Back in high school, my WV Hospitality and Tourism class went to Weston, West Virginia, to tour the old WV state mental hospital (which has been re-branded the Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum or “TALA”). TALA has several awesome options for the paranormal enthusiast or the history buff. After the initial trip with school, I went back to the Asylum a few different times, even staying the night once for a ghost hunt!
Now, my mother was never a fan of me going ghost hunting. For that matter, she never even let me watch Beetle Juice because the thought of people not crossing over freaks her out.
Imagine my surprise when she presented me with our itinerary for the weekend road trip and our first hotel was haunted!
Our stop for the evening was in Point Pleasant in Mason County. Point Pleasant is where the Kanawha and Ohio rivers meet. The story goes that George Washington declared the point where the rivers converged as a “pleasant point.”
The historic Lowe Hotel sits in front of the flood wall on Main Street and is directly across from the world’s only Mothman Museum.
Upon entering the hotel from the street, you walk through two sets of double doors and into the foyer with its green marble pillars. The front desk is adorned with beautiful paintings of the hotel and town and is home to an old-fashioned bell and Tiffany lamp.
We went to check-in, but the desk concierge (who is also the owner) was out of the building on a break, so we decided to go get dinner. After driving up and down the main drag and discussing our options, we decided to forgo a chain restaurant and eat at a little BBQ shack called Cornfed’s. It was basic but cute. The restaurant was set up inside of a barn with the smoker out in the back. It was packed as it was Friday night, and the kitchen seemed small so we had a bit of a wait before our food was ready.
Since we were in Mason County, I thought it clever that our drinks were served in Mason jars. The menu was simple but had enough choices. My father has a rule which we all tend to stick to – if you go to a BBQ joint, you get BBQ. I usually adhere to that rule, but I opted for chicken tenders and loaded fries and they hit the spot.
My mother got a cheeseburger, and my father had a brisket sandwich which was served in a large slice on a bun. I’m very particular about my fries, and unfortunately the style/cut of fry offered wasn’t my favorite. They were more like boardwalk fries; I prefer thinner, crispy fries, but everyone else loved them.
After Cornfed’s, we went back to the hotel to check-in. We met the owner and got checked into our rooms. I was hardly surprised when she handed us a skeleton key and pointed towards the rickety elevator. We dropped our bags in our room and then went down to walk the river path and watch the barges before turning in for the night. On our way back to our rooms, we turned the corner and there crossing our path was a black cat!
I felt that the Lowe Hotel would’ve been better experienced in a trip of its own. I would have had more fun if the hotel was the destination. It’s fun to experience the nervous excitement of a haunted hotel – but not so much when I want a place to lay my head at the end of a long day. The rooms are each decorated in a different time period. Antique furniture adorns each and lines the hallway. There was air conditioning and TV which was nice. I left my TV on the entire night as I ended up with a room of my own and not in with my parents. I didn’t sleep well. (I was a wee bit afraid of the ghosties.)
I woke early, took a shower, and went back down to the river where I strolled the trail by the flood wall. The flood wall is painted with murals of historical events and peppered down the path are stainless steel statues depicting historical characters.
An amphitheater generally has music on Friday nights. (It had been canceled when we arrived due to the flooding.) If you’ve never taken the chance to sing in an outdoor space with good acoustics, you should try it; it’s neat to hear your voice as it echoes across the concrete! When we were exploring the night before, the water level was even with the boat tie ups, but by morning the water had reached the bottom step of the amphitheater.
I followed the path out to the overlook where the rivers meet and watched the barges until my mother called me to let me know they were awake. If you focus hard, you can almost erase the bridge, barges, homes, and powerlines and imagine what George Washington saw as he stood at the same spot. It’s beautiful.
We checked out, threw our bags in the car, and walked over to The Coffee Grinder for breakfast. I love a cute coffee house and the brew was amazing. My father and I both got their “Mothman” blend. We sat out on the sidewalk and sipped our coffee until the Mothman Museum opened.
Every place has its oddities and Point Pleasant’s is the Mothman. The legend goes that in 1966 people started seeing a man with a huge span of birdlike wings and red glowing eyes that would swoop down after them or chase their cars. After several sightings, it became part of the local folklore. Some say that the Mothman is a warning that something bad is going to happen. Most notably, he warned of the collapse of the Silver Bridge in December, 1966, a tragedy which killed 46 people.
After grabbing some pictures with the Mothman statue and some souvenirs, we picked up some cases of water at the Piggly Wiggly to take to a flood donation drop-off point and headed towards Huntington and our next stop – Hillbilly Hotdogs.