When you venture into the Hatfield-McCoy Mountains, named for the infamous feuding families of southern West Virginia and Kentucky, you’re entering historically significant ground that is home to legendary coal mine wars and rich Native American heritage. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails system — professionally groomed trails for all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, and utility vehicles—is the heart of the region, and its trails spread like veins branching out over nearly 1,000 miles. The Bearwallow, Cabwaylingo and Ivy Branch trail systems are also open to ORVs and 4x4s. ATV enthusiasts don’t need to travel far for a place to stay. Twin Falls Resort State Park is located 15 miles from the head of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails’ Pinnacle Creek Trail , with a 47-room lodge, cabin and camping sites, and a restaurant. Chief Logan State Park is located four miles from Logan and at the head of the Bearwallow Trail System —miles of easy scenic vistas and extreme terrain. This beloved state park is an affordable haven of relaxation, with 75 rooms, an indoor pool, hiking trails, miniature golf, and a restaurant. Located on a mountaintop outside Gilbert, Twin Hollow offers mist-laden views and accommodations from primitive to the plugged-in—and folks come from all over to enjoy Trail 12 BBQ . Buffalo Trail Properties in Mercer County can rightfully claim the superlative of “most unique lodging option,” with vaulted cabins called “tree houses.” Settled deep in the woods, Ashland Resort in McDowell County features a tranquil atmosphere with lodges that sleep six to eight people, timber cabins for four to six, and cottages for four or five. There are also tent and RV sites with full hookups. The area towns are ATV-friendly, too, so you can hop on your ATV and head into
town to grab some grub. If you are in Logan, pull up to Morrison’s Drive Inn , and waiters will deliver your food right to your window. While the trails may be the lifeblood of the area, there are plenty of other attractions. The Twisted Gun Golf Course in Gilbert is located on a former mine site. The entire town of Matewan is on the National Register of Historic Places and was made famous by labor union uprisings. Stop at the Matewan Depot Museum and, on Fridays and Saturdays, visit the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum , which is located in a building that is scarred with bullet holes from the Matewan Massacre shootout. Here you’ll learn about everything from the Matewan Massacre to the Battle of Blair Mountain—the largest insurrection in U.S. history outside the Civil War. You can tour the area by water from April to November with Hatfield & McCoy Airboat Tours —and learn how the Tug Fork, the waterway that separates Kentucky and West Virginia, played an important role in the development of the feud and the region. In Williamson , you can’t help but notice the black building in town that resembles a chunk of coal. It is the historic Coal House built in 1933, and it is in fact made from 65 tons of bituminous coal. The Mountaineer Hotel , built in 1925, has hosted notable guests including John F. Kennedy. When coal was king and the constant rumbling of trains whistled through the mountains, Bluefield was called “Little New York.” Today it is a certified arts community and home to a cool gallery that features artists from around Appalachia— Gary Bowling’s House of Art , located in the Historic Ramsey School . Colorful murals have transformed the entire town of Princeton into a unique gallery and, for the best performing arts venue in southern West Virginia, visit the Chuck Mathena Center for the Performing Arts . To witness the wealth that coal mining created at the turn of the century, visit Bramwell —a treasure trove of beautiful homes that once touted more millionaires per capita than any other town in the United States. Drive the Coal Heritage Trail , more than 187 miles, to discover the unique
heritage that continues to fuel the country. The Hatfield-McCoy Mountains region is rich with special events and celebrations. Dirt Days in Williamson celebrates some of the best side-by-side, ATV, and dirt bike trails in North America. The festival includes many industry-related vendors, awesome local food, and hundreds of miles of trail riding within a quarter-mile of the city. National TrailFest Event in Gilbert, is the most fun you can have on two or four wheels. Spend five jam-packed days trail riding, witnessing demonstrations, browsing exhibits, mud bogging, drag racing, and eating good homestyle food. Each year in May, Matewan celebrates Heritage Day with food, activities, vendors, and a Re-enactment of the Matewan Massacre , a shootout between UMWA miners and Baldwin-Felts detectives that took place on May 19, 1920. Two times a year—in the spring and in December— Bramwell Tour of Homes brings thousands of visitors to meander in and out of the Victorian- and Tudor-style homes and buildings where residents are dressed in period clothes. Appreciate the locally quarried bluestone that imparts an unusual aesthetic—coal dust provides the stone’s blue coloring. If you are interested in the Hatfield– McCoy feud, then a visit to Hatfield Cemetery is in order. This off-the-beaten- path location in Sarah Ann is not for the faint of heart. Located at the top of a steep and rocky path stands a life-size Italian marble statue of Devil Anse Hatfield, leader of the Hatfield clan—and it is a sight to behold. Other Hatfields are buried in the cemetery, too, including Devil Anse’s son Johnse, father of RoseanneaMcCoy’s child. Run by descendants of the warring clans, Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine produces small, handmade batches of corn whiskey using a recipe handed down from Devil Anse Hatfield himself. This Gilbert micro- distillery uses West Virginia–grown corn and copper kettle stills to make authentic 90 proof moonshine. Use it in your favorite mixed drink instead of vodka or tequila. Or drink it like Devil Anse probably would have—straight, no chaser.
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