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The Summersville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “A Day in Every Direction” itinerary (http://www.summersvillecvb.com/itineraries.html) presents visitors with quite a challenge, one that can turn a day, a weekend or a week into a Summersville WV family vacation. Accommodations meet any budget and include cabins ranging from rustic to luxurious, camping under the stars or in one of the new yurts, or one of seven different hotels. Restaurants range from fast food to fine dining. While you are here, visit a winery or check the schedule for one of the many festivals, go boating on West Virginia’s largest clear water lake, sip a cool one at a local bar, visit some historical sites, or play a round of golf. That’ll get you started. Kirkwood Winery is one of the many attraction in Summersville, which is soaked in rye whisky and history. The winery dates to the immigration of the Facemire family from Germany to Philadelphia in 1752 and its migration to what was then western Virginia and later Summersville. Rodney Facemire started the Kirkwood Winery, using his family’s brewing history and technique, in the 1970s. He died a few years ago and left the winery to his half brother Shirley Morris. Shirley and his wife, Brenda, have run it since and they make 30 wines, moonshine, rye, brandy and 9-year-old small-batch bourbon. The winery also has a mini-distillery. Brenda says tours are conducted for anybody who drops by, and you can take a group in for wine and snacks at $6 a head. “We do about 25-30 wine festivals a year,” says Brenda. The festivals cover West Virginia from this central location.
Try out the sample itinerary:
Day 1–Summersville Lake is the heart and soul of the region, featuring camping, kayaking, climbing the wondrous cliffs, jet skiing and scuba diving. West Virginia’s largest lake accommodates those in the fast lane and those on inner tubes with equal aplomb. The lake is for those with a day or a week to spend and itâ€™ll keep you busy regardless of your time strictures. After a day at the lake, enjoy dinner at Long Point Grill & Bar, the home of the best oven baked pizza and calzones.
Day 2—Nicholas County is crisscrossed with picturesque hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic areas, featuring West Virginia’s mountain wonderland summer or winter. The lighthouse on Summersville Lake and the Carnifax Ferry Battlefield State Park will occupy hours with their fascinating stories. Save time for ice cream at Fat Eddie’s!
Day 3–Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Golf Course and the Cherry River Course are challenges to the best duffer or one-handicapper, and if you’re not up for the entire course, you can putt-putt a game at Mountain Lake Campground. Then cool down. at the Summersville Lake beach or beside the pool at Veterans Memorial Park. Enjoy dinner at Cafe Acropolis and dive into the best authentic Greek food in the state. Each dish prepared by the owner.
Day 4–Take a tour and enjoy some wine tasting at Kirkwood Winery and then spend the afternoon browsing the many shops for unique gifts and souvenirs. Take a lunch break at Maloney’s Sports Pub & Grill in downtown Summersville where you will also find a unique Quilt Shop and an old fashioned store, Hardman’s Hardware.
Day 5–Branch out and enjoy the world famous New River Gorge Bridge or maybe some zip lining, white water rafting, or Bridgewalk. Enjoy another great dinner in one of the many dining options. Be sure and check the schedule for a list of festivals. June brings the Goldwing Riders Association, WV Quilt Festival, and the annual Music in the Mountains Bluegrass Festival which is scheduled June 25-28 at the Summersville Music Park. This is a premier festival with a variety of foods and activities and premier acts like Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Dailey & Vincent, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Goldwing Express, The Marksmen and Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver. The Nicholas County Fair is in July and the Cherry River Festival is the July28-August 2. September is full of festivals, including Gauley Fest, the Craigsville Fall Fest, the Grape Stompin Festival and the Nicholas County Potato Festival.
Regardless of which of the directions you choose (and you can choose as many as you want) you’ll find ways to be as busy or as relaxed as you choose in Summersville. Call the Summersville Convention & Visitors Bureau for a free Visitors Guide and a coupon for a free tee shirt or visit www.summersvillecvb.com.
