A blog dedicated to the pursuit of all roads in the United States except Interstates

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grandview, New River Gorge National River WV

This is the Grandview area of the New River Gorge National River. For many years, it was a West Virginia state park, and many people still call it that. The photo on the left shows the gate. At some point, the state park was annexed to the federal park. Most of it is the same, however. The views from the main overlook are spectacular. Railroad buffs will enjoy seeing the C&O main line (now CSX) on the far side of the river. There is a trail leading through some interesting rock formations next to the overlook.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace SP PA

This is the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania. It's brand new, having opened in the spring of 2010. The exhibits are primarily about the early, pioneer through-hikers, such as Earl Shaffer and Grandma Gatewood. The museum is free, although donations are appreciated.

The museum is in this location because it is almost at the exact midpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Due to constant re-routings, the midpoint moves around a bit from one year to the next, but it is always just a few miles north of the park.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park is located on PA Route 233, about twenty miles north of US Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dam and Monument, Little Beaver SP WV

I suppose I should not be going around taking pictures of dams, lest I be mistaken for a terrorist. This dam forms the recreational lake behind it at Little Beaver State Park, WV, near Beckley. The monument bears the name of the company and the engineer who built it. The state park is a small one used primarily by locals.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Log Building, Pine Grove Furnace State Park PA

This interesting little building may be found in one of the picnic grounds at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania. I walked up to it and found it locked. It appears to be a utility or storage shed of some kind, but the design is typical of state parks just about anywhere. I'd guess it to predate World War II.

The park is on PA Route 233 about 20 miles north of US 30 (Lincoln Highway)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thaddeus Stevens Furnace, Caledonia SP PA

This is the restored Thaddeus Stevens Furnace in Caledonia State Park, Pennsylvania. The park is at the top of South Mountain on US 30 (the Lincoln Highway) between Gettysburg and Chambersburg. The park is one of my favorite places, and I really can't say why. It has some good hiking, including the Appalachian Trail. There is a pool and extensive picnic and camping facilities.

Stevens built this iron-producing furnace before the Civil War. In July 1863, a detachment of Confederate soldiers destroyed it on their way to Gettysburg. It was revenge for Stevens being a passionate and prominent abolitionist.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mont Alto State Park, Mont Alto PA

If Mont Alto State Park isn't the smallest state park in Pennsylvania, it's pretty close. It's located on PA Route 233 south of US 30. It appears to be used mainly by locals.

The structure on the left is obviously a picnic shelter. But when built, it was something else altogether. It was the outside of a merry-go-round.

In the early twentieth century, the country was crisscrossed by "interurbans" or rural streetcars. These electric railways often built amusement parks to bolster their ridership. One such park was located here. When it was abandoned, the shell of the carousel was retained and made into the picnic shelter.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Classic Neon Motel Sign, Ironto VA

This is another classic old neon sign for a motel. I've seen it at night, and alas, it's seen better times. Quite a bit of it has burned out. The motel is now a Budget Host; I believe that is an independent association rather than a chain. It is on US Route 11 right next to I-81, just north of the exit for Dixie Caverns. It's a single story motel, which is the kind that I prefer. I would never have any occasion to stay at this one though; it's too close to home. The restaurant appears to be closed.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Neon Sign, BBQ Restaurant, Harrisonburg VA

Here is a classic old neon sign for a barbeque drive-in restaurant. It may be found on US Route 11 just north of Harrisonburg, Virginia. I didn't eat there because I'd just eaten dinner before discovering it. The modern arrow sign below the neon one detracts from it to an extent, but it's still good when you can find an old classic like this.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Humpback Bridge, Covington VA

This is the Humpback Bridge, in a small park on US Route 60 just west of Covington, Virginia. You can't drive over it, but walking is permitted. The plaque in the left photo gives the history and significance of the structure.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Penny's Diner, Low Moor VA

I've been staying home a lot lately, hence I have less to post. This should please diner fans, though. This diner is in Low Moor, Virginia, between Covington and Clifton Forge. It's obviously a replica diner, which I sometimes refer to by the less complimentary adjective "fake." However, unlike many replica/fake diners, particlarly in urban areas, the prices are reasonable and there aren't a lot of exotic, non-diner menu items. I had a good lunch there.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Site of the Clifton Forge in Clifton Forge VA

This neglected historical marker overlooks the site of the Clifton Forge in western Virginia. It is a mile or so south of the town of Clifton Forge on US Route 220.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Restored Pre-Interstate Rest Area VA

I've posted before on Virginia's "waysides" which were the pre-interstate version of the "rest areas" found on interstates today. This one is a little different, though. It's been completely restored, with stonework and picnic tables as they were. It can be found on Virginia Route 598 at the top of East River Mountain, on the border with West Virginia. 598 was originally US Route 52, which has been "replaced" by I-77. The interstate tunnels under this same mountain.

