Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacation: Cathedral State Park, Seneca Rocks, Rockingham County Fair, etc.

My 10th wedding anniversary was yesterday. Every year on our anniversary we go to the cabins where we spent our honeymoon for our vacation (our "annual honeymoon"). We had a good visit this week but it went by really fast!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We left our house mid-morning and headed north on I-79, then got onto 33 at the Weston exit. We stopped in Buckhannon to have lunch at CJ Maggie's. We usually go to the Elkins location, and this was our first time at the Buckannon restaurant. I love their calzones!

After lunch we continued on Route 33 then turned off onto Route 92 and went through Junior, Belington, etc., I used to drive this road twice a week to work in Morgantown when we lived in Elkins. It's beautiful farm country with lots of cows. I hadn't been down it in years. The weather was gorgeous, and it was a very pleasant drive.

We eventually turned onto Route 50. We stopped for a bathroom break at Cool Springs Park.

This is an old roadside attraction type tourist stop. Dave first took me there years ago, when we were still dating I think. They have a big souvenir shop, foot long hot dogs and a park next door with geese and a bunch of dead farm machines.

The reason was took this out of the way route was to stop at Cathedral State Park in Aurora, Preston County, West Virginia.

I have been wanting to go there for years. It's the last stand of virgin mixed timber left in the state, meaning that it's never been timbered, so it's old growth forest. It's mostly eastern hemlock trees; the hemlock is the "climax" species, meaning that it is making the forest suitable for its own species and will eventually crowd everything else out. This ancient forest contains trees up to 90 feet tall and 21 feet around. This 133 acre tract was preserved by its private owners and in 1942 was sold to the State of West Virginia with the provision that it remain untouched by ax or saw.

Cathedral State Park is a wonderful place!! I just fell in love with it.

I am officially a tree hugger now

I like walking downtown or by the river but I *love* walking in the forest. I could have wandered around there for hours.

The only downside is that it's close to the highway so you have some traffic noise. Otherwise it would be a perfect place. It's so beautiful and so peaceful. The trees are tall and block out a lot of the sun, so there's not a lot of brush and you can make your way through the forest pretty easily in most places. There's a creek that meanders through it.

We continued along Route 50 toward Mount Storm. Along the way we kind of accidentally went through Thomas. We stopped by the Mountain Made Country Store but didn't buy anything.

I wanted to go in the antique store, but it was closed. So we continued on to Mount Storm. As we approached we noticed a whole bunch of windmills have been erected!

I can understand why people wouldn't want these in their back yards. But I don't think they are that objectionable looking. They are much less objectionable than the huge smokestack at the power plant or the strip mine we passed nearby.

We eventually made it to the cabin. This year we stayed in my favorite, cabin #12. It's my favorite because it's right by the river and bigger than the old honeymoon cabins. I was very pleased to see they replaced the one old worn out sofa with two new leather-like loveseats. They are so much more comfortable! I was also glad they added a chest to put our clothes in.

View from the front porch and from the back door

You used to be able to see the river from the porch, but the trees have grown up too much now and they block the view.

The North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac; in the older cabin section

We had dinner out at the Hermitage Inn Restaurant. Husband's iron is low and he was told by the nurse earlier in the day that his doctor said he needed to eat more beef. So went out and got a steak. Ha! The food was excellent, as good as any steak I've had anywhere. I don't think you can find better food in Petersburg.

The Hermitage Inn has an interesting history. It was built by slave labor in the 1840s and was initially a private residence. During the civil war, it was seized by federal troops and used to house officers. Since 1881, it has been used continuously as a hostelry. In the 60's, they added a modern motor lodge to the back. The Inn is allegedly haunted, as reported here by the owner:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

After breakfast, we set off for Seneca Rocks. Seneca Rocks is a beautiful, large rock formation that is popular with rock climbers and is the most dramatic landmark in the area. There is a trail that zig zags up the mountain to an observation platform. See the little red circle toward the left? That's where the platform is. You may have to click on the picture to see it.

We have been vacationing together in this area for 11 years now and have not been in shape enough for me to even consider doing this trail. But we decided before coming that this year we would do it. And we did.

