|Fall in area- Turning over a new leaf yet?
by Bob Stealey
Well, it's the last Sunday in September and there are but few hints of autumn coloration in the wooded areas surrounding Clarksburg and Harrison County. Then again, I haven't had the chance to travel very far out of the immediate area.
September seemed to be relatively warm, and I don't have to tell you it was wetter than usual. So it would seem that once the leaves do start changing more generally, the tourism industry will have a great asset in North Central West Virginia, with folks from out of state as well as state residents taking day trips for the purpose of simply enjoying the scenery.
It has been a while since I last passed through Elkins, so I haven't seen whether such cities in the higher elevations have evidenced much color-turning in recent days. Surely it makes for a more appropriate setting for the annual Mountain State Forest Festival, as well as the Preston County Buckwheat Festival and other West Virginia activities.
The expressways such as Interstate 79 and I-68 and U.S. highways 50 and 33 will doubtlessly be well-traveled in October by scenery enthusiasts. Also, U.S. routes 19 and 119 and W.Va. 20 will carry their usual flow of traffic.
Seems to me, though, that if you really want to take your time and take in God's wonders, you could go the Robert Frost route and take the roads less traveled by, especially if you want to make frequent stops to take photographs of the colorful mountains and valleys.
State routes 57, 76 and 23 are well-maintained roads for travel, and those are but a few of many.
There are country roads aplenty in Harrison and surrounding counties that you can travel and not feel that you're in the NASCAR time trials, many of which I have never taken.
A day trip downstate on U.S. 19 toward the New River Gorge Bridge should be a real treat within a fairly short span of time. Randolph, Tucker and Pendleton counties all have mountain roads for those who enjoy the ride.
Chances are that your local AAA travel office will be able to point out the best suggestions for leaf tourists, or dial (800) CALLWVA for further information on tourist points of interest.
When Bob'n'Along listed on Friday (Sept. 26) some of the nightspots of yesteryear, inadvertently omitted were the Capri Club and the Red Carpet, which were both along the former Route 50, located on the right-hand side going up the hill. Also, I was told of a spot called the Pyramid Club, but I believe it was popular in the '40s, before my time.
In addition, I left out the name of Mike Fowler and "The Upsetters" among the big names in local and area entertainment. Mike also performed with the Esquires and a few other bands, and was always a hit with the rock'n'roll crowds.
And speaking of former bands, Roger Britton, who was the drummer with the original Fabians, based in Morgantown, contacted me Friday. He said they played at the Bridgeport Civic Center beginning in 1957, which he believes was brand-new at the time.
He added that they played at Billie's Meadowbrook in Worthington on Friday nights and later moved to Melody Manor, nearer to Fairmont on Route 19. Also, Willow Beach provided another venue for late-night dances for the Fabians.
Between 1957 and 1963, they provided the backup music for many of the recording singers and groups when they visited the Pittsburgh area on tour, said Britton. He also said the majority of the band members were WVU students putting themselves through school.
Incidentally, my statement that J.B. and the Bonnevilles was a spin-off of the Fabians was erroneous. They, too, originated in Morgantown -- in 1958 or '59.
Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org