Located in Jackson County, between Ripley and Spencer, you’ll find Elk Fork.
Don’t expect to go to camp up here but you can find a place to stay in Ripley and you’ll only be a short drive away from the lake.
This is more of a day/evening trip location- they do allow people to fish at night and they will enforce fishing license as well as boat licensing.
There is a ramp and the lake is peaceful, so it’s a good starter location when you’re learning to kayak.
All in all, I don’t like this location as much as Charles Fork but my husband does enjoy going occasionally with his dad or friends to spend the day fishing. The lake is big, so if you’re learning to kayak and trying to catch up to a troller motor, it will feel almost like you will be paddling all day.
I went out with my husband and father in law. They both had boats with troller motors and I was trying to meet them. By the time I caught up with them, I felt I had a decent grasp on how to paddle in general.
The Compass Cove has become my favorite hotel. As a child and teen, we did stay at a few different hotels but none as memorable as Compass Cove and now, I can’t see myself staying at a different hotel.
Compass Cove could be a vacation all in itself. There is a DJ 1-2 days a week live at the pool (the Tiki Hut right outside the main building). They offer three buildings- the Pentacle, the main building and the Indigo (the Indigo used to be a hotel itself but they bought it out and it’s now under their ownership). They offer five kiddie pools, seven hot tubs, two indoor pools and water slides, four outdoor pools and three lazy rivers.
There are a few notable restaurants located inside the hotel as well. If you’re looking for a place to go when the kids are in bed (if you have more than yourself with the kids), The Crow’s Nest, located on the second floor of the Pentacle building has a great atmosphere. They serve foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, onion petals and a lot more, including a full bar. They are also a fun place to take the kids. The prices aren’t bad either and the onion petals are the best I have had. They offer vodka made with corn, for those who have gluten intolerance/Celiac (Eddy’s flavored vodka) and sweet tea or pop for visitors who don’t drink. They have nights with live music, karaoke and always have the TV on at the bar.
When you make your reservation, you can get free breakfast buffet tickets for the Compass Rose. The Compass Rose is located near the check in desk on the main building (Schooner). They open at 6 am and close for breakfast at 11. The buffet has something for everyone- if you like bread, they have biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs, sausage, cereal and anything else. The coffee is actually good and you can also get coffee to go after you finish.
The Tiki Hut offers slushies, drinks (alcoholic and non) and other fast/grilled foods poolside. They are open from 11 to 7 at the main pool in front of the Schooner building.
The Compass Joe is located on the bottom floor of the Pentacle building. They sell Starbucks brand coffee as well as pastries (mostly Starbucks brand) The bad thing is that you don’t get points with a Starbucks card, can’t use Starbucks gift cards nor the app- but it’s still Starbucks food/coffee.
If you go to the fifth floor in the Schooner building, you will find a fitness center, reservations come with a free DVD rental (the DVDs are located in the pentacle building), if you have a room with no washer/drier, there is a laundry room in the pentacle building but some rooms come with washer/driers and dishwashers. They have grills for resident use located by some of the pools with plenty of picnic tables. They offer free Wi-Fi for residents as well as a business room with computers and printers.
From the friendly service when you check in at the front desk, to the friendly staff you constantly see working hard around the hotels, this hotel has me expecting a lot from a hotel and the staff. We haven’t ran across unfriendly servers any of the times we visited any of the restaurants and even when you walk back to your room and interrupt housekeeping, you still get your fresh towels and trash taken out (although it’s extremely easy to take it out yourself). There are ice makers in some of the rooms and ice machines all over.
One problem we run across nearly every year, though, is that at least one of the three elevators is always broken down in the pentacle building. My father in law stayed in that building this year while we stayed in the Schooner. At one time, two of the three elevators were broken down.
We always stay in one of the family suites, ocean front. It offers a large, wrap around balcony with a great view of the beach. The room has three beds, two bed rooms, dishwasher, coffee makers, microwave, range, washer and drier and large living room with a pull out bed. The single rooms offer one bed, a large room, ice maker, coffee maker, range and microwave and both room types offer all dishes, pots and pans.
