My husband and I recently spent a couple of nights at the Salt Fork State Park Lodge and a couple of days hiking the park trails. We picked the park as a good halfway spot to meet some Maryland relatives and were pleasantly surprised to find plenty to entertain us outdoors and in, despite the time of year. The lodge room was spacious and comfortable with a small fridge - clean, nice mattress/ pillows, and a balcony view of the woods. The lodge staff were all pleasant and helpful - "And how is your stay going?" they asked often with a smile - nice; the dining room food was tasty and reasonably priced. We did not use the large indoor pool and hot tub, the game room, or the numerous couches and rockers gathered near fireplaces and lake-view windows, but lots of others did.
The first morning we picked up a free trail map at the desk and set off for the short Hosak's cave trail - an easy climb (despite some ice) to a cave created by a waterfall - pretty neat. Our next trail was the almost two mile Stone House Loop to see the early 1800's stone house converted to historic attraction. While it was not open due to the time of year, you could see the historic rooms through the windows, wander the yard to enjoy the lake overlook, and go inside the original root cellar. There's a nearby boat dock for those who prefer less walking (when the lake isn't mostly frozen!). We also walked downhill from the lodge to explore the lakefront cottage area - all cottages have wonderful lakeviews, small yards, grills, and boat docks nearby - a nice option in warmer weather.
The second day hiking was the best. We set off east of the lodge and south of the horse camp to hike several trails meandering between the edge of the lake and the woods. Coming near the lake, my husband couldn't resist the urge to throw a few stones into the water and try to break the thinner ice at lake's edge. The stones easily popped through the crust of ice and clunked satisfyingly into the water. After a few throws, we were both frozen in place by noise - it started as a rolling rush of sound like far off traffic, followed by a pinging and cracking echoed from far across the ice. The final noise I can only describe as the sound of an alien gun battle, like the tasers in an old Star Wars movie. My husband was mesmerized and had to recreate the noise numerous times before we could continue.
Later, we drove into nearby Wheeling, West Virginia to try our luck at the casino. I left with my $20 transformed into $56, so I had a grand time. The buffett there was crowded but great food for an $18 all-you-can-eat spot.
When the weather is warmer, there are many more things to do nearby - the Wilds (10,000 open acres of endangered species), Cambridge Glass Museum & local glass blowers, a scenic railway, many historic Guernsey County attractions - check out guernseycounty.com. We will definitely return to try them out.
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