304-574-4836

Hot Tub

Relax. Enjoy Your Cabin in the Woods.

DIY weddings

Are OSSUM

Massage

You so deserve this.

Cabining

Verb: The act of relaxing in a cozy cabin in the woods.

The New River Gorge National Park

Our back yard

Weddings

Gorgeous weddings in The New River Gorge

Family Hike

Making memories.
KEEP IN TOUCH

Manly Man Purse Package

Murse. Admit it; you want one.

I have 2. I need help!

Murse

Geoff’s 2 lovely man purses. Want one?

The new upgraded version of this 31 Spirit Collection bag is cool grey and has our OSSUM Opossum Creek Retreat logo. I have packed so much stuff in this, I almost needed help carrying it. Use yours to carry stuff for a picnic or bring things home from the Antique Mall.

The only way you can get one is to book a package, and there is a very limited supply.

The Manly Man Purse Package includes:

  • The Murse. Sorry, ladies, but this 31 bag is just for the guys! He can bring you along for the weekend, but the bag is his.
  • 2 nights lodging— or add a 3rd night half price.
  • Breakfast at Cathedral Cafe
  • Some other goodies to carry home in your OCR Murse.

Available Aug. 8 to Sept. 3, 2015 for $499.

Get them while they last.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Flat Top barber in WV

The best barber shop in town!

Very few people know what they want to do in  life few when they are young. Even fewer get the chance, and no one gets a second chance.

I love the story, “Ever since I was a kid I wanted to…” It is foreign to me; a  curiosity. Here is what I believe: when these lucky people get to do this thing, whatever it is, they are very good at it and glow with happiness.

You know the people I am talking about? I found such a person and want to share him with you. Toby is my new barber. If you have seen any of the Opossum Creeks videos you will know that being my barber is not an easy task. The balding/bushy mullet with shaggy beard is my go-to look.

barer shop

All set for a trim!

After years of self-taught practice on his friends in his basement, his wife said, “I want my weekends (and my basement) back. Either stop cutting hair, or get the license and open a shop.” Toby is now a classically trained Pro!

I am no stranger to the shave and a haircut at a barber shop. I am old enough to remember the straight razor getting sharpened on the strop. And Toby has the touch, training and skill to deliver this time-honored tradition.

barber in FayettevilleMy son said after his first encounter with Toby, “I won’t be needing hats anymore,” and “WOW, that man just blessed me. I feel amazing!”

trim from the WV barber

Getting a trim

I know this is a very odd thing to put on your vacation to-do list, but believe me when I say wait to get your hair cut until you are here. Get up early. He opens at 7 a.m.

Get your shave and haircut and go to breakfast at one of the amazing local spots feeling like a new man!

Flat Top Fridays
Classic Cuts & Hot Shaves
227B N Court Street
Downtown Fayetteville, WV

I am BANANAS for this guy (and his farm-to-table food!)

I am BANANAS for this guy: Farm-to-table Chef Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres.

Fish Hawk Acres has catered a few events at Opossum Creek Retreat, but I had never met the chef, until now.

WV's Fish Hawk Acres chef

Geoff with Chef Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres

This was a fancy wedding for a dear friend’s daughter, and was it Ossum! I loved the arch leading everyone down the path to the ceremony. We were not the only ones stopping for the photo op.

WV wedding arch

The wedding arch added an elegant touch to this gorgeous outdoor ceremony.

It had been a while since I sat at a table with a place setting like this. Lets see, what one to use first?

WV outdoor wedding place settings

A table is set for the fine farm-to-table flavors of Chef Hawkins.

The only thing that upstaged the food was the bride of course, and maybe the preacher.

I understand that the idea of farm-to-table is to eat food grown and raised close to your home as often as possible. I like eating fresh, unprocessed meals and the more that is available, the more we do it. But come on who doesn’t like BANANAS? Pineapple? Even rice?

Glad to have finally met the man, the myth, the legend. Love this food, but I am not giving up BANANAS!

 

Finding happiness, even when…

Niche, niche, niche.

Market: yoga and climbing in the New River Gorge on the 4th of July weekend.

climbing ropes wv

Climbing ropes. One way to start a weekend out right around here!

Not exactly a huge demographic to draw from.

You want to feel old and overweight, show up on this weekend. OMG are these people happy, healthy and happy and beautiful.

climbing weekend smiles

Smiles from the happy bunch.

