Mercer County, West Virginia’s southern gateway, is everything you can imagine. The area is known for its scenic beauty, rich coal heritage, antique and mall shopping, quaint bed & breakfasts, and local attractions — all nestled in a tranquil environment with charming people.
Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Mercer County is embellished with breathtaking scenic beauty. The glorious mountains surround the contemporary but quiet small towns. Nearby state parks (including Pipestem, Pinnacle Rock, Bluestone and Camp Creek) provide picturesque settings to enjoy the most beautiful scenery.
Pinnacle Rock State Park, located near Bramwell, West Virginia, is one of the more interesting wayside parks operated by the West Virginia State Park system. Towering above the rugged mountains, Pinnacle Rock is an unusual stone formation that reaches 3,100 feet above sea level. The park has a picnic shelter with a stone fireplace, numerous grills and a two-mile hiking trail that runs between Pinnacle Rock and Jimmy Lewis Lake. The fishing lake is handicap accessible, as are restrooms and the shelter area.
Camp Creek State Park and Forest offers camping (26 sites with electric hookup, two handicap accessible sites, and 12 tent campsites) hunting, fishing, picnicking, game courts, playgrounds, and hiking and biking trails. Recently developed in the forest, Double C Horse & Rider Campground offers 14 rustic sites to accommodate horses and riders (two, four and six horse sites available), fire rings and picnic tables.
Mercer County operates Glenwood Park, which offers fishing, playgrounds, picnicking and paddleboats. Princeton City Park has a pool with a water slide, an exercise trail, a playground and picnic shelters. Bluefield City Park offers the Ridge Runner (a small-scale train), a wonderful new children’s playground, four pavilions with tables, grills and bike trails. The annual Holiday of Lights Display is held here from late November through the first full week in January.
Mercer County is rich in the mysterious and interesting past of the coal industry. An active railroad yard is centered in downtown Bluefield, West Virginia — along with exquisite architecture of buildings that are the subject of a walking history tour.
In the elegant small town of Bramwell, one may view the statuesque mansions once occupied by coal barons. In the early 1900s, 14 trains stopped daily in Bramwell, which was once considered the richest small town in America because there were reportedly 19 millionaires living there. Guests can brush up on historic coal heritage or view coal barons’ mansions while taking a walking tour of this quaint bit of America. The train depot has been reconstructed, and the town holds various activities throughout the year — including Homes Tours in May and December.
Baseball lovers can enjoy the action of two professional baseball franchises in Mercer County. The Princeton Devil Rays are an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and members of the Appalachian League. The team plays its home games at Hunnicutt Field — a new stadium with modern amenities. Bowen Field is home of the Bluefield Orioles, which are entering their 48th consecutive season with the Baltimore Orioles (the longest such relationship in professional baseball). The historic field has been featured in National Geographic, Reader’s Digest and Appalachia, and has been named one of the nation’s “Top Ten Minor League Fields.”