EXPLORE COUNTRY ROADS Get off the beaten path + SCENIC MOUNTAIN VISTAS Views that go on forever + OUTDOOR LOVERS PARADISE Endless recreation all year long WestVirginia EXPLORE THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS
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West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands
Explore West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands is sponsored by the Hampshire County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Hardy County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Grant County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Elkins-Randolph County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Pendleton County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the West Virginia TourismOffice
2 West Virginia Map Explore country roads. 4 Mountains of Adventure Stunning views and outdoor recreation await you. 8 A Two-Lane Paradise Gateway to the Potomac Highlands. 16 The Hardy Effect Best of yesteryear with modern conveniences. 22 Endless Outdoor Beauty Majestic mountain landscape.
30 Get Tucker’d
Feels like worlds away, but easy to get to. 36 Outdoor Adventure Paradise Largest county in West Virginia. 42 Wet a Line Beautiful rivers, amazing trails and awe-inspiring views. 48 Nature’s Mountain Playground Adventure to high elevations. 54 Winter Activities Can’t miss winter destinations.
on the cover Elakala Falls in
Blackwater Falls State Park. Photo courtesy of WV Tourism Office.
The Mountain State is easily accessible by six major interstates: I-64, I-79, I-77, I-70, I-68, and I-81. The state’s only toll road is a southern portion of I-77. Welcome Centers are located along these points of entry. COUNTRY ROADS
Take Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 2 through the Northern Panhandle region to explore historic Wheeling and Ohio River towns. Well known for its steel and glass industry history, the region is now rich in entertainment and the arts. LEAD TO AMAZING WEST VIRGINIA ADVENTURES
State Park with Lodge
Watters Smith Memorial
Oglebay Park Resort
33 Elkins Seneca Rocks
State Natural Area
Interstate 64 takes you from Huntington to Charleston to Lewisburg for urban culture and small-town charm, from the rural Appalachian history of Heritage Farms in Huntington to the opulent luxury of The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs and everything in between.
Cass Scenic Railroad
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield
Forks of Coal State Natural Area
Calvin Price Watoga
Droop Mountain Battlefield
Twin Falls Resort
The Greenbrier Resort
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The I-79 corridor snakes through Morgantown and the Mountain Lakes region, ending at the state capital of Charleston . Known as the High-Tech Corridor, this part of the state is rich in higher education, health care, and more than 300 technology companies. You will also discover endless outdoor recreation opportunities, wonderful dining venues, and comfortable small towns.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Travel Responsibly West Virginia’s country roads are made for exploration, and our mountains provide a wealth of socially-distant getaways for you and your loved ones as you gear up to hit the road. Throughout your time in West Virginia, please travel responsibly. Stay up-to-date on state health guidelines. Wear a mask, if required. And maintain proper social distance to keep you and your fellow travelers safe. The health and safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority. As you plan your trip, explore socially-distant vacation ideas and the latest statewide guidelines at www.coronavirus.wv.gov or call the WV DHHR at 1-800-887-4304. Don’t forget to post pictures from your responsible road trip with #AlmostHeaven. Safe travels! We hope to see you soon.
West Virginia University
Interstate 81 and the scenic Route 55 connect the Eastern Panhandle to the
Potomac Highlands region of the state. Highlighted by the Harpers Ferry Historical National Park , the panhandle abounds with history and culture. Iconic Seneca Rocks is just one of the endless outdoor recreation opportunities in the Potomac Highlands.
Famous for the New River Gorge and world-class whitewater rafting, U.S Route 19 in southern West Virginia leads to adventure. Whether you’re an outdoor thrills enthusiast or looking for stops at some of West Virginia’s scenic state parks , it is worthwhile to get off the interstate and experience the treasures of Route 19.
New River Gorge Bridge
From the Ohio River to the Virginia border, Interstate 77 travels through some of West Virginia’s greatest cities and attractions. You’ll discover some of the state’s most vibrant arts and cultural destinations between Parkersburg and Bluefield , including Blennerhassett Historical State Park , Tamarack , and more.
Mountains Adventure of
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Encompassing the Allegheny Mountains and the Monongahela National Forest in easternWest Virginia, the Potomac Highlands region is nature’s playground. Steep, forested hills and clear mountain streams provide ample opportunity for hiking, biking, and fishing. Winding roads and scenic railways offer enticing trips to view brilliant fall colors, while winter’s snows bring out the skis and snow boots. Charming mountain towns house art galleries, coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants, and venues along the MountainMusic Trail showcase the music and dance of Appalachia. Whether you’re looking for excitement or relaxation, it’s the perfect vacation getaway! There’s no better way to explore West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands than by driving along the “Mountain Skyway,” U.S. Route 48, through Grant, Hampshire, and Hardy counties. Be sure to stop by Lost River State Park for beautiful views. Just minutes from this scenic route, you can check into The Guesthouse at Lost River . This 18-room resort makes for a peaceful getaway, especially for folks coming from the Washington, D.C., or Baltimore area, just a short two-hour drive away. Once you’ve settled in, indulge in the on-site fine dining restaurant and lounge in the evening. Uncover West Virginia’s rich Civil War history on your way to Romney , where you’ll board the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad at Wappocomo Station. As you wind along the South Branch of the Potomac River, you’ll enter a visually striking gorge known as the Trough, where you’re more than likely to spot an American bald eagle along the way. End your day at a true old-fashioned resort at Capon Springs & Farms , where there’s beauty for miles.
