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Budget Travel in Beckley-Raleigh County (series part 1)

 

website view from Grandview

The “Grand View” at New River Gorge National River – Grandview – Raleigh County

Planning some splurges this family vacation? How about balancing that out with some money-savers? Each of our counties here in Southern WV offers fun-filled getaways and activities that won’t break the bank.

So, we’re giving you tips to save a little when you visit us!

Here’s your budget guide to a Raleigh County and Beckley area family vacation:

STAY: Hotels
A stay in a hotel or motel in Southern West Virginia is much more economical than many vacation destinations, and Raleigh County is full of budget-friendly places to rest up after your day of fun. Want the cheapest rates? Stay mid-week instead of on the weekend.

STAY: Camping 
Save on accommodations costs by turning your stay into an outdoor adventure. It’s only $22 per night to camp at Lake Stephens Campground and Marina, and you saw even more if you stay seven days with a reduced weekly rate. The nightly rate at New River Campground is the same, but the weekly rate break is a little cheaper. Grab some hot dogs and s’mores and take an evening by the fire one evening for a cheap alternative to dining out.

PLAY: Family events
Pack up a picnic and catch a lunchtime band with regular concert series events like Fridays in the Park or Wednesdays in the Square. Annual events include: Chili Night in Beckley, where $5 gets you 5 chili samples; the 3-day Friends of Coal Auto Fair; the free-admission Pumpkin Harvest Festival; and the Appalachian Festival, where an adult ticket is only $4, and discounts are given to children, students and seniors.

Parks & Recreation
With one of the most gorgeous views of the New River Gorge National River – Grandview is a great place for a hike. You can also spend a day (and night – also great spot for camping)  at Little Beaver State Park to fish, bike or take a paddle boating trip. Or, go to Lake Stephens for basketball courts, playgrounds, swimming and other recreation activities. In the summertime, fly down the waterslide at New River Park, walk the fitness trail or enjoy playing tennis, basketball or horseshoes.

Youth Museum
Treat the kids to a day of interactive exhibits at the inexpensive Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia. Interpreters will lead you through entertaining exhibits, which feel more like play than learning. They´ll also get a unique peek into history at ¨The Mountain Homestead,¨ set up to mimic the Appalachian frontier.

Miner’s Baseball
You can snag seats to see these prospect-leaguers for as low as $5.50 on the bleachers, and springing for a box seat will only set you back $8.50 per chair. Special games are designated throughout the season for promotions, giveaways and fireworks, so be sure to check the Miner’s website  for game schedules and event schedule.

Pottery DIY
Get crafty with a paint-your-own ceramics session. Choose from plates or bowls, cute clay animals and other ceramics, then paint and decorate it yourself with a huge selection of paints and craft materials. You can have several hours of fun crafting your piece, and you´ll end up with a handmade souvenir! It takes a few days to get your pot back, baked and ready to go, but if you´re skipping town soon, The Pottery Place will gladly ship it to you once it´s ready.

SHOP: Tamarack
Take a day to browse West Virginia’s best artisan crafts, and watch the artisans at work. Admission is free, but you will probably want to buy a few souvenirs, so shop wisely and walk through all of the booths to see what you like best before making your final purchases.

Beckley Motorsports Park
Catch some quick-paced action at the motorsports park. Watch the revved up and built-for-speed cars battle it out to zoom first across the finish line. Children get reduced rates to the races.

Ski Deals
Heading down in the winter? Check Winterplace Ski Resort’s “deals” page. On certain holidays, you can usually ski free when you buy a lift ticket or a night at one of the resort hotels. You can also go tubing and hit the slopes at a lower price.

Which deals are you most excited about for your family? Do you have any tips for budget travel in Raleigh County?

Baseball begins in Southern West Virginia

And there’s the pitch . . . the swing . . .  and it’s a hit!   The thrill of baseball has returned to West Virginia.

America’s favorite pastime has began for the 2013 season at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, WV.  Fans flood the stadium to root,

Power Park

Power Park

root, root for the minor league Power team, a Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

WHAT TO SEE
One avid regular adds to the entertainment: “The Toast Man” —- perches behind home plate each game with his toaster, flinging toasted bread into the crowd, taunting the opposing team’s struck out players with a “You are toast!”

There are also crowd participation games between innings, where fans can be selected to play for prizes. And anyone can buy a tennis ball to hawk into a bucket on the pitcher’s mound at the end of the game. Sink it, and you win!

Kids getting antsy? Let them race around the field in the kids’ parade, then take them to the Fun Zone for games and obstacle courses. Stop the fuzzy team mascot, Chuck, for a photo or high-five.

WHEN TO GO
Throughout the season, April through August,  there are special offers and events during the game, including the Big 12 special games. You can check the promotions schedule for a complete list of what’s coming up at Power Park.

Thursday night games bring $1 beers for Thirsty Thursdays. the cups fill from the bottom, so each includes a Power magnet you can take home. Fridays always feature a fireworks show and autograph session with the players after the game.

WHAT TO EAT
In addition to  Chuck’s, who sells premium hot dogs (including organic options and sausages) and concession stands, you can wine and dine on fine Italian cuisine at Paterno’s at the Park.

Make it all-inclusive, with dinner, snacks and drinks for $25 (plus game ticket) on the Party Deck. Cookout foods, pretzels, sodas, draft beers and wine are all-you-can-eat throughout the game. (Sometimes, they also give out free tee shirts).

MORE BASEBALL!
The Power isn’t the only team taking a swing at glory in WV.  Stay tuned for posts about  the West Virginia Miners in Beckley who will step up to the plate in late May.  In June we will cover  both the Princeton Rays  (affiliate team of the Tampa Bay Rays) and the Bluefield Blue Jays (affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays).

So what is left to say? Play ball!

Baseball… In Southern WV!

When you come to southern West Virginia, you have some expectations, generally.  Natural beauty.  Secluded mountain cabins.  White water rafting, maybe.  AdventureArt.  That sort of thing.

Most people don’t think, “baseball”.  But they should.  Southern WV has

Power Park - Home of the WV Power

long been home to three minor league teams, the furthest south being the Princeton Rays and the Bluefield Orioles.  They’ve provided the area with awesome baseball for decades.

And let’s not forget the West Virginia Power, whose long history as a franchise in Charleston as the Alley Cats, the Charlies, and the Senators (originally the Toledo Mud Hens!) has given the state a baseball team to cheer on since 1952.

And now Beckley will step in.  A brand new, non-pro collegiate franchise, The West Virginia Miners, will begin play in “the small town with a mine of its own”.  Here’s some info to get you ready…

  • The Miners will play in the Prospect League.  This league is designed for college players and uses wooden bats (NCAA college teams use aluminum bats, but all other rules apply).  That makes it unique among other collegiate leagues.
  • There’s a brand new, state of the art baseball stadium for the team in Beckley.  The Linda K. Epling Stadium may even be outfitted with extra bleacher seats pre-season to meet demand for tickets.
  • The Miners are developing a competitive junior league for both girls and boys called the Red Hats.  The boys will play in under-8, -10, and -12 divisions, and the girls will play under 18 softball.  Home field for the kids?  You guessed it- Epling Stadium.
  • Since the Miners are a collegiate club, the organization is running a promotion to find host families for some of its players.  Host families that “adopt a Miner” get all kinds of perks in addition to the satisfaction of helping the team, like season tickets and parking passes.
  • The West Virginia Miners’ home opener is on Saturday June 5th at 7 p.m.  Expect the whole city to come out and welcome the team, so get your tickets early.
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