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24 Hours in Marlinton, West Virginia

Susan St Amand heads to Marlinton in Pocahontas County to attend the “Travels with Darley” screening event and shares travel tips on what to see and do in this small West Virginia town.

Nestled in the midst of the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia in Pocohantas County along the Greenbrier Valley is the small town of Marlinton. As with many small rural areas, Marlinton is in the process of revitalizing itself by promoting its natural resources and local artisans for tourists.  In its industrial heyday, logging and coal mines were the main sources of their economy.  Now the beautiful scenic drive through this area draws many motorcyclists in the summer as well as snowskiers during the winter.

If it was not for the public screening of the PBS episode on West Virginia’s Mononghela National Forest by “Travels With Darley”, I may have never discovered the town of Marlinton. As a fan of “Travels With Darley” and “Equitrekking”, another PBS program by Darley Newman, I was interested to see the film as I have ridden horseback in surrounding West Virginia areas.

The public screening was held in a quaint Opera House, circa 1910, renovated and refurbished by local citizens. Inside the Opera House were tin sculpted ceilings and an old train depot clock, reminscent of the time period when opera houses were in vogue. Music entertainment and theatricals are now held here on a regular basis.

Outside the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.

Outside the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.

Cool clock inside the circa 1910 opera house.

Cool clock inside the circa 1910 opera house.

The public screening also offered me an opportunity to finally meet in Darley Newman in person prior to her presentation. In addition, other local representatives gave information about their efforts to protect the wonderful natural resources that abound in this section of West Virginia, while at the same time promoting its recreational attraction to outdoor enthusiasts which creates a very fine-tuned balancing act.

Darley and me finally meet at the screening.

Darley and me finally meet at the screening.

We arrived early in the afternoon after a beautiful drive through the Allegheny Mountains with hardly any traffic.  We walked around town and visited some of the local shops. Being the “crafty” type of person, I enjoy browsing through artisan shops to discover one of a kind items that would not be found in your regular box stores. The first stop was at the 4thAvenue Gallery, which is an artisan co-op, showcasing a variety of local artisan’s work in an old train depot.

The 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton. The Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op has more than 40 member artists and craftspeople

The 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton. The Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op has more than 40 member artists and craftspeople.

One of the unique items which caught my eye was a framed horsehead created from wool felting.

Of course being a horse lover, this would catch your eye.

Of course being a horse lover, this would catch your eye.

Across the street, was “The Trading Post” which contained a variety of antiques, primitives, and handmade furniture.

The Trading Post in Marlinton.

The Trading Post in Marlinton.

Accessible from the center of town is the Greenbrier River Trail which runs south from Lewisburg, WV to the north to Cass Scenic Railroad area.  Hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding is available on this 78 mile stretch of old railroad bed, the longest in West Virginia.

Three miles north of Marlinton off Route 219, is Gunter’s General Store, which also offers a variety of antiques, gifts and collectibles, including Appalachian glassware.

Another fun stop is Gunter's General Store.

Another fun stop is Gunter’s General Store.

Also situated off Route 219 is the Marlinton Motor Inn which is a popular overnight spot for motorcyclists and snowskiers, as it is suitably situated directly off a scenic route. Reservations are definitely recommended as this motel is fully booked every weekend. A restaurant, bar, and swimming pool within the motel make it a popular one stop for all. We enjoyed homemade country cooking in the dining hall for both dinner and breakfast. In the dining hall was a brightly painted mural of the historical Marlington train depot.

The dining room in the Marlinton Motor Inn.

The dining room in the Marlinton Motor Inn.

Marlington was a great 24-hour scenic escape in a small town, back in a period when life was slower.

About the Author: Susan St. Amand is a Board Member of the Shenandoah Trail Riding and Horseman’s Association in Shenandoah County, Virginia. She grew up in Northern Maine with horses on a farm and has been a transplant to Virginia for the past 26 years. A retired Youth Education Technician, she enjoys planning horse vacations with friends and has currently completed many rides in Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, as well as Virginia, trailering her own horse.

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

TravelswithDarley.com is the companion site with travel guides, videos and information so viewers can recreate the adventures seen on the series and beyond.

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