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Best of Mercer County West Virginia, Mountain Momma

Updated: Jan 22

In an earlier post I wrote about my hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia, but today I am going to write about the rest of Mercer County, some of the best places around, and also jump into Summers County.

Historical sign, located at border of Mercer and Wyoming Counties
Historical Sign located at border of Mercer and Wyoming Counties


Viator

Depending on where you are coming in from, and what part of West Virginia you are visiting, helps to determine which airports to use. For Mercer County, all will require a drive. Fly into Charlotte NC and drive 3 hours north, that gives you the most options on flights. Charleston West Virginia or Roanoke VA works but depending on where you are coming from it can be more expensive and not many options but only 1.5 hours away. And the airports with the least options are Beckley, Greenbrier Valley, and Tri Cities Airport have just a couple options which are 45 minutes to 2 hours away, with Beckley being the closest.


If you would like to watch some YouTube videos I made of the area, click the links below.



Princeton West Virginia, Mercer County.

If driving north on Interstate 77 and you have crossed over into West Virginia via the East River Mountain Tunnel. Stay on the interstate for 8 more miles and take exit 9 and you will be at Princeton. When you take the exit that puts you on Route 460, go west to see all of Princeton, and if you go far enough you will be in Green Valley, which is right beside Bluefield. There are plenty of hotels in the Princeton area, and plenty of places to eat, some of the best include. Dollys Diner, Taste of Memphis BBQ, Berkshires, Peking House China Buffet, and last but not least is Tudors Biscuit World. Breakfast is a must there. I always get sandwiches, Mary Bee, Thundering Herd, Miner and Peppi are my favorites. There are Tudors Biscuit Worlds all over West Virginia, but only a couple outside of the state, one of which is in Panama City Florida. So, when visiting West Virginia look for Tudors. (Also look for Gino's Pizza while in WV. If you make it to Green Valley, check out Valley Country Restaurant, they have the best pies around and great prices.



Bluestone Dam
Bluestone Dam

There is one historical place I would like to mention in Princeton. Near the Courthouse, actually on the road, down the hill, behind the courthouse is a large white building that was present during the Civil War. Robert Bee McNutt House and is now the Princeton Chamber of Commerce. The home was used during the Civil War by the Union Army and was a hospital during the war. Robert McNutt was the doctor and lived here. At the time of the War 2 future presidents were stationed here for a bit. Rutherford Hayes and William McKinley. Pretty Neat.


rentalcars.com

Heading North on Route 19 from Princeton

Princeton is close to several outdoor activities and a beautiful college campus called Concord University. In Princeton, get on Route 19. It will take you to Athens WV where the college is located, then onto Pipestem State Park. Pipestem has some hiking, horseback riding, camping and a lodge. They have a shot tower and a tram that takes you to the bottom of a ravine where there is a river and beach set up. This is about 30 minutes past Princeton on Route 19. If feeling up to another 30 minutes of a drive on Route 19 go into the city of Hinton which is actually in Summers County. There is so much to see in the Hinton area. The Bluestone and New River merge here and the city of Hinton is charming, The Bluestone Dam, Sandstone waterfalls. Bluestone State Park, Fishing, white water river rafting, and several restaurants that have seating facing the river.


There is also a railroad museum in downtown Hinton also. If interested in driving another 30 minutes on Route 3 then route 12 or so you can see the John Henry monument at the John Henry Historical Park where he raced against the Steam Engine Drill and won.


ticketmaster

Heading west on route 20 from Princeton

If you head west of Princeton on Route 20, you will run into an area called Glenwood which has a park with a lake and hiking trails. I used to come to this lake at dusk and watch for beavers swimming and making their nests. Also there used to be swans at the lake, I would love to just sit and watch them. After Glenwood you will come to Bluewell, (which was mentioned in the Bluefield post earlier). One thing I didn't say in that other post is 3 great places to grab a quick bite to eat. Ginos Pizza, get the Pubwich, and Lynns Drive-in, where everything on the menu is amazing. There is also a fancy restaurant in this area. Buffalo Trail Cabins and Restaurant. A great place to rent a cabin but do check their website and confirm the restaurant is still open. It has been closed recently.


At the end of Route 20 turn right on route 52 to take you on towards Bramwell West Virginia. But before you get there stop at Pinnacle Rock State Park on the way to Bramwell, it is on the left as you drive down the mountain. It is a great hike to the top of the rocky mount. A beautiful view awaits. Just be careful and stay away from the edge.


Bramwell is famous for the homes of millionaires, they are mostly Victorian or Tudor styles. You can take tours of the homes that are still standing. At the time of the coal boom (1880s) Bramwell was home to the largest number of millionaires per capita.

The Bramwell Depot is a replica of the train station that was there, this is neat to check out to learn about the history of the area. There is also a restaurant called Bramwell Corner Shop that was recently on America;s Best Restaurants. There are places to rent in the area due to the Hatfield McCoy Trail System that starts near Bramwell but be careful they tend to book up quick.

atv
ATV

If you would like to take a trip onto the VA side, stay on Route 644 to Pocahontas, another old mining town, where you can tour a coal mine.


Hilton Honors

Heading north on interstate 77 from Princeton

Now back to the starting point of Princeton, West Virginia, if you head directly north up Interstate 77 you will eventually see an exit for Camp Creek. Camp Creek State Park is located there with wonderful hiking. Over 30 miles of hiking. They have great fishing and horseback riding.


Before the Camp Creek exit, there is exit 14, which is another way to travel to Athens but there is also Brush creek waterfall, and Brush Creek RV resort. If you don't have an RV they have a few cabins to rent. It's a great convenient place to stay if you are visiting for a few days and wanting to soak up nature. They have a pool for summer fun.


Now that is it for Mercer County up Interstate 77, but I will say if you don't take the exit at Camp Creek you will climb a pretty large mountain, and cross into Raleigh County. If you take the exit after you start to come down off the mountain (before the toll booths". It's called Ghent, and Winterplace Ski Resort is located there. This place is great for the beginner, and advanced skier. They also have a trail that is a cross country trail that I enjoy. They also have tubing which is much more my style.


travel up

Heading East on 460 from Princeton

Now from Princeton and going Route 460 east will take you back into Virginia in about 10 miles. But this section of 460 has some real nice things to too. You follow and cross the New River a couple times. There is camping available in this area for tents and RV's. Stop in Pembroke for a hike to the Cascades. It is the most beautiful waterfall in the area.

Casecade Falls near Pembroke VA
Cascade Falls near Pembroke VA

Mountain Lake is also located on 460 east past Pembrook, it is a resort and was used for shooting some shots of Dirty Dancing. There are some real interesting geological features of the lake, as it tends to lose water from time to time. There have even been shows on TV about it trying to determine where the water is going. There are even 4 covered bridges in the area you can take look at.


Now just an hour past Princeton you will be at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg VA, and Christiansburg VA. Lots of shopping, restaurants, and plenty of hotels in the area and close to Interstate 81. I will not take you any farther from Princeton on this post, I actually wasn't even planning on going into Virginia. LOL


I hope you have enjoyed this post. And if you all want my help in research and advice on a trip, just make an appointment on my website. I do love this area of West Virginia, lots of outdoor activities and just a little bit of a drive to take you to some pretty neat places. So, get out there, pack a bag, and explore what West Virginia has to offer.


cruise critic


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Sep 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great pictures and information. Thank you.

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