Lindy Point Overlook, Blackwater Falls State Park
If you’re taking a trip in the winter months, you’ll find plenty of skiing and other snow sports at Canaan Valley as well as hiking and biking and other amenities. Just an hour’s drive east on U.S. Route 48, Blackwater Falls State Park is home to the longest sled run on the East Coast. Visit Snowshoe Mountain Resort , and experience all the fun winter can bring. All aboard the Polar Express on the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad in Pocahontas County. Come in your pajamas and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa while winding through the mountains of West Virginia. At Cass Scenic Railroad State Park , take a heritage train ride or hike the trails. Regardless of the season, you don’t want to miss a visit to the Potomac Highlands area. You’ll find more photo opportunities and hiking trails at Spruce Knob —at 4,863 feet above sea level, the highest point in the state—and the Dolly Sods Wilderness, characterized by its wind-carved boulders and heath barrens that turn a brilliant red in the fall. Head to Parsons and book a trip on the Cheat River with Blackwater Outdoor Adventures . Different sections of the river offer experiences ranging from calm flatwater you can paddle yourself to rollicking whitewater rapids you navigate with your raft guide’s help. Wind down the day by ordering a hearty specialty pie at Sirianni’s Pizza Café in Davis. Then drive on down the road to Thomas to catch a live band at The Purple Fiddle . The Potomac Highlands is the perfect destination to experience all that makes West Virginia such a unique and majestic vacation spot for a short getaway or week-long adventure.
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Opposite Page: Mountain Biking Clockwise from top: Blackwater Falls, Seneca Rocks, Camping in Tucker County
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A TWO-LANE PARADISE visit to the newly opened HampshireCounty Co-op andHeritageMarket Place .Then take a five-minute drive and board the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad , where you can spot bald eagles on a beautiful train ride along the South Branch of the Potomac River. Relax on a leisurely float trip down the South
T ravel to Hampshire County’s two-lane paradise, where you can enjoy a quiet getaway from it all. As the gateway to the Potomac Highlands, Hampshire County is easy to get to from anywhere in the mid-Atlantic region. Here you will experience a naturally gorgeous area enveloped by mountains, rivers, and springs. AsWest Virginia’s oldest frontier county, Hampshire County has a rich history as well as scenic beauty. Visitors can discover historic sites, enjoy festivals, visit charming farmers markets, try unique restaurants, andmore. Take yourself home down country roads for a stay at Capon Springs and Farms , a 19th century all-inclusive resort getaway, where you are taken care of by generations of the same family and local community of co-workers. Take a scenic drive along the Cacapon River to Capon Bridge to enjoy award-winning agricultural tourism spots like the Farmer’s Daughter and The River House . Arrange a docent-led tour of the Nature Conservancy’s Ice Mountain Preserve , where you can hike among rare arctic plants or take a moderate climb to a scenic overlook. Enjoy downtown Romney with a self-guided historical walking and shopping tour, including a
Branch, or chill out for the afternoon at one of our distilleries. Finish the day off at Capon Crossing Farm and listen to live “Bluegrass in the Barn” for an evening filled with rocking, contemporary bluegrass music. Hampshire County is richwith farmers markets, antique shops, and unique specialty stores. A favorite Capon Bridge hangout is The Kettle Stop . You can’t miss it—it’s the big red barnwith picnic tables and colorful Adirondack chairs outside.The barn is full of antiques and home goods. And don’t leave without buying a bag or two of the Stir Krazy Kettle Korn to munch on during your ride home. How long can you stay? Hampshire County offers the full range of accommodations, from primitive campgrounds to full-service resorts. cometohampshire.com
Capon Springs and Farms
Where Eagles Soar
controlled Superior Club car (13+ only) enjoy lounge- style seating and a four-course meal. Guests in the climate-controlled First Class car enjoy table seating and a three-course meal. Guests in the Premium Coach car enjoy table seating, fresh air and a boxed lunch. Guests in the Standard Coach car enjoy fresh air; these 1920s-era railcars offer cushioned, high- back seats that are reversible so passengers can face in either direction. All passengers have access to the Potomac Eagle’s two observation cars. One is open for the duration of the ride, but the “gondola” car, a converted freight car with benches and an open roof, is only open to passengers while the train is passing throughThe Trough, where eagles are almost always swooping around. 149 Eagle Drive, Romney, 304.424.0736, potomaceagle.info
Cars are convenient, buses are practical, and planes will get you where you need to go, fast. But for sheer enjoyment, there’s nothing like a train. That’s why passengers return again and again to Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad excursions in Romney. The train rides provide a short jaunt into the past, incomparable views of the AlleghenyMountains, and a chance to see wildlife you’d never spot trucking down the highway. The Potomac Eagle runs every Saturday and Sunday fromMay through September. Most weekends, trains take the three-hour trip throughThe Trough, a wooded gorge along the South Branch of the Potomac River. In October—when fall colors only intensify the landscape’s beauty—the Potomac Eagle offers daily trips throughThe Trough. No matter which excursion you choose, Potomac Eagle offers four seating classes. Guests in the climate-
Annual Festivals SOUTH BRANCH BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL South Branch Valley Bluegrass Festival and Fireworks show is held the last Saturday in JUNE at theWapocoma Campground in Romney. WV PEACH FESTIVAL TheWV Peach Festival is an annual community event held every AUGUST in the city of Romney. The festival includes an assortment of entertainment and vendors. CAPON BRIDGE FOUNDERS DAY FESTIVAL Each SEPTEMBER enjoy delicious food and live entertainment. Activities include: history presentations, animal park, kids land, hay rides, lumberjack competition; apple butter making; chili cook-off, 5K run; car show and cornhole tournament. HAMPSHIRE HIGHLANDS ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL Local artisans andmusicians gather in SEPTEMBER for demonstrations; music concerts, and variety of activities.
