Friday, December 9, 2011

Weston-Where the Name Stonewall Rings True

           Searching the Internet for a place to stay during my visit to the West Virginia Museum of American Glass in Weston, I came across a link for the Stonewall Resort. Little did I know that this AAA four-diamond rated resort was a real gem built along the 26-mile long, 26,000-acre Lake Stonewall, the state’s second largest. 
"Aerial View of Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV.

Steve Ludwig, sales director, claims the lake has some great fishing and his staff are able to connect anglers with experienced fishing guides in the area. If the large 50-inch long, 40-pound preserved muskie caught in the lake and mounted over the bar at the resort’s T.J. Muskie’s tavern is any indication the fishing should be great. 

If you like serenity, keep in mind that the resort is set in the middle of a 20,000 acre federal wildlife management area, 2,000 acres of which is leased to West Virginia as a state park. If you like physical activity, the resort offers guided Segway tours, an indoor/outdoor pool that connects via an opening in the wall, nine miles of hiking trails, a basketball court and, most importantly, an Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, ranked number two in the state behind the Greenbrier by “Golf Week” magazine. 

The198-room inn is designed in the style of a 1920s Adirondack resort with modern amenities and Mission style elements such as exposed post and beam and stacked stone walls. 

“We’re the state’s only AAA-rated four-diamond resort<’ said Ludwig. “To put that in perspective, only about 2% of the lodging companies across the nation get a four-diamond rating.” 

For those who like to be pampered, the Mountain Laurel Spa offers organic massages and facial treatments, but one of my favorite ways to relax is to sit outdoors on the massive patio overlooking the lake, nudge up to the huge fire pit that accommodates about 20 sitters and buy a “hobo pack,” a kerchief wrapped assortment of graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate tied to a stick and cook up a batch of S’mores. Phone 888-278-8150 or StonewallResort.com. 

The resort gets its name from the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who was born in nearby Clarksburg, but spent several boyhood years starting at the age of six at his uncle’s farm and gristmill on the West Branch of the Monongahela River not far from Weston. 

Today, the mill that operated during Jackson’s youth still stands, part of a charming 19th century Appalachian farmstead that’s open for public touring. Self guided tours take you along a placid pond, then past a blacksmith shop, two log cabins, a rough, cut lumber barn, general store and second mill, a 1794 gristmill built in Greenbrier County, disassembled and transported to and reassembled at the farmstead in the 1980s. Phone 800-287-8206 or jacksonsmill.wvu.edu. 

Those who’d like to learn more about area attractions and see an assortment of West Virginia-made products should stop in at Appalachian Glass, 499 Highway 33 East in Weston, once the hand-blown glass capital of the U.S. Live glass blowing demonstrations are offered most days, year round. The building also houses the Lewis County CVB, which has all sort of information of interest to tourists. 304-269-1030 or stonewallcountry.com. 

A short drive from downtown Weston, Lamberts’ Winery is a sophisticated surprise. Besides offering tours of the winery and vineyards and free wine tastings around a 3-inch thick wooden bar top in a gorgeous hand-cut stone winery, Lamberts also exhibits the work of 20 mostly West Virginia potters. Outside, the grounds are beautifully landscaped with a pond and waterfall. Phone 304-269-4903 or lambertvintagewine.com. 

A drive in another direction towards Buckhannon will take you to Ron Hinkle’s Glass Studio, where you can see the master glass artisan handcraft his creations right before your eyes in three operating kilns. Phone 304-472-7963 or ronhinkleglass.com. 

For more information on Stonewall country, phone 800-296-7329 or stonewallcountry.com.