The view is into the city of Bluefield, West Virginia.

Monday, May 17, 2010

US Route 18 in Virginia?

Granted, this is sort of a "roadgeek" type of thing. But some of us who love blue highways are sharp enough to detect errors like this. The route number (18) is correct, but it is shown as a US rather than a Virginia highway. Someone at the Virginia Department of Transportation goofed when they installed this sign. More likely, they didn't know any better. It may be found on Virginia 18 south of the old industrial town of Covington.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One More Classic Bridge About to Go

This is a bridge of a classic design of the early to mid twentieth century. The construction to the left is its replacement. There are fewer and fewer bridges like this every year. Fortunately, some have been left standing for fishing or walking.

This bridge is just outside Hinton WV. The road on the far side of the bridge is West Virginia Route 3.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rakes Mill Pond, Blue Ridge Parkway VA

This is Rake's Mill Pond on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a very small exhibit. While the crowds go to Mabry Mill, just a few miles south, little gems like this one are often overlooked. It can be found between Blue Ridge Parkway mileposts 162 and 163, just north of Tuggle's Gap and Virginia Route 8.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Pure" Gasoline Sign, Pulaski VA

Here is a rare sign for Pure gasoline outside a former gas station and country store. (the Gator Mart per the other sign). It now appears to be a private home. The Pure brand of gas still exists, but you don't see it very often.

I found this on the outskirts of Pulaski, Virginia, on one of the 600 or 700 series of secondary Virginia highways.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Engine Bell Exhibit, Camp Creek SP WV

Camp Creek State Park in southern West Virginia is a beautiful little park. I've gone there many times to hike the trails. It's surprising that I just noticed this, since I'm a railroad buff. The bell is from a locomotive that was used in removing timber logged in what is now the park.

The park is between Princeton and Beckley near both US 19 and I-77.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Isolated Waterfall, New River Gorge Nat'l River WV

This is a beautiful waterfall in the New River Gorge National River. It falls down one of the steep bluffs, goes under the road and flows into the New River directly behind the photographer.

But you've really got to love back roads to find this place. In an earlier post, I described the directions to Sandstone Falls. Continue along the same road. The pavement soon ends and you go a couple of miles on a dirt road. The falls will be on your left, just before you go under the I-64 bridge.

The road then goes under the interstate but stops at a gate to private property. There is no access to the interstate from the riverside road.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sandstone Falls, New River Gorge National River WV

The New River Gorge National River is a scenic, often spectacular stretch of the river lying roughly between Hinton and Montgomery, West Virginia. The New is world-renowned in whitewater rafting circles.

Here are two views of Sandstone Falls. Although one of the most scenic spots in the park, Sandstone Falls is probably frequented more by locals than by tourists, due to its isolated location. To reach it, take WV secondary Route 25 from WV 20 across the river from Hinton. It is several miles on a winding, two-lane road to the parking lot for the falls. There is a series of boardwalks that extend onto an island and eventually the views shown above. When I went there, it was an austere scene dominated by the roar of the rapids. It was essentially still winter, with most of the trees still bare.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pearis Cemetery, Pearisburg VA

The historic Pearis Cemetery is located at the western edge of Pearisburg, in the area sometimes called Bluff City. For years, it was overgrown, neglected and mostly forgotten. But several years ago, the town of Pearisburg (with the help of several other organizations) restored it. The photo on the right shows part of the cemetery. It includes the grave of Captain George Pearis, for whom the town is named. He fought in the Revolutionary War.

The left photo shows the new parking area and trailhead for access to the cemetery. The gravel path behind the sign makes a gradual ascent to the cemetery. Near the top, it crosses the Appalachian Trail.

The trailhead is on the side of Virginia Route 100, near its intersection with US Route 460.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Island Ford Cave, Covington-Low Moor VA

This is the entrance to Island Ford Cave, between Covington and Low Moor, Virginia. You'd never know it was there from driving I-64 (directly behind the photographer). It's on a "frontage road" that may very well have been US 60 at one time. The signboard inside states that the cave extends 550 feet deep. Amazingly, it does not forbid exploring the cave. However, I left my flashlight at home, so I passed on it.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Virginian Railway Station, Princeton WV

This is the restored station of the old Virginian Railway in Princeton, West Virginia. It contains a railroad museum; however, its hours are irregular and I found it to be closed at times when it was advertised to be open.

