My husband an I had an anniversary weekend that equaled the awesomeness of our past 13 years of marriage. We travelled to the picturesque Canaan Valley region of West Virginia and spent a romantic three days in a lovely log cabin. Believe it, or not, I’ve never stayed in a cabin before, This one was super cute with a fireplace, hot tub, and all of the other amenities that I love while “camping!” Here’s a shot of the back of the cabin. Somehow I neglected to take pictures of the inside, but trust me, it was adorable.
The campground couldn’t have been more gorgeous either. Right beneath our back balcony was a little stream bursting with the biggest golden and rainbow trout I’ve ever seen. I think their size had quite a lot to do with the “trout chow” vending machines that were conveniently placed near many of the ponds and streams. For just a quarter, you got a huge handful of trout food that created a true feeding frenzy each time a pellet hit the water. The sheer number and activity of the fish made the water look like it was a boiling, seething mass of fins, tails and open mouths. It was probably the best show I’ve ever gotten for a quarter!
There was also a rather skittish duck family residing in and around the banks of the stream behind our place, too. I can’t fault their nervousness, as I can imagine that more than once some kid has accidentally pelted them with trout chow. I did manage to get a few careful shots with my zoom.
My absolute favorite part of the weekend was watching the muskrat couple that also shared the stream behind our cabin. I’d never actually seen a muskrat in the wild before. My first glimpse of them was on the bank, and I immediately mistook them for groundhogs, as their body shape and coloration are so similar. As soon as they slipped into the water, I caught sight of their long “rat-like” tail and knew immediately what they were. (Don’t let their name fool you, though they are of the rodent family, they’re not rats. Their closest relatives are lemmings, mice, and voles.) These muskrats had dug a channel of tunnels all along the banks of the stream, and it was a delight to watch their very busy antics.
This wasn’t my first foray into this wilderness, but it was my healthiest. This area of the state is well-known for a plethora of outdoor activities and were determined to get in our share of swimming and hiking. The swimming part was well taken care of by the huge saltwater pool at the campground. I got up super early each morning to get in 30 minutes of swimming to start my day. Mornings are often chilly in the mountains and I think most of the jacketed people I passed on the trail to the pool thought I was crazy. Luckily, the water was much warmer than the 55-60 degree air and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On our last visit, over ten years ago, my excess weight really slowed me down. I’d desperately wanted to hike the Seneca Rocks Mountain Trail, but only made it about a 1/4 of a mile up the steep path. This time, I hiked the entire trail with no problem. We also visited Blackwater Falls and enjoyed the trails and views there.
The only thing that was a problem in this area was finding fresh, healthy food choices. Eating out wasn’t an option since the restaurant choices were either fast food, or greasy diner fare. Luckily, the cabin had a fairly well-equipped kitchen. However, the only grocery store choice in this area was sadly lacking. Nutrient-weak iceberg lettuce was the only salad choice and the rest of the produce section was extremely sparse. Fortunately, I did find some nice lean chicken and a few veggies to grill up during our stay–and an awesome watermelon (my favorite fruit) for dessert.
On our last day there (our actual anniversary), we traveled to Thomas, WV to eat at the Purple Fiddle with its clean, simple, homemade, organic fare. I had an awesome turkey and pesto hummus Panini and my husband had a jalapeño turkey wrap. The Purple Fiddle is well-known for its live music, and we arrived just as Bob Keel was beginning his first set of original, folk, and classic covers. Funny thing is, Bob is actually from our area, and my younger daughter, who does Contra dancing has heard him play many times.
Before leaving Thomas, we visited the fabulous little riverside shops where we found our usual anniversary gift to ourselves; a piece of local art from wherever we’re visiting. This piece not only summed up our wonderful weekend, but the past 13 years of marriage that we’ve shared together!