Posts Tagged ‘davis wv’

Davis, WV Perfect Any Time of Year

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Here’s a blog post by recent guests Todd, Carrie and Daniel Sechel who visited during one of our least snowy winters…and still found plenty to do and see. You can read more about this incredible traveling family and their worldwide adventures at thesechels.com. Below is their post from March 4, 2017, which proves once again that Davis, WV and the surrounding countryside is beautiful and interesting– every season!

 

We love West Virginia… the relaxed vibe, amazing natural beauty, and really nice people make West Virginia one of our favorite states to visit. Since childhood Todd and I have visited various spots in West Virginia to white-water-raft, hike, enjoy amazing nature, and relax, however we’ve always visited in the traditional peak season (for non-skiers)… June, July, and August. When we were considering routes back from Nags Head, North Carolina on our recent road trip, we remembered this little town in West Virginia that we fell in love with a few years ago… a few days later we were in Davis, West Virginia

So you might be wondering what the heck is in Davis, West Virginia… a state park with great hiking, scenery, and waterfalls, restaurants, breweries, and a fantastic little Inn, and a neighboring town a couple miles away with a funky arts scene. What follows are the details…

Nature and outdoors

Davis, West Virginia is the home of Blackwater Falls State Park… we originally visited Davis so Todd could photograph Blackwater Falls and Elakala Falls… we found that the State Park has a ton to offer…

If you’re a waterfall lover, Blackwater Falls State Park is a must-visit spot. Depending on the time of year and water level, there are many different waterfalls… Blackwater Falls and Elakala Falls are the largest.

In addition to the waterfalls, Blackwater Falls State Park has a number of hiking trails. Some of the trails are especially nice for families because they have shorter options (the short hike to Elakala Falls was one of the first hikes Daniel went on, and enjoyed, when he was 5).

Blackwater Falls State Park has a small lake and on our first visit we rented a rowboat and went fishing.

Our understanding is that when there’s snow Blackwater Falls State Park is a popular spot for cross country skiing and has a large sledding hill. Also, Canaan Valley Resort State Park, about 15 miles from Davis, offers downhill skiing in the winter.

Where to stay

There are multiple great lodging options from camping in the state park to motels to a fantastic B & B that we love…

Blackwater Falls State Park offers a lot… during our first visit to Davis a couple years ago we stayed in a cabin in the state park. We were really pleased with the cabin… a great location in the middle of nature, a small kitchen and living area, one bathroom, and two bedrooms. The state park also offers camping and rooms in the lodge. We didn’t see any rooms in the lodge, but did visit the lodge and understand that it offers traditional motel rooms, a restaurant that’s open all year, and an indoor pool.

During our first visit to Davis we went to Bright Morning Inn for breakfast (Bright Morning has a restaurant that’s open to the public for breakfast a few days a week) and fell in love. The people, food, and vibe were so great that we knew we’d visit again… when we decided to stop in Davis on our road trip we immediately booked the family suite at Bright Morning.

Bright Morning offers a variety of rooms for all different needs. The family suite has two bedrooms, which was perfect for us. The rooms at Bright Morning are very clean, comfortable, and have a cozy feel. We will definitely stay at Bright Morning again!

Great food

Confession… during our two visits to Davis we loved Bright Morning and Sirianni’s Pizza Café so much that we didn’t go anywhere else!

Bright Morning is open to the public for breakfast several days a week depending on the season. Currently, it’s open every day but Tuesday and Wednesday. Bright Morning serves a limited menu to Inn guests on the mornings it’s closed to the public. The full breakfast menu is extensive and includes something for every taste… pancakes, omelets, huevos Rancheros, local granola… I could go on and on…

Sirianni’s Pizza Café has excellent food and a fun and funky vibe. Todd and I both had Greek salads that were super fresh and delicious. Daniel had a pepperoni pizza that he loved and Todd and I had the veggie pizza. If you’re a veggie pizza lover, Sirianni’s is next level… it includes pretty much every veggie you can imagine including broccoli and zucchini.

Though we didn’t go to the other restaurants, we noted a number of options…

If you like breweries, there are 2 in Davis… Stumptown Ales, and Blackwater Brewing Co. Both offer food, but the Stumptown Ales’ menu is very limited. Mountain State Brewing Co. is located between Thomas and Davis.

Hellbender Burritos is a very popular spot… it will be on our list during our next visit!

If you’d like to venture out of Davis and drive a few miles down the street to Thomas, there are more options, including The Purple Fiddle and Tip Top Coffee. We stopped at Tip Top on our way out of town and loved the coffee… we noted that they also have a small bar and offer a number of food items.

