Pendleton County looks to brand itself for tourism

FRANKLIN — With Spruce Knob, the highest mountain in the state, Pendleton County should be closest to heaven in Almost Heaven West Virginia and is offering a mecca of top things to do, according to Daniel Taylor, president of Future Generations University, located on Road Less Traveled on North Mountain.

“Let us consider county-wide branding,” Taylor told “Pendleton Friends” gathered Tuesday at the Franklin Community Center.

“The people of the county can change the Pendleton County brand. Let’s recognize what we’ve got and get others to do so also,” he said.

For starters, Taylor said he wants to grow the evidence of how the county is tops by putting up standardized signage at the entrances to the county, creating a “wonder-filled” Pendleton website, and placing fact-filled booklets at public places to let tourists know Pendleton County exists and is full of fun, interesting things to do.

He offered five double-columned pages of opportunities for visitors, only the beginning of an inventory, he said. “Start documenting and supporting we are tops — grow the evidence.”

Taylor listed rock formations for climbing; caverns and caves; national forests open for hunting/fishing, picnicking, bird watching, photography, canoeing and kayaking; recreation areas for camping and visiting; hiking trails; stocked rivers and streams; hunting; historical sites; genealogy opportunities; bicycle trails; motorcycle riding; parks; lodging; horseback riding; scenic drives and views; artisan and craft opportunities; and antiques hunting opportunities.

Additional attractions include the Highland’s at Fisher Mountain golf course; Star Gazing during the new moon “best star-gazing in the mid-Atlantic” on the backside of Spruce Knob; Warner’s Drive In; the Smith Creek Playhouse; NRocks Rock Climbing, Zip Lining and Cable Tours; a Barn Quilt Tour (in progress); outdoor skills training at Seneca Climbing School and Experience Learning; and the Potomac Highlands Recreation Center offering bowling and roller skating.

Pendleton County is at the Potomac Headwaters and the county Chamber of Commerce and Conventions Visitor Bureau is currently working with a Potomac Highlands tourism initiative.

Other future ideas and projects could include a connection to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration, the whole Potomac Drainage, the C&O Canal and Civil War Battlefields.

Volunteer teams were formed to work on coordination, county mapping, and writing up booklets, a super website and other social media “to start documenting we are tops.”

The next meeting will be in the Community Center on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

All interested people are invited.

Taylor wants volunteers, who won’t be named an authority or council, but just want to brand Pendleton County “Closest to Heaven in West Virginia.”

Taylor said games are won by having good stuff to work with. “And Pendleton County has great stuff to work with. Personally, if I knew any place better than Pendleton County, I would have moved there decades ago.”

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