The Randolph Avenue pavement in Elkins is taking a pounding this early morning as a steady stream of buses loaded with band members make their way to town for the Grand Feature Parade lineup. The 76th Mountain State Forest Festival provides its autumn wake-up call.
October welcomes a flurry of travel opportunities as promoters capitalize on the quest to see as many stunning roadside scenes as possible. A number of options confront interested travelers, with prominent routes being U.S. 33 East and West, Route 92 North and South or Interstate 79, particularly south of Weston. No matter which way the vehicle is headed, the tree-turned scenery will not quit. And, if an event would make your trip more exciting, I have some suggestions that should liven things up and ensure a fun-filled day.
After recovering from the Forest Festival concerts, events and carnival rides, prepare for the West Virginia Black Walnut Festival in Spencer. The festival is set for Oct. l0 to 14, with the busiest day being Oct. l3. Pancake breakfasts, arts and crafts, quilts, a parade, ox roast lunches and, of course, black walnut candy and cakes top the sights to see while making the trek less than an hour beyond Glenville.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Bennett Campbell
A nostalgic view of Elkins’s Randolph Avenue as Autumn is welcomed near the old Scottie’s location around 1990.
Should you want to go a different direction that weekend, settle in to Lewisburg Oct. l3 for the annual Taste of our Town food frenzy. Tokens can be purchased for tasty treats throughout the downtown area. A walk through the main street will quickly reveal why it has been designated "The Coolest Small Town in America," with wonderful gift shops, antiques, bakeries, art galleries and natural food stores donning the streets. The trip will seem worth it once the delicacies delight the palate.
On Oct. 20, hop on I-79 to Fayetteville and participate in Bridge Day. For 33 years, adventure-seekers have been meeting at the New River Gorge Bridge to take a dive off its impressive heights. The festivities will begin at 9 a.m., and a chili and cornbread cookoff is available in Fayetteville from 3 to 6 p.m. Visitors will attend from many locations - and please note that you are welcome to come and just watch. No bridge jumps are required.
When returning from this jaunt, one might want to stock up on seasonal commodities at the Amish Bulk Food Store and next door Farmer's Market at the I-79 Flatwoods exit. Pumpkins, mums, Indian corn, apple butter, cheeses and cider are just a few of the special items available. While there, a fresh deli sandwich and tasty coffee can complete a memorable day. Hand-dipped ice cream also will tempt you while you are checking out.
An exciting conclusion to the month might be the Halloween Train at the Cass Railroad. On Oct. 27, the haunted train will dock at Whittaker Station and do a rare night descent back to Cass. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and costumes are encouraged. Call 304-456-4300 for tickets.
As the thermometer dips and our desires rise to a fevered pitch to take that last long trip through the radiant hills before winter snows show up, no matter what direction you take, you will not be disappointed with the colorful displays decorating roadsides.
Charles Kingsley aptly describes what we will experience as "God's handwriting." Pass by the many forests, let their beauty take your breath, and know you are with your maker in wild, wonderful, West Virginia.