Blackwater Falls State Park – Davis, WV

Just about 20 miles shy of the Maryland border, Blackwater Falls lies in the northern end of West Virginia. Passing the ski resorts of Canaan Valley and Timberline Four Seasons, we drove through Davis and into the state park.

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An easy 1/4- mile trail to the falls

I had read this was one of the top 10 places to visit in West Virginia and we had driven two hours out of the way for this. It did not disappoint. Walking down a 1/4 mile path, we soon heard the rush of the falls. They roared magnificently.

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Blackwater Falls

One last look at Blackwater Falls

With several vantage points, we could see an even higher outlook in the distance. Unfortunately we were out of time to explore any other paths. However, the leaves showed the first signs of Autumn.

Wonder how to get to that view point?

Wonder how to get to that view point?

Leaving, we noticed the state park had a 54-room lodge and several walking trails. For more information, see Blackwater Falls State Park.


Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks, WV

Right after Circleville, we turned onto a windy road for about 12 miles to reach the summit of Spruce Knob. At over 4,000 feet, it is the highest peak in West Virginia. From the parking lot, a sign directed us 900 feet to the observation deck where a marvelous view greeted us.img_3006

A view from West Virginia's tallest peak

A view from West Virginia’s tallest peak

However, the fun was on the rock outcrops nearby. Shortly afterwards, we drove to Seneca Rocks where a large granite outcrop stands next to the road. Had there not been a visitor center, we may have admired it from the road and drove on.

Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks

Appalachian music entertained visitors at the center. Two people were selling hand-crafted pottery and wood carving boards. In another section, a small exhibit on the Hafields and McCoys detailed the multi-decade feud between two famous families. I didn’t realize there had been fatalities and jail sentences.

On the back porch, a seating area afforded the best views of the rocks. A telescope for visitors beckoned us and we could see multiple climbers nearing the peak.

To learn more about the Monongahela National Forest, click here.


The Greenbrier Resort – White Sulpur Springs, WV

Just before White Sulphur Springs lies the cute town of Lewisburg. Cute shops and restaurants line the street and a Carnegie library, North House and former college stand erect. Had it not been for the signs “Jim Justice for Coal Miners” and signs that said “Pray for West VA” and “W Virginia Strong” you would think you were in Virginia. It didn’t seem like a coal town. In front of the North House was a wood two-story house that housed a covered wagon.

Downtown Lewisburg

Downtown Lewisburg

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White two-story houses and a golf course marked our approach to the Greenbrier Resort. Turning into the gate house, we were instructed to park across the street at the train depot and walk a small path to get to the hotel. A large car carrying truck was unloading fancy cars – probably shipped here for wealthy guests. Pink and white impatiens surrounded the white brick guard house. As we entered the grounds and rounded a corner, the sprawling, almost White House looking structure rose seemingly out of nowhere. Large white columns flanked the front entrance.

The Greenbrier Resort

The Greenbrier Resort

To the right, we saw people in suits boarding a green Greebrier Resort shuttle. We entered on the ground floor and could stay on that level to head to the casino or go upstairs. We went upstairs. A black and white tiled floor with multiple sitting areas and palladian windows awaited us on the second level. Behind it towards the back was a semi-circular room that resembled a greenhouse or ice cream parlor.

Main lobby at the Greenbrier

Main lobby at the Greenbrier

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Not sure the purpose of this room but ice cream anyone?

Not sure the purpose of this room but ice cream anyone?

We kept walking through lobby after lobby. The formal writing room fronted the back of the building. To the right of it was what I’d call a gentlemen’s parlor with forest green furniture, a bar and backgammon tables. A large pink ballroom was next followed by the North lobby.

The writing room complete with Greenbrier stationary

The writing room complete with Greenbrier stationary

 

Men's parlor

Man Cave

 

The ballroom

The ballroom

Until Thing 2 stood next to a portrait of Grace Kelly did I realize how massively tall the ceilings were. We went outside onto a veranda and felt swallowed up by the enormous size of the place. DH tried to get a picture of the girls in the floral wallpapered hallways to the guest rooms. In the purple restroom, each stall had it’s own sink and dressing area. One of my children said it was too fancy to use.

The North Lobby

The North Lobby

 

You gotta love chintz in the hallways

You gotta love chintz in the hallways

Heading downstairs, we passed by the less formal areas – a shuttle entrance, a coffee and muffin shop, and the arcade of shops. Back upstairs in the middle of the hotel, we went in the other direction. A large dining room faced the back, while the front was lined with chintz fabric.

A dining room at the Greenbrier

A dining room at the Greenbrier

At the end was another dining room serving Sunday brunch buffet. We turned the corner to see a bar named after a Lakers basketball player. I entered the bathroom. You’d have to love chintz as the sitting room was floral overload. To top it off, the gift shop sold sets of pajamas in that fabric.

Chintz overload in the restroom

More chintz in the restroom

We left but I was so glad to have seen the beauty of the well-manicured grounds. For more information, visit The Greenbrier.

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Quaint Town – Abingdon, VA

Normally most people driving to Beckley, West Virginia from Atlanta would take I-85 Northeast to Charlotte, NC and then I-77 north to Beckley, WV, passing through Southwestern Virginia. Because of that, I’d researched a few towns in the Blueridge section of VA with towns such as Wytheville and state parks called Hungry Mother and Grayson Highlands. I figured if time permitted in either direction, we’d explore or have lunch in one of these spots.

Plans changed when Hurricane Matthew made landfall in North Carolina on the day we left Atlanta. While halfway to Charlotte on a cloudy day, wind gusts picked up considerable. Weather radar indicated that Matthew’s outer bands were pounding Charlotte with lots of rainfall.img_2791

We detoured by heading north from Greenville, SC to I-26 in Asheville, NC. I’ll say the drive was pleasant. But once we went on I-26 north from Asheville to Johnson City, TN. The car climbed up the mountain and at the top of the peak we were totally fogged in. Making the descent towards Tennessee, the fog lifted and we saw the most beautiful scenery.

We then hooked onto I-81 northeast to Virginia through Bristol and Abingdon. My guidebook mentioned Abingdon as the first English speaking town ____. We needed lunch too so we stopped off at the Pepper Mill.

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Situated in a 1909 built two-story Victorian house, The meal was good – especially the potato soup topped with cheddar and bacon. Warming up from the dreary day, we drove through the historic district passed the Barter Theatre, which was world famous because a New York producer set up shop there.

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One more thing to note. After we got onto I-77 north we went through two tunnels in Virginia. Sometimes you cross a state line just by a sign or a river. However, this was my first experience to come out of a tunnel into a new state!

For more about Abingdon, visit their tourist information site here.