This is a hotel I always recommend to people when they’re thinking about going to Myrtle Beach. It’s my favorite hotel out of the hotels I have stayed in, in any state. There is always something to do and even days it storms, you are bound to find entertainment.
Charleston, WV is the largest town/city. It has a bad reputation and there are areas that are dangerous after dark, but no where near as bad as big cities in other states. It’s the capital city with a lot of history and a lot of stuff to do.
There are more areas to visit than just the downtown area, but just downtown has the Towncenter mall, the shops on Capital Street and all downtown is loaded with small privately owned shops.
If you’re going out near South Hills, or going to Kanawha State Forest park, you may want to drop by Bridge Road to check out “The Shops on Bridge Road“
If you have babies/toddlers:
If you come in the Summer, Coonskin Park and Kanawha State Forest are both great for all ages. There are plenty of hiking and walking paths in both parks with playgrounds, picnic areas, ponds and creeks.
If you have older kids
If you travel as far as Southridge, you’ll have a few choices. There is the Memorial ice rink beside Target where you can take your kids ice skating.
Marquee Cinema is the best movie theater in the area and after the movie, you can visit
If your kids want to play, Chuck E Cheese is up the street from the Walmart
There is also the Sky Zone right beside Marquee Cinema.
Outside of Southridge, there is a museum inside the capitol complex, the Civic Center has events- you just have to watch to see what they have. They have concerts, conventions and on occasion circus and on ice events for kids.
If you travel to the east end, there is the Clay Center which occasionally has
If you have teens
If you have teens, the towncenter has several trendier shops to go clothes shopping, there is Live on the Levee during the summer, the civic center and most of the other locations I mentioned for older kids work for teens as well.
If you’re traveling with adults
If the adults are over the age of 21, there is the bar district downtown. You walk around after dark on a weekend, and you’re likely to hear music and meet a lot of friendly faces standing around.
There are lots of restaurants to choose from and you can choose one of the not-so-child-friendly movies. The shops up and down Capitol Street and Bridge Road are filled with boutiques and other fun shops and the city of Charleston also has events like walks for various charities.
There are options for artists downtown, music lovers- a lot of the bars have local bands play shows on weekends, if you enjoy jogging or running there are plenty of places to go, downtown is friendly to walkers and bikers so if you’re traveling through WV, Charleston can be a destination worth visiting.
Event: Gritt’s Fun Farm
Location: Buffalo, WV (Putnam County)
Dates: September 21-November 2, 2019
Family friendly, alcohol free, mainly for kids
Gritt’s Fun Farm is an event that starts in late September and ends in early November.
To get to the fun farm, you have to go up a huge, windy hill. It’s a long way off the main road. When you get there, you’ll have flaggers directing you to a parking spot so parking is easy.
There are two paths to take to get to the ticket booth. As soon as you enter, the events inside are free. There is a large corn maze at the entrance.
They have several small playgrounds up on the top of the hill, a corn crib for kids under 6 to play in, a pumpkin “house” set up with several pumpkin displays with huge pumpkins set out, so there are tons of photo opps. There is a pen where your kids (or you) can feed goats (the highlight of my trip was me and my kids being licked by the goats)
They also have a pen with rabbits.
When you’re finished playing up top, every 15 minutes on weekends, they have a tractor ride down to the bottom of the hill. Down bottom, you’ll find several more playgrounds, some large slides, two bouncy pads for kids (Four feet and above on one side, under on the other side but if a child is special needs, they will make exceptions- if you’re not comfortable with your child bouncing with much rougher kids and they aren’t rough.)
They have some carnival type games set up as well.
There is a pumpkin patch where your kids can pick out pumpkins, they sell mums and they have apple and pumpkin donuts and their lemonade is really good.
When you go, it’s best to go early in the morning and plan to stay at least a few hours. It likely won’t be a full day trip, but definitely will take a couple hours and as you get closer to noon, it will get more crowded.