This is the 3rd or 4th annual yoga and climbing weekend that New River Mountain Guides have hosted. So I am no stranger to this stereotype. If you read this blog you know I “do the yoga,” and we have hosted lots of yoga events.

I stopped by to fix the hot tub. “Strike one.” It has been raining for 4 days. Rain and climbing do not mix. “Strike two.” And you can only do so much yoga. And the hot tub was busted. “Strike three!” I was expecting to see some glum faces.

kitten in WV

The cute kitten himself!

Happy! Yep, smiling happy faces playing with ropes and a stray kitten. (Don’t worry, one of them is taking the kitten home.) It is not raining today, so they will be on the rock and really smiling. These people’s faces must hurt from smiling so much.

I wonder if there is a yoga pose to help with that?

 

 

Fall May Look a Little Different this Year. Here’s Why.

Weevils wobble, but they don’t fall down. 

This little monster (black spot about ⅛ of an inch) is named the yellow poplar weevil, and he has leapt from obscurity onto the front page. They are changing our landscape before our eyes, even if it is only temporarily.

Leaves chewed by the weevil

The work of the weevils

They say almost all the poplar trees will survive this year’s attack. In West Virginia, poplar trees make up a big chunk of the forest. There are more poplar trees (by mass) than any other type. So when they all turn brown, it is hard not to notice!

I have seen this to a much lesser extent before, but never really paid any attention.

Well, now I am paying attention, and find it amazing that one of these little weevils (and I only found one on this tree) can eat an off a lot of leaf.

weevils

All eaten up by the weevils!

Will we be missing the golden color the poplar trees to add to the fall pallet? As you can see, some of the damage is completely destroying the leaf, yet on others only the tips have curled.

What will remain when these little guys start to go dormant in July?

Weevil in WV's forests

There’s the little guy himself: the weevil.

I do not know if they will just hang on, all brown and shriveled until fall, or if they will start dropping now. Either way, it will be odd to see this fall, and hopefully it is a one-off occurrence.

 

Get your motor runnin’!

free WVroad trip guide

We’ll send you a free New River Gorge road trip guide!

Get your motor runnin’. Head out on the highway! Looking for adventure, and whatever comes my way. I was born born to be wild, like a true nature child. (Admit it, you were singing along!)

We are smack in the middle of a couple thousand miles of windy mountain roads. The kind you see on the tv commercials for sports cars and motorcycles. Now intersperse nice little towns along the way, with some funky restaurants, and end up back at your Cabin in the Woods to soak in the hot tub and relax. Hmmm, now that is a vision. A couple days of scenic road trips, and a day of rafting or a canopy tour.

Just sayin’, if you do not already know how famous this area is for road trips, motorcycle or car, you need to get your motor running!

If you would like one of these new tour maps filled with great routes, we will happily send you one.

Just comment below and we will get your mailing address in a sidebar so not everyone will see it.

Get your free guide!

 

Bird Watcher’s Digest brought the Rendezvous to the Gorge

Bird Watcher’s Digest hosts Reader Rendezvous around the country, a fun-filled weekend of birding, music and friends. Last week, they were in West Virginia at North Bend State Park, and took a side trip to visit us. Not to stay, but to look for birds. (Something we are always doing, even while writing blogs.

They brought 18 people from all over the USA, and as far away as the west coast, all hoping to see a Swainson’s Warbler. We showed them a whole lot more.

falcon spotting in the New River Gorge, WV

Focused on the falcons

Meeting a group at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center is always a great kick-off. The NPS does an amazing job telling the story of our area. Plus, it has knockout views of the bridge and New River Gorge and Peregrine Falcon chicks. Mom and Dad did not show up.

They had been in the cars for 3 hours so once they stretched their legs, we headed out on some back roads along the Rhododendron-covered creek beds in search of the shy warbler.

unnamed-6Before the morning was over, all 18 guests and guides had seen the little bird. Many had long close-up looks, allowing them to study his subtleties in coloration and mannerisms. To say he is shy is an understatement. Many say he is skulky. He lives in the thickest of cover, and hates to peek his rather large beak out of it for any reason. The coolest thing about this bird is his song. Listen for it in the background of the video. Loud and clear, in part because of that honking beak he has.

We got really good looks and many birds we call “common,” and may not normally take a second glance at. But when you have a bunch of people who have never seen a Cardinal, well, it’s easy to get excited about the local birds all over again.

We ended up rewarding ourselves at with a wonderful lunch at Pies and Pints, along with spotting a few more birds while stuffing pizza in our faces.

 

Bird Fest, Best Fest

“The Festival.”

