A May 2006 trip
to West Virginia by hagnel2
Quote: More gems in this county of note: The National Radio Telescope Observatory, West Virginian and Irish hospitality at an Inn in Mingo...
Hotel | "Brazen Head Inn. A Touch Of Ireland in W V"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 9, 2006
Brazen Head Inn
Mingo, West Virginia 26294
Hotel | "Smoke Hole Motel"
We didn’t plan on stopping here but we had lingered too long around Elkins and so when we saw the sign for Smoke Hole Caverns and Motel we decided to spend the night.The caverns adjoin the motel, plus there is a large gift shop and restaurant. I enjoyed browsing in the gift shop, the outdoor outfitters had a great selection of good quality jackets, footwear, sweaters and hats at reasonable prices (not made offshore). We also had a very good, soup, veggie sandwich, and salad for dinner, and a light breakfast with excellent coffee. The log cabin façade and its porch blended in beautifully with the rugged landscape. Cabins are individually decorated in the country style. Ours was predominantly blue with vine leafed décor and potpourri around the dresser and bathroom, a very pleasant room. Despite having a highway location it was very quiet and I enjoyed sitting on the long porch admiring the sky and inhaling the forest odours. There were a few motorcyclists in residence, this area seems to attract motorcycle groups and I noted many were in their late 50 ‘s. One couple told us they loved the twisting roads!
The shower enclosure was not w/c accessible and I am not sure if they have rooms with disabled access. The beds were a bit hard but after a full day out we didn’t grumble much. All cabins are air-conditioned and had satellite TV and phone. We didn’t turn on the television and so I am unable comment on reception.Because it was out of season we were able to get a room without reservation, however the manager told me that from Memorial Day onward, reservations are a must. The Motel offers a variety of accommodations including efficiencies and a honeymoon suite with Jacuzzi— there is also a group suite comprising three bedrooms fireplace and full-equipped kitchen. Close by there is the Smoke Hole Log Cabin resort run by the same company; I believe they have individual log cabins and a large pool.
This motel is within easy reach of Blackwater Falls Seneca Rocks and Dolly Sods and would appeal to all outdoor enthusiasts as well as families. We paid $65 for one night not including breakfast and I wouldn’t hesitate to return here again in fact it is on our agenda for the future.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 9, 2006
Smoke Hole Resort
Seneca Rocks, West Virginia
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 9, 2006
Brazen Head Inn
Route 219 Po box 28-A
Mingo, West Virginia
Attraction | "National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Catching Th"
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
PO Box 2
Green Bank, West Virginia 24944
Attraction | "Smoke Hole Caverns."
Smoke Hole Caverns
HC 59 Box 39
Seneca Rocks, West Virginia 26884
This was our second visit to Cass. We passed through in late April and everything was shuttered and closed, however the restored turn of the century depot intrigued us and we subsequently learned from our host at the Brazen Inn some of the history of the place. We returned here at the end of May to find it a beehive of activity.The whole town has been restored to its former glory by the government. Ongoing construction is centered on the old company homes and all are available for rent. To add to its attraction Cass Scenic Railroad (State park designation) operates from the restored depot. Passengers can choose from a variety of trips [see overview], two regular scheduled runs offer a 2-hour ride to Whittaker station, or 5 hours to Spruce or Bald knob. At Whittaker you can take a self guided tour of an old logging camp.We didn’t take the train but intend to do so on our next visit. Instead we wandered around the town, its reconstructed wooden walkways are similar to the actual sidewalks that would have existed at that time. Built from second grade lumber they served to keep townspeople out of the muddy streets.The first building of note is the company store. Built around 1902 this store was the largest company store in the country. Inside you will find a large selection of souvenirs, books and a video commentary describing the train ride and the area. The Museum was closed for lunch in it are photographs and memorabilia of the district; it is a very small building. A large restaurant once part of the loggers dining hall has a full menu of fast foods, homemade pies and sundries. We had a coffee and grilled cheese sandwich there after our walk. All food and drink are served in throwaway plastic! I was very taken with the plastic tablecloth with humorous adverts of the 30s one advert promised dramatic transformation of the breasts showing a plunger and cream! Looked a bit painful to me.The post office is next door to the store; we mailed a few cards and chatted to the old postmistress. She told us the building was previously the meat market, in its day it catered to up to three thousand residents.A short walk from the store brings you to the Cass hotel the hotel was built in 1902 and only "upstanding" folk stayed there. Directly across the river from the hotel other types of businesses thrived running seamy hotels and bars that became known as Dirty Street therefore guests of the Cass Hotel took great pains to point out they were on the "right side of the tracks." This original structure is presently empty it was actually two buildings connected by a two story porch you can still see the door that would have opened to the second story porch.The homes along Main Street look as if they are identical in fact they started out that way. Company workers had the option of buying or renting, buyers usually added porches or additions but the deed of purchase contained a clause that the homes could only be sold back to the company at the exact purchase price. Most of the homes are three or four bedrooms, kitchen dining area and living room. All these homes now rent for the night, day, or week at a cost of around $500 for a four-person house. All come with bedding, fully equipped kitchen, and TV, but no phone—nearest phone is outside the company store.When we arrived in Cass the train was idling in front of Cass depot passengers were boarding for a 5-hour trip to Spruce knob Plumes of thick choking black smoke filled the atmosphere and I thought of the conditions residents of these towns lived battling grimy soot polluted air and a harsh exploited life a far cry from the Cass of today with its pristine river and stunning scenery.