By Sherry McCormick-Hawkins
I am the proud Mother of a spoiled Chihuahua that I rescued from a Virginia animal shelter in late 2010. “Little Bit” is the first dog I ever owned – or does he own me? Either way, I’m so glad that I took that first step and finally adopted a dog. He has given me a lot of love and laughs over the past 2 years. I also have a lovebird named “Squeak” that I received as a birthday present in 1999. His beautiful feathers and intelligence never fail to amaze me.
We here at WVyourWay love animals and want to see them go to good homes. On our Pinterest page we post pictures of adoptable animals in West Virginia. It is our hope that more and more cats and dogs will find forever families. If you live in the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia consider contacting the Greenbrier Humane Society [Businesses – Animal Care > Humane Society]. They have a wide variety of cats, dogs, puppies and kittens. They also have several adopt-a-thons throughout the year where people find wonderful pets. If you know of other animal shelters in the state, ask them to register with us so people can find them too.
If you decide to adopt a pet they will need additional care. “Seneca Trail Animal Hospital” [Businesses – Animal Care > Animal Hospital > Boarding > Veterinarians] in Lewisburg has a friendly staff and they can help your companion animal with their medical, dental and surgical needs. They even offer boarding services as well as emergency care. If you are visiting in our beautiful area and need care for your pet they will do their best to fit you into their schedule.
Are you looking for a more exotic pet such as a bird, ferret, fish, snake or something else? “Susan’s World of Pets and Grooming” [Businesses – Animal Care > Pet Stores] has a large selection of wonderful animals, birds and reptiles. They are conveniently located in Fairlea. In addition to all of the pets they also carry a large supply of pet products and they offer expert pet grooming to make your dog look his best!
Check out these businesses on www.WVyourWay.com. Following the name of each business above in bold you see the Heading – Sub-heading > Keyword. Click on the heading “Businesses”, then scroll down to the sub-heading “Animal Care.” Click on the sub-heading “Animal Care” and the keywords will then drop down. Click on whichever keyword you’re interested in, then choose your region and hit the “Search” button below the map.
Look on the map and see if you can find the town of Edgarton, West Virginia. Surely there must be one, since there’s an Edgarton Inn Bed & Breakfast. I Googled the town, and found out that there’s a town in Mingo County named Delorme that is also known as Edgarton, but there are no B&B’s there. So where in the world is the Edgarton Inn Bed & Breakfast?
As you might have guessed, the name was changed sometime back. You see, the Greenbrier River flows through this town and it’s in Greenbrier County. I guess they could have called the town Greenbrier, but then that wouldn’t have been very original. I’ve heard a few different stories about the original name for the town from Edgar’s Ford to St. Lawrence Ford. One story has it that Edgar’s Ford was named after Thomas Edgar who built his house near the banks of the Greenbrier and then sold off lots that started the community. When it came time to incorporate the town, it was time to give it a more colorful name. So some say that was when Mrs. Edgar put a twist of French to the name Greenbrier and came up with Ronceverte, which in French means bramble green, or green brier.
Greenbrier County and Lewisburg, the county seat, is one of the more popular tourist destinations in West Virginia, and only five miles south of Lewisburg on US 219 is the town of Ronceverte. In honor of the founder of Ronceverte, Kathy King, the owner of the Edgarton Inn Bed & Breakfast, named the Inn located in his original house built-in 1810, after Thomas Edgarton.
The house is beautiful and chucked full of history and scenes from days gone by in Greenbrier County. It is spacious with a common dining area and sitting room downstairs that is a great place to just sit and relax. Upstairs there are four bedrooms each with its own bathroom.
The Blue Ridge Suite is part of the original 1810 house that was built with timbers; then brown sand from the Greenbrier River and horse hair were mixed into plaster which is still in place under the old wallpaper coverings. The wooden floors are original and to stand on them is to go back 200 years in history.
The Greenbrier Room is also located in a section of the original house built-in 1810. The Bay windows were added when Col. Best remodeled the house after the Civil War. If you notice, the house faces the river, as most houses built-in the early 1800’s did.
The Renaissance Suite contains the Victorian tower, which features the Queen Anne architecture popular in this historic period. If you look at the photos that accompany this article, you will see just how spacious and beautiful these rooms are.
Take a step back in time, and at the same time, enjoy the present while staying in the Edgarton Inn. Kathy, the owner is a great host and you will find the town, now named Ronceverte, to be populated by friendly people who help make your stay enjoyable. Come prepared to enjoy your stay in the Inn while you discover all the attractions and fun shopping experiences Greenbrier County has to offer.