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northeast edge of the Potomac Highlands, less than 2 hours from downtownWashington DC. Because the heritage of Capon is omnipresent (the entire complex is on listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the resort has remained unaffected by many of the trends that define today’s vacation retreats. There are 12 guest lodges on the property, each with two to 20 guest rooms, plus two private lodging facilities for couples. At Capon, the general idea is to give people plenty of things to do—but never rush them to do anything. There’s a golf course on the property; nine holes are regulation length, and a second nine are par three, pitch and putt style. Fling golf is now a popular addition on both courses. There’s an award winning spring-fed swimming pool. You’ll find a half-acre fishing pond that is regularly stocked with trout, but also features bluegill, bass, catfish, and carp. All the recreational equipment is available to borrow, including bamboo fishing poles. You can choose from three tennis courts, one of which is also set up for pickle ball. You can hike by yourself or join the weekly nature guide. Evenings are filled with family fun like regular Bingo parties and live local music like bluegrass. There’s even an elaborate scavenger hunt that changes every year—it’s called the Caponchase Adventure. One centerpiece of the Capon experience is the spa, a relatively new addition but one that melds organically with the original vision for Capon. People have traveled to this property for its spring water—believed to heal sickness and relieve stress—since the late 1700s. In 2007, Capon built a new facility, the Hygeia Bath House and Spa, in a style reminiscent of the original bathhouse but with modern amenities. 3818 Capon Springs Road, 304.874.3695, caponsprings.net
Capon Springs and Farms: A Healing Retreat
Capon Springs and Farms is hard to describe to modern audiences. It is an old-fashioned seasonal getaway that people return to year after year because it feels like coming home. Established originally as a state owned 19th century healing springs resort, it is now family-owned and operated, treating guests like personal friends visiting them. Resurrected in
1932—today the founders’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren are at the helm—and in 2013 was named Family Owned Business of the Year by the West Virginia Small Business Administration. Capon Springs and Farms was voted the best family vacation spot by the readers of WV Living magazine in 2018, 2019 & 2020. This all-inclusive resort is located on the
Healing Waters Capon Springs as a resort was restarted practically by accident. Lou and Virginia Austin, the resort’s founders, bought the rundown remnants of a 19th century resort in 1932 only because they wanted access to the groundwater springs on the property. Since the early 1800s, people had traveled to this out of the way place under doctors’ orders to drink as well as bathe in the famous spring water. Lou believed the water had medicinal properties, so he felt it was his mission to bottle and distribute
it. Gradually the couple rebuilt the facilities and, as friends who visited told their friends, the resort grew by word of mouth. You can enjoy the healing waters today as it flows and is used throughout the entire property. At the resort’s spa, the spring-fed soaking baths were designed after the original brick-lined baths from the mid-1800s. 3818 Capon Springs Road, 304.874.3695, caponsprings.net
Farmer’s Daughter Market and Butcher You’ve never been to a butcher like this. Not only can you purchase locally sourced meats, dairy, produce, and dry goods at this family-owned- and-operated shop, you feel smarter and healthier just hanging out there. Got the hankering for headcheese? No problem. How about scrapple? One pound or two? Owner Pete Pacelli is a butcher by trade and comes from a long line of butchers. He and his wife, Kate, moved to Capon Bridge six years ago to be closer to family and help fill a need. Although the town is surrounded by farms, Capon Bridge residents didn’t have anywhere to buy fresh food other than farmers markets and roadside stands. But not anymore. The Pacellis have made their mark on the community, even drawing customers from as far as Washington, D.C. They’ve won several national culinary awards for their hot and sweet capicola, black garlic ham, polski, paté, and krakowska representing West Virginia all around the country. Stop by Thursday through Saturday
from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and try one of their burgers which was featured in the Washington Post in 2019. The grocery is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m to 6 p.m. “Capon Bridge is a wonderful community,” says Kate. “It is interesting how so many people have come together—transplants and locals— to live sustainably and support local farmers and businesses.” 2908 Northwestern Turnpike, 304.856.2550, farmersdaughterwv.com
