What a truly special experience! I have just returned from the “Travels with Darley” screening event and community celebration in Marlinton, West Virginia. We highlighted this area for our “Travels with Darley” PBS series. To be able to watch the episode back in West Virginia in a beautiful, historic theatre with the wonderful locals who participated in our filming is something that I’ll always cherish.
Pocahontas County is a destination well known for its abundant natural attractions, including the Monongahela National Forest, a national treasure located in the north-central highlands of West Virginia. Leaders from the Monongahela National Forest and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau along with partners from Snowshoe Mountain Resort, the Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and the National Forest Foundation joined forces to organize a special afternoon and evening of activities and the screening of “Travels with Darley: West Virginia Adventures” and “Monongahela National Forest” episodes- open to the public.
We film in a lot of destinations and meet some of the most wonderful people on our travels. It was heartwarming to be able to be together with so many of our filming participants both for the screening and a special post-screening panel, when the audience had the chance to ask us questions about the film process, West Virginia, the Monongahela National Forest and more.
The afternoon started with a few treats. Guests were greeted by the Women’s Club and their savory sweet kettle corn. Delicious! Various booths welcomed all ages to learn about nature and the environment, including why bats and snakes are so important and the diversity of flowers and plants at Cranberry Glades. Adventure activities abound in Pocahontas County and Snowshoe Resort was on hand to showcase their downhill mountain biking trails and lessons, something also featured in our “West Virginia Adventures” episode.
Children and adults got into crafts, coloring, painting and meeting live snakes. Snake expert Roy Moose was so captivating that he even convinced me to hold a few snakes… and it was pretty cool.
The outdoor portion concluded and everyone headed inside the Pocahontas County Opera House, a truly beautiful space. The top performing arts center for Pocahontas County, the century old building is on the National Register of Historic Places and once played host to Vaudeville acts in the early 20th century. Thanks to the strong local community, it’s been resurrected and preserved.
More than one-third of the more than 900,000-acre Monongahela National Forest is in Pocahontas County, which is located within a day’s drive of about half of our nation’s population. Marlinton is located about 3.5 hours from Richmond and 4.5 hours from Washington, DC, making it relatively accessible. We are excited to have been able to film and share stories of the rich Monongahela National Forest and part of West Virginia.
If you haven’t seen these episodes, look for “West Virginia Adventures” on your local PBS TV station, Create TV and Amazon Prime and watch “Monongahela and Finger Lakes National Forests” on PBS and Create TV, and coming late fall to Amazon Prime.