Music and art

Susan, our host at Bright Morning, shared some great information about Davis and its neighboring town, Thomas… the towns each have their own vibe, but together offer a great mix of lodging, breweries, and restaurants (Davis), and arts and music (Thomas).

The Purple Fiddle, in Thomas, has live music multiple times a week. Susan noted that it’s a popular spot for bands to stop for a show while traveling between east coast and mid-west venues, and they get some well-known acts. Our understanding is that The Purple Fiddle is a family friendly venue, which is sometimes hard to find for live music lovers… we’re looking forward to seeing a show at The Purple Fiddle the next time we visit the area!

We didn’t have a chance to check out any of the shops or galleries in Thomas, but loved the art displayed in Tip Top when we stopped for coffee.

Getting there

Davis is about 5 hours south east of the Cleveland area. The drive is pretty straightforward for the first 4 hours (the turnpike and other freeways). The last hour is a beautiful drive through the winding roads and hills of West Virginia… probably more enjoyable for the passengers than the driver!

On this visit we came in from North Carolina… from the east almost the entire drive is on a new freeway. Our understanding is that the freeway will be connected to another point to the west and at some point the twisting and winding route from the west will no longer be necessary (although I prefer it!).

Wrapping it up

Davis, Thomas, and Blackwater Falls State Park are great places to visit no matter what time of year it is! We’ll be back!

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Ta-dum…Ta-dum…It’s getting closer. Corridor H that is.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

There’s nothing like a shiny new highway to brighten the eyes of developers and land speculators. And in West Virginia, the newest of all new highways is Route 48, an east-west thorofare that when complete will link I-79 in central WV with I-81 and the Shenandoah Valley. And it’s already caused a few land booms (and busts) along the way.
The road has been in the works for many years, as part of a system of needed “corridors” identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The plan was to improve transportation infrastructure in this most tortuous of states, and it has largely succeeded.
This year, finally, Corridor H (as it’s known locally) is almost at Davis and Thomas. It’s an impressive undertaking, as it cuts through the mountains from Wardensville, past Moorefield, and up the Allegheny Front to this high plateau we call home. It passes through green rolling pastures, craggy rock outcroppings (with picturesque goats!) and foggy crests.
Will it bring in more tourists? Probably. It certainly makes the drive easier (and a bit faster) for travelers from Washington, DC and helps locals driving to distant jobs, airports and shopping expeditions.
Will it get finished? There are still gaps, including an important crossing of the Blackwater Canyon and a stretch in Virginia that may be years from completion.
Will we all get rich? That remains to be seen. It will require tough decisions to shape growth and development in a way that benefits everyone. But if we’re lucky, we will be able to preserve what is worthwhile about this beautiful area while improving our economy. Stay tuned!

It’s Official: Blackwater Bikes Changes Hands

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Downtown Davis Gets A Fresh New Look

Downtown Davis Gets A Fresh New Look


After weeks of speculation it’s finally official: Blackwater Bikes, the well-known bike shop in downtown Davis, WV has a new owner — and he’s getting the sign repainted!
The little shop on Route 32 has been the center of mountain biking activity in the region for many years and a sponsor of numerous rides and races. The shop has an impressive history. The new owner, Rob Stull, replaces Roger Lily, who took over from Gary Berti and Matt Marcus, who bought the place from Laird Knight, who founded the shop in 1982. Whew! All were and are dedicated mountain biking riders and enthusiastic champions of the sport.
Laird’s company, Granny Gear Productions, was nationally known for mountain bike promotions and founded the popular 24 Hours of Canaan race, which was scuttled after the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge eliminated many of the valley’s trails.
The shop is well located in downtown Davis, sandwiched between Sirianni’s Cafe and the Bright Morning Inn, and a stone’s throw from Hellbender Burritos.
Rob will continue selling bikes and gear, running rentals, servicing equipment, and sponsoring rides and races in the area, including the upcoming Canaan MTB Festival June 18-21. And he wants to hear from riders about how they would like to see the shop evolve. His first act, besides giving the place a good sweep, has been to freshen up the peeling paint on the shop’s sign and post his new summer hours: Mon-Sat 10-5 and Sunday 10-4.

