ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

On The Road: Sunhearth Trails

Updated on February 13, 2015
 "But in looking back at the
  places I've been
  The changes that I've left
  behind
  I look at myself to find
  I've learned the hard way
  every time."
         ~Jim Croce~

The Cove

On a recent road trip, we came upon a slice of central Pennsylvania we’d never before had opportunity to visit. We were just passing through this time, but were impressed enough to know that we’ll soon return for a deeper exploration of the area.

Morrison Cove—also known as Morrisons Cove, Morrison’s Cove, or the ever-easy, The Cove—is a fertile valley checkered by farm fields and populated by four main communities: Roaring Spring, Martinsburg, Williamsburg, and Woodbury.

There is a quaint feeling of timelessness and security in The Cove. It’s encompassed by the rugged and rolling Allegheny Mountains, which are a section of the vast Appalachian Range. Morrison Cove eases across Blair and Bedford counties—from Evitts Mountain near New Enterprise, north to the Frankstown Branch Juniata River.

The Cove is eight to fifteen miles wide and thirty-nine miles long, but for those who appreciate sunrises and sunsets, its self-contained beauty extends far beyond its geographic boundaries.

Somewhat isolated, the valley is almost enclosed by Tussey Mountain on the east to the chain of Dunning, Loop and Lock Mountains on the west. The only ways in or out of The Cove are at Loysburg Gap in the south, McKee Gap in the west, and at Williamsburg to the north.

The place whispers tranquility—it was soul-soothing to be there. We found ourselves thinking nostalgically as we longed for times past when life wasn’t a fast-paced, headlong rush to one deadline or another.

Perhaps that’s just escapist drivel or a desire for childhood which cannot ever be truly recaptured—even so, sweet memories are always nice to consider.

Walter Martin
Walter Martin

Mountain Music

Roaring Spring is a principle borough of The Cove. It came into existence and was established as a community around a dependable spring of clean, fresh water.

The Big Spring from which the town gets its name is a natural limestone spring that churns out eight million gallons a day. At first it was used to power a grist-mill, but since 1866 when the initial paper-mill began operating, pulp and paper products have been manufactured.

Sunhearth Trails Bed & Breakfast is located one mile south of Roaring Spring off Route 867 S. It faces Halter Creek on a little over five acres of woods and natural landscape.

The property has a storied history. A home was built in the 1930s by the Martin family, and it got named Sunhearth.

In 1971, after a high school teaching career along with adventures of building and driving race cars, Walter Martin founded Sunhearth Folk Instruments. Walter had no particular musical prowess—however, he enjoyed good music and when introduced to its unique sound, he rapidly developed an abiding passion for the Appalachian dulcimer.

Walter was an artisan with a keen attention to detail. He researched the instrument with a thoroughness that resulted in a design that became world famous in folk-music circles.

Sunhearth Folk Instruments was an almost legendary gathering place for those practitioners of traditional mountain music. The grapevine was an efficient form of communication. News about who’d be at Sunhearth and when kept it a hotbed of musical happenings.

Impromptu jam sessions would often develop into special times of deep connections. If it was a chilly evening the fireplace would be crackling and spreading its warmth. Songs filled the air until the wee-hours of the morning, with pickers and singers circled around the large living room.

Walter nurtured and encouraged these connections and relationships. He valued the pure sound and artistry of Appalachian music.

Before reaching retirement at the age of eighty, he had made a thousand dulcimers. Amongst those who play, a Walter Martin crafted instrument is highly prized and much respected.

A Walter Martin crafted dulcimer.
A Walter Martin crafted dulcimer.
A tree gnome welcome.
A tree gnome welcome.
A display of dulcimers & artwork.
A display of dulcimers & artwork.

Restoration

Stuff happens in life. Time forges ahead and changes all it touches. After Walter Martin passed away, the homestead was eventually abandoned and fell into disrepair.

It sat empty for three years. Nature took its toll, creeping up to overrun the building. Then two visionary business partners came along, and caught a glimpse of what could be—Tina Burman and Paula Sato Maior immediately saw the potential in the fixer-upper.

There was much to do. With significant investment of finances, the help of contractors, along with many long hours, tasks on the to-do list were slowly but surely accomplished. Cleaning up the interior woodwork alone required heavy doses of faithfully applied elbow grease.

The transformation from gone-to-wild disarray into the beauteous place it is nowadays is chronicled in a photograph album. The pictures bear testimony to the fact that there had to be moments of discouragement in the process, but they persevered and stuck with it.

It took a full year and a half to restore and refurbish the home. The result is Sunhearth Trails Bed & Breakfast, a jewel of comfort and hospitality. Every room is large and spacious, decorated with crafts and antiques. It is well-appointed and classic in its feel, but Tina insists that restoration remains a work in progress.

Note the restored brick & woodwork in the kitchen.
Note the restored brick & woodwork in the kitchen.
A view from the south deck with steps leading down to Halter Creek.
A view from the south deck with steps leading down to Halter Creek.
Sitting on the south deck in full relaxation mode.
Sitting on the south deck in full relaxation mode.
Be sure to ring the entrance bell.
Be sure to ring the entrance bell.

Highly Recommended

It was early evening of a perfect summer day as we sat on the south deck overlooking the woods. Birds were singing a blend of various notes that shaped one of those soft, easy feeling songs.

