Friday, June 28, 2013

Mountain Creek Dining

What goes down, must come up?  If you are dining at the Mountain Creek Dining Room or staying at the lodge in Pipestem, WV, you have to take a tram ride down to get there.  This tramway carries you about 3,600 feet through the Bluestone Gorge while you are treated to the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see.  The lodge has 30 rooms next to the river or you can enjoy gourmet dining in the restaurant.  Because of its unusual location, the lodge and restaurant are only opened from mid-May to the end of October.

This place was a must see for us while staying in Pipestem.  Sharon remembered the tram ride and restaurant when she was a little girl and wanted me to experience it as well.  We hopped into a tram bucket and took the ride down into the gorge.  I was taken in by the views and took many pictures on the way down.  We had some time before our dinner reservations so we took a walk down to the river.  When you look up, all you could see was green and a few caves tucked in the walls of the mountain surrounding us.

After enjoying our delicious dinner and wine, we were ready for the ride back up the gorge to our car.  The man who was in charge of the tram said it would be a few minutes because they needed to remove one of the cars.  We waited with several others who needed to get to the top as well.  We watched as they sent a bucket out to test the ride and it shook about with sparks flying everywhere.  This did not make us feel good about riding back up the mountain.  We were even more nervous watching them poke at the cars with a wood stick to get it back on track.  Finally, a couple of employees rode the first car up and all was well.  We noticed that the women were quick to get in the cars and ride back up but the men waited behind.  They said it was "women and children first", but I think they were a bunch of chickens.

The ride up was dark and scary.  When we got to the top there was a line of people who were heading down for dinner or to the lodge.  They wanted to know what we were doing down there.  We said we were there for dinner but should have snapped back with a smart ass remark such as "we were having an orgy" or "a bunch of zombies were chases us and we barely escaped with our lives". All and all it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to go back.  For more photos of the ride down and lodge check my Julie Ferguson Designs blog.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Hatcher's Abandoned Building

I could not find any information on the place, but it was truly an amazing place to take photos of.  Everywhere I looked on the building, I found a great photo opt.  I posted photos of the building from our first visit on my Julie Ferguson Designs blog.  Check them out.  These photos are from the second time we stopped.  This abandoned structure with green vines growing along the walls and throughout the broken windows was worth a second visit.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Burning Down Brick Row

One of the things we wanted to do while staying at Pipestem, WV was to go urban exploring.  We wanted to find different places in our second Abandoned Places book from what we found in our first book.  We saw places along the highway and cruised around the town of Hinton.  Driving up one of the streets, we came across a row of townhouses which underwent a tragedy.  There were 10 apartments which were gutted and destroyed by a fire.  We were immediately drawn to the structure.  Sharon tried to get a reading on a burned down house in Moblile, AZ, but did not get anything from it.  She felt different about this place.

They called the 10 apartments Brick Row and was where 11 families once lived.  They were built in 1905 for railroad officials to live in with their families.  In February of 2013, a 25 year old man torched the place.  He was later caught and charged with two counts of first degree arson.  He apparently was busy lighting a fire on another structure earlier that day.  Whatever his reason (which there is no excuse for), 11 families were displaced and homeless.

As we walked closer to the building, we could still smell the chard remains.  I know that each individual place was probably decorated with each owners scene of style, but all we saw were their love and care burnt to a crisp.  Inside, you can see that each place was three stories.  Children's beds were barely hanging from the third floor while a baby stroller sits outside another door.  Although the situation was a sad and tragic one, we saw the beauty in what was still there.  This place was amazing to photograph.  My heart and prayers go out to all of the families who lost their homes due to this scentless act.

For more photos of this place, check out my Julie Ferguson Designs blog.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sandstone Falls

Approximately 10 miles from Hinton, WV and down amazing scenic roads is where the Sandstone Falls are located.  These falls are the most prevalent waterfalls found on the New River and span over 1500 feet wide and descend around 10 to 25 feet.  The wearing away of the soft conglomerate rock layer below the sandstone layers is how the falls were fashioned.  The falls were named after the sandstone and are surrounded by huge boulders in the New River Gorge.

There are several places to take in the scenic view of the falls.  You can take the road from Hinton directly to the falls.  Along I-64 and off exit 139 is the Sandstone Visitor Center.  This place has many exhibits and information on the falls, cultural history of the river and surrounding areas.  On the other side of the river along Route 20 there are a couple of scenic overlooks for you to stop at.  These provide you with breathtaking views and lots of photo opts.

Sharon wanted me to see the falls up close and personal.  Just passed the parking lot is a sign with a little history about the falls and a wood bridge which takes you over the river and gives you a great view of the descending waters.  The path winds around throughout the surrounding woods and takes you to another bridge.  We saw some men relaxing and fishing near the falls.  The Sandstone Falls are definitely a place for you to visit if you are ever in West Virginia.

For more photos on the falls, check my Julie Ferguson Designs blog.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Bluestone Dam and Lake

Along the road from Pipestem to Hinton in West Virginia, you will run into the Bluestone Dam and lake.  This over 10 mile stretch of water provides visitors with boating and fishing opportunities.  Around the blue waters are places for picnicking and camping.  The area also provides more activities to keep you and your family very busy.

The Bluestone Dam’s construction started in early 1941, was halted in 1944 because of WWII, and recommenced in 1946.  The concrete gravity dam was finished in 1949 and situated approximately upstream from where the New and Greenbrier Rivers met.  This massive dam is about 165 feet high and over 2,000 feet long.  The latest information on the dam is because fears of flooding at the site, engineers had 8 feet of anchors and thrust blocks added to the height to tie the dam into the bedrock.  They enhanced the spillway and did other major improvements to keep the dam safe.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pipestem, WV

Pipestem Resort State Park is located in the southern part of West Virginia in the Bluestone River gorge.  It is over 4,000 acres of lush green forests with two hotels, wood cabins, golf course, restaurants, and other fun outdoor activities tucked inside.  The name “Pipestem” is a narrow leaf meadowsweet shrub known for making pipe stems.

Sharon and I stayed at the lodge for four nights and three days.  The room was nice with a gorgeous view of the forest where the wildlife would come out for us to take photos of them.  Other amenities were the gift shop, indoor pool, café, and breathtaking views from the restaurant.  While enjoying breakfast one morning a couple of foxes decided to embrace us with their presence.  They came out to the clearing where all of us could take their pictures.

From the lodge we drove to her sister’s house, did some urban exploring, and hiking.  We did so much that I will break all the adventures from Pipestem in a few separate posts.  My first experience at Pipestem was a great one.  I can’t wait to go back and do more exploring in the area.

Friday, June 14, 2013

More Places in Our Next Abandoned Places Book

A Parson's House

The church next door.

Old farm house.

The cottage next to the farm house.

Bonus: an abandoned toy.