Richwood is a city of 2,477 people (as of 2000) in West Virginia. Originally a lumber town - hence the name - Richwood now bills itself as a mountain vacation getaway and a convenient entry point to the Monongahela National Forest and the Cranberry Wilderness. It's also known as the Ramp Capital of the World, and hosts a yearly festival - the first of its kind in the US - celebrating the ramp, a kind of wild mountain leek with a pungent flavor that's prized throughout the Appalachians.
Monongahela National Forest, . Over 19,000 acres of forest spread across 10 counties in West Virginia; Richwood is in the southwestern corner of the forest, as is Marlinton in the southeast. 23 campgrounds, 17 picnic areas and over 500 miles of hiking trails. Mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, boating, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, big and small game hunting, and trout and fly fishingalong the Cherry River. Visitors can rent bicycles, skis or snowshoes.
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, route 150, 304-653-4826 or 304-636-1800 (ext 343), . Protects the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. There's a half-mile boardwalk for walking and observation, and guided tours are given during the summer at 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Cranberry Wilderness, 932 North Fork Cherry Road, 304-846-2695, . Once an old-growth forest that was completely logged out by 1930, now a second-growth forest covering 35,864 acres. Approximately 60 miles of unmarked trails, wildlife including black bears (the area is part of a black bear sanctuary) and grouse, catch and release fishing.
Cranberry Mountain Nature Center, junction of route 150 and route 39/55, 304-653-4826 or 304-636-1800 (ext 343), . Open daily 9 am to 4:30 pm, May through October; 9 am to 4:30 pm Thursday through Sunday, April and November; closed December through March. Offers information about the national forest, with an exhibit hall, audio-visual programs, live programs on birds of prey and indigenous snakes, as well as special programs and guided tours.
Falls of Hill Creek, 5 miles west of the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center on route 55, 304-653-4826 in summer or 304-846-2695 in winter, . A 114-acre gorge with three waterfalls (25 feet, 45 feet, and 63 feet) - the highest of which is West Virginia's second-tallest waterfall - viewable from a 3/4-mile trail. The area also has lots of wildflowers in spring.
Highland Scenic Highway, WV-39/55 and US-219, 304-846-2695 or 304-799-4334, . A paved two-lane road which traverses the national forest for 43 miles from Richwood to just north of Marlinton, passing by Cranberry Glades, the Cranberry Wilderness, and Falls of Hill Creek. Four scenic overlooks, nearby camping, 150 miles of accessible trails.
Feast of the Ramson, Richwood High School cafeteria, 304-846-6790, . West Virginia's longest-running ramp festival, held in late April. Features a homemade ramp supper (over 2,000 pounds of ramps, along with ham, bacon, fried potatoes, pinto beans, cornbread, sassafras tea and cake) prepared by native Richwooders, arts and crafts, music, marathon and distance run.
Cherry River Festival, 34 1/2 E Walnut Street, 304-846-6428. Held during a week in mid-August. Parade, food, live music and dancing, arts and crafts.
Mountain Color Festival, 304-846-6790. Held during a week in early October. Art show, apple cider, apple butter making, crafts and craftmaking demonstrations, gospel singing.