ALMOST HEAVEN. Berkeley springs west Virginia was the midway destination for a long weekend vacation with the inlaws aka The Bizarros, one car from Ohio and one car from PA. The plan was to rendezvous at a local bar at 2PM and The Troubadour was chosen because their web site claimed that proprieters Jim & Bertha McCoy had discovered Patsy Kline. The bar was named after Jim’s favorite country singer, Ernest Tubb “the Texas Troubadour” and it looked entriguing.
Although we had a good plan back in the city, finding The Troubadour in West Virginia proved to be a challenge. All of a sudden all of our cell phone and GPS electronics went dead, like a Twilight Zone episode. (Close up: Rod Serling “The Bizarros on their Easter vacation were suddenly diverted to The Twilight Zone.” ) Eric and I were off the grid. We found Berkeley Springs but even the locals we met shook their heads about directions to The Troubadour. It turned out this was another hidden bar! Little did I know Debs Bucket List season was not officially over yet!
After twists and turns, hills and valleys (and wrong turns) we finally found it. It looked just like the video on the honky tonk web site. The walls were plastered with decades of photos of famous country music stars and wanna bee stars. Three local men were shooting the breeze and we found 2 stools and wondered if it was Bertha behind the bar. We ordered wings and drinks, wondering if Walter and Clone 1 were ever going to make it to the rendezvous. With the phone service out of bounds we had no way of knowing — like back in time before cell phones. We put some money in the juke box and could only recognize one song out of 1000 county tunes. Patsy Kline’s Crazy. Then Walter and C1 walked in and our weekend was off and running, with cocktails, a game of pool and a warm conversation with Bertha (yes it was her) about the bar and the history. She reserved us a table for later – Friday night karaoke and steak night.
Time for our next quest in 2 vehicles, we crossed our fingers & drove down the winding dirt road to search for our log cabin for the weekend. Still without GPS or directions, would we ever find it? We saw breathtaking vistas of green hills while the street names changed with every twist. The charming serpentine roads were all one lane wide and small clapboard houses were scattered along them. Miraculously, Diana had a cell phone signal and we found the right dirt road but the house numbers were random! Can you believe it? Keep going. Just gotta be here somewhere. Remember it’s called Sleepy Creek so we have to drive downhill to the water. Okay. The lone dirt road took us downhill to 2 wooden cabins eventually — is it? looks like It? Yes! Note to self: house number sequence goes 100, 202, 57, etc.
We unpacked the cars, explored the cabin and congratulated ourselves. Not only did we find the cabin but it was awesome. Worth every surprise hairpin turn. We had an 8pm reservation back at the Troubadour so we had an hour to chill but we had to keep moving too. Relieved, we lept into the hot tub on the deck like gazelles!
How did we get back to the Troubadour in the dark? By blind will I am sure because it certainly wasn’t with the help of our useless cell phones. Up, down, left, right, oops was that wrong? Watch out for the deer! The possum! Wait, are those bob cats? At the top of a hill we saw the lights of the Troubadour–strands of red, blue, yellow & green lights and the big WELCOME sign in the west Virginia wilderness.
The joint was already hopping with diners, drinkers and karaoke singers. Walking inside the Troubadour, Bertha recognized me and beamed! She led us to our booth, located in a supreme viewing spot. The old bench was curved and covered in classic red vinyl and the table was labeled with our name. After a drink and a steak C1 and I got up the courage to sing John Denver’s “Take me home county roads”. Surprisingly, we were probably the second worst act of the night.
Before leaving we posed for pictures with Jim and Bertha both in their 80s and promised to return someday. A truly memorable night.
March 30, 2013
(~in memory of my mother, Charlotte M. Weber)
Troubadour Lounge and Park
25 Troubadour Lane
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
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Great American Country