Mountains of Faith

Mountains of Faith

See faith in action in the Mountain State.

Day One

Don Knotts as Barney Fife

Chestnut Mountain Ranch

Arrive in Morgantown, WV, to meet your guide who will regale you with stories about a local boy who had a dream on your Don Knotts Hometown tour. Everyone remembers Don Knotts, beloved by millions as Deputy Barney Fife. See where his entertainment career began and hear tales of his adventures in his hometown. Take a ride on the Personal Rapid Transit System, a proto-type people mover called a geriatric Disney ride by one tour operator. See Don’s star outside of the Metropolitan Theater where Don worked and performed and see Don Knotts memorabilia at the Morgantown History Museum. Meet Steve Finn and the folks at Chestnut Mountain Ranch for lunch and to hear his incredible story. Chestnut Mountain Ranch provides a Christ-centered school and home for boys in crisis and in need of hope and healing. Partnering with their families, they pursue family restoration and reunification. Hear how God is changing lives and have lunch with your Christian brothers and sisters at the ranch. At Cooper’s Rock State Forest, marvel in the wonder of God’s creation at the overlook and hear another tale about Don Knotts’ adventure there. Check into your hotel, Lakeview Resort which overlooks beautiful Cheat Lake or historic Hotel Morgan. Enjoy dinner with entertainment by The Men of Accord Barbershop Quartet who performed for Red Skelton’s 82nd Birthday Party.

Day Two – progressive dine-around

International Mother's Day Shrine

Eat a light breakfast at your hotel preparing yourself for a day of food and fun! At the Greatest Generation Museum (soup & salad) see WWII and B&O Railroad bridge exhibits. Travel along the spectacular Cheat River Scenic Byway. See the rapids dash over the boulders in the river valley and maybe a kayaker. Next stop is at the Preston County Inn (buckwheat cakes, sausage, baked steak), a historic home built during the Civil War as a wedding present. Kingwood has hosted the Buckwheat Festival since the Great Depression. At Allegheny Treenware (pepperoni rolls),watch wooden spoons and kitchen utensils being made at following their progress, looking over the shoulders of the craftspeople in this small mom-and-pop factory founded by out of work coal miners. Purchase items at wholesale prices. Pepperoni rolls were first made in Fairmont, WV, for the coal miners to take underground with them. Learn about the life of Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day and her remarkable mother who inspired her at the International Mother’s Day Shrine, the site of the first Mother’s Day church service in the US. Let the sounds of pipe organ music fill and soothe your soul. Vocalist Brayan West will lift up your spirits with a gospel songs. (cookies) Depart for Elkins, passing the Philippi Covered Bridge, the site of the first land battle of the Civil War. Enjoy a wonderful show and dinner at Gandy Dancer Dinner Theater. The show features the Mountain Memories Show Band – classic country, modern country, classic rock, blue grass and southern-style gospel music. The band members have 15 -30 years of actual show experience each and have performed in Branson, Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C., and in large venues throughout the East. Following the show, meet Ralph Bennett and his cast. Ralph will share with you how called cured him of a life threatening disease and how he has blessed the cast. Ralph penned the song, “Miracle”, about his experience of God’s healing power. Lodging is at Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express in Elkins.

Day Three

Pearl Buck’s Birthplace

Visit the birthplace of Pearl Buck, Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Good Earth”. In 1938, she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.” Her parents, who were Southern Presbyterian missionaries to China, returned to their family home for her birth in Hillsboro, WV. Buck also served on the mission field in China. Spend some free time shopping and having lunch on your own in downtown Lewisburg, a picture-perfect main street offering the finest in southern hospitality, unique shopping and eateries in a historic setting. Discover a surprising selection of art galleries, award-winning restaurants, sidewalk cafes, antique shops and trendy clothing boutiques. Lewisburg has been named one of a dozen distinctive destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recognized as a Top Southern Mountain Town in America and most recently, voted America’s Coolest Small Town by Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine. At the Greenbrier Bunker, see the legendary bunker underneath the 5-Star Greenbrier Resort that was formerly the top-secret Government Relocation Facility. Construction began in 1958 during the Cold War on the 112,544-square-foot bunker, which was built 720 feet into the hillside under The Greenbrier’s West Virginia Wing. Completed in 1961, the facility was maintained in a constant state of readiness for over 30 years with decontamination chambers, dormitories, a hospital clinic, a power plant, laboratory, pharmacy, cafeteria and more. The location of the facility remained a secret for more than three decades. Spend some time exploring the resort. Casual dining at its best is at the Food and Friends, featured on the Food Network’s “Best Of…” series in 2004, where you’ll have a delicious dinner. Check in to the Fairfield Inn & Suites, Lewisburg.

Day Four

Enjoy a tour at North House, built in 1820. The museum contains many of the finest examples of early Virginia furnishings. Visitors to the North House are treated to a special view of two hundred years of the lives of everyday Americans from the Revolutionary War to World War II. (tea optional). Lunch at Smokey’s on the Gorge featured on the Food Network’s “Best of” list! Built right on the edge of the New River Gorge, Smokey’s is a showcase timber frame pavilion offering a deli buffet, friendly service and breathtaking views. Visit Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center, Lansing – near the New River Gorge Bridge, you’ll see a stunning view of the New River Gorge and the world’s second longest single-arch steel bridge spanning it. Each October, as many as 100,000 people celebrate the elegant bridge at a festival that features food, crafts and entertainment including parachuted BASE jumpers who fling themselves over the edge and float 876 feet to the river below. The visitor’s center offers a video, museum, book store, viewing area, and overlooks. In Fairmont, WV, hear about Mary Lou Retton of Olympic fame and Johnnie Johnson, the Father of Rock and Roll’s, hometown. After a brief driving tour, arrive at the Women’s Club, a historic home once owned by the Fleming family who made their fortune in the coal business. After dinner, meet Fanny Crosby (first person living history portrayal), an American Methodist rescue mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer of hymns including “Blessed Assurance”, “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour”, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home”, “Praise Him, Praise Him”, “Rescue the Perishing”, and “To God Be the Glory”. OR Learn of the life of Jenny Lind (first person living history portrayal), called the Swedish Nightingale. She was a world renowned opera singer who toured the United States from 1850-1852 leaving a legacy of her faith in action where ever she traveled. Jenny, who was motivated by her faith, contributed over a 1/2 million dollars to various charities ($13 millions in today’s dollars) and was the first woman memorialized at Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner. Her plaque there reads, “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” from the song she was so famous for singing from Handel’s Messiah.