What began with Summersville, WV Mayor Robert Shafer enjoying a play in Lewisburg has led to experiments with dinner theater at the Summersville Arena. August will see two productions, including one for children, and CVB Director Marianne Taylor is hoping this becomes a regular feature. In 2013 the Greenbrier Valley Theatre brought its production of “Smoky Joe’s Cafe” to the Arena and attracted 326 people, an impressive opening night by any accounting. “We were hoping for 300,” says Taylor, “so we were quite pleased.” The Greenbrier Valley Theatre will be back in 2014 on Aug. 7 for the children’ production of “Stuart Little” and on Aug. 16 for “Stand By Your Man” (the Tammy Wynette story). The Greenbrier Valley Theatre has been active since 1966, when it began life in a tent. It moved into its permanent home in Lewisburg in 2000 and is now reaching out with its shows, something regional professional theaters often do. Deanna Altizer and her husband Ken went to the production last year and were so taken with the overall experience that “I need three tables so far for the next one. We’re excited. That was one of the best events I’ve been to at the arena. The crowd was jolly, everybody was happy, the food was great, even the decor was beautiful. The performance itself was unreal.” The dinner theater setup at Summerville Arena features large round tables that seat six (groups of six or more can reserve whole tables) in front of the standard-sized stage. The adult production begins with dinner at 6:15 p.m. and the show at 7:30. The children’s dinner begins at 6 with the show at 7. Prices are $50 per person ($47 for seniors) for the adult show and $15 for adults and $10 for children for the children’ theater show. Adults can see the show without buying dinner for $28 and $25. The adult menu will feature two entrees, salad, two sides, homemade rolls and dessert. Children will eat chicken fingers, fries and drinks. Mayor Shafer says he is happy we were able to bring that kind of production to a rural community such as ours. “It’s normally something we’d have to travel to a larger locality to see. Overall, the production was excellent and we had a great time.” Taylor says there is some hope that this series will become a regular thing because “people here really enjoy the arts. We aren’t the stars in this, so I don’t know if you can call it our own. But the locals show up, in any case.”
“Summersville Lake WV,” says Tony Benton who’s been boating on it for 30 years, “is a sort of paradise right here in the mountains.” You’ll hear a lot of that tone around the lake as visitors and residents enthusiastically play on what’s been called “the most beautiful Corps of Engineers project” in the country and which Skin Diving magazine called “the Bahamas of the East” and “the clearest, cleanest lake in the U.S. This is a pristine lake built in 1967 with 65 miles of shoreline, a 13-mile diameter at one point and 320-feet depth at its dam base. The surface temperature during recreation months ranges from a chilly 70 degrees to a swimmer-comfortable 85 degrees. Summersville Lake WV is the largest lake in West Virginia. That temperature, clarity and expanse has created a recreational center for those who dive or snorkel, ski or boat, swim or fish. There is even rock climbing on the 75-foot cliffs towering over Summersville Lake. While the lake is the centerpiece in Summersville, the New and Gauley rivers offer a level of whitewater excitement rarely seen elsewhere in the United States. The New River Gorge is often called The Grand Canyon of the East when water is high in the spring. Summer levels open the experience to a wider variety of adventurer, but the Upper Gauley is often thought of as one of the two most difficult technical whitewater experiences in the country. The Summersville area is primarily supported by the coal and timber industries, says Bucky Frame, president of Community Trust Bank, but recreational waterways have certainly been a boost to the economy. Frame is an avid pontoon boater (“I’ve had boats since 1975 and am on my fourth.”) who enjoys the long, slow expanses of the lake where “we can float and cook burgers and hotdogs, maybe do a little fishing.” Frame says he has a reputation of being generous in taking visitors out on his boat, “but I just love doing it, showing off the lake. I get more out of it than they do.” In recent years, says Mark Allen, who runs Sarge’s Dive Shop and the Summersville Lake Marina, there have been dustups over tournament overfishing on Summersville Lake and clear cutting in the wooded areas around the compound, but the recreational value of the lake is only emphasized when it is threatened. The bass tournaments consistently draw large crowds to the lake. Benton says Summersville Lake presents the perfect setting for gatherings of his four-generation family, which is based at his home in Summersville, about three miles from the Lake. “We do it all here,” he said, “We fish, swim, ski. My whole family has been raised on the lake.”The 63-year-old who is originally from Kinston, N.C., says weekends on the lake”are busy, but weekdays are nice and calm.” He has a boat docked at Summersville Marina where the family often stays overnight and can recreate in nice calm water. There are six no-wake zones on the lake where families can play, he says. Allen, whose companies conduct swim, snorkel and dive classes and conduct lake tours, talks of the popularity of the lovely Long Point Cliff area, the most popular spot on the lake. It is an icon for the lake.â€ Climbers climb the rocks and divers go as deep as 100 feet below the surface to study the boulders, stumps and fish. Boats of all descriptions float the lake from kayaks and canoes to paddle boards, house boats, jet skis and other powered and non-powered boats. The area is surrounded by four camping areas, 20 cabins and a number of motels and eateries in Summersville, says Allen. “A family can recreate all day on a boat on the lake for about $375,” says Allen, “and they can stay in a motel nearby for about $65 a night. It’s a heck of a deal.”
- Mannington’s Old-Fashioned 4th Hog Call Contest – 16 & under
- Tin Can Body Bowling – adults & children
- White Trash bag Relay Race – kids
- Armpit Serenade (Merican Idol) – 16 & under
- Cake walk
- Antique engine display
- Cornhole tournament
- sky lantern ceremony
- Fairview’s celebration parade @ 10am
- Community Band, FSU Academy for the Arts guest speaker Mr. Jim Slade, music from Kingdom Calling, Kennedy Barn String Band and Jenna Won’t Sing
- fireworks @ 10 pm
- FairmontsS Red, white & BOOM!