In the heart of Capon Bridge, there’s a quaint, 100-year-old house that once held coffins for Griffin Funeral Home, a four-generation family business. A local couple purchased the building in 2015 and, along with other community members, began renovating it into an Arts and Music community center called The River House . Townsfolk formed a nonprofit in 2017 to support the center’s mission of providing a safe, welcoming space where art andmusic deepen community connections. There is also a beautiful, relaxing outdoor park space near the riverbank. You can stop by for a fresh cup of coffee, a fresh cafe meal, or a glass of beer or wine. The walls ofThe River House are a rotating art gallery, with different local artists featured eachmonth. Acclaimed area artist Susan Feller displayed her work there. “The River House seems to be a magnet for networking because of the flexible space,” she says. “The feedback from being a featured artist has been rewarding and leads to conversations and new friendships.” The center also hosts art classes for all ages as well as regular openmic nights, trivia nights, and concerts that almost always sell out. In 2019, The River House was namedWV Art Organization of the Year! 2 4 Rickie Davy Lane, 304.856.2440, for program calendar and cafe menu visit theriverhousewv.org A MISSION OF ART
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REST YOUR HEAD
Explore the First West Virginia Town Nearly every building in Romney has beenmarked by the Civil War. In fact, Romney was second only to Winchester, Virginia, in activity during the conflict. Romney was located along a highly strategic road during the Civil War—the Northwestern Turnpike— near the B&ORailroad, which was a connecting line between the port of Baltimore and the Ohio River. now a thriving community arts building. Managed by the Loy Foundation, The BottlingWorks hosts live music, art shows, community groups, and the Romney FarmersMarket . You will also discover a selection of unique dining and shopping options as you stroll through downtown.
THE KOOLWINK MOTEL This family-ownedmotel has been greeting travelers since 1936. The 1950s-style spot with pristine rooms in vintage decor is a destination unto itself. Expect flat screen TVs and wireless internet, but also spacious porches and a dose of hometown hospitality. 24350 Northwestern Pike, Romney, 304.822.3595, koolwink.com SOUTH BRANCH INN With locations in both Moorefield and Romney, South Branch Inn offers natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. Choose from over 160 rooms including suites with jacuzzi tubs. Conference and meeting space available. 64 Heritage Circle, Romney; 1500 U.S. Highway 220 North, Moorefield; 866.492.3122, wvafun.com BUFFALO GAP RETREAT Open fromApril 20 to November 1, Buffalo Gap Retreat has six cabins that sleep up to 12 each. There are also camping options, a communal kitchen, a lake, a beach, a lakefront wood-fired sauna, and hiking trails. 229 Cool Creek Road, Capon Bridge, 202.422.7430, buffalogapretreat.com
Not only is this little hamlet a hotbed for the arts, but it has a world-class attraction at its doorstep. The natural trough near which Romney sits is a remote, forested canyon dissected by the pristine waters of the Potomac’s South Branch, and it’s only accessible by train, canoe, or kayak. The Potomac Eagle scenic railroad takes visitors through this slice of untouched wilderness, mixing in a little history and wonder en route. Those looking to access the Trough via water can always stop at the TroughGeneral Store at the mouth of the canyon, where canoe and kayak rentals, snacks, gear, and even camping spots are available.
Both Union and Confederate troops fought to keep the town, which was tossed back and forth between occupiers many times—some say as many as 56 times. Romney is a surprising locus of art, culture, and, of course, history that’s been attracting visitors and new residents for more than 250 years. Although it is now consideredWest Virginia’s oldest town, chartered the morning of December 23, 1762— the mayor will happily supply you with a copy of the official legislative citation—much of what Romney has to offer visitors is a product of recent transformations. History, especially Civil War history, burns hot in the blood for Romney residents, but so do civic engagement and the arts. Romney may be the oldest incorporated community in the oldest county inWest Virginia, but it continues to reinvent itself through the passion of new residents, entrepreneurs, and artists. Clusters of historic brick and clapboard buildings line Romney’s streets and, through the careful efforts of residents, a few have taken on new life as small businesses or community centers. The historic brick- sided Coca-Cola bottling factory onMain Street is
Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad e Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad has expanded its services to oer more variety and enjoyment while remaining a favorite tourist destination. Your journey begins at the Wappocomo Station located in Romney, West Virginia. e Trough Tour takes you on a 3-hour round- trip excursion along the South Branch of the Potomac River. Oered every weekend beginning in May, you’ll enter a visually striking gorge known as e Trough, a 6-mile long steep, narrow
canyon. e Trough area provides the perfect home to the American Bald Eagle which was adopted as our national symbol in 1782. Featured trips once a month: Sunset Trough Excursion, All-Day Petersburg Trip, and Green Spring Special (advanced reservations strongly recommended).
