To, Through and Beyond: Bunner Ridge
Here it is. The missing piece of the puzzle that is Marion County. We can finally solve the quandary that is Aristotelian philosophy. Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?
This is the last blog in the series of ‘To, Through and Beyond.’ Today we’re exploring a cute, little, country hamlet called Bunner Ridge. (And for the record, there is no “s”). If you couldn’t guess by its name, it’s pretty close to a mountain.
Driving up that mountain, the first place you’ll come to is the Bunner Ridge Raptor Rehabilitation Center. The West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center takes in sick and injured raptors (birds that feed on other animals) in the hope that one day, they’ll be strong enough to go back into the wide open sky. The facility is open for tours with knowledgeable guides. Meet Easton (a bald eagle), Vader (a turkey vulture) and little Rupert (an eastern screech owl) up close and personal. The Center also will provide educational material and sessions for schools and other groups.
And if you decide you love it there, they’re always looking for volunteers!
The center is open 7 days a week so visitors should call to make sure a volunteer is available for a tour. There is no charge to tour the facility but donations are greatly appreciated.
As Marion County transitions from summer to fall, the Annual Bunner Ridge Fall Festival celebrates with local crafts and culture during the first Saturday in October. Held at the community building, the Festival includes crafts, hayrides, kettle-cooked apple butter, baked goods, and of course buckwheat cakes. Mark your calendars now.
The next stop is a pretty big deal. It’s basically an all-in-one getaway. The Sagebrush Round-Up’s specialty is a good ol’ country time. Bands play every Saturday with close to 50 bands performing throughout the year. Keep an eye on the schedule because Nashville artists like a good mountain getaway, too. I’ve seen Shenandoah, Ashley Monroe (of Pistol Annie’s) and Striking Matches take the stage.
Living in the present is pretty much the ideal state unless you have an opportunity to visit the past. Sagebrush houses the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Check out the pictures of country music stars like Cowboy Loye Pack, Cherokee Sue and Little John Graham, Buddy Starcher and Grandpa Jones playing at the original Round-Up (way back in the day).
You’re probably interested in this concept I keep tossing about, ‘all-inclusive.’ Let me explain. You’ve got your mountain, museum, entertainment and, of course, good ol’ country cookin. At the Sagebrush, they won’t let you go hungry. Try the hot roast beef, cream chicken over biscuits, baked steak or spaghetti. There’s always fan favorites like hot dogs, french fries, chicken strips and cheese sticks.
In an all-inclusive trip, what else could you possibly need? How about a place to stay? The Sagebrush has that, too with a campground with electrical hookups nearby. So spend your weekend the good ol’ country way: in an RV. The views on that mountaintop are impeccable. You’ll want for nothing.
Now that we’ve had a great weekend, we need something to take home to remember it by. But what?
Don’t you just love fresh fruit? If only we could all own orchards and farms to go out, harvest and enjoy the beautiful spring days. Now, you can! Blueberry Ridge Farms is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll explain anyway. It’s a mountaintop farm full of blueberries! Pay to pick, eat and take home your crop. It’s a beautiful farm, a beautiful berry and
a beautiful time to be in Marion.
Bunner Ridge Riding Association and Park is one of few campgrounds in the whole region for the trail rider. And I’m not talking about dirt bikes or ATV’s. I mean horses! Ride miles and miles of scenic trails before relaxing at camp for the night. Before bedtime, have a picnic at the pavilion with your horses hitched, drinking plenty of spring water.
Don’t have a horse? Walkers, hikers, and mountain bikes are all welcome! Thank goodness for that! And, there’s always sports: tennis, basketball and horseshoe courts. Those are in addition to the riding ring and stocked pond.
All in all, Bunner Ridge seems like the perfect country getaway for the mountaineer pro and the novice. There’s mountains, country music, raptors, and horses – it doesn’t get much better. So listen to the music, eat some berries and dance the night away!
Have you caught a show at Sagebrush Round-Up?