What’s The Big Deal With Summers County?August 6, 2009
If you go less than 200 miles from home, is that considered a “stay-cation”? If so, and you live in Southern West Virginia, go ahead and sign up for one in Summers County.
Hinton’s there. If you have any interest in railroads, or rivers, or coal mining history, or hot dogs (you know what I’m talkin’ about!) that’s your town. Hinton was a hub in during the coal boom, mainly because 3 major rivers, and as many major rail lines, come together there.
Trivia: Guess which rivers. If you said the Elk, Big Coal, and Kanawha, you’re wrong! And you’re thinking of Charleston. The three rivers that meet in Hinton are the Bluestone, the Greenbrier, and the New.
And, it just so happens that Hinton is also the gateway to some of the coolest outdoor recreation in SWV. That’s saying a lot.
Bluestone State Park
Just minutes down the road from Hinton is Bluestone State Park, at the mouth of the Bluestone River where it joins the New. Actually, that’s all part of Bluestone Lake, being backed up by the Bluestone Dam.
But the park – the park is awesome! Very laid back. Clean. Friendly folks. Lots of space. The cabins are the way to go if you want to be up on the mountain, but there’s a lot of great camping down at the river.
A bonus is the YPP- Young People for Parks program. A naturalist meets up with kids every afternoon and evening to explore part of the park. Check out the bats, find wild mushrooms, go fishing, and on and on. It’s a very cool program for keeping the kids entertained.
Pipestem is a jewel in the crown of the West Virginia State Parks system. The park opens up to a big rolling hill of green grass and tall trees, pushed right up to the edge of the Bluestone River Gorge.
Let’s just say that the picture window in the lodge is a good place to spend about 15 hours watching wildlife. Deer, bear, all kinds of birds. Walk outside and you’re in a painting.
Also, there’s a ton to do. If you have kids, and you want the “park” experience, go there. Archery, interpretive hikes, swimming. Mini golf, not-so mini golf (par 3 course), big golf. Camping, cabins, and two lodges – one’s accessible only by tram.
That’s right. I said tram.
The place is like a perfect mountain getaway, with plenty to do. And plenty to not do. It all depends on what you want.
Bet Summers County has it.