By Guest Blogger: Sherry McCormick-Hawkins
Recently I had the privilege of spending a day in Pineville. It is a small West Virginia town with a lot of things to offer in regards to lodging, food and shops.
First, Bill and I checked into our room at “Trails Lodging.” We decided to “splurge” and we got a great room with our own private Jacuzzi! The room was terrific and had just been remodeled. The bathroom was large and spotless. We enjoyed sitting in the Jacuzzi and watching old movies! The cost was well under $100 and definitely a bargain. The staff is friendly and the lobby and atmosphere are inviting. On top of that they are located right beside the fascinating “Pinnacle Rock” and across the street from the Wyoming County Courthouse.
I felt like I was stepping back in time as we ventured out after checking into the room. The downtown area is small, but exciting. Our first stop was “Pat’s Fashions”. After looking around a few minutes I urged Bill to head out because I knew that I would be “busy” for quite a while. He gladly complied once he realized how large the store was and he knows I love to “look around.” I was amazed at the HUGE assortment of formal dresses as well as fashionable clothing ranging from jeans to dress clothes. They also have a large variety of jewelry, purses, shoes and other things that women can’t live without. I bought myself a really neat shirt while I was browsing around. The ladies working there were all very friendly and eager to help me find what I needed. In fact, one of them owns a new lodging place herself named “Mimmies Place” which sounded like the perfect place for ATV people, business people and travelers. It is out in the country and has all of the amenities of home. I’ll be back at “Pat’s Fashions” soon.
Once I left Pat’s I crossed the street and headed to “The Blossom Bucket.” This is a really neat store. First, it is a florist where you can get exactly what you need for weddings, funerals, and anything else. They also offer fruit baskets, balloon and candy bouquets, silk flowers and other items. I love how the store is decorated! You can buy curtains, bedspreads and other home décor. They have candles, primitives and many other items available for sale. Again, just like every place else in Pineville I was greeted with a smile and a willingness to help me find what I needed.
That night we ate at the “Cornerstone Grill” which is located in “Trails Lodging”. I love the décor of the place and they have a great menu with a wide variety of items. I especially enjoyed the steak salad! It was so good that we ate there again a few days later on our way to McDowell County! Their prices are budget friendly too and that is always good.
After leaving Pineville I told Bill that I definitely want to come back again soon and stay overnight. The folks are friendly, the area is beautiful and the atmosphere is perfect for relaxing. The perfect place to come and leave your cares behind!
Guest Blogger: Sherry McCormick-Hawkins
Being relatively new to West Virginia and the Greenbrier Valley I have taken some time to explore some of the businesses here.
One of my favorite places is a shop in downtown Lewisburg is called the “Plaid Eagle.” First off, the moment I walk into the store I am greeted and feel welcomed! This is a friendly place! The owner, Karen McClung, definitely loves her store and enjoys seeing people come in and browse. Also, she is readily available to talk to you about her large assortment of antiques and is happy to answer any questions.
The store makes me “feel young again” when I check out the toy section. Wow! There are several toys there that I used to play with as a child. I also have a small collection of antique dolls so I enjoy looking at the dolls that are available for sale.
Another neat aspect that brings back memories for me is the large assortment of glassware and silver. It definitely brings back memories of my grandmother’s house in Central Pennsylvania where I loved to visit. The Depression glass is my favorite!
The variety of vintage clothing and quilts in the store are amazing too. If you are into those types of items I highly recommend Plaid Eagle to find what you’re looking for!
Another aspect that is unusual is the large collection of medical items and old medicine bottles. This would be a perfect place for the collector of these types of items.
My husband is a collector of old books and has an extensive library. Plaid Eagle has a large collection of antique books available for sale and a large amount of them are about West Virginia and the history of the state. Hmmm…this might just be the place to shop for his Christmas present.
Karen is a specialist when it comes to antiques. She has been in the business for over 25 years. Not only does she have her store she also does Estate Sales. She can do an Estate Sale of contemporary items as well as antiques. She had a large sale recently which featured fine, contemporary items that was quite successful. If an estate sale is something that you have been contemplating please contact her about it.
To find Plaid Eagle Antiques and similar stores go to www.WVyourWay.com and click on the Tourism heading. Scroll down and select the keywords: Antiques, Books, Collectibles, Primitives, Prints, Quilts and Vintage Clothing. Then scroll down to the map and click on “The New River/Greenbrier Valley” region. Just below the map is the “search” button. Click on the search button and in moments everything you are interested in, and nothing you are not interested in, will come up. If you want directions to any of the places that are displayed, simply click on “Add to Itinerary” and you will be able to see the places you added separately and see the written out directions. So go search and have fun!