Four classes of service are now o ered on all excursions:
Superior Dining – for passengers 13 and up, this option oers an upgraded 4-course meal served on C&O Railroad china in a luxurious, climate-controlled setting complete with restored love-seats or tables. Premium Dining – oers a 3-course meal service in our upgraded vintage dining cars and is also climate- controlled. Standard Dining – provides passengers with a
boxed lunch in our open air table cars. e windows open to the fresh mountain air in the warmweather, adding to the all-encompassing scenic experience. Standard Coach – is the perfect class for families or groups, offering an affordable, comfortable seating option; cushioned, high- back, bench-style seats with reversible backs allow free movement for
passengers to face either direction. A concession car is available to purchase snacks and drinks.
Reservations are required for Superior, Premium and Standard Dining with entrée chosen at time of reservation. For more information and to book your trip, you can visit www.potomaceagle.com, email email@example.com or call 304-424-0736.
Experience the magic of the Christmas season as Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad presents a Country Classic Christmas featuring the North Pole Express!
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WEST VIRGINIA 16 EXPERIENCE THE HARDY EFFECT
N o matter where you are in Hardy County, you’ll be close to nature. Whether you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, just follow the country roads for exceptional outdoor recreation that ranges fromhiking and cycling to floating and fishing. Historic small towns combine the best of yesteryear with modern conveniences. Moorefield , located at the confluence of the South Fork and South Branch Rivers, features structures built in the Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and Italianate styles dating to the 18th century. While you’re in town, play a round of golf at nearby Valley View Golf Course , then visit West- Whitehill Winery for a tour and tasting or see a community theater performance at the historic McCoy’s GrandTheatre . Bring your kayak or canoe and paddle the South Branch River through an awe-inspiring gorge, aptly called “The Trough,” where bald eagles fly overhead. Then venture over the Mountain Skyway - U.S. Route 48 - to Wardensville , a small town that lives larger than its diminutive size, with charming shops, markets, and restaurants. Take the back roads to Lost River Valley (or get back on the highway). One visit to the picturesque community will make it clear why many people who visit decide to stay. Stop in the Valley for lunch and shop for art, crafts, antiques, wine, and craft beer. And be sure to pick up a Hardy County Barn Quilt Trail map. Then end your day with a candlelight dinner, a glass of wine or a cold beer at one of the Valley’s restaurants. Do you want to spend your day hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding? Head to Lost River State Park in Mathias where the 5-county mountain view from the Cranny CrowOverlook should not be missed. GeorgeWashington National Forest also offers great hiking and mountain biking trails. Get up early to watch the morning mist lift off of the 17-acre Rock Cliff Lake and Trout Pond , the only natural lake inWest Virginia and home to native brook trout. Don’t want to fish? Swim in the lake or hike the trails around the water—and don’t forget your binoculars, because these areas are great for bird watching. Enjoy your visit to Hardy County and Experience the Hardy Effect. visithardywv.com
South Fork Valley
Shopping in Hardy County can be a unique experience.
Farm to Markets Hardy County is the largest agricultural- producing county inWest Virginia, and the garden andmeat markets here provide plenty of evidence.The nonprofit WardensvilleGardenMarket , located on Route 259, is growing food and real community goodness. Abakery, market, farm, and soon-to-launch restaurant and production kitchen all provide life experiences for local students and generate income for the nonprofit. wardensvillegardenmarket.org If you are looking for pastured pork and grass-fed beef, Watermark Farms sells it. TheWhite BarnFarm Market, located at 1433U.S. Highway 220 inMoorefield, provides local farm- fresh produce, West Virginia–made products and beef from South Branch Meat & Cattle Company . Buena Vista Farm offers strawberries and asparagus as well as a range of fresh produce and a great pumpkin patch in October. And the Lost River Farmers Market , has everything you need for the weekend, from locally raised produce to delicious baked goods for humans and dogs alike.
South Fork General Store at Peru First of all, this charming store is in Peru. Before you go, practice saying Peru: “Pea-rew.” Located near the South Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River, the store offers a healthy dose of nostalgia and some seriously good burgers. “South Fork General Store” on Facebook Lost River Trading Post You can’t miss Lost River Trading Post and its Grasshopper Gallery—just look for their signature bright orange cow. This modern mountain general store offers American-made products, local handcrafted items, antiques, food, and craft beverages. @lostrivertradingpost on Facebook
Lost River General Store This modern general store in Lost River is filled with an outstanding collection of American and local handcrafts as well as carefully selected wines and artisan beers. It’s so charming that you might want to spend the night. Lucky for you, the owners operate the Inn at Lost River next door. theinnatlostriver.com Lost River Artisans Marketplace If you visit the Lost River Valley anytime between mid- April and early December, you’re likely to find artisans demonstrating their talents. You can purchase from a selection of regionally crafted items in the shop, or see the historic Tusing barn loom in the Lost River Museum. lostrivercraft.com
w Trout Pond Recreation Area
cool waters. This manmade 17-acre lake is perfect for boating. Trout Pond, home to native brook trout, was created from a large sinkhole fed by a stream and is the only natural lake inWest Virginia. Hike the Trout Pond Loop Trail, an easy 4-mile excursion, with an optional 2-mile side route, to an overlook of Rock Cliff Lake. For a more challenging hike, a connecting trail provides a steep climb up Long and Devil’s Hole mountains. Campsites are available and come with a campfire ring and picnic table, and some have electric hookups.
