Yes, my bride is coming to... Kansas!?!?! I made the horrific mistake of homeownership. So much for running around every six months. Anyway, the neighborhood is nice and Kansas isn't as bad as Oklahoma (though Oklahoma City is a surprisingly nice city), traffic is non-existent, people are pretty friendly, and real estate is dirt-cheap (and the dirt is fantastic- the stuff they pass off as "clay" around here would be premium fertilizer back in Maryland). You make the most of what you got.
Crunchy, I saw that sign this weekend that you photographed- that was hilarious!
What's the brief recap- Sirani's? Great pizza- their dough is fantastic and the mozzerella is exceptional, if you go get something that really lets the flavor of the cheese come through. On the downside, has "hippy service" as I've started calling it- what's up with alternative restaurants treating their customers like scum? Back at Gillie's in Blacksburg, you practically had to tackle the waiter to get them to take your order. The pizza is worth the wait though.
Purple Fiddle- Furnace Mountain on Friday night. Great band, great times. Their fiddle player was fantastic, as was the lead singer's voice. I didn't quite get into their more modern stuff, but the first few songs were traditional and the fiddle made me cry. I miss the Appalachians a LOT, apparently. I still think the Country Store in Floyd has the single best bluegrass/mountain music/Gospel scene I've heard, but the Purple Fiddle can hold it's own.
And what is there to say about Canaan Valley? I've been to a number of wildernesses and deep woods around the Mid-Atlantic, but nothing really holds a candle to the Dolly Sods and the Wildlife Refuge. Many places claim to be "unique" or "special," but Canaan Valley really deserves the title. Friday we hiked around the Dolly Sods, in the thunderstorms, whee, and had a blast. I've never had so much fun on a rained-out hike. Got some nice photos and just spent a large amount of our hike being mesmerized by the stunning landscape. Then on Saturday we did a "short" hike out Brown's Mountain Trail and Overlook in the Wildlife Refuge. If anyone every gets a chance, don't pass that up. It's off the Refuge access road that rolls out of Davis. If I had had a pair of binoculars and more time, I could literally have spent all day on that knob looking out across the refuge for "critters." Four hours of hiking on a Saturday in the middle of the summer and we saw one other couple. The solitude and tranquility of the north end of the Valley might actually surpass the Sods, especially on the weekends.
Also- there is free car camping on the road leading out of Davis toward the Refuge. I did not know this before this trip. I plan to utilize that camping area someday- set up a tent and still be able to drive to town for dinner! Talk about lazy camping.
But you're on the Blackwater River so... maybe rent a canoe and canoe from Canaan Valley back to your campsite??? That'd be fun.
Oh, and one other point- I was pleasantly surprised to see that Davis has been working on building a river park. Does anyone know how that is progressing? That looks like a bit of very good news- we tend to focus on the "bad" changes that take place in the Appalachians- highways, septic systems, windmills, more condos, whatever. This seems to be clearly a good thing that would be a great benefit to Davis, so it'd be wonderful to hear more about it.
Andy, does your house sit on that ridge that faces north back toward Weiss Knob? We saw a couple of cabins after the rains broke on Friday down that way (looking at it from the entrance road into Laneville) and the location looked superb. Didn't make it over to that spot of yours because we were running late, but I need to get out that way someday- Otter Creek Wilderness. Larger and more secluded than Dolly Sods we were told, though I can say with a degree of certainty that it couldn't surpass the Sods' stunning beauty.
It was good to be back.