This is number 5 in a series about our recent anniversary motorcycle trip. If you’d like to start from the beginning, go here. I’ve added links at the bottom of each post to take you to the next installment.
This trip was all about smelling the roses and riding the roads in an area, in contrast with many of our trips where we put in long miles each day to get to a specific destination. That said, after a luxurious three nights in Abingdon, Virginia, we were moving on! Our next stop was Marlinton, West Virginia, and a cabin for two nights. We anticipated rain for our morning departure but were thrilled to see beautiful, sunny weather. We headed east on US 11 to a tiny town called Meadowview, where we picked up VA 80, another narrow, twisty roller coaster of a road. As we passed through Meadowview we saw the restaurant that a friend had recommended, Harvest Table, a local farm-to-table restaurant. Alas, they were not open, and we had missed our opportunity to dine there during our stay. Another reason to return to this area!
Just a few miles of pastoral country side and a photo opportunity called. Have I mentioned that I love these barn signs?
A true sign of being in the country, a friendly couple stopped to make sure we were OK. 🙂 We assured them we were, just taking advantage of a chance to capture the rural charm. Like this charming lady, who occupied the field adjacent to the barn.
As we passed from rolling hills in the verdant valley to climbing over mountain ridges, Route 80 became very tight and technical. We experienced massive elevation changes as we bisected multiple ridges and passed through many gaps, but the great weather was an unexpected bonus, offering unlimited views. The fall color was at its peak in these high elevations, just spectacular! In many instances, the road was narrow, and in shaded areas, covered in wet leaves, requiring our full attention. In the valleys, we marveled over the massive farms, with expanses of corn alternating with rough, rocky, granite covered fields. We imagined coming here in the pioneer days, and how this must have been a challenging landscape to eke out a living.
Route 80 took us to US 19, in this area known as the ‘Trail of the Lonesome Pine’, a romantic name if I’ve ever heard one! At this point, US 19 is a four lane highway, but very scenic, with mountain ranges framing the view in the near distance and remnants of the days prior to the Interstate Highway system still visible. This is a unique area, where we passed from Virginia into West Virginia, then back into Virginia in a matter of a few miles. On US 460, at this little point of Virginia that pokes north into West Virginia, we saw a sign for a river overlook and took the opportunity to ride up a twisty little road. On top of the mountain, with gorgeous weather and beautiful fall colors, we were treated to this view.
Of course, we had to take a selfie!
Just past the overlook, we headed north on US 219 in West Virginia, known as the ‘Seneca Trail’. 219 is a US highway, but due to the terrain, many rivers and streams, and elevation changes, it can be a challenging ride and motorcyclists and drivers must give it the attention it is due. We passed through many little towns, some quaint, some not so much. We reflected back on our time in Southwest Virginia, and commented on how well kept the homesteads, businesses, and towns had been. It was becoming apparent that may not always be the case in rural West Virginia.
In the spirit of our leisurely trip, we stopped at a picturesque covered bridge for a stretch break. The Indian Creek bridge was built in 1898 and then renovated in 2000. It was a lovely setting and we enjoyed strolling around the grounds, which are maintained by the county historical society. And of course, captured a couple of photos!
Our next stop was for a late lunch in the charming town of Lewisburg. A friend had recommended the local favorite restaurant Food and Friends, and it lived up to our expectations and then some! Our kind waitress, seeing us checking the weather and running outside to retrieve our helmets since it was already starting to rain, expedited our food order. Speaking of the order, we tried the Classic Reuben, and the Rachel, described in the menu as ‘Reuben’s sister’, made with turkey. Both were totally yummy! By the time we finished our hearty lunch, the rain was steady but we detoured for a quick stop to purchase wine, fruit, cheese and crackers, for a light supper at our rented cabin.
The rain continued the entire way to Marlinton, where we were expected at the Locust Hill Inn & Cabin. As we rode, we recalled a trip from many years ago, where we, then fairly inexperienced riders, rode US 219 in the dark all the way to Elkins, due to prearranged hotel reservations, arriving around 10 PM. We could feel the tension and fear from that long-ago trip, and imagine the perils we expected around every turn.
Arriving at the ‘Dam Cabin’ in a light mist, we met the owner, Dave, who was so kind as to offer space in his garage for the bikes, since an all-night rain was expected. Now that’s hospitality! The Locust Hill Inn & Cabin property includes a lake and dam that functions as part of the flood mitigation plan, thus the clever cabin name.
As we unpacked, the rain began again. The cabin offered two rare luxuries on a motorcycle trip, a washer and dryer, plus tons of space to air dry our high-tech riding clothing so we took full advantage! We settled in to enjoy our light dinner on the covered deck, with an amazing view and the rain tapping on the metal roof.
We were enchanted watching as a small herd of deer grazed on the grass below the cabin, the fog rolled into the surrounding mountains, and then we heard church bells in the distance at 7 pm. It was truly so peaceful and relaxing, and a perfect end to Day 4!
Click here for the next installment, with highlights of the highlands of West Virginia.