(This is the second part of my posting about our recent ten-day trip to North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio. The previous post stopped with our arrival at our hotel in Beckley, WV.)
Waking to a dismal dark morning of rain, we checked out of our hotel in Beckley and made our way the short distance to Tamarack, located in a service area of the West Virginia Turnpike, so Carolyn could browse all of the arts and crafts shops in the uniquely circular building with a colorful red peaked roof. Everything on display and/or for sale inside is West Virginia made: Wood carvings, glass, pottery, metal work, jewelry, books, and other specialty items.
After a while, our Tamarack tour completed, we scurried out into a downpour and set off once again and were headed up US-19 toward Elkins, about two-and-a-half hours away. We were fortunate as we clicked off the miles that the rain abated frequently, allowing us to take in the rolling scenery passing by.
By mid-afternoon we entered Elkins and called my cousin Roger, who was to meet us and lead us back to his home. By this time, the rain had stopped completely, and we enjoyed the clear view of the surrounding mountains and life alongside the Tygart Valley River.
From Roger, recently retired from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, we would learn a massive amount about the land and beauty of the entire area. For example, considered the gateway to the Monongahela National Forest, Elkins has long been a destination for sightseers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike, and we encountered many such folks the two days we spent in the area. It was also very easy to understand why Roger loved spending thirty-six years working here, being one of those outdoor enthusiasts himself! He has never known a river he wouldn’t love to fish, or a hill or woods he wouldn’t enjoy hunting for grouse!
We spent the remainder of the first day there with Roger and Jeannie getting caught up with family news and pleasant chit-chat about this, that, or the other thing, happily off the road.
Wednesday found us loading into Roger’s SUV for a drive up to Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls State Park.
We quickly learned that the correct pronunciation is Canain rather than the familiar Biblical pronunciation. At any rate, the area is like a bowl, tucked into the mountains, and it is a popular tourist attraction, especially for hikers and bikers.
Roger pointed out all of the wetlands that are a great part of the area, and the start of the Blackwater River that runs through the valley and gushes noisily over the Blackwater Falls nearby.
After a nice tour of the falls and valley area, it was time for lunch, and we weren’t disappointed in Sirianni’s, located in the tiny burg of Davis. Famous for its pizza and various pasta dishes, the place had atmosphere—as well as delicious pizza!
Being from the Chicago area, we are familiar with quality pizza, but this was definitely worth writing about. The thin crust, which I prefer, was crisp and tasty, and the sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomato sauce were delicious. In short, it didn’t take the four of us very long to devour the large pie before we headed back to the car and back to Elkins.
As it turned out, that day was the perfect one for our excursion up to Canaan Valley as the rain stayed away. It returned through the night, however, and we had it along with us on our two-and-a-half hour drive to Athens, Ohio, the next morning once we bid farewell to Roger and Jeannie.
We both look back on our little trip, away from home for ten days, with good feelings about each place we stopped and visited and explored the countryside. Thanks to all who shared their homes and surroundings with us. It was a fantastic journey!