Hunting Chaga in the West Virginia Woods

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Chaga looks like blackened wood, or charcoal, when attached to the tree

Chaga looks like blackened wood, or charcoal, when attached to the tree

When pried from the tree the underside of the chaga is a rich yellowish orange

When pried from the tree the underside of the chaga is a rich yellowish orange


It’s a mushroom, it’s a fungus, it’s a parasite. It’s chaga, and it’s plentiful in the northern mountains of West Virginia. Known for it’s medicinal properties, chaga is brewed into tea that some people believe will boost your immune system and fight cancer. I have no experience with that. But I do know it’s fun to hunt, fun to collect and when you drink it, it tastes like the forest.
Chaga grows on yellow birch trees found in northern forests. Here in the woods surrounding Davis, WV, such trees are numerous.
The bark of yellow birch trees isn’t really yellow, more like a dull greyish green. But it’s clearly papery and birch like, and relatively easy to spot. The trees are also found in the woods ringing the Canaan Valley, in Dolly Sods and in much of the Monongahela Forest.
Hunting for chaga requires patience and persistence, and a few tools, as it has to be pried from the tree. To brew into tea, the flesh is then dried and ground into powder, or, if you’re lazy, small chunks can simply be steeped in hot water (not boiled). This is the preferred method of local folks, who have turned many people onto chaga over the years. The resulting brew is an excellent tonic after skiing or exercise. It makes you feel refreshed, and connected to nature somehow. Maybe it’s just the hydration, who knows.
There’s much to be learned on the internet about chaga, if you’re interested. But the most important thing to know is that getting out in the woods, whether hunting for chaga or not, is always good for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus

Stumped by the Skunks in Davis, WV

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Two young skunks playing in the park in Davis, WV

Beautiful young white skunk grubbing for insects in my backyard

You’d think that creatures this adorable would be more than welcome in downtown Davis, WV, home to wildlife lovers, hunters and hikers of every persuasion. But these guys are creating not a stir, but a stink. They are part of a band of four young skunks that have taken up residence in the brush along our Riverfront Park.

As wildlife goes, these skunks are picture perfect. Two are all white with black faces and paws, the others classically marked with black and white stripes. They’re fluffy and playful and fun to watch as they grub in the dirt or slurp water from puddles in the alley. The problem is they are doing all of this smack in the middle of a park, and our town’s popular dog-walking grounds at that!

Several local dogs have been skunked so far, so the word’s gotten out quickly among the dog walkers. But yesterday, one showed up on the sidewalk in front of Hellbenders Burritos, right across from Blackwater Bikes, and prime tourist grounds.

There’s something wonderful about watching these playful young skunks from the safe vantage point on my back deck. They remind us we’re sitting at the edge of a magnificent forest filled with wild animals –even when they’re as fluffy and adorable as these!

Majestic Wind Turbines Near Thomas, WV

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

The ridge just north of Thomas, WV, which we call Backbone Mountain, has been lined with Wind Turbines for nearly ten years. They’re a bone of contention for some, who question their adverse affect on wildlife, in this case the many varieties of bats who soar the night skies zapping insects. It’s a serious issue, as bats are endangered on many fronts.

But for purely visual spectacle, the turbines themselves are awe inspiring. Bold, white, quietly slicing through the sky, they are more beautiful than most public sculpture, and much more useful.

The electricity these turbines generate goes into the grid and is sold to people in the cities who want to do good and think that buying wind power, even if it costs more, is a good thing.

I’m still conflicted about the issue. I love the turbines, but am awfully fond of the bats, too. Let’s hope the clever scientists who invented these things will get with the biologists and devise a way to lessen the impact on wildlife. In the meantime I will continue to send guests who visit the Inn  up the road to photograph and marvel at the power of human engineering.

Forty four wind turbines line the ridges of Backbone Mountain near Thomas WV

Apple Blossom Time in Davis, WV

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

It’s hard to believe that Davis, WV was once a boomtown, with nearly 5000 people and two streets lined with stores. It was a prosperous and busy place filled with boardinghouses, like the Bright Morning Inn, a fine hotel or two, a tannery and lumbermill and, of course, a railroad running right along the Blackwater River.

Nowadays it’s mostly gone…the town has dwindled to around 500 residents and there are just a handful of shops and restaurants, mostly catering to tourists. But we do have remnants of those good ol’ days– lots and lots of old apples trees. Sometimes I think Davis is an apple orchard pretending it’s a town, they’re that ubiquitous. And now, in early May, they are in glorious pinky white bloom.

The old railway bed along the new Riverfront Park is lined with apple trees, and they’re in nearly every yard. And if you north drive to Thomas, or south to Canaan Valley you’re struck by the beautiful display.

Apples aren’t gathered and treasured the way they used to be, when Davis residents needed apples for pies and sauces.  Now you’ll mostly see them strewn across the roads or alleys, rotting on the ground, an offering to deer and other critters.

But in early May, when in their blooming glory, they remind us of how rich this funny little mountain town really is, and how giving these trees have been to us these many years.

Blooming apples in Davis, WV: Remembrance of Things Past



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