In the 1970’s, just as UCLA was finishing up their run of seven consecutive NCAA Basketball titles, Northfork High School in McDowell County, West Virgina was beginning its run of eight straight state championships. The UCLA coach, John Wooden, is called the Wizard of Westwood due to the success of his teams which were rich in talent that he recruited from across the nation. The Northfork High School coach, Jennings Boyd, couldn’t recruit his talent, he had to develop it!
As a kid growing up in Roane County during the early 70’s, I knew about Northfork High School and I always wondered what made the place so special. I had always wanted to visit the town and find out about its coach so I could learn for myself what it was that set Jennings Boyd apart. Recently, for the first time, I was able to visit the small coal mining town in McDowell County and I discovered the secret that made Coach Boyd a great basketball coach.
I had been wondering a long time about that small town tucked away in the mountains of southern West Virginia and their basketball coach Jennings Boyd. Was it his work ethic and tough basketball practices, or perhaps his motivational skills and superior strategy that led to his tremendous success?
Those were the questions on my mind when I visited Northfork while gathering information for www.WVyourWay.com. While speaking to one of the residents of the town, I asked her about that time period and discovered she was a cheerleader at the school for four of those eight magical years. Since she knew the town and the man, I determined I would ask her for some insight from those years. However, as I awaited an opportunity to ask, she told me a story that, although she was unaware of it, revealed the secret to the success of Coach Boyd.
It seems that her boyfriend was on the basketball team and she was at his house when Coach Boyd showed up. I was surprised and asked if he visited his players often. She responded, “Oh yes, Coach Boyd was always checking up on his players and one of the things he didn’t want to find was a girl at their house.” I laughed and asked what she did and she looked at me wide-eyed and replied, “I hid in the furnace room behind a pile of coal!”
As I laughed she went on with her story. “I think he knew I was there ’cause he stayed an extra long time and I was miserable from the heat of hiding behind that coal pile. He just wouldn’t leave and I had to stay hidden in that hot room just so he could punish me for being at my boyfriend’s house when I wasn’t supposed to be. By the time he left I was streaked with coal dust, so I just went home.”
It was at that moment that I discovered the secret to Coach Boyd’s success – he cared about his players. Because of that he could get them to work hard in practice and follow his leadership. Today Northfork and McDowell County are behind, but if they come together as a team and follow the leadership of those that care, they too can come out winners. Who knows, maybe the legacy of the Wizard of Northfork can lead to another championship for the people he taught how to win.
How often do movies based on true events actually mirror those true events? Not often, it seems. Still, movies are meant to entertain and sometimes the truth is less entertaining than the story we see on the big screen. We in West Virginia can be a bit skeptical about what we see on the big screen, or especially the small screen, concerning our state. Too often people from elsewhere come here, not for the purpose of showing an accurate reflection of our state, but rather they come to further their own agenda by highlighting the ugly and passing it off as the normal.
Case in point is McDowell County. As West Virginians we are often made fun of by people who have never visited our beautiful state, and we often take offense. Yet, we in West Virginia do the same to one of our very own. I am quick to defend our state against the unjust characterizations heaped on us by an ignorant populace from other states. Yet I confess that I was part of the ignorant populace within West Virginia that jumped on the bash bandwagon for what many perceive as our poorest county – McDowell.
Of course, I had never been to McDowell County. I simply bought the perception of a county where drugs and crime are rampant and of an ignorant people too dumb to move away from their poverty. The same perception many people from other states have about West Virginia, when those people have never even been here.
Of the 55 counties in West Virginia, McDowell was the last one I visited. I saved it for last because everyone I spoke to said that there was no reason to go there since there wasn’t anything there. However, last month was my first visit and I’ve had several since.
What did I find?
I found the county with the friendliest people in the state. I found a proud people who are misunderstood and often overlooked and left to fend for themselves by the rest of the state for the bogus reason that they’re just too poor and ignorant to be helped. I found that small town America where neighbors help neighbors and where strangers are treated with a kindness you simply don’t find anywhere else. I found a county that isn’t asking for a hand-out, but just a fair shake.
In short, I found the county that the other counties in this state would do well to emulate in terms of friendliness and living the golden rule of doing onto others as you would have them do unto you. And just as I defend this state against the ignorant misconceptions of outsiders, I’m going to defend McDowell County against the ignorant misconceptions of her fellow West Virginians.
After all, if any people should know the injustice of misconceptions and hatchet jobs, its West Virginians. Why then do many West Virginian’s wield that same unjust hatchet against one of our own?
Since the answers to ignorance is information, I’m going to be writing some blogs informing anyone who will listen of what McDowell County has to offer and of the good people who live there.
