HINTON, W.Va. — A single swing placed on an overlook along Bluestone Lake in southern West Virginia is significantly impacting tourism at the popular fishing and boating lake.
One of a growing number of swings installed statewide at scenic locations by the West Virginia Tourism Office and its partners, the photographic landmark is having an unusual and outsized impact, says the director of the local travel bureau.
"It's amazing to drive by and see people lining up to get their photos taken in the swing," says Rebecca Peterson, executive director for Explore Summers County.
"Now that it's there, it's become a kind of focus for more tourist activity along the lake."
Before it was installed, Peterson said, sightseers had a choice of many pull-offs along WV-20 from which to view the scenic lake, a shimmering impoundment of the mingled waters of the New River and Bluestone River.
Now, she says, the swing and the area around it have become the focus of sight-seeing at the lake, especially among bucket-list sightseers who are attempting to visit "Almost Heaven" swings placed across the state.
"It's amazing what an impact it's having, and now we're looking at creating a landscaped grassy park at the site," she said.
The swing is also at an important geographic center in Summers County southern West Virginia near the point at which the Bluestone National Scenic River and the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve meet.
The swing was placed on May 23, 2023. The state teamed up with students at the Nicholas County Career and Technical Center to initially build nine wooden swings.
The swing and an adjacent marker are located at Bluestone State Park overlooking Bluestone Lake and were installed through a partnership with W.Va. State Parks, the W.Va. Department of Tourism, Explore Summers County CVB, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
You'll find a full list of "Almost Heaven" swings and their locations here.
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