The BrazenHead Inn is located in Big Mountain Country, near Snowshoe Resort in the Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia. This is the home of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Mid-Atlantic and South, best mountain biking in the East, excellent trout fishing, stunning scenic drives, hiking, caving, rock climbing, paragliding, superb championship golf and scenic golf courses, civil war battlefields, antique mountain train tours, exceptional traditional music, mountain music workshops, and many remnants of early America that are very much a part of life here today.
So if it’s something more than relaxation you’re after, you’re also in good company at the Inn. We’re ideally situated for sampling the very best of the spectacular Potomac Highlands ? past, present and future.
The BrazenHead Inn is in Randolph County, very near the northern border of Pocahontas County. And though the fun around here knows no boundaries, each of these counties offers its own guide to local attractions. You can explore them here:
… and here:
As you’ll see, the Potomac Highlands can accomodate devotees of all sorts of activities – including downhill and crosscountry skiing, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, railroading and a lot more. Below are links to some of our favorite examples, and to some people you can trust to help you get where you want to go.
You may want to explore some of the virtual links here as you prepare for your real explorations of the region.
skiing, snowboarding, golf and more
interpreters of our mountain heritage,
including fine traditional music and other arts
live music, food and more at Thomas, WV
at Seneca Rocks
conducts regional motorcycle tours, including stays here at The BrazenHead Inn
paragliding adventure from several nearby sites
at Green Bank
Patch Adams’ life work in nearby Hillsboro
Shenandoah National Park Hotels offers great rates at more than 50 hotels near Shenandoah (about two hours east of us)
Atop scenic Miller Mountain just outside Webster Springs, WV
a taste of Switzerland in America
ski gear, outerwear and more
in nearby Slatyfork
bike rentals, canoe/kayak rentals
and river shuttle service
good information about trout fishing
in these mountains
our frequent seasonal guests
because someday you may find yourself in Wyoming
The Early American Frontier
U.S. 219 is part of the Seneca Trail complex which, according to West Virginia historian Otis Rice in The Allegheny Frontier, may have been a part of the old Catawba War Path. The native Americans? highway from upstate New York south through the mountains to the Carolinas and beyond, traced the South Branch of the Potomac, crossed Cheat Mountain to Shaver?s Fork of Cheat River, and turned toward the present-day location of Elkins. Several spokes of the trail system radiated from that area. The branch that goes by The BrazenHead connected to the Little Kanawha River and the Ohio toward the west, and to the south, to regions where the towns of Lewisburg and Bluefield now stand.
The village of Mingo takes its name from a tribe that was at least at times associated with the Seneca Nation of Iroquois. Many of the Mingos, Shawnees and Delawares allied with the French to wreak havoc on this Virginia backcountry from the 1750s through the 1770s; others cooperated with the settlers, helping them against marauding Shawnees. Local legend says the Mingos lived here in a permanent village of log houses. Although they and their chieftains were important in the French & Indian Wars, written records of their descendants are rare. Their culture, similar to that of the northern Iroquois, survived somewhat in small, remote mountain communities of West Virginia well into the 1950s. Many residents of Randolph and Webster Counties have Mingo blood in their veins, and Mingo lifeways emphasizing self-rule remain influential in much of mountaineer culture. Their name lives on in this village and in the county of southern West Virginia which is named for them.
David Tygart, for whom the Tygart Valley and river are named, established the first permanent English settlement in this region in 1754. The Hutton family of Revolutionary War officers was granted a huge tract of land that includes the present-day village of Huttonsville. Two tourism properties associated with The Hutton family are the fine 1910 Cardinal Inn with its nearby 1806 barn, and the 1886 Hutton House. If you were to remove the clapboard covering from the substantial old farmhouses set far back in the fields of this region, you would often find the sturdy hand-hewn log cabins the early settlers built.
The section of US 219 where the BrazenHead stands was known at one time as the Old Marlinton Pike. Connecting the road built by engineering genius Claude Crozet as the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike with the old James River & Kanawha Turnpike (now US Route 60, the Midland Trail Scenic Byway), it passes by Cheat Mountain, home of Snowshoe Mountain Resort; near Marlinton, settled in 1749; and on to Lewisburg, which had its beginnings in Fort Savannah in 1755.
In July, 1861, Union Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio wrote to his wife, “You will think me insane, writing so often and always with the same story, ‘delighted with scenery and pleasant excitement.'” – Although General Robert E. Lee wasn’t having so fine a time nearby, with his troops suffering defeat on Cheat Mountain above the village of Beverly that month, he wrote from Huntersville in August, 1861, “the views are magnificent, the valleys so beautiful, the scenery so peaceful. What a glorious world Almighty God has given us. How thankless and ungrateful we are, and how we labor to mar his gifts.” (from West Virginia: A History, by John Alexander Williams, p. 62.)