Some of my upcoming blogs will be about Northfork and her national record. About the tributes to veterans and defenders of our country throughout the county. About Coalwood and growing up dreaming in a small town. In short, about the good people of McDowell County and their fight for survival.
(The following post is courtesy of Taya McCormick, at the time a high school sophmore from Virginia Beach who visited Greenville, WV in 2012. Taya wrote the blog and included a few of the photos you see in the article. We’re reposting the blog on MonroeCo.WVyourWay.com and once again thank Taya, who is now a member of the United States Navy!)
I took a trip to Greenville, West Virginia after finding my interests on MonoreCo.WVyourWay.com, and I absolutely loved it. Everything about it was beautiful. I read the history behind Cooks Old Mill and walked around and took some pictures of it. It’s a very big building and very old.
Right across from the building is a red wood Mill. It is really pretty because there are flowers all around it and its interesting to learn about what happened in our history. Beside the Old Mill building there is a little creek and the water is quite cold. The creek is cold because the water runs from a cave into the creek. I sat down and enjoyed the beautiful view from the picnic table that is under a tree that gives shade. On the other side of the Old Mill is a little building that looks like a house made out of wood. Inside of the little building are two looms that are made out of wood. They were used to make wool. It was interesting to look at the looms because we don’t have them anymore and we have gotten rid of most of them. I also think it is interesting to know that women used to sit there for hours and do it. I liked looking at them because we get to know more about how the world was back when we didn’t have all the technology that we do now.
When I walked around the creek I saw some really pretty flowers that surrounded it. It was nice to look around and see all the wonderful colors of the wild life. I really enjoyed walking around and looking at nature. The thing I enjoyed most was the bridge that covered the creek water. It was beautiful and I could spend the whole day standing there on the bridge. It was so quiet and the sound of the creek was very peaceful.
Beside the bridge there were two porter potties that you can not use but they are there to look at because that’s how it was back then. If you look across the bridge you see a man made waterfall that lets the creek water from the pond into the running creek that runs under the bridge. When you go across the street there is more nature and more of beautiful scenes. I also saw some ducks and little baby ducks. It was a great day and I enjoyed going to the Old Mill. I also went to – and enjoyed the animals that were there. There were some weird kinds of animals that let me take some pictures of them. I also saw a lot of deer which not a big deal because here in West Virginia the state has a lot of deer. I enjoyed driving in the car and looking at the different kind of animals that – have. Now I know why it is named Greenville because it is filled with nature and the beauty of it is nature. I got to see a lot of interesting things when I visited Greenville and I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun and I recommend it for everyone.
The movie “Battleship” is a story about a sneak attack of earth by aliens and the role of a battleship in defense of our world. A little over sixty years ago a similar scenario played out in the Pacific at a place called Pearl Harbor. The battleships lined up there stood no chance; however, against the sneak attack by the Empire of Japan. One of those battleships, the USS West Virginia, can be seen today on display in Beckley, WV.
“A battleship in Beckley, WV,” You ask? If you don’t believe me check out the pictures below.
The ship was built by, Jim Toler, the curator for the Raleigh County Veterans Museum [Tourism: History – > History – WWII – > Museums] located on Harper Road in Beckley. Jim sailed the ship, which was built to carry two men, on one voyage and now you can see the ship as she used look. I’d give you some of the dimensions of the ships and tell you how long it took Jim to build the ship. I’d even tell you about some of the household items he used to construct parts of the ship, such as the radar dishes, but then that would take away from the fun of discovery when you see the ship for the first time. Suffice it to say you will be amazed.
The ship is the centerpiece to the museum, but it is far from the only attraction you will see while there. They also have the only surviving door from a German concentration camp. The horrors that took place behind that one door is difficult to imagine. There is a helmet collection, guns, uniforms, knives, and many other fascinating collections of the tools of war. However, most compelling is the personal story’s of those that fought the wars to defend America. Memorial Day is a day we set aside to remember those men and women who contributed to our freedom from the sacrifices they made to serve our country, and the Raleigh County Veterans Museum helps us to remember. The good news is they are open every Wednesday, and Saturday from 1:00 to 6:00 and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:oo.
To find more information go to www.WVyourWay.com and click on the “Tourism” heading then scroll down and check the keywords, “History, History – WWII and Museums.” Then scroll down to the map and click on the “New River/Greenbrier Valley” and hit the “Search” button just below the map to find everything you’re interested in.
A trip to Sandstone falls is more than simply watching water cascade over a rock, because this waterfall has an island below it with a boardwalk and plenty of places where a person can wander over the island and climb around the falls. Also, a trip to the falls takes you through Hinton, which affords places to stop and get a bite to eat with spectacular views of the New River. The drive to the falls from I-64 is half the fun.
