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A Tank of Gas and $20
Stretching Your Vacation Dollars
by Maricia Mlynek


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North Bend State Park,
Ritchie County

The first decision one has to make when touring Ritchie County is what interests you. There is hiking, horseback riding, and cycling along the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail. There is camping, fishing, and boating available on a 305-acre lake. For the antique shopper or historian, there are local artisans, quaint shops, and an opportunity to step back in time around each corner.

From the Old Stone House to the Pennsboro B&O Depot, Ritchie County is more than a one-day trip. Even ghosts are said to haunt some of the rail trails--if you’re brave enough to look. In fact, the steps you take into Ritchie County may be ones you remember forever--so take your time and tread lightly.

For my trip, I again took along my sister Mellody. As I have stated previously, I am on a quest for the great outdoors; thus, my interests were that of nature. The first location I visited was North Bend State Park. Open year round, the park stretches over 2,600 acres of rolling hills along the Hughes River and the lake. There is much to do. Swimming is $3 for adults and $2 for children. Tennis, miniature golf, volleyball courts and basketball courts can all be found. Boating and fishing are great on the lake and there are rental options available at the Cokeley boat ramp.

There are 49 camping and picnic sites available, as well as a 29 guestroom lodge and cabin rentals for those who want an overnight trip. We decided to have lunch in the park lodge. The buffet was $11, and it was very good. I had sweet tea and ribs.

After a fine meal, a hike was due. North Bend offers at least 14 trails varying in length and difficulty. We decided on a short trail because of threatening skies. It was a beautiful piece of countryside. Deer, squirrels, and bluebirds danced along the path as if to ask where we were headed. Any nature enthusiast would love the serene forest and wildlife.

Next, we decided on another trail, but this time on a covered wagon. Hardly Able Carriage Co. offers rides in the park on part of the North Bend Rail Trail. For only $5, I hopped back into the past on an old Conestoga-type wagon pulled by two horses fond of picking up their feet and making me hold on as they trotted along swiftly. Again, the scenic beauty of West Virginia is amazing. It was a peaceful ride and a lovely ending to a nice day.

Believe me when I say there is much more than just nature in Ritchie County. It truly is diverse. Other options are hand blown glass and marbles, Berdine’s Five & Dime, Made in West Virginia gallery, and R.C. Marshall Hardware. All offer tourists some indoor fun too. As for me, I enjoyed spending my day outside.



Area Events:

July 3-5, Gassaway Days and Celebration

July 4, Spencer Fireworks celebration, 10 p.m.

July 4-6, Small Town America Celebration, Town of Clay

July 4-6, Ellenboro Glass Festival

July 5, Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. Ice Cream Social

July 5, Once Blue Bluegrass, North Bend State Park, 7 p.m.

July 6, Russell Ahner/Honorable Mention, North Bend, 7 p.m.

July 10, Mountain Lake Am’theater, Flatwoods, Jake Owen, 7 p.m.

July 11, Lou Mauri Appalachian Clogging, North Bend, 7 p.m.

July 12, Yard Dogs w/Ron Drake, Country Ramblers, Clay, 7 p.m.

July 12, Bil Lepp, Storyteller/Liar, North Bend State Park, 7 p.m.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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