In the 900,000-acre Monongahela National Forest, amid the bald eagles, deer, herons, and small-mouth bass, lies Blackwater Outdoor Adventures, a family-owned business dedicated to equipping treks into the outdoors that surround it. From their river outpost and general store, staffers dispatch water vessels to traverse the clear waters of the Cheat River, a scenic passageway carved into the rolling hills with plenty of areas for swimming and fishing. Blackwater also operates a 7-acre campsite on the banks of the river, where groups can lessen the edge of the outdoors with hot showers and space to store boats, gear, and inflatable six-bedroom homes.
Amid gurgling fountains and pouring waterfalls, Red Carpet Golf and Recreation Center’s course challenge putting visitors with individual obstacles. The course winds beneath wooden bridges and up stone tiers, the breadth of the greens completely visible from their highest vistas. The golf center also fields a spacious driving range surrounded by verdant trees, allowing golfers to practice driving for distance on the distance markers or for accuracy by gently landing the ball in a bird’s nest. Red Carpet Miniature Golf also entertains patrons post-putt with a deck available for party rental and a banquet hall that accommodates up to 70 people.
Operating in conjunction with Ohio Valley Flight Service, Top-Notch Aviation guides fledgling aviators into the skies for odysseys ranging from introductory-level discovery flights to commercial-pilot training. The band of certified flight instructors makes its nest at Washington County Airport, an all-weather operation with a runway that stretches to 5,004 feet—long enough for planes to execute proper takeoffs, land safely, and shake off stray clouds from their propellers.
Though they begin their adventure at Skydive Deep Creek?s home base, visitors won?t really remember the facility. That?s because most of their time will be spent hovering above the airport at 13,500 feet. Beginners take to the sky safely attached to an experienced diver during tandem jumps, and serious enthusiasts can fly through the air while training for skydiving certification.
Instructor Neil Porter orchestrates all the site?s jumps, using know-how earned during his time at Airborne school in the army and while obtaining his skydiving instructor certification. At Skydive Deep Creek, Neil guides beginners through the process of learning to skydive, from tandem diving to individual jumps.
For clients who just want a taste of the adrenaline-pounding sport, Neil performs tandem jumps, during which a guest is attached to him with a secure harness. While they jump together, Neil controls the parachute, which allows guests to relax and enjoy the thrill ride. The company?s optional videography and photography services capture every whoop, flip, and freefall. Visitors who want to learn to pull the strings themselves can take classes in the four levels of skydiving certification, in which they learn all the skills necessary to jump on their own or finally be in charge on parachute day in gym class.
A short 6 mile trip from its more recognized cousin, Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob offers visitors a glimpse into one of Frank Lloyd Wright's distinctive Usonian homes. The small structure exemplifies Wright's abiding philosophy of organic architecture, as it melds naturally into its surroundings. Standing 2,050 feet above sea level, the home sits below a crest of hills, and its native tidewater red cypress and sandstone construction materials help it seem to sink into the hills themselves.
Tours of the property provide insight into the home, its features, and its original owners, as well as its newest inhabitants, Lord and Lady Palumbo, who have since filled Kentuck Knob with an extensive art collection. In fact, the gardens, woods, and meadow are dotted with works from such notable artists as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, and Ray Smith.