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West Virginia Cabins Day Trips
We know, we know. You’re really enjoying your stay at Carnifex Ferry Cottages, but you know there’s more out there. Maybe you’ve just got this uncontrollable urge to shop, or learn more about the area and its history. Well, we’ve come to the rescue again. We’ve put together some fun “Day Trips” for your enjoyment. You won’t have to visit hotels, motels, and the local greasy spoon to find brochures that leave you a little unsure of what to expect. Neither will you have to trust the travel agent at the other end of that toll free number in New York telling you what looks good (they’re actually looking to see which attractions pay the biggest commissions). We’ve lived in this area all our lives, and if we don’t know what’s worth the price of admission, then no one does.
To view the Day Trips, just click on a yellow panel below to expand it and display information about that trip. Clicking the panel again will close it. Enjoy!
Day Trips Photo Gallery
Babcock State Park
"Babcock State Park offers you 4,127-acres of serene, yet rugged beauty, replete with waterfalls, a fast flowing trout stream in a boulder strewn canyon, and mountainous vistas to be viewed from several scenic overlooks.” That’s how the brochure starts out, and every bit is true. This is one of the most beautiful parks in the country. Visit the park from late spring through early summer and you’ll be treated to a colorful display of wildflowers, especially two varieties of rhododendron.
The rustic administration building offers a good starting point for a tour of the park. A restaurant and commissary are located in this building as well as the park headquarters. Directly across the stream from the admin building parking lot is the Glade Creek Grist Mill, one of the most photographed spots in the state park system. Take the “Island in the Sky” trail to get a bird’s eye view of the gorge where the mill and headquarters are located.
After the hike, relax and catch your breath at the Glade Creek Grist Mill. It is a “new” mill that was completed in 1976. Fully operational, the mill was created by combining parts and pieces from several old mills which once dotted the state. A living monument to the over 500 mills which thrived in West Virginia at the turn of the century, the Glade Creek Grist Mill provides freshly ground cornmeal and buckwheat flour which park guests may purchase.
After hiking the trail and visiting the mill you’ll find plenty of other recreational opportunities to round out your day. The park recreation area features volleyball and tennis courts, badminton, croquet, basketball, shuffleboard, horseshoes and ping pong. A nominal fee is charged for all recreational facilities. Adjacent to the recreation area, you will find plenty of outdoor grills, picnic tables and playgrounds.
Paddle and row boats are available for rent at the marina on Babcock’s 19-acre Boley Lake. Good fishing can be found in the lake as well as in the streams running through the park. There is a modern pool for swimming.
Throughout the summer, a park naturalist conducts nature tours, slide and movie presentations, special sports activities and get-togethers. Hikers can explore over 20 miles of trails that wind through the park. Guided horseback rides are offered at the park stables during the summer season, as well as pony rides for youngsters..
Motoring the Monongahela National Forest
This is a 43-mile (after reaching Richwood) day trip on the Highland Scenic Highway, a beautiful corridor through West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest and the Cranberry Wilderness area. Begin your trip in Richwood on State Rt. 39/55 for 21 miles to the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center. Then turn onto State Rt. 150 for the 22 mile Parkway section. The highway traverses the mountainous terrain of the Allegheny Highlands and Plateau, and rises from Richwood, elevation 2325 feet, to over 4,500 feet along the Parkway. Bring your camera, and pack a picnic lunch--you’re gonna love this!
Stop 1) The Falls of Hills Creek Scenic Area
Stop 2) The Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center
Stop 3) Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
Other Stops--Scenic Overlooks
The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
About 45 minutes south of your cabin is Beckley, WV. Beckley is known as “The city with a mine of its own,” for good reason. It’s home to a restored mine that was operated by the Phillips Family in the late 1800’s. Visitors ride a “man trip” car guided throughout the mine by veteran miners for an authentic view of low seam coal mining from its earliest manual stages to modern mechanized operation. Fifteen-hundred feet of underground passages have been restored for this attraction.
While you’re there take a trip through their museum which features displays of mining photos form coal companies in West Virginia, and artifacts used by the early miners. You should also take a few steps back in time and discover what is was like living in a coal company house in the coal camps of West Virginia. The city of Beckley has also preserved an old coal town mansion once owned by the coal baron, Samuel Dixon.
Next, visit the “Coal Life” exhibit. This exhibit won acclaim at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN, and during a tour of West Virginia. Now on view in uptown Beckley, the exhibition offers a hands on look at the social and cultural dimensions of coal mining. You’ll see a deep mine during the handloading era, and early coal community, company store, and explore the rich coal history of West Virginia.
Before leaving visit the Wildwood House Museum, housed in the historic home of General Alfred Beckley, founder of the city and Raleigh County. It was built in 1836 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Shop West Virginia Made
If shopping is your poison, you will find some of the most original and unusual anywhere when you shop in some of the unique establishments of Southern West Virginia. Start your trip in Beckley and work your way back to the Driftwood Lodge or the Carnifex Ferry Cottages.
Start your shopping extravaganza at Tamarack, in Beckley West Virginia. Tamarack is called the best of West Virginia because it has it all under one roof. This 59,000-square foot complex houses “West Virginia Made” products and crafts, “A Taste of West Virginia” food court, craft demonstrations, theater, gallery and a nature trail. It is located off I-77/64, exit 45.
On your way back to your cabin, stop in Oak Hill to visit Sherry’s Junction. There you can find arts, crafts, quilts, baskets, antiques, cake candles, tins and primitives. Listen to folk music while browsing the shop, including their year-round Christmas room. Sherry’s is located at 135 Richards Street, in Oak Hill.
Gallery On The Gorge is another fascinating stop on your shopping safari. It’s a 1200-square foot “seek and find” gift shop located in a country home setting. They offer a unique blend of arts, crafts, clothing, and jewelry. The gallery offers many locally handcrafted works of art. The Gallery is located 1/2 mile north of the New River Gorge Bridge and the National Park Service Visitors Center on Rt. 19. From Rt. 19, turn onto Lansing Rd. It is 1/4 mile on the left.
Hawk's Nest State Park
Hawks Nest encompasses 276-acres bordering a rugged section of the New River Gorge National River. From the lodge, visitors are treated to spectacular views of the lake, marina, New River Gorge Bridge, and the exciting aerial tramway which serves the lakeside recreational facilities.
Start your trip at the lodge and enjoy the canyon rim vistas. Be sure to bring your camera! Go to the tram office and purchase tickets for a jet-boat trip on the New River for an up-close look at the New River Gorge Bridge, all 876 feet of it! Have some lunch at the lodge while you wait for your jet-boat trip time. Then proceed to the tram for a scenic ride down the gorge to the marina. Please be on the tram 15 minutes before your jet-boat trip time. Proceed to the dock and climb on board “Miss M Rocks.” Your captain will take you upstream on the world’s second oldest river to view one of the highest, longest bridges of its type, anywhere. Allow 1-hour for your adventure. Note: The tram and jet-boat operate daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends in May and September, and daily through the last weekend in October. The tram and jet-boat are closed on Mondays, except holidays.
Upon returning, go to the park’s historic section, high above the canyon and main overlook. Here, you will find the park’s museum. Admission is free! The museum is open daily from April 1st to November 1st.