When fresh blackberry cobblers are bubbling in our ovens, highways are lined with black-eyed Susans and cicadas dominate outdoor serenades, West Virginians know summer is nearing an end.
With only a month to enjoy water activities, the Cheat Lake area deserves mention as a good choice for a Mountain State Mini (a three-day wild, wonderful West Virginia vacation). Let's get on our waterskis and take a tour of this recreation area under a two-hour drive north of Elkins beyond Morgantown on Interstate 68.
While usually very busy, one can get lost in this lake's largeness. Boating is boss on Cheat Lake. Whether sunbathing, swimming, fishing or skiing, do plan to do a lot of floating in this area.
Photo by Shannon Bennett Campbell
Cheat Lake near Morgantown sports water galore and is a popular stop for boating enthusiasts.
Marinas are plentiful with places for quick sandwiches and snacks, and despite the lack of rain we have had in some areas, water levels here allow for normal activity.
If one desires variety during the visit, just next door is the well-known Lakeview Resort equipped with an exceptional golf course, an indoor pool and superb dining.
Sightseers will want to drift a couple miles up the road to Cooper's Rock State Forest that owns one of the finest canyon views in all of West Virginia. Picnic tables are plentiful and the cool shade will be welcome on any of this summer's hot afternoons.
While you may imagine you are in an isolated region with hills and trees on all sides, only five miles away is Bruceton Mills where vacationers can easily spend hours shopping and sampling sweet treats.
Its Millstone Restaurant offers 12 hand-dipped ice cream flavors. Fresh-made iced cinnamon rolls and raspberry, blueberry and apple scones fill its pastry shelf. Any kind of sandwich is available with fresh-ground coffee that is unusually good.
Next door is Hostetler's Country Store where a variety of gifts and West Virginia souvenirs are stocked. And, nearby, the Bruceton Antique Mall will take your eye offering an expansive array of old items that collectors will find intriguing.
If you find yourself tiring during your Bruceton trip, a relaxing seat is available beside the town's very beautiful waterfall where postcards can be prepared for friends or for mapping your next stop.
After a long day, you might want to return to the lake area and dine at Ruby and Ketchy's, a well-known grill where home-cooked suppers are a specialty and certainly easy on the wallet. The full-service establishment also is open for tasty breakfasts with buckwheat cakes and sausage in season.
We know that the Morgantown area has shopping malls and many places to dine, but if you want to spend a weekend outside the loop of busy traffic, West Virginia University students and long lines, enjoy a Cheat Lake adventure. The entire family will appreciate this outing before another school year begins.
At some time during my public schools career, I came upon a quote I have held as being very true. "You never waste a minute when you spend it on a child." An introduction of the family to this wonderful water get-away will remain in their minds as a West Virginia scenic wonder worthy of exploration and memorable in their early Mountain State experiences.