Marvelous May with bright sunshine warming cool mornings causes travel juices to flow and this Mountain State Mini (a three-day Wild, Wonderful West Virginia vacation) hopes you will follow the Tygart River 14 miles beyond Philippi where month-long Grafton activities flourish.
The Mother's Day Commemoration will take place at 2 p.m. May l3 in St. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church on West Main Street. The original church where Anna Jarvis honored her mother's life in l907 is the Mother's Day Shrine home.
The United States Congress adopted the observance and authorized the president to proclaim Mother's Day as a national holiday to celebrate "the public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country." Approved on May 9, l914, Woodrow Wilson signed this into law.
Photo by Shannon Bennett Campbell
Grafton’s St. Andrews Church is the site of the Mother’s Day Services commencing at 2 p.m. May 13. The 105th celebration will take place at the International Mother’s Day Shrine site.
Families continue to flock to the shrine ceremony every Mother's Day. Tours can be arranged at www:mothersdayshrine.com. Additionally, the Anna Jarvis home can be visited at Webster just outside of Pruntytown. Decorated with original early l900's items, daily tours take place and a gift shop is available.
Another nationally recognized event is the l45th Memorial Day Observance at Grafton National Cemetery where the first Union soldier killed during the Civil War, T. Bailey Brown, is buried. Annually, more than 250 gravesites are added to the West Virginia National Cemetery that was later established to accommodate all the burial requests.
An entire weekend of activities honor fallen soldiers. A parade will takes place on May 28 and is noted for being the longest, continuous memorial observance in the United States.
If attending either one of these events in downtown Grafton, put the vintage B&O Train Station on your tour list. The first railroad line over the Allegheny Mountains helped Grafton to form and several train engines can still be seen there hauling freight to destinations.
With frequent breaks being part of any touring, the Grafton 123 House of Coffee could be a perfect place to have a sweet roll, panini or super coffee. A menu inside covers an entire wall, and the service is fast and friendly. The Gourmet Express would be another option located only three blocks away.
If panoramic views are important on your trip, look no further than Tygart Lake State Park where dinner overlooking the lake can be a wonderful alternative to hiking, kayaking or fishing. The new Boston Beanery Restaurant at the Lodge features a full menu with pleasant service. Highly recommended are the club sandwich or a reuben. The chef offers special buffets every Friday evening. Mother's Day, Memorial Day and a Boat Launch Party Day on May l9 will find special meals prepared for visitors. For more information about park activities, check www.tygartlake.com or call 304-265-6144.
While visiting Tygart Lake, be sure to bring your fishing gear as this location was just chosen among Bass Magazine's "Top l00 Bass Lakes in America." It is the only West Virginia lake that was selected.
Steeped in national history and observances, Taylor County offers some worthy attractions. Take the hour's drive from Elkins and spend a delightful day. Get a cabin or room at the state park and enjoy a weekend of water sports.
Whether we are able to involve ourselves in the home of the Mother's Day observance or not, we will no doubt remember our mothers on May's second Sunday. Jarvis adorned the Shrine with 500 white carnations, her mother's favorite flower, for the first Mother's Day celebration. We continue to share in this tribute knowing it was born by one of our own and we take pride in this. It is a tradition, not unlike Memorial Day, that Grafton and West Virginians protect and preserve for future generations.