Seneca Rocks, Greenbank and Cass West Virginia

On the morning of July 5th we woke up a little on the late but not so late side knowing we were only traveling about 2 hours into West Virginia from Deep Creek Lake. If we were smart we would have left early to avoid the heat but we like to get our rest. We got breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then hit the road. The riding between McHenry, Maryland and anywhere in West Virginia is pure heaven. Riding down through Canaan Valley is especially magnificent as the mountains lay out majestically in front of you. As we rode off heading to Seneca Rocks the sun was starting to come out but by the time we got to Seneca Rocks it was scorching hot as the sun was directly overhead with no cloud cover. We parked our motorcycles in the only shady spots we could find, tried to walk in the shade when possible and went inside to enjoy the air conditioning of the visitor center.

parking in the shade

shadey spot with a view of seneca rocks

We drank one of our bottles of Gatorade and then went outside to take some pictures of the rocks and then went back inside to soak up a little more of the air conditioning. This was our first time in the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center and it was really nice. Then we hit the road again heading for Greenbank to see the GBT.

Diana Green at Seneca rocks Vistor Center

jay Green at Seneca rocks Vistor center

Seneca rocks from the visitor center

More awesome West Virginia twisties brought us into a valley where the world’s largest movable land object loomed over the tree’s like an alien spaceship from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was the GBT! The Greenbank Telescope is a huge radio telescope but you can call it The Great Big Thing.

 Close Encounters or the GBT

We pulled into the parking lot of the National Radio Astronomy Observatoryand sat down at a picnic table to enjoy more Gatorade with some snacks. After our snack we went inside to sign up for our tour. Being a math teacher Diana enjoyed the clever science items in the gift shop.

The NRAO

lets eat before the tour

had to buythis t-shirt

The tour started off with an interesting video and presentation. Then we boarded a small diesel tour bus and headed over to the observation platform which is as close as you can get to the radio telescopes with electronic devices. We snapped some pictures, turned everything off and got back on the bus.

tour time totake pictures of the GBT

Diana and the great big thing in Greenbank, WV

Jay and the Green bank Telescope

Then we entered the radio free zone! It was like entering area 57. The gates lifted up and passed by several radio telescopes that I wanted to take pictures of but couldn’t. All of them were the larger than my house. They are the size of two, three, four and five story buildings. Then of course we came to the GBT, the hugest most massive erector set ever built. It was awesome!

After our tour we mounted back on our motorcycles and rode a short distance to Cass, West Virginia. Nestled in the crook of a turn in front of the Greenbrier River 9 miles shy of Snow Shoe Ski Resort was our lodging for the evening: The Route 66 Outpost aka The Bear Creek Lodge. There were some hunters staying at the lodge and also some powerline workers. Our motorcycles looked a little out of place in the gravel parking lot.

Route 66 Outpost in Cass, WV

Bear Creek Lodge in Cass, WV

Normally you would expect the locals to get excited about two Harleys but the locals only got excited when a fully decked out 4 wheel drive Jeep with a monster truck lift kit pulled into the lot. The Bear Creek Lodge is 8 rooms over the outpost at only$69.99 per night. The Rt 66 Outpost is a country store, two women working the grill area and a few tables to sit and eat at. We weren’t sure where to check in for the hotel and found out the ladies at the grill handle everything. We checked in, unloaded and settled into the room. We turned the air conditioning on in the room and were torn about the curtain placement. We wanted the room to cool down but the view out the sliding glass doors over the river was beautiful. the room was pretty hot and so were we so I pulled them closed because the sun was shining right into the room. The room was surprisingly nice and decked out in a hunting cabin theme which is probably the standard decor for most of West Virginia. As I spent more time in the room it dawned on me that it was really very nice. I would have to say it was outfitted newer and nicer than most private mom & pop motels. It was one of the nicest rooms I have stayed at that wasn’t a frachise and the only bad thing about the room itself that comes to mind is the walls were kind of thin. We got to listen to some country music before going to bed, but it wasn’t by choice.

cozy little room at the bear creek lodge in west virginia

We changed into comfortable clothes and laid the wet clothes from the night before on the patio railing. We went downstairs to get some beer and grub. The first order of business was to find out if they would let us buy a six pack from the store and drink it in the store while eating our dinner. Not only was the answer yes but they thought we were strange for even asking… they told us to keep our six pack in the cooler and only take them out as we drank them so they stay cold! We were happy about this arrangement but bummed that they only had Yuengling in 12 packs. We went with Michelob Ultra which was refreshing with our meal. I got the Rt 66 Steak Sandwich advertised on the front of the building and it totally rocked! They put A1 Sauce on this version of the Philly Cheesesteak. The food was really really good and having it with ice cold beer put me in a super happy place. We also got some of the home made fudge also advertised on the front of the building to top off the meal. Then we wandered down to the river and dipped our feet in the water for a little bit while the sun started to dip down. We went up to the room over the store and out on the patio. We sat in some chairs and finished digesting our meal as the sun started to set and the evening started to cool off. Shortly thereafter we hit the bed and went to sleep.

creek behind bear creek lodge in cass, wv

I recommend you stay at the Bear Creek Lodge if you visit this area but my experience with them paying by credit card was a little exercise in patience. After a week or so of phone calls and e-mails we got everything straightened out. Please bring cash if you stay here. The food was super good and for the cost you can’t go wrong… as long as you pay cash. It was worth it, I enjoyed our visit to the Rt 66 Outpost very much. It was like living a half a day in the life of a West Virginia local out in the country. I look forward to going back.

2 Responses to “Seneca Rocks, Greenbank and Cass West Virginia”

  1. A perfect day, as far as I’m concerned — great countryside in the mountains, a lodge in the country run by people who are cool, AND science. The National Radio Quiet Zone — I’ll wish I’m there next time a boom-box-on-wheels rumbles behind our house. The Bear Creek Lodge seems quite inexpensive for the comfort and scenery that comes with it.

  2. good deal, mr. green. glad you are enjoying wva. much more technical than some other roads but always fun as my friend Lou de Almeida from Canada would say. have a blast.

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