Sunday, January 10, 2016

West Virginia: Resort, Water and Family

DAY TWO
Resort, Water, and Family

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.

We woke up to fog and chilly weather.  We had breakfast at the restaurant at a table next to the large windows looking out on a breathtaking view.  We were treated to a couple of foxes who came out of the brush to check things out.


The first place we planned to see on this day was to visit Sharon’s sister.  She lives near the town of Hinton in Summers County.  After a couple of stops to photograph abandoned places, we drove past the Bluestone Dam and Lake.  We just had to stop and take in the beauty and shoot a few pictures.





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.

After the stop, we were on our way to her sister’s house.  The area she lives in may be small, but we managed to run into construction.  Since we couldn’t get near her house at this moment, we gave her a call and headed towards Sandstone Falls.  This place is a must see if you are ever in the area.
Sandstone Falls:  Approximately 10 miles from Hinton, WV and down amazing scenic roads are 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.  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.



It was tough to leave this place, but we still had to visit Sharon’s sister.  On the road back, we noticed a small cemetery on a hill and just had to stop.  I love the old cemeteries with worn out headstones.  Even though the cemetery was nice, a small house sitting out in the middle of the prairie caught our eyes.  It was empty, and a bit creepy.  We also heard a weird noise coming from the forest behind the house which gave us chills.  We could not explain what it was.  After we left there, I finally met Sharon’s sister and we had a nice visit.  We did cruise around Hinton and found some places to photograph.  We planned to come back to some of them and get a reading for our next abandoned book.





For the evening, we were invited to her brother’s house for dinner.  It was a wonderful drive through the countryside.  Before we stopped at his home, we made a stop at her brother Scott’s grave.  He died at a young age and she was close to him.  After a wonderful dinner at her brother’s house, we visited her Aunt and headed back to Pipestem in the dark.  She got turned around and we ended up on a dark, two-lane road that winded down inside the forest.  This area has had many Bigfoot sightings so we kept our eyes out for the big fella.  No Bigfoot, but just the end to another eventful day.



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