Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Short Vacation Break

I have traveled quite a bit the first six months of 2008. There have been two mission trips to the Philippines (January and May), a week in New Orleans in April for the Seminary Board of Trustees Meeting, and the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis last month. Lots of travel - not much rest. What with mission trips, conventions, conferences, and a couple of revivals a year, the church allows me that time to be away from the office, but ministry needs always continue to exist. Therefore, actual "vacation" time is pretty rare. This past week Linda and I got to spend a few quality nights and days in a quaint, quiet place that is as peaceful as anyplace I have ever been. We didn't stay long enough (only two days and three nights) but it was time well spent.
Ever heard of Cloverlick, West Virginia?
Probably not. It doesn't appear on most maps. One has to possess a very detailed map of The Mountain State to be able to locate Cloverlick. It is located in Pocahontas County, WV, a four hour drive from Huntington. The former railroad stop sits along the banks of the senic Greenbrier River, and it is a resting stop along the Greenbrier River Trail, between Marlinton and Cass. It's about a 20-25 minute drive to Snowshoe Ski Resort, and probably at least 10 miles to the nearest gas station. Cloverlick sits on the edge of the Seneca State Forest, and it is an absolutely beautiful location nestled among some of West Virginia's highest mountains.
The house you see above is the largest house in Cloverlick. It is estimated to have been built between 1908 and 1912, so it is nearly 100 years old. The house has belonged to the Crace Family for many years, and our grandchildren are the fourth generation of that family who has enjoyed vacationing there. It was purchased many years ago by Bill and Mae Crace, the grandparents of our daughter in law, Leigh Anne (who is Benji's wife). Bill was a Harbor Master for Ashland Oil, and an avid outdoors man. He purchased the property originally as a hunting and fishing camp for him and his family, but over the years it has become a special vacation spot for family and friends for a variety of purposes. Family members have come there to hunt, fish, canoe, golf, hike, and snowmobile. It has welcomed many a church youth group on winter outings to Snowshoe, or to ride the Cass Scenic Railroad up to Whitaker Station or Bald Knob.
We have been privileged to be invited to visit "Camp" a number of times over the past 7 years, and have always enjoyed the beautiful setting and peaceful surroundings. Linda and I have been there on brief vacations on the past two fourth of July holidays and it was nice to spend a little time with that branch of our family. (by the way, I'm the guy with the bald spot throwing a baseball around with grandsons Will and Asher).
The old house has a huge living room with lots of comfortable old couches and chairs. A big wood burning stove stands in front of the old fireplace. I've never been there in the winter, but I'll bet that rascal can really heat up the place. There is a large dining room and kitchen with an old fashioned wood burning cook stove, upon which all the meals are prepared. A long, roomy hallway, a large bedroom with a small bath, and a large front porch complete the first floor. Three large bedrooms, a big bath and an upstairs porch complete the place. With the large bedrooms with two beds in each room, the place can sleep fourteen people comfortably. With sleeping bags and cots the place has hosted as many as 22 people at one time. While the home still belongs to Leigh Anne's elderly grandmother, her mom and dad, Linda and Lance Clanton, have most of the responsibility for the upkeep of the place. That presents some real logistical problems for someone who lives 4 1/2 hours away, but it is a labor of love. They truly love that place!
There is a television in the house, but with no antenna or cable, viewing selections are limited to the VHS tapes on site or those which someone might have brought along. There is no cell phone service, so it really is a nice quiet get away. It's also nice to have some extra quality time with the grandsons as well.
We had a really nice relaxing time, and certainly thank the Clantons and Craces for allowing us to visit again. Now it's back to work.
Lots to do, and so little time...
Vacations in ministry are nice, but few and far between. The real "rest" comes later on, and it's "out of this world"!

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