Banana Nut Chip

Recipe!

Thats what we call it. The official name is “The New River Birding and Nature Festival.”

I have to say, it is as fun for me to help organize the event as it is to go birding all week. We love doing it. Even the week-long frenzy of chores, like putting the tent up, shopping and gardening, and cooking for 80-90 people per night.

We even have our own version of “Chopped,” without all the stress. Our version involves bringing new recipes/dishes in to share at lunch, then deciding which are selected to be prepared during the festival. This year’s surprise winner was the homemade vegan ice cream! Yep, I just said that. We knew we had a winner when, while staring at 4 great flavors, the kids picked IT for seconds, and thirds, and is it all gone? We saw the same thing happen during the festival, and ended up making it several nights. It was soooo good!

The funny thing: I am not the only one who finds joy in the event as much as or more than the birds. You want to know how I know this?

Birding Festival WV

Enjoying the Birding Festival with small, intimate outings.

There were no birds this year. Yet it was “the best one yet,” according to a long-time repeat guest.

We saw birds. It was not really NO birds, just not what we are used to. The Migration was late. Heck, the whole spring was late. The Amazing Jim McCormac put it at a full 2 weeks delayed. So while we saw some birds and some cool plants, everyone had a great time. A really great time. I was reluctant to mention it, fearing I would jinx something. But by the weekend, it was clear we had just pulled off another amazing week with wonderful guides and guests, and we can’t wait to do it again next year.

Dang! How are we going to top that one?

Will You Help Our County’s Kids?

vote yes on the Fayette Bond issue

For the future of Fayette County, Vote YES!

If you won’t vote to help your kids, your grandkids, your friends’ kids or friends’ grandkids (or even your neighbor who you don’t even like’s kids!), to get a better education and a leg up in one of the poorest parts of the USA… What will you vote for?

Everyone in Fayette County: get out to vote “YES” to the School Bond!

School bond issue sign painting party

Hard at work at the sign painting party for the school bond issue.

Yes, it is personal! We are at the point of the spear. No matter how you measure education, WV is 49th or 50th. We are dead last! And Fayette County is 50-something out of 55 in WV!

That makes us a contender for worst school system in the USA, and this simple act can fix that. Voting— yes, the act of voting— can fix education for the most deserving and most in need in our great land.

Education can save us from ruin. Denying us education can only ensure it.

I know it is not just Fayette County, West Virginia, that is suffering this plight. But I also know we are far worse off than most. We as a country cannot go on under-funding education.

Ignorance is not freedom.

Freedom is being able to choose wisely, and not only in your own self-interest.

Will you help our county’s kids?

Want to Know More about the Birding and Nature Festival?

New River Birding & Nature Festival

The New River Birding & Nature Festival in West Virginia

Hello,

Birding and nature festivals have boomed over the past decade here in the USA. I co-founded the New River Birding and Nature Festival 13 years ago to help boost tourism in our off-season, and raise money for nature-based, hands-on school-age education.

While some events boast up to 5,000 participants, like the biggest day in birding and the Space Coast festival, ours is small and intimate with a back-porch feel. We provide guided trips with no more than 20 guests and 4 guides per trip. We are famous for finding wood warblers singing on-territory.

New Rive Gorge birding

Get an up-close look at the New River Gorge’s wildlife.

Each day after our field trips, we have 2 presentations: the “popcorn talk,” which is a casual, short program by one of our guides/authors, and the evening keynote after a home-cooked dinner. All of the guides are well-known stars of the birding world, and most of them are authors. We pay a lot of attention to the ecosystem and our area’s rich coal mining history. Most of our trips are in and around the New River National River in Southern West Virginia. This area is under the protection of the National Parks System.

The proceeds from this event are used to fund a 501c3 non-profit organization called the Fayette County Education Fund. This organization sponsors the Fayette County Leadership Program for high school juniors. This is a competitive admission program, and only 12 students are accepted from across the county to take part in the year-long curriculum. All graduates receive a $1,000 scholarship. We also provide hands-on field trips, studying our local environment for hundreds of elementary and middle school-aged children, plus weekend programing for the public.

All of this is made possible because people love spending time together enjoying nature in a fun and informative setting.

You can learn more on our homepage at www.birding-wv.com. Or, feel free to contact me.

Enjoy!

Geoff
(888) 488-4836
Managing Partner, Opossum Creek Retreat www.opossumcreek.com
President, Fayette County Education Fund
Co-founder, New River Birding and Nature Festival