Breaking Out of Your Routine in Nature’s Mountain Playground

Mike Moore

Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have established a routine in life that has become comfortable or at the very least, familiar.  In other words, we are creatures of habit.  We do what we do because, well, that’s what we’ve always done.  Now if you’re the kind of person that sees the glass as half empty in life, this routine might be viewed as a boring and predictable rut.  Conversely, if in life you view the glass is half full, instead of a rut, you probably see your life as stable and well-founded, or golly, even time-honored.  And I’m certainly not about to spill your glass of water (whether half full or half empty), but I would like to interject a little food for thought.  It was the 18th century English poet, William Cowper, that said, “Variety’s the very spice of life…”  The idea being that sometimes it’s good to break out of our routine; to mix things up a little.  This notion dates back even further than the 18th century to the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides, foreshadowing Cowper’s sentiment, when he wrote, “A change is always nice.”  Sounds like good advice to me.  Besides, who am I to argue with poets and playwrights?                          

So right about now you may be asking what the heck does Euripides have to do with Nature’s Mountain Playground and Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  Fair enough.  When it comes to adding some variety to your life, the good news is you don’t have to uproot everything.  Sometimes just a minor change to something familiar can create an entirely new experience.  Take for instance your vacation plans (this is where we at Nature’s Mountain Playground come in).  While many of the good folks visiting our county have done so over several years, it would be interesting to know how many of them have varied their lodging accommodations – just one way to break out of a routine.  In other words, have our visiting campers always camped?  What about our wintertime guests, have they found themselves in the same slopeside lodging every season?  How about mixing things up with a summertime, rustic cabin getaway instead?  Is it possible William Cowper and Euripides would say, “Hey, leave that tent at home and give something new a try.”  I think they would.  So, in the spirit of introducing a little variety into your life, let’s take a look at some of the unique places to stay in Pocahontas County WV.  Who knows?  This could be just the twist you need to add a touch of spice to your vacation plans and nudge you out of that comfort zone.

Well let’s kick things off with one of the most amazing, unique lodging options in Nature’s Mountain Playground – the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower.  Located in Seneca State Forest, this 65-foot-high fire tower can be reserved for overnight stays between May and October.  Rustic in nature with no running water or electricity, the tower houses two cots but has room enough to sleep four.  But it’s not the amenities that bring guests back and keeps the tower booked sometimes a year in advance, it’s the breathtaking view.  At a height of 65 feet, you’ll experience a whole new perspective; the stars of the night sky are a little closer and the forest floor spreads out beneath you in every direction.  Seneca State Forest is West Virginia’s largest and oldest state forest, and the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is a truly unique way to experience it.  If you’re looking for a definite change in your vacation rentals in Pocahontas County, you’ll have a hard time topping the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower. 

Thorny Mountain Fire Tower

If a sky-high retreat isn’t your cup of tea and you’re thinking something a little closer to the ground is in order, you might want to consider the Castaway Caboose in Durbin.  This overnight train excursion (ranging from two nights to five) begins in Durbin as your caboose car departs to a remote and isolated location along the Greenbrier River.  Upon arrival your car will be decoupled from the train and within minutes, as the squeal and chug of the train fades away, the only sound you’ll hear is the swift flowing water of the Greenbrier River.  At the end of your stay the train will return, bringing you back to civilization.  The Castaway Caboose provides room for up to six people and includes conveniences such as a refrigerator, range, heat, linens, towels, utensils, DVD player, shower, restroom, and firewood for a campfire.  Keep in mind you’ll have no cell service.  Which, in my opinion, makes the stay that much better.  As this is one of the more popular Pocahontas County lodging options, the Castaway Caboose books up fast and consequently it’s booked up for 2022.  But definitely look into this one-of-a-kind lodging experience for next year – just don’t wait too long. 

Now if fire towers and secluded train cars are too big of a departure from your comfort zone, that’s okay, at times baby steps are best.  Like I said, sometimes just a minor change in something familiar can create an entirely new experience.  Take for instance, if you’ve always visited Pocahontas County in the winter while staying at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, perhaps consider a stay in one of the cabins at Watoga State Park or Seneca State Forest.  Or flip that coin over, if you’ve always come to Nature’s Mountain Playground to rough it in a tent along the Williams River, why not treat yourself to one of the many Snowshoe lodging options and hit their bike trails or enjoy some canoeing on Shaver’s Lake.  If you’ve always stayed in a secluded cabin, why not try a bed and breakfast closer to town. Really the options are limitless and just takes an open mind to the thought of stepping out of your regular routine.  How about you pet owners?  Ever considered bringing your dog along on vacation?  With all the outdoor destinations and pet friendly lodging options available here, that fury friend of the family will add a whole new level of fun to the vacation.

Unique lodging in West Virginia doesn’t mean a long weekend booked in the latest haunted cave or abandoned coal mine turned Airbnb.  “Unique” can mean something special or uncommon.  For you, a unique stay here in Pocahontas County may be as simple as changing things up and breaking out of your regular routine and trying something you’ve never tried before.  Trying something that is special or uncommon for you is the real key to a unique vacation.  So come on, listen to those poets and playwrights.  Try something different.  Be bold and ask yourself, “When was the last time I did something for the first time?”   You never know, you may find yourself asking that question a little more often and thanking an Ancient Greek playwright for the idea.  Thanks Euripides.