Local sites offers variety for vacation

Published 9:06 pm Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last Saturday I watched a very good semi pro football game between the Ceredo Kenova Crash and the Summersville Mountain States Bruins.

These squads are made up of ex-college and high school players and there was plenty of hard hitting and friendly competition.

A couple hundred fans were on hand and seemed to enjoy the action at historic Ward-Craycraft stadium. With a couple of lawn chairs, a cooler, peanuts and Cracker Jack we parked ourselves in the end zone to observe the clash.

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Admission was nominal only $5.00 for an adult and $2.00 for children/seniors. It was a great way to spend a summer evening and about the only missing component was the marching band.

Before closing its doors to due to school consolidation in 1998, this stadium was home to Kenova High School’s “the Wonders.” I’ve discovered that they were one of the winningest football programs in the history of West Virginia High School Football.

The Wonders were coached by legendary Coach Carl Ward who is the winningest coach in the state of West Virginia history compiling a 244-61-1 overall record during his tenure at Ceredo-Kenova High School, including 12 West Virginia state championships.

This got me thinking about two other historic venues in our area.

Namely Ironton Tanks and Portsmouth’s Spartan stadiums, maybe it is time to craft a football themed tour but I have to head back to the task at hand.

With guests in from out of town (Arizona) I wanted to make a true Tri-State river experience for them. So in addition to the football game I planned to play tour guide and conduct some local sightseeing along with a riverside dining stop.

First we drove them through Ironton’s downtown where they marveled at all the flowers.

They were amazed with all the large pots, hanging baskets and other floral displays. Great job Ironton in Bloom! My guests really want to know what fertilizer you use.

I timed it so we had a chance to park the car and stroll through and browse the vendors stalls at the 2nd Street “Farmers Market” en route to lunch at the Fuzzy Duck.

Admittedly it is an interesting name for a restaurant but dining on an open air deck inside the Center Street floodwalls seemed like a perfect way to enjoy the weather and Ohio River. Hailing from Arizona my “tourists” soaked up the river traffic and the vibrant greenery of the river valley.

After a lunch complete with some killer sweet potato fries we loaded up crossed the Ohio and headed for the floodwall murals of Ashland and Catlettsburg, Ky.

Many of us that live in the area take attractions like these for granted but my group was astonished not only by the fantastic art work but also by the size of the floodwalls.

Time permitting tomorrow I may run them down river to Portsmouth to catch their murals and then show them the high water mark of the 37 flood. That really point out the functionality of these devices.

But let’s get back to our Saturday pre game activities. Crossing the Big Sandy River into W.Va. our next pre kickoff stop was for a quick snack and ice cream treat at Griffith and Feil. This Kenova drug store features a soda fountain that takes me back to the TV show “Happy Days”.

Their soda fountain is made up of entirely original machinery and continues to crank out deliciously hand-mixed sodas, shakes and malts. In addition to their drinks and ice cream treats they have a menu that offers an array of sandwiches, burgers and salads. Yummy!

Filled up it is time to load up as it is almost game time gang! Next stop Ward-Craycraft Field.

Depending on when we leave Ward – Craycraft I have another W.Va. treat to share. About a five minute drive from the stadium over Ceredo way is Austin’s Homemade Ice Cream. Homemade ice cream need I say more.

What a way to end a pleasant staycation day.

Happy travels!