Morgantown Stories and Tips

Lakeview Resort and Conference Center on Cheat Lake

The Drive to the Lodge Photo, Morgantown, West Virginia

Lakeview Resort began as a swank private golf club with members all the way to Georgia. Then it was a Sheraton Resort--one that for some reason couldn’t give Preferred Guest points! At present, it is affiliated with some small hotel chain I’ve never heard of, but the affiliation doesn’t matter. Lakeview is Lakeview to locals, and we’re glad it is here, because it’s a special place to go.

It’s the best place around for a lavish Sunday brunch. For $13, you can get a made-to-order omelette, plus help yourself to the buffet that compares with any. My family loves Lakeview for Thanksgiving dinner, when their chestnut dressing can’t be beat--except by dear old Mom’s oyster dressing. Lakeview always has the best chefs around, and the resort is also famous for its wine list. (As a former wine stewardess here one year during grad school, I am qualified to recommend their wine list.) Even with the good food, wine, and bar, the best part of any meal is the view of Cheat Lake.

As soon as we arrive, we agree that not much has changed in decades. Sometimes, permanence makes me feel good! Some folks might think the lodge needs updated, and decor in the bar and dining room have had a facelift. But I imagine that staying with a good thing is what keeps costs reasonable. Nothing here is outrageously priced. Hotel rates compare with those for the Radisson downtown.

Even though it is a resort and conference center that could command higher prices (like nearby Nemacolin Woodlands), the community is included in the consumer profile. Management has taken steps over the years to keep locals coming: dinner theater, annual antiques fairs (February), spa memberships, and at present, karaoke in the bar. So, out-of-towners don’t have to stay off to themselves on the property. There are plenty of opportunities to meet the locals.

Rooms and condos are attractive, and they overlook the 18-hole championship golf course.

In the main lodge are games for kids. There is also Kids Club (supervised play that keeps the tots busy while Mom and Dad go for a hike--or a massage). A family pool is outside, and the full fitness center offers climbing wall, tennis and basketball courts, lap pool, hot tub and sauna, and a physical therapist to plan your fitness program. For those who would rather be pampered, the spa offers full massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, makeovers, hair styling, and more. The pro shop is reputed to be excellent. I’ve often thought that I could stay here a month!

All this is in addition to what goes on in the bar and on the lake. Music is frequently on the Tiki Deck, and Friday night is Ladies Night in the bar, Legends, where ladies drink for $1. Heck, enter that karaoke contest, and you’ll drink for free--well, maybe, if you’re any good! By now, you get the picture that there is usually something going on at Lakeview. In addition, Cheat Lake has swimming beaches, horseback riding, and marinas with boat rentals--you can even rent a pontoon and take the family.

Sixteen miles upstream and east at Albright in Preston County, locals raft the Cheat River. The Cheat is a powerful waterway, and quite perilous just across the Maryland border, so check with a reputable outfitter in Albright.

One word of caution: Snake Hill is nearby, and the name isn’t meaningless. In the 1990’s, new residential communities shot up like poppies all around the lake. Eventually, somebody recognized the need to clear the area of reptiles so that little children would be safe in their yards! Signs along the roads for miles around advertised "Snake Hunt--Cheat Lake!" I was glad for a friend who had had to kill snakes in his house, and we’re not talking blacksnakes, either. They were copperheads on his hearth.

Working at Seven Springs Resort one summer and driving these roads every week, I saw for months those signs all the way into Pennsylvania. Remembering some past experiences, I feared that my car would break down after dark and vowed not to get out of it onto the two-lane--or into the ditch--if it did.

One might assume that heroic local boys adequately decimated the population. After all, everyone knows what excitement groups of the manly type find in the hunt, and to be fair, I must admit that it was quite chivalrous of them to slay the evil dragons so that young damsels could sunbathe and go out at night without distress. I wasn’t sure ecologists would agree, but I didn’t care. Then I saw the lake drained for a while and surmised that authorities had got into the act. Yes, snakes swim like gold medalists. I had reptilian company side-stroking alongside me twice. I remembered a movie about this problem that sometimes accompanies residential development of a wild area, and I wondered if this neighborhood could be the source of the story. (The lake is filled and beautiful now.)

I have never seen a snake on Lakeview Resort's property.

I have faith in the local effort. Still, just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t walk around the area outside the resort property at night with sandals on my feet. I have seen the cold-blooded things myself on at least four occasions--but those predate the hunt! I mention the mischief-makers for reasons of self-interest, and that means just in case any cowboys out there who pack a mean shovel want to come on down and double-check to make sure the local boys did a thorough job--damsels would be ever so grateful for the extra vigilance.

In all seriousness, the area is a little less "wild" and even more "wonderful" than it used to be, and many of the WVU athletic department pay a lot of money to live near the lake--with their children. The neighborhood with expensive housing just a few miles outside the city offers the good life to residents and vacationers alike. And, development of the area is a lesson in progress, a lesson about ecology or the chain of being, however you see it.

Ecologists disagree, but I think the Lake community is better now. As a visitor, you are welcome to get into the dialogue, too. I’m sure property owners agree with me, and I think you will, too, if you visit. Just remember that state slogan: "Wild and Wonderful, West Virginia." We have just the right amount of both in "the North" of the state.

David and I enjoy coffee and cheesecake at Lakeview Resort. Sitting by the window, we see all sorts of pleasure craft on a blanket of blue, a proper shroud for the old iron-working settlement of Ice’s Ferry, gone with the politics that built the National Road a half-hour north of here. That’s where we’re headed.

Lakeview Resort will pick you up at the airport.

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