Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor Day: Lindy Point/Stumptown Ales

On Sunday morning for the first part of our Labor Day weekend getaway, we hiked from the Lodge at Blackwater Falls down to the falls and back. Around 1:30, we returned to the lodge where we left the Jeep. When we went in, they very graciously let us check in a couple hours early. We were happy to jump in the shower and rinse off the dust of our hike before we headed into town for beers.

Backing up to Friday, my uncle and aunt, Marshall and Susan, dropped by the restaurant on the way in to town from Burlington WV, out route 50. I had mentioned to them that we were going to be in Davis on Sunday and Susan said to text her, that they would drive the hour from their house and have a beer with us. I mentioned that I heard that Stumptown Ales had a really good reputation for great beer and that I was eager to try it.

At 12:30 when we had finished viewing the waterfall, I texted Susan and said if they were still game, we'd meet them at Stumptown at 3:30 give or take. I figured an hour to walk back to the lodge, thirty minutes to get checked in and showered, and 90 minutes to check out the canyon behind the lodge, run up to Lindy Point, and then head into town for a beer.

Just behind the lodge, the lawn runs nearly to the cliff edge and a walled observation point overlooking the incredible canyon below. The Blackwater River is visible a little to the west, looking left down the canyon. This was our first view of the canyon proper; we would get great views at Lindy Point later in the day and across the River at Pendleton and Pase Points the next day.

Blackwater Canyon from the Lodge

Blackwater River from the Lodge
I didn't have much time to look into places to visit nearby because we took the decision to visit this weekend at almost the last minute, but the one place I saw great photos of was Lindy Point at the far western part of the park, surrounded by Monongahela National Forest to the south and private property to the north. It's only a five-minute drive from the Lodge past the Nordic Center where you can rent skis and showshoes, so after looking at the canyon from behind the lodge, we drove down to Lindy Point and got front row parking for what was clearly a very popular destination: cars were strung out all along the road. At the end of the short trail, maybe a five-minute walk, we emerged to find the following spectacular views.

Lindy Point Looking Down Canyon

High Above the Canyon Floor

Spectacular View Southwest Down the Canyon

Taking in the View
Though there were a lot of people here, they were mostly couples and most everyone was respectful of everyone else and given the views and the short walk, there was a lot of bang for the buck. It's a view that should not be missed. We were on a schedule/beer mission at this point in the day, so we didn't linger too long and headed back out to downtown Davis just as a big group was arriving at Lindy Point, clogging the road. I'm so glad we missed them.

As far as I can tell, there's really no good food in Davis or the surrounding area, but the one place that I wanted to visit was Stumptown Ales, about which I had heard nothing but good. As we entered the tiny little strip that is downtown, we saw Marshall and Susan standing on the side of the street and pulled in beside them. They arrived about ten minutes before we did, but found the brewpub packed to the gills and so went out on the street to await us.

Stumptown Ales: Great Beer

Decorative Hop Vine
It's a small place with a couple of high-top tables and a short bar made out of slabs of trees sealed with acrylic. The silver tin ceiling doesn't hurt the atmosphere. There was barely room for us, but we got a chair at the end of the bar for Ann and the other three of us sat on the window ledge next to the bar.

It's a Small Place
Though because of the big Labor Day crowd, they were sold out of a couple of beers, we all managed to get something that we wanted and liked. Ann got a Who Tarted? Berliner Weisse, Susan got a Lefty Lucy Amber Ale, Marshall got the deep coffee-flavored Over the Tip Top Breakfast Stout, and I got the Cave Dweller Pale Ale, flavored with Citra hops, among my very favorite hops and I like hops quite a lot. I would have liked to try the Holy Citra Double IPA, but it was all gone. The Cave Dweller was a fine substitute, and at under 6%, I could have more than one. The double weighs in north of 8%.

Marshall and Susan Joined Us

Cave Dweller Citra Pale Ale
Ultimately, we moved to a high-top vacated by a group of young people, some of whom were sporting UVa Sigma Nu shirts. Marshall chatted with them for a few minutes, being a William and Mary Sigma Nu from way back. We parted company with Marshall and Susan after a couple hours of catching up and went back to the lodge, where we snacked on salame, cheese, and bread that I brought from home. After this and approaching dusk, we brought a bottle of wine and two glasses down to the overlook behind the lodge, commandeered two lawn chairs, and watched the sun go down.

Sunset and Red Wine
Still a little hungry after our wine, Ann decided we should grab a quick bite in the lodge restaurant. It was pretty awful. And there ends the tale of our first day at Blackwater, a pretty phenomenal day. We had no idea then what we would do the next day, nor that it would turn out more spectacular than the first day.

Previous: Part One of our Labor Day Getaway, Next: Part Three of our Labor Day Getaway

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