We have been in West Virginia for six days. When we arrived in this hilly forested state on Sunday, all was green. In the past three days autumn has arrived and has become more festive each day. Yellow, gold and orange mingle with green and are brightened here and there with a splash of red. There are more oaks than maples here. The acorns are falling in abundance. The squirrels are happy. So far we have not seen any of them storing golf balls, just acorns. They will have a good winter.
The weather forecasters have been fairly accurate. Most days rain was forecast for three in the afternoon and usually the rain started by then. We only had one completely dry day. We packed for warmer weather than what we have received. We were planning on twenty + Celsius but highs of fifteen to seventeen were the norm. Fortunately we had enough layers that survival was never an issue.
We golfed twice, once here at Lakeview and the second time at Mountainview, both owned by Lakeview Golf Resort. The Lakeview course looked hilly to us, and with much tighter fairways than Cobble Beach. I hit a long putt which stopped beside the hole then we watched my ball roll downhill ten feet. Arghh! I don’t think either of us hit a ball that did not roll sideways after landing.
I preferred the Mountainview course for many reasons. We were able to finish eighteen holes without getting soaked. We gave up on the Lakeview course after fifteen holes as we were both dripping wet. For fair weather golfers, we did extraordinarily well to last fifteen holes. Mountainview was even more hilly in every direction but the fairways were more open and surrounded by beautiful houses, mostly mansions. The views were gorgeous and made me forget that I did not have a chance of making par anywhere; so, I happily hit each ball then searched in the woods and valleys and sometimes I found my ball. We usually walk pulling our clubs, but it was useful to drive a cart. The fairways were long, with significant walks between several holes and steeper slopes than we had in Muskoka. What I liked best was that we had this course to ourselves, no one ahead or behind us.
My brother, John, had recommended that we visit the Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, Fallingwater, near Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. We are really glad we did. We had a very informative humourous guide who gave us the one hour tour. We spent another hour there before and after the tour admiring the grounds and checking out a museum display and gift shop of beautiful art. The twenty-five dollar fee was definitely worth it. A million dollars a year is spent maintaining and restoring this home that was built in 1937 for $155000 when the average house in nearby Pittsburgh was selling for $5000.
Ohiopyle is a lovely village beside the Youghiogheny River with several waterfalls in the area. We visited the Cascades and Cucumber Falls. I am wondering if cucumbers are a local product as I had an enormous six inch pickle with my delicious ham and Swiss sandwich for lunch at the Ohiopyle Bakery. Even with Brian’s help I did not finish the pickle. This is a place to which we should return to explore the 20000 acres of park, on foot, by bike or by whitewater rafting or kayaking.
Back in West Virginia we did some hiking in Coopers Rock State Forest. The Rattlesnake Trail was assessed as “moderate”, but I definitely could not keep up a pace of 4 kilometres per hour, nor would I want to as there were many photo opportunities. A trekking pole or two would have been very helpful. The Henry Clay Furnace trail was a visit to the past and made us Google to learn more about iron furnaces.
Biking 30 kilometres on a rail trail was my undoing. My right knee started to hurt before I had completed half the trail and I was in agony for the last several kilometres. Alongside the Monongahela River where we stopped to check out coal being piled on the other side, a former Texan cyclist stopped to chat with us. It is ironic that he and Brian happily commented that cycling was so much easier on the knees than hiking. As I continue to ice my knee, I am well aware that such comments do not apply to me and my knees.
We can readily recommend the Mountain State Brewing Company for pizza and beer. We had a sampler of five locally brewed offerings and a personal pizza each. We took the advice of our friendly server and both enjoyed our choices. My chicken, spinach and cranberry pizza with a white sauce was delicious and gave us a new option to try out at home. We did not explore evening restaurants as we were so well served by chef Brian at home. The local Kroger store was the beneficiary of our food and alcohol
Our spacious two bedroom, three bath condo at Lakeview Resort was more than adequate and very comfortable. It was only lacking a corkscrew. We were delighted to have brother John arrive by motorcycle to spend an evening with us and make use of the extra bedroom.
We will soon be on our way to Niagara to enjoy Thanksgiving, but we will not soon forget our week in West Virginia whose motto is “Wild and Wonderful”. Next time we will have to venture further southeast into the mountains.