The Virginian was a coal-hauling railroad that was merged into the Norfolk and Western RR in 1959, and is now part of the Norfolk Southern system.

It is located at the lower end of the main business district, near an overpass that spans the tracks. I didn't see any signs, so locating it could be tricky.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mash Fork Waterfalls, Camp Creek State Park WV

These are the falls of Mash Fork in Camp Creek State Park, West Virginia. They are a short walk from the park campground. The park is beautiful at any time of year, and it contains a myriad of other trails, as well as ball fields, picnic areas, etc. The park is located on a side road off US 19 (and I-77) between Princeton and Beckley.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CCC Stonework, Roaring Run, Jefferson NF VA

The Roaring Run natural area is in the Jefferson National Forest northwest of Roanoke in Botetourt County, Virginia. Look at the stonework on the wall (left) and the gate (right). This appears to be the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps from the 1930s. Many examples of their fine work can still be seen all over the country. The area also has the ruins of an iron furnace. A scenic loop trail leads up Roaring Run to a waterfall, about two miles round trip. The site is on a secondary Virginia highway and can be hard to locate without adequate directions or a good map.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Draper Mountain Wayside, US 11 S of Pulaski VA

Here are two views of another of Virginia's "Waysides," which once served travelers the way "rest areas" do now on the interstates. However, every one of the Waysides was different. This one has recently been partially restored. It is on US Route 11 south of Pulaski, where the road goes over Draper Mountain.
Look at that stonework in the right photo. It looks like it could be some of the Civilian Conservation Corps work. The wayside is on both sides of the road; the left photo is looking toward the portion across the highway. Some of the facilities are still grown over with weeds, but Virginia has done a nice job of restoring this place.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cutout Highway Signs, Christiansburg VA

If you're a "roadgeek," then you already know what cutouts are. In fact, you may know where these are. A close look at these old signs will show that they are different from those erected today. They're smaller for one thing. And the metal is actually cut out (hence the name) to the shape of the US, state or Interstate highway shield. Also note the black borders around the edges. Highway departments found that it was cheaper to make the signs the way you see them today. The new ones almost look like decals affixed to the metal. These signs are in Christiansburg, Virginia. I suspect that when they need to be replaced, it will be with the newer style signs.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thurmond WV in New River Gorge Nat'l Park

This is the nearly abandoned mining town of Thurmond, West Virginia, in the New River Gorge National River. In its heyday, it was a busy place along the C&O (now CSX) Railroad tracks. The frame building is the old station, now used as a museum and visitors' center by the National Park Service. The bridge over the New River can be seen in the background.

To reach Thurmond, leave US Route 19 at Glen Jean, WV, north of Beckley and follow dead-end Route 25 down to the river.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

King Tut Drive-In, US 19, Beckley WV

This isn't something you would see bypassing Beckley on the West Virginia Turnpike. I came upon it following the signs for US Route 19. I'd just had lunch, so I didn't stop. The menu is displayed on an exterior wall, and employees come out to your car to take your order.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Narrows of the New River, Narrows VA

This picturesque landform is on the New River in Giles County, Virginia. It is called the Narrows of the New River. East River Mountain (left) and Peters Mountain (right) descend to the river. You can drive through the Narrows on US 460 or on a twisting county road on the other bank.

The town of Narrows is less than a half mile upstream. The photo was taken from the bridge connecting the town with US 460. The town is to the left of the photographer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mystery Cemetery in Pearisburg VA

This is a headstone at an obscure cemetery in Pearisburg, Virginia. (it is not the Pearis cemetery; I'll do a separate post on that). I read somewhere that it contained the remains of African Americans, possibly former slaves, who settled there after the Civil War. It was a tiring hike up two steep roads. The flat area at the top was so overgrown that I could only find this one grave.

Whoever built this cemetery went to a hell of a lot of trouble. The photo on the right is the entrance to it, and the road in the foreground is Virginia Route 100, also called North Main Street in Pearisburg. Look at how that rock face is carved out. The photo on the left is looking back down toward the highway. To reach the actual cemetery, one must continue up a second dirt road to the left of the photographer. I found it to be a very tiring climb.

This cemetery is on private property, but it is not posted in any way. I have no idea who owns it.