VISIT SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

A Journey to a Simpler Place

Take a journey to a simpler place. Monroe County is a beautiful rural community with breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and friendly people. Monroe County was first settled by Europeans in the 1760s. Its economic basis was and still is agriculture. Monroe’s pride in its farm culture is displayed in beautiful quilt squares on the side of barns across the county.

In the 1800s, Monroe County became famous for its mineral springs. The remains of lavish resorts that once catered to wealthy southerners can still be seen around the country side. In the historic town of Union, one can view historic homes and buildings and learn about Union’s Civil War history.

Oh, and one last thing- there are no traffic lights in the entire county!

Stop 1 – Cheese Store

This is a Mennonite-run store in the quiet community of Gap Mills. People come from all over for this unique store. Inside you will find nuts, cookware, spices, candy, and, of course, cheese. Order a custom made sandwich at the deli counter and enjoy your meal on a bench or table outside along Kitchen Creek. They also sell custom made lawn furniture, wooden playgrounds, and gazebos.

Tips

  • Cell service on top of observatory
  • Use the restroom before you get there- one very run down outhouse available at top of mountain.
  • Bring sunscreen, bug spray, water, and a camera
  • Trail is easy to follow, about .8 miles from the parking lot to the tower

Stop 2 – Cooks Mill

Cook’s Old Mill is a restored grist mill. It is privately owned but this park-like area open to the public. The owners encourage people to come explore and picnic on the grounds. They will open the mill by appointment for tours for mill enthusiasts.

Tips

There are several small Amish communities in the area; you may see a horse and buggy going down the road.

Stop 3 – Hanging Rock

This old Forest Service fire tower on top of Peter’s Mountain is maintained as a bird watching tower. The hike is a moderate, uphill trek through the forest. At the top, enjoy spectacular views of the countryside. You might see a hawk or falcon, too.

Stop 4 – Moncove Lake

This state park has hiking trails, a swimming pool, a lake, hunting, fishing, and camping. The 250-acre park has a 144-acre lake. It’s a quiet, peaceful location in the eastern hills of the state.

Cost

Free to enjoy the park; rental fee for campsite.

Tips

The pool is open in the summer on Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat Sun 11am-6pm

There is no cell service at the park.

Stop 5 – Union

Explore Civil War history in this friendly small town. Start your journey at the Historical Society and Museum. There you can pick up a walking tour brochure.

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