The GeorgeWashington National Forest skates alongWest Virginia’s border with Virginia and slips into the state in a couple of counties—including Hardy County, where you’ll find the Trout Pond Recreation Area. Situated in the hills east of Lost River, approximately 13 miles fromWardensville, this area is home to two beautiful lakes: Rock Cliff Lake and Trout Pond. No need to head to the ocean to relax on a sandy beach. You can sunbathe on Rock Cliff Lake’s sandy mountain beach. Or fish for stocked trout while kids splash in the
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Mountain Biking and Cycling World class cyclists have discovered that Hardy County is a perfect place to explore farmland valleys, mountaintop can choose frommultiple ride options or customized tours. Raw Talent Ranch also hosts team training camps and family
meadows, woodland trails, and rolling country roads. Unforgettable rides with Raw Talent Ranch connect cyclists with this stunning scenery. Riders are housed at Lost River Barn , a renovated barn with modern amenities, that serves as a base for cyclists. Guests
getaways. @RawTalentRanch Lost River Trails Coalition is working with Lost River State Park to repair and expand trails in the Park and nearby George Washington National Forest. To get involved, join their Facebook group at facebook. com/groups/723212881886291
Lost River State Park
campfire ring, picnic table, and latrines are on site. No potable water is available there, but you can still stay connected: As a result of broadband service expansion throughoutWest Virginia, the state park nowhas greaterWi-Fi connectivity— the office and the Legacy andClassic cabins have internet service. To learnmore and reserve a cabin, visit wvstateparks.com and search “Lost River.”
In addition, you can hike to the primitive Lost River Fire Tower Cabin now available for an overnight stay. There are also a limited number of rustic campsites for hikers and horseback riders. Looking for something really primitive? Two of the campsites are accessible by hiking 1.5 miles on White Oak Trail to the top of Big Ridge Mountain. A public shelter,
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, Lost River State Park is located in the woodedmountains of Hardy County in the state’s Potomac Highlands. The park's quiet 3,900 acres of woods is located near the 1756 French and IndianWar Battle of Lost River. Providing a secluded getaway for nature lovers, there are 26 fully furnished and updated cabins for overnight guests. Enjoy soul- imprinting hikes, take a dip in the renovated pool, or recreational amenities like mountain biking, geocaching, and tennis. Experience scenic overlooks with panoramic views on horseback with experienced guides from Hidden Trails Stables (open seasonally hiddentrailsstableswv.com ). Private riding is available year ’round after registering at the park office. Lost River is known for its Cranny Crow Overlook on top of Big Ridge Mountain, which offers a commanding view of five counties. The park is also home to the restored Lee Cabin , the home of Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, a Revolutionary War general and father of Civil War General Robert E. Lee. The restored cabin is across the creek from Lee Sulphur Spring , known for its sulfuric smell and rumored healing properties.
TOP Festivals South Branch Riverfest Memorial Day Weekend Lions Club Independence Day Celebration and Parade Early July WV Poultry Festival and Parade Mid July Tri-County Fair
4th week of July & 1st week of August Bulls & Barrels Rodeo End of August Heritage Weekend
4th weekend in September Wardensville Fall Festival 1st week October WV Turkey Festival Last weekend in October
The River(s) Run Through It With rivers that rush through boulder-strewn canyons, lazy tree-lined lakes, and mountain streams filled with native fish, water is a way of life in Hardy County.
Confirm festival dates at visithardywv.com
River. Parker Hollow , located near Needmore and Warden Lake , just north of Wardensville, are local favorites. Whether you are spinning or fly fishing, Hardy County is a great spot for a variety of fish like brown trout, cutthroat trout, bull trout, and bowfin. For South Branch River canoe and kayak rentals, primitive camping, and fly fishing lessons call 304.703.9975 or go to breezewoodadventures.com.
One popular area to kayak is The Trough , a narrow, 6-mile gorge hemmed in by rock formations on the South Branch of the Potomac River north of Moorefield. It is reputed that George Washington coined its name after surveying the area in 1748. The scenery is stunning with bald eagles often seen soaring overhead. The South Fork is also a favorite f loat and fishing spot, as is the Cacapon River , which begins as the Lost River before it disappears underground at the Lost River Sinks between the towns of Baker and Wardensville. Looking for fresh fishing spots?
Looking for something interesting and educational to do? Channel your inner paleontologist and search for fossils. Four miles outside Wardensville on Old West Virginia Route 55 is a roadside quarry. Fossils here are from a 390 million-year-old tropical reef from an ancient sea that covered most of the state. Drive west on Old Route 55 out of Wardensville, cross a small bridge, go about half a mile, up a steep hill and pull-off. The quarry is on your right. Use common sense and respect the site.