It was a lot longer than I expected (1.3 miles each way), because it zig zags up the mountain, gradually climbing upward like a logging road with switchbacks and occasionally stairs.

It took a long time and we rested a couple of times. But it was a lovely walk through the forest.

Once about 2/3 of the way up we sat on a bench and a family was coming down the trail. I was hot and tired and it must have shown, because the teenage boy stopped and got a bottle of water out of his backpack and offered it to us. I took it gratefully. It was such a kind thing to do - kids don't usually think of those things. I snuck a picture as he and his family left us.

Finally, we made it to the top!

Once we got to the top we enjoyed some majestic views of the North Fork valley, climbed around on the rocks just a little and took lots of pictures.

Then we traveled back down the mountain, which was much easier than going up. By the time we got back to our car, over 2 hours had passed.

We stopped at the Seneca Rocks discovery center briefly then made our plans for the rest of the day. Originally, our plan was to go to a county fair afterward but I was tired, hot and sweaty and it didn't sound very appealing. So after stopping at Yokum's store for some juice and nuts, we drove over to Moorefield to have a late lunch.

We had lunch was at the Stray Cat Cafe, a tex-mex restaurant and bar we had been to once before. The food was pretty good but could have been better. I had the Santa Fe Chimichanga. I thought it was somewhat bland, but I'd had a zinc lozenge during the night and it affects my taste so it might have just been me. Husband had the fajitas.

We made a few other stops in Moorefield and at Smoke Hole to shop then headed back to the cabin. It rained on and off the rest of the afternoon so we hung out at the cabin and had dinner in.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

First on today's agenda was a drive through our favorite area, Germany Valley. We saw a lot of birds in Germany Valley. First, a heron that was just sitting on a log watching the creek. Unfortunately I startled him and he flew off before I could get a picture. Down the road we also saw a hawk, a turkey vulture and a kingfisher.

We also saw some cows.

And of course some beautiful scenery.

We drove over to Franklin, where we stopped to renew our subscription to the Pendleton Times.

We stopped for lunch in Brandywine at The Cabin Restaurant.

I really liked this place. My photos didn't turn out very good. We had the fried chicken special with mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade bread! They also had homemade pies and cakes.

On the way to Harrisonburg, we stopped at Reddish Knob, the highest point in Northern Virginia, located on the border of WV and VA.

Eventually we made it to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and went to the Rockingham County Fair! I just wanted to see the animals. And there were plenty. Including a petting zoo. The petting zoo was manned by kids, who were eager to help me pet and feed the animals.

This little boy was so cute and very talkative. He asked which duck I wanted to pet before he wrangled the smallest one for me.

These were the beef cows.

They were judging some cows in the show ring and we watched for awhile. I couldn't hear the judge very well and would like to have known more about what they looked for. But it was still fun to watch, even though we had no idea what was going on.

The goat building was fun. Goats are so friendly! They had to share a building with the pigs and sheep.

Some sort of sheep klan meeting??

Dairy cows are the prettiest. (Don't tell the beef cows I said that). The very last cow picture has a sign that says "Beware of Attack Cow". Hee!

The poultry house! Husband found me a very pretty large brown and black feather here.

Finally, the flower & produce building

I had a great time visiting the fair! We drove back to the cabin and stopped at The Hermitage again for dinner and this time tried the seafood (salmon for Husband, trout for me). It wasn't as good as the steak. But still a good meal. The hand-cut fries were awesome. After we ate we went back to the cabin and took a walk by the river behind the cabin and watched Big Brother.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our anniversary! We got up, packed and headed for home. It was a good vacation, but it's always good to get back to our kitties.

The End (finally!) More pictures here:

Vacation August 2008: Misc Pictures

Vacation August 2008: Cathedral State Park

Vacation August 2008: Seneca Rocks, trail and observation platform

Vacation August 2008: Germany Valley

Vacation August 2008: Rockingham County Fair

1 comment:

  1. Everywhere looked so beautiful! Glad you had a great anniversary-thon!