Our family, including the two teen-aged boys and one small dog, spent a wonderful week travelling in West Virginia. We left NJ and drove through the pouring rain of the PA turnpike and dropped down Route 81 into MD, VA, and eventually WVA.
After a long and scenic drive through the mountains, we ended up at Seneca Rocks late in the afternoon. The tourism center closed at 4 pm so we had enough time to use the rest rooms! We did the hike up to the Seneca Rocks outlook (I believe 1.5 miles each way). It was a fun but a little strenuous hike because of the elevation change. Afterwards, we hit the general store across the street for some much needed refreshments – which was a good idea because there was very little between here and our next stop.
We made our way west, to Weston, WVA for our first night. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which was a nice new hotel and pet friendly. As we were starving by the time we hit Weston, we got Gino’s pizza at the strip mall across the street. It was surprisingly good – the kids really liked the thin crust.
After a decent free breakfast, we checked out and made the drive to Summersville Lake. First stop was the Summersville Marina, who had told me via the telephone “NO DOGS” despite my explanation regarding the size of our pet (5 lbs). A bunch of really nice guys working there took one look at the pup and waived the rule (He’s not only small, he’s a total charmer). We booked for Monday morning.
We drove over the Summersville Dam and around the long way to Fayetteville as we could not check into our cabin in Mt Lookout until the late afternoon. Summersville Dam is really cool and worth a quick drive down to river’s edge to see where the water comes through the dam. I had packed a picnic and we stopped at Carnifex Ferry Park to have lunch and do some hiking. It was a really nice facility and we spent some time relaxing, throwing a football around and hiking.
Continuing on Route 39, we went over the Gauley bridge and went on up to Hawks Nest resort. Was not impressed by the facility or the “tram ride” which we did not do down to the river. Hit Dairy “King “for some ice cream on our way back to Route 19 and check in to our cabin.
The cabin in Mt Lookout was, as advertised, 3 miles from Route 19. Three very twisty one lane blind curve blind hill miles! Pet friendly, Wi-Fi ready and mid-way between Summersville Lake and Fayetteville, it fit our needs for the week. After check-in, we headed up to the Wal-mart in Summersville for groceries – this is a very nice Super Wal-Mart.
A note here about all the information I’ve seen on-line regarding traffic tickets and speed traps in Summersville/Fayetteville – the speed limits were very well marked on every road we drove – the limit does drop down on Route 19 from 65 mph to 55 or 50 mph in those areas. And everyone you talk to (rafting guides, bartenders, and waitresses) warns you to do the speed limit. In my opinion, if you’re going to blow through these areas at excessive speed after all the warnings, you deserve to get a ticket.
On Monday, we got up early for our boat rental – unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. Another nice guy at Summersville Marina re-booked us for later in the week. The kids were disappointed so I quick jumped on the phone and booked the Tree Tops Zip line Canopy Tour for late morning. Dad stayed with the pup and I went with the boys in the POURING rain. The ziplining was fun despite the rain – I was very nervous about my abilities after a quick lesson but it turned out to be easier than I expected and tons of fun.
On Tuesday, we had reserved the “Express” trip with Rivermen/Class VI for the New River. This was hands-down everyone’s favorite part of the trip. The rafting was awesome and our guides were great. We will definitely be back in the Spring to try the Gauley. After our trip, the heavens opened up again (boy, we were glad we did the shorter Express trip!) and we spent a quiet afternoon at the cabin. That evening, we attempted dinner at Diogi’s which I had read was a “pet-friendly” restaurant. Unfortunately, the rain had continued and the only “pet friendly” part of Diogi’s was some picnic tables lined up next to the parking lot. So we got the food to go – which was average Mexican and took forever – and they forgot to give us our “doggie taco”. Two paws down!
On Wednesday, we dropped the boys off at Class VI again for a ½ day of rock climbing (they loved it) and we took off to Beckley to do some souvenir shopping at Tamarack. Although there were some neat things there, it was very expensive – we got a kick out of just looking at the prices. On the way back, we stopped in Fayetteville for lunch at Pizza & Pints (recommended by our river guide). Excellent place – wonderful food – great service.
On Thursday, we went down to the Marina to finally do our boat rental. We did a half day but we wished we had gotten a full day! This was just an awesome time – the kids had a blast swimming and climbing on the rocks. The lake’s water was great. Morning was extremely quiet on the lake – by noon, it was getting busy. We had dinner at a place the rock climbing guides recommended – Sunset Grill at Breezy Hill. It’s on the same road as Class VI Outfitters but across Route 19. It’s a great casual place to watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail. Food was really outstanding.
Friday morning, we left our cabin and all the fun we had in Fayetteville/Summersville and headed South-west to Pineville. We had booked a ½ day ATV rental for hubby & the boys at Happy Trails ATV rentals. After signing a stack of paperwork, they were off to the Hatfield-McCoy trails. They had a blast and found some of the trails really challenging. A note here – we have a couple of ATV’s and everyone was experienced riders. You literally ride on the road with traffic to get to the trail head – I would not recommend this for an inexperienced rider.
I took the dog for a day of hiking at Twin Falls State Park. Although the trails were a bit rough (many are really mountain biking trails) we had a beautiful and peaceful day of hiking.
We had a quick lunch at the Executive Inn in Pineville (great service, super nice people – let the puppy sit on the outside patio), we headed back north to Charleston. We stayed at a Country Inn just south of Charleston. This hotel was very pet friendly – the staff was great and the hotel was clean and good for a night before we headed back home.
We enjoyed our travels in WV – a perfect vacation place for an active family!!