Peterkin’s motto is “Living Under Grace.” Allow Peterkin to be your pathway to understanding the true meaning of that simple but profound phrase.
Nestled in a valley near historic Romney, West Virginia, Peterkin Camp and Conference Center boasts 1,400 acres of unsurpassed natural beauty, with clean mountain streams and miles of hiking trails. Peterkin offers a refuge of serenity amid the stress and hectic pace of our everyday lives, a place that encourages us to relax and reconnect with nature by enjoying outdoor activities such as trout fishing, hiking, swimming and tennis. The quiet wooded coves are perfect for quiet times of meditation and relaxation. Taking a ‘time out’ at Peterkin is sure to bring regeneration to body, mind and spirit.
Peterkin offers comfortable accommodations and excellent recreational opportunities for all ages. Summer camps are available for youth, adults and families. Peterkin is also a marvelous location for meetings and retreats of religious and non-profit groups, regardless of race, sex or denominational preference. Accomodations are available for more than 175 people year round and for more than 200 in warmer months.
Our main lodge, Gravatt Hall, easily accommodates 31 individuals in modern sleeping rooms with a shared bathroom. Each room has individually controlled heat and will sleep up to four people in comfort.
The other lodges on the site comfortably accommodate 33-35 people, with bedrooms for 4-8, which connect to a lovely central Great Room that is perfect for socializing.
Peterkin’s Dining Hall seats up to 150 individuals. The food service staff provides nutritious and well-balanced meals, and special dietary needs will be accommodated upon notification prior to your visit.
Beautiful and picturesque Strider Chapel seats up to 200 worshippers. The Chapel features a decorative altar area and is enhanced with skylights. Prayer Hill provides a place for worship in a lovely outdoor setting that overlooks Mill Creek Mountain. Fun and exercise are also available for all ages at Peterkin. Older guests can swim in the large pool, while the little ones safely wade in the children’s pool. Peterkin has two tennis courts, a softball field, a field, a volleyball court, and a basketball court. There are miles of charted roads for walking, hiking and jogging, and a Nature Trail illustrating local flora and wildlife.
The Christian Pavilion provides comfortable seating for up to 150 persons. A conference room in Gravatt Hall will accommodate 30 people. Gravatt’s two lounges provide breakout rooms for small groups of up to 20. Each lodge has its own central meeting room.
Peterkin is within easy driving distance of such attractions as several commercial ski resorts, Smoke Hole Caverns, Potomac Eagle Railroad tours, a vineyard with tours, and historical sites and homes.
For many years the bishops of WV had encouraged a program of summer conferences with an emphasis on Christian Education. Many sites were explored before the property near Romney was considered. The trustees purchased outright 50 acres and leased approximately one thousand acres of adjoining farm and timberland to be used for the new Camp and Conference Center. There were abundant possibilities for nature trails, hiking routes, camping sites, and the erection of cottages.
In 1944, the Rev. Frank Rowley, rector of Grace Church, Elkins, took the first party of young people to the center. He wrote, “We started out in two cars in a blinding snowstorm, but the day cleared up and we enjoyed it very much. We hiked for over an hour up the trout stream and never did find the end of the property. We all felt quite pleased with the place and also with being the first Episcopal youth group to visit the new conference center. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in front of the fireplace in the main building.”
After much discussion with the Peterkin and Gravatt families, it was decided to name the center in honor of Bishop Peterkin and the main building after Bishop Gravatt. A group from the Southern Convocation came and slept in tents and cooked over an open fire while they built a foot bridge over the stream, replaced missing steps to the boathouse, and cleared 500 yards of trail. Between work sessions, they swam, played ball, fished, and hiked – truly the first ‘Friends of Peterkin’.
The first laymen’s conference was held in September 1945, with the Rev. W. C. Campbell as speaker. After he became bishop, Bishop Campbell became Peterkin’s chief supporter. Most of the buildings we enjoy today were remodeled or built under his leadership. He and his wife spent the entire summer there every year with the campers. The bishop’s cottage is named Campbell Cottage in his honor.
The first schedule of camps and conferences was held in the summer of 1946. Mrs. Mamie Kenny, for whom the camp and conference coordinator’s house is named today, was the new housekeeper.
Dedication Day for the camp was June 26, 1947. Over 400 people gathered as Bishop Strider led hymn singing and a procession all over the grounds. Sermons were preached and a blessing given to each building. Many of the plaques you still see at Peterkin were dedicated that day. Adapted from: The Flair and the Fire, Ken Price 6/17/92
Tradition plays a large role in the Peterkin experience for campers, counselors, and staff. The traditions listed below have remained intact throughout generations.
PRAYER HILL: Prayer Hill belongs to the campers, created as a place of worship and meditation. Nothing is ever done on Prayer Hill unless the young people do it. Everything from planting the trees to building the altar is done by young people. The upkeep depends on the young people. The rules of Prayer Hill have been laid down by the young people. There are certain traditions that have been handed down from camp to camp, from year to year, for a quarter of a century. When you reach the first step, there is no more talking or laughing. There is no littering on Prayer Hill. Nothing is left on Prayer Hill that will not grow (papers, prayer books, etc.). The third tradition is that when you leave Prayer Hill, you must do so as respectfully as you entered.
GRENELDA: This is the name given to the tree that stands alone in the middle of the athletic field.
THE PETERKIN PICKUP: This is an all-camp trash pickup to keep the Peterkin grounds beautiful. The Pickup begins at Grenelda with a horizontal line that covers the width of the camp. Campers then proceed up to the lodges, while gathering trash along the way. It is done at the end of each camp.
THE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE: Traditionally, this service was held on the last evening of camp in remembrance of past bishops. Candles were lit for each bishop, as well as for the churches attended by the campers. In more recent years the service, while still held on the last evening of camp, has been a celebratory candlelight Eucharist to rejoice in the week spent at camp. The service closes with the singing of The Irish Blessing, and Into My Heart.
MR. TURLEY: Turley was one of the original inhabitants of Peterkin. His "ghost" has been around since Peterkin has been in existence. This is a fun tradition, but be alert with the younger campers.