Heavenly West Virginia Retreat

The Washington Times – 3/23/00

By: Julia Duin

Once a private lodge for Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs in 1918, the Cheat Mountain Club, a three-story edifice near the town of Durbin, was bought by four Charleston, WV, families in the late 1980’s. Despite the ‘club’ nomenclature, it is very much open to the public and is quite popular among families and the fly fishing crowd as the Shavers Fork River runs 50 yards away from its back door.

Last weekend, a dusting of overnight snow transformed the surrounding woods into a wintery landscape at 3,500 feet. The early fall is probably the best time to be there, when the trees are a riot of colors and the air is still warm.

The CMC is managed by Jason Means, an affable young man who does everything from keeping the fire roaring in the living room fireplace to teaching lodgers how to cast fly fishing lines. The main living room is an informal hangout, with braided rugs, maple wood furniture, comfortable couches, reading lamps everywhere and pitchers of tea and lemonade plus freshly baked cookies at the ready.

Children love the place, which is reminiscent of some of the old lodges in parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Meals are included in the price, $65 to $150 a night.

Lodgers at this quiet retreat can traipse about the miles of nearby well-marked trails, visit a Civil War site up the next hill or just hang out by the river.