Visiting with Tina over a cup of tea—which by the way, if one happens to be a tea snob, be assured that tea is brewed properly at Sunhearth Trails—we learned a bit of the story. It is evident that she appreciates the past. With reverence in her voice she spoke about the unfolding discovery of bits and pieces of the history embodied on the site.

Her decision to get off the business-world merry-go-round means that she’s tapped into a heritage of music. Reconnecting with the old network of pickers and singers is beginning to happen. She’s being intentional as she pursues leads, and is hopeful that soon Sunhearth Trails will once again be the destination for foot-tapping musicians.

Sunhearth Trails provides a homey atmosphere and relaxation in the midst of the majesty of creation. It is highly recommended—a definite Five-Star rating. Wireless Internet connection is available, and in an almost unheard of policy, Sunhearth Trails is pet friendly.

Just a word about what to do upon arrival at Sunhearth Trails—do not simply knock. Make sure to ring the entrance bell. And then be prepared to be warmly welcomed to a place of peace.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Holly 

      11 months ago

      My apologies to Tina, the wonderful host at Sunhearth B&B. I have taken too long to write a review for her place amongst the Pennsylvania woodlands. I stayed there in January 2017 while pursuing a dream. Tina accommodated my every request with generosity, over and above what might be expected.

      Sunhearth is the cosiest place nestled just outside Roaring Spring, PA. Visitors may notice the exquisite detail in crafting the wooden cabinets and doors, in all the woodwork. There is also a selection of beautiful musical instruments on display. Yes, I could hear the fiddles playing and feet just a'tappin. The coffees and teas are good. The fire crackling in the stove is warm. Breakfast was perfect. What a wonderful place to discover!

      Thank you for all that you did for me Tina! Say hello to Miranda!

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      freecampingaussie - Yes, a truly lovely place. Thanks for stopping in. Blessings.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 

      7 years ago from Southern Spain

      looks like a lovely place to visit especialy in winter & have a log fire !

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thank you, Sweetie1. And you're welcome.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 

      8 years ago from India

      Beautiful pics.. thanks for the hub ken.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Deborah - You're welcome. It is a beautiful place. Blessings.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      This looks like a beautiful place to spend some time. Thanks for the pictures.

      Namaste.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      It's a real neat place, CM.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Wayne - Thanks. Yes, I think you would love to see the original dulcimers displayed. I hope to return some time soon & stay connected to find out if some of the old time musicians start coming.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      It looks like a cool place to visit!!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Gee, Ken...you really had me wishing that I could have come along with you especially when you began to talk about the music. This is a time in life when I definitely long for that type of tranquility yet welcome something as authentic as the music of the mountains. I envy your trip but thanks much for sharing in a very well-written article that I thorooughtly enjoyed! WB

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      ericsomething - Thank you. You're right about the south deck being a fine place for front-porch pickin'.

    • profile image

      ericsomething 

      8 years ago

      I don't often wander above the Mason-Dixon line, but this sounds like my kind of place. Really cool that the owners are trying to bring back the traditions of the place along with the actual buildings. Too many restorers fall short on the tradition & atmosphere side.

      Ya know, from looking at the pictures, that south deck does look like a nice place for some front-porch pickin'.

      Good Hub, well done, especially in tying all the aspects together.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Dim Flaxenwick - You're welcome. It was a neat place. We hope to return for a longer visit soon.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Micky Dee.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Oh , that place sounds sooo good. Thank you for all the information and the great pictures.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Nice write Ken. Very pretty place and interesting!

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      You're welcome, Kaie. A very beautiful place.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 

      8 years ago

      Sounds beautiful........... I do love Williamsburg. Thanks for this! Kaie

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      bayoulady - Thank you. Glad you stopped in for a visit. Yes, it's a jewel of a place.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 

      8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Interesting hub. I love B & B s! Sounds like you found a jewel!

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      JJ & Vladimir - Yes, it was a wonderful trip.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Great trip, was it?

    • profile image

      JJ (pachuca)` 

      8 years ago

      That sounds like a wonderful trip.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      You're welcome, Daryl. It's a beautiful area.

    • profile image

      Daryl Climenhaga 

      8 years ago

      I did my fourth grade in Woodbury (while my parents travelled during a missionary furlough in 1959) in the heart of the Cove. My mother came from Martinsburg, and these names are all familiar to me, even if I have not lived around there. Thanks for writing about it.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Keith - Thanks, man. From a native Pennsylvanian that is high praise. Blessings.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      CMCastro - You're welcome. Hope you do get a chance to visit it someday.

    • profile image

      Keith 

      8 years ago

      Awww Man! You made me want to go there. I love that area and you describe it perfectly.

    • profile image

      CMCastro 

      8 years ago

      Thanks so much for sharing. Perhaps my husband and I will visit someday.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      breakfastpop - You're welcome. Hope you & your husband get a chance to visit Sunhearth some time. You'll surely enjoy it.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      8 years ago

      Sounds and looks lovely. Thanks for the heads up. My husband and I have stayed at many wonderful B& B's in PA and I always love the experience.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      dahoglund - You're welcome. It's a real neat place. Very peaceful & relaxing.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Sounds great. I've never been in that part of the county but I've an interest in traditional music and mountains are always appealing. Thanks for showing this.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)