Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Weekend: Downstate

Wendy Perrone told me about a new coffeehouse near their Three Rivers Avian Center, and then she said, "They have open mic Saturday night and I'm going to tell the story of the Greenbrier Ghost." Now! We had plans, you know--we were going to start on the turkeys, then sit around the house and hope for a trick-or-treater or two. Sometimes we actually do get a few, although never very many. (I know I mentioned our Saturday night adventure in a previous post, but wanted to say more about it, so here it is!)

The coffeehouse and open mic idea teased us. And we were already tired from being in town all morning. Neither of us wanted to do turkeys, that's the truth. So we convinced each other that we could do all 13 of them on Sunday (yeah, right, after a long drive and getting in after midnight?) and off we went to Hinton. We could justify the trip, actually, because we needed to drive to Charleston to get a gas heater anyway--Hinton was only another hour and a half south of Charleston.

So, off we went. After a stop at Lowe's to drop $500 or so in less time than it takes to type it, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed down the road. It was a perfect day for a drive, cool and crisp and some color still in the trees. We topped over Sandstone Mountain and luckily Larry did not turn into the truck escape ramp as I told him to (shoot, I thought it was our exit!) and exited on Rte 20 toward Hinton.

We passed through Ramp, WV and had to stop to take a photo of this sign:

It's only funny or understandable if you're from West Virginia and know what ramps are. The Sandstone River below was so pretty:

There is something about railroad tracks along a river...the sense of travel, loneliness, moving on to other places, perhaps?

We got to Hinton just as the sun was setting:

and made a few circles through town before finding the coffeehouse.

But once there, oh. my. goodness. What a fun place!

People in costume, pumpkin carving contest, music,

storytelling (Wendy telling her tale),

and Raymond, a poet I'd only met online previously and had no idea would be there, read a creepy story and poem:

...and many more talented people sharing their work with a fairly large and constantly shifting audience. Trick-or-treaters came and went, the coffee flowed, and the wonderful aroma of baking filled the rooms. The coffeehouse is so homey inside with books, sofas, comfy chairs, and soft light all creating an inviting atmosphere. Walk out the door and the river is just down the street. There's even a big front porch and a conference room.

We left reluctantly at 9:45, and were home just after midnight, drving the speed limit the whole way and stopping for gas, etc. I always thought of Hinton as being a logn way away, but actually it's only 2 and a half hours, not so bad at all. And well worth the drive for the scenery and good company to be found at its end.

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