Shoal Bay lies in that section of Virginia known as the Cradle of the Republic, just five miles from Smithfield on the Suffolk-Smithfield highway. It is noted for being one of the lovely old colonial estates and as the home of the first formal gardening in Virginia.
The old house, built in 1676 by the Bakers, has long since been destroyed by fire, but the pride of the estate, the magnificent old box and the great maze of crepe myrtles remain to thrill the heart of the beholder. When in bloom the great crepe myrtles tower like a flame above the river, and are visible from both river side and highway. Giant box, fifteen feet in height, planted to form a labyrinth, with scattered dwarf box, retain the ancient beauty of the colonial garden. An old coach, nearly two centuries old, and a guest house which was once a colonial church, add to the treasures of the estate. Remains of the old terraces, which nearly three hundred years ago formed the first formal garden in the colony, are still seen. Shoal Bay is now owned by Thomas R. Turner, and is famed for its hospitality.