BRAMWELL — Convoys of tourists heading home were a common sight Monday along U.S. Route 52 while other visitors were getting a few more Memorial Day Weekend miles on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail before heading home.
Many tourists used the Hatfield-McCoy Trail’s official reopening day May 21 as travel time so they could spend a full three-day weekend riding the trails in Mercer County and neighboring McDowell County. Monday morning was a time for packing up and heading home, but many riders were making plans already to return.
Jessie Fogle of Thurmont, Md. was doing some cleaning up and packing at a Bramwell resort before going home. Monday was going to be a a busy one on the highways.
“Good, good,” he said about his three-day weekend. “We had a blast, and great hospitality in (Bramwell).”
Fogle added that the trip was well worth the effort.
“We love it,” he said of the trail. “There were definitely more people out there than usual, yes.”
The Marylanders had been following the Hatfield-McCoy Trail’s website to see when it would reopen, and “When will it reopen?” was the question everybody was posting.
“Everybody was antsy,” Fogle said. “When’s it going to reopen? When’s it going to reopen?”
“The trails were packed more than usual, more than we’ve ever seen,” Alan Bender of Maryland said. “We go all the way to the trail fest in Gilbert.”
Christina Durham of Cumberland, Md. said while she packed that she liked the Hatfield-McCoy Trail’s variety. She rode everything from steep grades to twisting turns, so each trip up the trail was different.
“There’s all the different options,” she stated. “It’s really very family, a really good family experience. We’ll be back next week.”
Local businesses were welcoming the return of out-of-state tourists.
“We had a great weekend. Everyone was happy and excited,” Michelle Bourdua of the Bramwell Outpost Grill said. “We were equal with last year. We did great and hopefully it will keep going.”
People come back all season and we get to know them. Locals have to accept that this is all we’ve got.”
Over in nearby Coaldale, visitors from Virginia were leaving the Hatfield-McCoy Trailhead for another ride.
“We’re getting packed up to hit the trails for the day, packing up the coolers and getting gas,” Denise Glass of Gladys, Va. said while her side-by-side’s engine idled. Her, 8-year-old grandson, Jaxon Younger, had put on his helmet.
“We got here Friday and we rode all day (Sunday),” Glass said. “We’re riding today and then heading back,”
The trails were busy during Memorial Day Weekend, and it wasn’t their first trip to Mercer County.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” Glass said as they got ready to ride. “I love it up here.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org