The county is traversed by streams like Waites Run and small lakes like Kimsey Run, Rockcliff , and Trout Pond in Lost
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Misty Mountain Event Barn
Looking for amagical place to hold a family reunion, corporate retreat, or wedding?MistyMountain Farm in Fisher is a working farmwith a brand new, multi- purpose event barn. Situated on rolling farmland overlooking the mountains, its 6,000-square-foot heated and air-conditioned red barn features a grand staircase, glass enclosed pavilion, a fully equipped kitchen, tables and chairs, and restrooms and overlooks a perfectlymanicured pond. mistymountaineventbarn.com South Branch Potomac Lanes This family fun palace offers 16 lanes of bowling plus arcade games and pool tables. Striker’sGrill offers hot pizza, Angus burgers, and chili cheese fries as well as domestic and import beers. Indulge your sweet tooth at Sweet Rose IceCream , the in-house ice cream parlor that boastsmilkshakes, more than 40 flavors of soft serve, and more than 30 flavors of slushies. If you need a breather after all that high-octane fun, head next door to South Branch Cinema 6 , a family- owned, independent theater that plays all the top box office hits. wvafun.com West-Whitehill Winery Owner SteveWest founded this winery in 1981 with just a few acres of grapes and some homemade pressingmachines. Now,West- semisweet, and dry wines each year from the French-American hybrid grapes grown in its vineyards. Take a tour of the grounds and get a free tasting ofWest-Whitehill’s award-winning vino. westwhitehillwinery.com WhitehillWinery produces thousands of cases of sweet,
Guesthouse Lost River
Stay a night or two— you might never want to leave…
INN AT LOST RIVER This 1870s restored farmhouse offers three guest rooms and two cottages that were
GUESTHOUSE LOST RIVER Get away from it all at this award-winning inn, which includes 18 guest rooms plus a breakfast room, a billiards room, game tables, and Jacuzzi, steam and massage rooms. A fine dining restaurant offers American-inspired dishes and the full-service bar complements the relaxed setting. 288 Settlers Valley Way, Lost River, 304.897.5707 guesthouselostriver.com FIREFLY INN This stylish, contemporary four-room motel is located in the town of Wardensville within walking distance of shops and restaurants. No lengthy check-in process: reserve your room online and you will receive a 4-digit acccess code that serves as your room key. 30 West Main Street, Wardensville, 304.874.3666, fireflyinnwv.com VACATION HOMES From a prefab Dwell home to rustic cabins to mountaintop chalets, there’s an array of lodging options to choose from. For a complete list of available lodging go to visithardywv.com
once a springhouse and smokehouse. You can grab a quick bite to eat at the adjacent Lost River General Store . 7015 State Road 259, Lost River, 304.897.7000 theinnatlostriver.com
LOST RIVER B&B AND MOTEL The Lost River B&B is a renovated 1920’s farmhouse with four bedrooms with private en-suite bath, two screened porches, a cozy living room and a continental breakfast. The vintage Lost River Motel features knotty pine-paneled rooms with private bathrooms. Enjoy a great steak and cold beer at the Lost River Grill. 8079 WV-259, Lost City 304.897.6482 lostrivergrill.com SOUTH BRANCH INN Located in historic Moorefield, the hotel offers 100 rooms, including suites with Jacuzzis. Conference facilities are perfect for meetings or receptions. All rooms include a free continental breakfast, free Internet and access to an exercise facility. 1500 US- 220, Moorefield, 304.538.2033, wvafun.com
WEST VIRGINIA 22 ENDLESS OUTDOOR BEAUTY
G rant County was created in 1866 and named for General Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the 18th president of the United States. Drawn by its majestic mountain landscape and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities, visitors come to Grant County to escape the hustle and bustle of life and reconnect with nature. Explore an extensive system of hiking and biking trails for all levels of hikers and riders. The 24-mile long North Fork Mountain Trail is ideal for a 2-to-3-day backpacking trip that is full of wildlife and amazing scenery. The unique ecosystem and rock formations and the incredible views at Dolly Sods make it one of the most desirable destinations inWest Virginia. If the view from Dolly Sods is not incredible enough, visit the Eastern Soaring Center at the Grant County Airport in Petersburg for an aerial glider tour. Grant County is a mecca for glider enthusiasts due to its amazing scenery and steady thermals. If you prefer your feet on the ground, explore the undergroundmysteries of Smoke Hole Caverns . The bizarre-looking formations of minerals look like a scene from a lost world in an old science fictionmovie. Be sure to venture to Romney and board the Potomac Eagle for a scenic mountain train excursion along the South Branch of the Potomac River . Keep an eye out for American bald eagles that are frequently seen by passengers. Grant County is also an angler’s paradise. The North Fork of the Potomac River flows through the county and provides some of the best trout fishing in the state. Engage a local guiding service to plan your day on the water, or venture out on your own for an amazing fishing experience. After a full day of outdoor fun, Grant County is home to some truly unique and memorable lodging destinations. Located right in the heart of Smoke Hole, North Fork Mountain Inn offers fine dining and a unique, rustic bed and breakfast experience. Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins is known for the trophy trout fishing on its private stream access. Or rent the entire Petersburg Vacation House for an old-fashioned family getaway. visitgrantcounty.com
Dolly Sods Wilderness
