Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
by two cruisers
November 23, 2007
From journal Ohio-W.VA Wanderings
, West Virginia
May 22, 2004
Across from a travel plaza on I-77 near its intersection with I-64 at Beckley, Tamarack is
a "must stop." Signs announce its approach 30-40 miles out. The round red roof of
"mountain peaks" is distinctive. We have friends who exhibit there, so we stayed long
enough to find their goods, a goal which necessitated circumnavigating the ring-shaped
building twice. Resting by the exit after our first round, we heard reinforcement for our
own incredulity: "Can you believe those prices?"
I’m not one to begrudge an artisan’s "just do" and expect to pay triple for "handmade."
Still, I was shocked. Turning to small clothing items was no help either, as a shawl for
$130 was woven with acrylic fiber. Other tags revealed "polyester." I had
thought an unwritten law forbid artificial fabrics and "handmade" from marrying in any
I had to find two $10 gifts and succeeded in the foods and dried flowers sections. There
are also candles, leather, jewelry, stained glass, rustic furniture, quilts (some $1,400),
metal sculptures, paintings on slate, and more. I admired pottery, Fenton art glass, and
etched crystal, huge displays each. Aside from Fenton Factory Outlet near Parkersburg,
this may be the place to buy that name, as the selection is large. Most other items are
made by independent craftspeople.
My favorite department is Food Court--no ordinary one, but a cafeteria sectioned into
deli, grill, and bakery, all run by Greenbrier, recognized for decades as best gourmet
restaurant in the state. Fried green tomato sandwiches, WV rainbow trout, Greenbrier
peaches, and spicy chili are specialties. My catfish sandwich was good, but . . . breaded.
Again, the marriage astounded me! (Grill-gourmet-breaded?) The bakery presented
none of this incongruity. (I must eventually sample every item.) This time, I passed
bread pudding with cinnamon sauce, several nut and "chess" pies, and cheese cakes for
key lime pie. Jimmy Buffet, eat your heart out! I didn’t find it this good in the
keys and will remember it as best ever, deliciously tart and authentic.
Circling back to the exit, I smiled at "Grandma" in the swing while bug sculptures
nodded their heads and tails. We could see a potter and other artisans hard at work in
their glass-fronted studios. Tamarack is referred to as "the best of West Virginia." I have
to agree that it is the best rest stop along the most amazing superhighway
any state offers. Famous for scenic overlooks and outdoor sports, southern West Virginia
has another traffic-stopper: Tamarack.
From journal Mountain Hoppin' with Plenty o' Stoppin'