- Mama Corn, 4:15 pm.
- The Marshall Lowry Band, 5:30 pm.
- Katie Ohh (from NBC’s “And the Winner Is”), 7 pm.
- American Idol Josh Gracin, 8:30 pm.
- Fireworks, 10 pm.
What started as a lighthearted joke a few years ago, has evolved into the Summersville Lake Lighthouse, a joke no more. This is a 105-foot-7-inch, 72,000-pound, 10-story, full-beam lighthouse on the shores of the lake, and it is one of the region’s highlight tourist destinations, gaining ground on the New River Gorge Bridge. This is the coast of West Virginia. The big, metal lighthouse, which started life as the base for one of those huge windmills that dot the countryside, was built by high school students and a legion of community volunteers over five years, cost half a million dollars and brought the community together in a spectacular way. Tourists, who pay $7 to enter, can climb the metal, student-designed stairs to a viewing ledge that gives a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountain region. Steve Keblesh, the lighthouse’s unofficial keeper, launches into a tale about the lighthouse, full of enthusiasm, detail and fascination for a project that could easily not have happened except for sheer providence. A fierce storm broke a windmill base waiting to be erected, making it unusable. A local group wanted it, and the windmill company handed it over rather than absorb the expense of shipping it out to be melted. The 72,000-pound, 100-foot tower section was moved, the lighthouse designed and built — all by the community. “We had hundreds of volunteers,” says Keblesh. “They gave time, products, materials, space, expertise, everything. We could not have done this without them. The high school students came from vocational programs at rival schools in Nicholas and Fayette Counties, but they worked together, cutting and welding, bolting and building. The 122 stairs came in pieces and stair steps were sold to the public to help with financing. This unique learning venue won students five scholarships over the course of the project. The construction took four years and it went up with a beacon from an old airport across the lake as its light. The national lighthouse director was here recently,” says Keblesh, and he was impressed with how accurate everything was. That accuracy was crucial because it’s important to lighthouse enthusiasts, which Keblesh found coming out of the woodwork.”They didn’t want something fake,”ays Keblesh. “They wanted steps to the gallery deck, overlooking water, the proper beacon, a realistic color scheme. We went through many designs before deciding on the classic, iconic look.” An innovative recycling project, the lighthouse is a pristine sentry for Summersville Lake and those who come to enjoy it on a daily basis.
You have an event, a vacation, a weekend getaway or a business retreat coming up and you want something new, a bit out of the way, but with plenty to do. Shhhh. Have we got a recommendation for you! It’s Summersville, WV, in the south-central part of the state, 87 miles east of the capital of Charleston.
Here’s what you get in Summersville:
The largest clear-water lake in the state, Summersville Lake with 60 miles of shoreline and almost 2800 acres of water and 20-45 feet visibility;
- Boating, kayaking, jet skiing, fishing and scuba diving on Summersville Lake—visit Sarge’s Dive Shop and the Summersville Marina for rentals;
- Hiking and biking trails with opportunities to see beautiful foliage, wildlife and even a places for picnics;
- Challenging rock climbing and rappelling offering breathtaking scenery;
- Relax and swim at the manmade beach at Summersville Lake;
- Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State park—the site of a Civil War Battle that allowed West Virginia to proceed ahead with statehood;
- A lighthouse overlooking the lake—climb the steps to the top for the most breathtaking view of Summersville Lake;
- Golf on one of two courses–Nicholas Veterans Memorial Golf Course or at Cherry Hills Country Club;
- Multiple festivals throughout the year, including the Mt. Nebo St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Feast of the Ramson, Music in the Mountains Bluegrass Festival, WV Quilt Festival, Nicholas County Fair, Cherry River Festival, Nicholas County Potato Festival, Craigsville Fall Fest, Gauley Fest and the Grape Stomping Festival;
- Located near three Interstate highways (77, 79, 64), as well as major Eastern U.S. population centers â€¢ Great hiking in the Monongahela National Forest, located 30 miles away in Richwood;
- Hotels, cabin rentals, campsites and restaurants for visitors with impressively low rates;
- A winery and distillery;
- Shops for antiquing and primitives;
- The towering and world-famous New River Gorge Bridge, 20 minutes away;
- Two nationally-ranked whitewater rivers nearby: the New and the Gauley Rivers
Regardless of the season, this easily accessible R&R center is built for the requirements of the tourist, weekend activist, history buff or just those looking for some place beautiful to visit. Visit our website for more information and to see our suggested itineraries for your visit. Print the coupon on our website and bring it to our Visitor’s Center for a free tee shirt. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-716-0448. We look forward to your visit!