With a New Year comes new possibilities for adventures in wild-n-wonderful West Virginia! Whether its delicious food, paranormal legends or a nature’s beauty that you fancy, this West Virginia bucket list has it all.
1. Canaan Valley Resort
Since old man winter has us in his icy grip, let’s start this list out with the state’s best snow spot for old-fashioned winter fun!
Nestled in the breathtaking Allegheny Mountains where wildlife is abundant. The 6,300 acres of state park land is surrounded by 18 miles of trails. Hikes meander through wetlands and northern hardwood forests, as well as open meadows and mountain peaks. The park is filled with activity, even in the snow.
During the winter months, Canaan Valley Resort offers a winter sports enthusiast a dream location with a top elevation of 4,280 ft. Slopes include a 850 ft. vertical drop, 47 ski trails, plus 1200′ multi-lane snow tubing park, and ice skating rink. Canaan Valley receives an average annual snowfall of 180” each season. Summer activities include golf, sporting clay range, scenic chairlift rides, and hiking/biking trails. Canaan Valley Resort State Park is the perfect mountain escape for family fun!
2. Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry rests where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River. It is the site of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the United States arsenal in 1859, an event that kicked the onset of the Civil War into high gear. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park offers natural beauty, historic buildings, museums, shops and so much more. For paranormal lovers, it is one of the most haunted places in America. Harpers Ferry also offers 20 miles of beautiful hiking trails. A trip to this historical town is like stepping back in time!
3. New River Gorge Bridge
The New River Gorge Bridge, is built above one of the oldest rivers in the United States. The New River flows through West Virginia and cuts through the Appalachian Plateau forming the New River Gorge. The gorge provides some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. It also offers canoeing, rafting, and tubing.
If water sports aren’t your cup of tea the area also offers biking, bird-watching, boating, camping, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, rock climbing, and zip-lining to name a few! Photographers love to capture the New River Gorge bridge, located 876 feet above the canyon’s floor. It is the longest steel spanning bridge in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the world! To view the bridge from another perspective, you can take a scenic tramway into the bottom of the New River Gorge. Access to the tram is located within Hawks Nest State Park.
4. Seneca Caverns
The unique and beautiful Seneca Caverns are more than 460 million years old. The caverns are located in Riverton. Touring the caves is like walking into an ethereal world. It is believed that the native Seneca people used the caves for shelter in the 1400’s. Legend has it that Laven Teter, a local farmer, discovered the caverns while searching for a water for his livestock. The largest cavern, which rises some 60 feet in certain places, is named Teter Hall after the farmer. Cavern tours are an hour long and descend 165 feet below the entrance.
5. The Salt Cave And Spa
The Salt Cave and Spa, located White Sulphur Springs, is a unique earth friendly underground man-made cave. When life gets stressful and you need a place to relax and let your worries drift away, look no further than the Salt Cave and Spa!
Relax in the comfortable zero-gravity chairs as the lights are turned down low. Air inside the cave is infused with salt and minerals. Salt therapy helps with respiratory issues, skin conditions, allergies, arthritis, and other conditions. Simply close your eyes and let your worries and discomforts float away. Sessions are 45 minutes long and start on the hour. The cost of a session is $15.
6. Buckhannon’s Pepperoni Rolls
The Donut Shop, located in Buckhannon makes delicious doughnuts, but that is not the reason they are a must visit! This shop crafts a West Virginia staple like no one else! The Donut Shop’s pepperoni rolls were voted best pepperoni rolls in the state by USA Today in 2017.
The pepperoni roll was created by Giuseppe Argiro, who was born in Italy but made his way to West Virginia to work in the coal mines 1920. He noticed that several of the men he worked with ate bread with pepperoni for lunch. Inspired by the lunch of his fellow coal miners, Argiro decided to bake pepperoni inside the bread and a legend was born!
West Virginian’s take their pepperoni rolls seriously. The pepperoni roll isn’t just a delicious snack, it is a West Virginia tradition, and the Donut Shop honors that tradition like no one else!
7. Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a West Virginia landmark in the history. The asylum was built in 1858 and construction was completed in 1881. It is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America. Tours highlight the asylum’s history, which includes the treatment of patients, Civil War raids, the asylum’s agricultural history, and paranormal activity. Located in Weston, it is a popular stop for paranormal investigators from around the globe!
8. Cass Scenic Railroad
The Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers visitors the opportunity to relive the ‘golden age of steam’ on a railroad line that was built in 1901. The excursion takes 4.5 hours and includes switchbacks that allow the train to climb grades as high as 11 percent in order to reach Bald Knob, which has an elevation of 4,843 feet above sea level. Bald Knob is the third-highest point in West Virginia and the Allegheny Mountains and features spectacular views of Appalachia!
During the trip, the train will stop at Whittaker Station, a 1940s logging camp that has been recreated with equipment and living quarters. At Whittaker Station you can tour a museum as well as the depot and company houses, which can be rented for overnight stays. The cost of this scenic experience is $61 per person. Lunch is included with your train trip.
9. Point Pleasant
Point Pleasant is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers. The town is filled with 18th century history, but the biggest attraction is a statue and museum dedicated to a paranormal legend. The legend of the Mothman.
The Mothman is a creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. During that time several residents reported seeing a man-sized creature with wings and red glowing eyes.
First reported on November 15, 1966, by two young couples, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette. They reported to police seeing a large grey creature whose eyes “glowed red.” According to the couples they saw a”large flying man with ten-foot wings” that chased after their car! The sightings continued for over a year then the Mothman disappeared.
Paranormal fans visit the town to walk through the Mothman Museum and take selfies with the legendary Mothman statue. The brave take tours down the path where the Mothman was spotted. Admission to the museum costs $4 for adults and $1 for children 10 and younger. If you want to see the full Mothman experience visit Point Pleasant during the annual festival in September.
10. The Greenbrier Resort
The Greenbrier was once known as the “Queen of the Watering Places.” Since 1778 people have traveled to the Greenbrier to bathe in the white sulfur spring water, which are well known for their healing properties. At first the resort was a summer destination for wealthy Virginia Low Country residents looking for reprieve from the heat, humidity, and possible disease of summer. It’s popularity grew and it soon became a socially exclusive site.
Today the Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark. In its 235 years the Greenbrier has hosted 27 presidents and has welcomed royalty and celebrities to its 11,000 luxury acres.
If you are craving adventure or if you want to make some new memories with your loved ones this year, look no further than West Virginia!