making the James the best spat-producing area on the East Coast. An oyster industry thrived along its shores for centuries, only to die out in the twentieth. The James is again producing oysters, but alas, the ones I’ve had have been absent of flavor. Worse, unlike the York and Rappahannock Rivers, the James slides through some major industrial areas, spilling out at Norfolk and Newport News.

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