Chestnut Ridge Country Inn - a trip back in time
There's a signpost up ahead ...
In an old episode of the Twilight Zone TV series, a stressed out executive takes a side road and travels back in time to the quaint, bucolic village where he had grown up. The executive enjoys a short stay in the old-fashioned homeplace, but has to leave because his younger self was there too, and Twilight Zone rules prohibit two versions of the same person in the same town.
Many of us dream of returning to a simpler time, when people lived close to the land, neighbors knew each other, people worked hard, and there were no cellphones, traffic jams or home invasions. You can visit such a place and completely avoid the Twilight Zone. Just follow the signposts to Dunmore.
Dunmore hasn't changed much since the 19th century. The village is situated in a narrow valley on the western edge of the Allegheny Front and surrounded by rolling hills and farmland. Two dignified, historic churches raise their spires to the sky. You can walk from one end of town to the other in about five minutes and everybody you meet will greet you with a smile.
Larry and Paula Garretson recognized Dunmore as someplace special. In 2007, they bought an 1890 farmhouse in the village and opened Chestnut Ridge County Inn Bed and Breakfast. During the last three years, the inn has become a popular getaway, especially for city folks in need of relaxation.
Chestnut Ridge currently has a five-person suite, a four-person suite and two two-person rooms, all with private bath. In early 2011, a new five-person suite will be available in a renovated smokehouse behind the farmhouse. Rates start at $95 for a two-person room to $135 for the five-person suite. A full country breakfast is included with the room price. Full-course dinners, including dessert, are available for $22.50 per person, with three days notice.
Larry and Paula said many of their guests just hang around the inn and enjoy the homey, old fashioned atmosphere. But, there's a lot more to do than relax. Dunmore is situated near some of the East Coast's most popular destinations.
Snowshoe Mountain, a year-round adventure sports resort, is just 15 miles away. Cass Scenic Railroad, with more geared steam locomotives than anywhere in the world, is six miles away. The incredible National Radio Astronomy Observatory is five miles away.
Outdoor enthusiasts will never find a better place to visit. The Monongahela National Forest surrounds Dunmore with more than 900,000 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities. Numerous hiking and biking trails can be accessed nearby, including the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail, just three miles from Dunmore. Pocahontas County, the birthplace of eight rivers, has miles of bountiful fly fishing trout streams.
"If you love the outdoors, this is the place to come," said Larry.
Right across the street from the B&B is the Dunmore community center. The center is home to the Dunmore Jamboree - a monthly performance of old-time, bluegrass and gospel music by some of the area's extremely talented musicians. The Jamboree is a truly memorable experience.
Old-fashioned Sunday breakfasts are also served at the community center. Both the Jamboree and the breakfasts are free, but a donation jar is located at the door. Guests can call Paula for a schedule of events at the community center before planning their trip.
Paula said Chestnut Ridge is a great place to do nothing.
"It's good for disconnecting," she said. "City people like to disconnect. Even though, at first, when you tell them there's no cell phone reception here, they panic. But once they've been here for six or seven hours, they can really go 'aahhh' and relax. They come here and do nothing. They enjoy the firepit in the evening time and just chit-chat with other guests.
"Our main goal for our place here is that people come here and feel like it's their second home. That they can come and just relax. They give us compliments like, 'it's just so much like my grandmother's house.'"
Larry said the B&B is starting to see a lot of repeat customers.
"We have several repeat customers," he said. "Once they come here and see what they can do, they come back. We have a motorcycle group that comes almost every year. They just love to ride these roads down here. But they love to stay here too because we go out of our way for motorcycle folks."
Chestnut Ridge participates in the B&B for Vets program. Any veteran and guest can enjoy a free night's stay during the month of November. In addition, Chestnut Ridge gives active duty military members a $15 discount all the time. The program was begun in 2009 by the West Virginia B&B Association and now includes 897 B&Bs across the country. For more information, see www.bnbsforvets.com.
"Larry and I believe that the military and their families go through an awful lot," Paula said. "There's a lot of separation between families and husbands or wives. So, they deserve to have some gift and this is our way of giving back to the people that are keeping our freedom for us and establishing freedom for people in other countries."
Twilight Zone rules do not apply in Dunmore - you can stay as long as you like.
For more photos and information, see www.chestnutridgecountryinn.com.