We took exit #139 and turned down Route 20 heading toward Hinton. Just after you pass the store across the railroad tracks on the right, be sure to look to your left as you cross the bridge which spans a creek, whose name I don’t remember, to see a towering cliff carved from the side of the hill. Shortly thereafter, you will wind up the mountain which twists its way toward the town of Hinton 12 miles away. Don’t worry, the road doesn’t snake through the mountain the entire way.
There are places to pull off and view the river, and even the falls, along the way. I encourage you to stop to view the falls because it will heighten your anticipation of when you can get up close and personal with them.
When you reach Hinton, you could stay at the Guest House on Courthouse Square (Lodging > Bed & Breakfast, Inn and Suites), or choose from restaurants like Kirk’s, or the Dairy Queen, where you can sit and enjoy a spectacular view of the New River as you enjoy your meal. Kirk’s has an open patio so you can enjoy the breeze and lean over and watch the huge catfish begging like puppies – well, almost. If you prefer to eat inside and still have a great view of the river, Dairy Queen is the place to go. To visit their listings go to WVyourWay and click the heading “Restaurants.” Then scroll down and click on the keywords, “Breakfast All Day, Desserts, Family, Fast Food, Homestyle Cooking, Motels or Wireless Internet.” To get directions, simply add them to your itinerary and they will be provided.
We then drove down to the falls using the road on the west bank of the river, since it’s the only way to reach the falls. As we strolled along the boardwalk and watched fisherman wade to the edge of the pools of cool water, the area reminded us of a scene from “Swiss Family Robinson.” More accurately, the “Swiss Family Robinson” attraction at Disney World, but I digress.
Since there were several places to get off the boardwalk, I took a hike over the rocks to see if I could get closer to the falls on the eastern side of the river, which appeared to be bigger, and thus, more spectacular. However, I discovered other streams of rushing water that seemed to overflow the rocks, which made passage a bit more difficult than I had initially anticipated. That’s when I prudently decided the adventure part was over and settled into the appreication part of the visit.
We met other couples, and several pets, as we walked the loop around the island. Some were simply enjoying being outdoors on a pretty day, while others were studying the tiny plant life which was just starting to bloom.
If you’re looking for a nice day trip to enjoy a day, it will be hard to beat Sandstone Falls, which just may be West Virginia’s finest!
Recently my wife, who has the misfortune not to be from West Virginia, commented on how she has met so many people who have moved back to our state after spending most of their adult life in other states. She told me one of those people had said, “Most people move to Florida when they retire. However, if you’re from West Virginia, you move back to the mountains of your home.”
So what is it about West Virginia that causes people who were raised here to want to come back at the earliest opportunity? What is this bond that the people of West Virginia have with their state? Is it a love of government? God forbid!
When we say we love our state, we don’t mean the government, or any one thing or institution. I’m a fan of the WVU Mountaineers, not because I love the university, but because it represents the state I love.
Which brings me back to the question, why do we come back? I’ve heard people say the mountains get in your blood and there seems to be a comfort in them. Surprisingly, there’s truth in that statement. No matter where you are in the state, you’re between two hills. Your horizon is limited, as well as your focus. Instead of seeing a limitless expanse of land, we’re limited to an area which seems to funnel people together. The mountains serve as a protective barrier between the outside world and our own small communities. Not only do they protect us from the forces of nature like hurricanes and tornadoes, but they seem to hug us with their nearness and the safety they provide.
Therefore, the people here have a strong sense of community and there’s a neighborliness that you don’t usually find elsewhere. There’s a simplicity of life where people aren’t competing to see who can drive the nicer car or live in the bigger home. It’s more important to be a good neighbor than to have wealth. We don’t look down on people who are poor, anymore than we look up to people who are rich.
While all of the above is true, it seems to me that the main reason for this love for our state and the strong sense of bond we fill within these borders is due to the “Cinderella effect.” We are the underdog that has to put up with others making fun of us. People who have never been here more than to just drive through are surprised to discover we have teeth and wear shoes. Some don’t even realize West Virginia is a state! Richmond is not our capitol, Charleston is.
We, as a people, seem to be constantly bashed simply because of where we live by people who have never been here long enough to find out who we really are. So we unite together to defend our people and state. And sometimes when we’re feeling a bit beat down and misunderstood, the mountains hug us and our love is nourished. It is then that we feel sorry for those people who make fun of us and our state, because they cannot understand what it means to truly have pride in your state. We come back because the mountains have helped create a people who share a bond that only we can understand.