Outdoor Paradise Grant County is an outdoor adventure playground: on the water, on the ground, above the ground, and even under the ground. Test your off-roading abilities on TwinMountain Off Road Adventure’s skills course and trails of varying difficulty. On-site camping and training courses are also available. If it’s big trout you’re looking to catch or you just want to become a better fisherman, Three Rivers Guiding offers full-day and half-day wading and onshore fishing trips on three of the best trout streams in West Virginia. Take a drive through Grant County on a weekend and look up. The Grant County Airport has become a hub for soaring, and many soaring clubs use it as a base. Motorless glider planes or sailplanes are the aircraft used in the sport of gliding. Although these slender, bullet-like aircraft have been popular since the 1920s, they are beginning to see a resurgence. Just ask Brian Collins, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and owner of Eastern Soaring Center , why he landed in Petersburg. He’ll say the waves brought him. “This is a really great place for flying—one of the best spots on the East Coast,” he says. “We have great thermals during the spring, summer, and fall, and from the fall through the spring we have what is calledMountainWave. It’s when the wind blows strong through the west and creates a literal wave in the sky. You can literally surf up over 20,000 feet high.” And then there’s Grant County’s unrivaled scenic beauty—another major draw for soaring. If you think
West Virginia is beautiful by land, you should see it from the air. Prefer to stay on the ground and follow the tracks? The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad excursions, out of Petersburg, are the perfect way to take in the lush colors of the mountains and valleys. This scenic train ride is a six-hour round-trip between Petersburg and Romney and offers guests the chance to experience some of West Virginia’s most pristine scenery.
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Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins More than 20 luxury log cabins located on the banks of a private trophy trout streammake Harman’s one of the best family vacation their professional fly fishing guides. Even if you’re an experienced angler, using a local guide on unfamiliar waters is a great way to enhance your experience. The hiking opportunities at
include a search for skipping stones, fossils, heart-shaped rocks, or a flat rock to paint later at the cabin. Finish the day with a game of corn hole or horseshoes, then retreat by the fire or relax in your private hot tub. Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins has been voted one of the top places to have a wedding and a top fly fishing destination in the Mid-Atlantic. Family vacation, wedding, romantic escape, or fly fishing getaway— Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins has something for everyone. 10042 North Fork Highway, Cabins, 304.257.2220, wvlogcabins.com
spots in the state. Each cabin holds amenities including rock fireplace, private outdoor hot tub, jacuzzi, Wi- Fi, charcoal grill, and satellite TV. At Harman’s, you will find some of the very best fishing in the state. The two-mile stretch of the North Fork that flows through Harman’s is privately stocked with thousands of pounds of trout each year—mostly rainbows, but also brown, brook, and golden trout. If you are new to fly fishing, book a lesson with one of
Harman’s are incredible. Enjoy five on-site trails just a short walk from any cabin, or choose to venture further to popular spots like Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob, andDolly Sods, all of which are just a short drive away. A lazy day on an inner tube at the big swimming hole or a short tubing adventure down a few riffles can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Any hike or day spent by the river should
NATURAL BEAUTY The Monongahela National Forest is an expansive 921,000 acres including much of Grant County. Established in 1920, the forest provides places to hike, bike, ride horseback, swim, fish, and do just about any other outdoor activity you can think of. More than 800 miles of trails wander through the forest. The Monongahela is one of the most biologically diverse national forests and is in the forest andmore than 225 species of birds. The Monongahela has a bounty of water activities, as the headwaters of six major river systems are located in the forest—Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier, Monongahela, Potomac, and Tygart. These waterways provide excellent whitewater rafting, and nearly 600 miles of trout stream offer endless fishing opportunities.
boulder-filled meadows more common in southern Canada thanWest Virginia. In higher elevations, the area is home to animals rarely seen in the state, like the snowshoe hare, whose habitat typically ranges from Canada to Alaska. Other northern animals, like the New England cottontail also make their home in the area’s higher elevations. Rare birds, including the smallest owl in the east, the saw-whet owl, also call Dolly Sods home. Dolly Sods is great for a day hike or a multi- night backpacking trip, with 47 miles of hiking trails to explore. There’s camping at Red Creek Campground , but you can also camp for free at any number of sites within the wilderness area. The views of the beautiful forests and mountains are amazing any time of year.
Situated on the Allegheny Plateau, the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is the highest plateau of its kind east of the Mississippi. The wilderness area ranges from 2,600 feet above sea level to 4,000 feet, where the elevation and cool weather produce unique ecosystems—like bogs and
considered byThe Nature Conservancy to be in an area of global ecological importance. Much of this diversity can be attributed to the wide variations in elevation and the resulting patterns of precipitation. At least 75 tree species are found
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