Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Harpers Ferry, (800) 848-8687, www.jeffersoncounty.com/cvb.
West Virginia Tourism, Charleston, (800) 225-5982, www.callwva.com.
Augusta Heritage Center, Davis and Elkins College, 100 Campus Drive, Elkins, (304) 637-1209, www.augustaheritage.com. Augusta offers week-long workshops in traditional music, crafts, dance, and folklore.
Beartown State Park, near Renick, (304) 653-4254. In her book Way Out in West Virginia, Jeanne Mozier reports that when she sought suggestions for unusual Mountain State attractions, the place she heard about the most was Beartown State Park, home to a collection of house-size boulders and weird rock formations. A boardwalk guides you through the big stones, which may or not have once served as a city of sorts for bears.
Berkeley Springs State Park, 121 S. Washington St., Berkeley Springs, (304) 258-2711, www.berkeleysprings.com. Native Americans came to Berkeley Springs for the warm mineral waters long before George Washington popularized them among the Colonists. The spring-fed baths are a toasty 74.3 degrees, and the Old Roman Bath House--in continuous use since 1815--offers family-style bathing in nine private rooms. A museum on the second floor preserves the history of the springs.
Harper's Ferry National Historic Park, Harper's Ferry, (304) 535-6298, www.nps.gov/hafe. Many important figures in the pre-Civil War and Civil War eras made their mark here, including abolitionist John Brown, whose 1859 raid on a military arsenal here helped precipitate the War Between the States. Museums and exhibits in Harper's Ferry's historic district explain it all. This is also the place to be if you want to celebrate Independence Day a little early--Freedom's Birth: An American Experience, a day of living-history exhibits, music, and more, capped with fireworks, takes place 11 a.m.-10 p.m. June 30.
Hinkle's Dying-Arts Glassworks, Buckhannon, (304) 472-7963, www.hinklesglass.com. Sand, lime, and soda ash are melted and manipulated here, then cooled, ground, and polished into unique pieces of art. Studio tours and demonstrations are offered--and, of course, you can buy glass items too.
Museum of Radio and Technology, 1640 Florence Ave., Huntington, (304) 525-8890, free. Vinyl fans: Do you know what the predecessors of that circa-1975 Marantz stereo of yours look like? Find out in this museum's vintage-hi-fi room. Radios from the 1940s are among the other relics on display, and in the gift shop you can buy a book to read all about them.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, (304) 456-2011. The array of giant white telescopic dishes here are listening for noises from space--radio waves--and you are welcome to visit them up close and learn about what they do. But don't expect to see Jodie Foster walking around.
Phabhupada's Palace and City of Gold, Moundsville, (304) 843-1812, www.palaceofgold.com. Built as a residence for His Divine Grace Swami Srila Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, this palace now stands as a tribute to him. Billed as America's Taj Mahal, Phabhupada's Palace is a golden shrine with Middle Eastern turrets and minarets; garden-lined footpaths take you to statues and a 30-foot-tall acolyte. Austere, cheap lodging is available at the guest house; a private cottage can be had for a bit more.
Spruce Knob, near Judy Gap, (800) 225-5982, www.callwva.com. If you're from the western part of the country, a 4,860-foot mountain is hardly impressive. But for Easterners, Spruce Knob, the tallest peak in the "Mountain State," is mighty cool. Pathways guide you around this barren, rock-strewn summit, where the surviving trees sprout on only one side due to the harsh elements on the other. An observation tower takes you up a little higher still.
Star Theatre, Congress and North Washington streets, Berkeley Springs, (304) 258-1404, www.starvw.com. This Depression-era movie house is a place to kill the time between dinner and drinks with a first-run film, cheap admission, and popcorn.
Western Virginia Museum of American Glass, Main Avenue and Second Street, Weston, (304) 269-5006. This museum's mission is to preserve and share American glass objects, and to appreciate the communities of workers who made them. The first half of the 20th century is the primary focus. Please, no stone throwing.
Wheeling Downs, 1 S. Stone St., Wheeling, (877) 946-4373, www.wheelingdowns.com. If you have a gambling problem, stay away--according to the ads for Wheeling Downs, it is "close enough to play . . . everyday." Otherwise, go ahead and bet on some greyhounds and simulcast horse races, or play some cards, keno, or slots.
Augusta Festival, Aug. 10-12, Elkins City Park and Augusta Heritage Center, Elkins, (304) 637-1209, www.augustaheritage.com. This weekend festival includes a square dance 8 p.m. Friday at the Augusta Pavilion and a juried art fair 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday in the city park. And like any summer fest, there are plenty of live-music performances to hear and plenty of dead things to eat.
Jamboree in the Hills, July 19-22, Wheeling, (800) 624-5456. Yee-haw--live music, a rodeo, an amateur talent show, a classic-car show, regional arts and crafts, and antiques.
Spring Mountain Arts and Crafts Fair, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 8-10, Sam Michaels Park, Charles Town, (800) 624-0577, $3-$5. This capacious annual fair includes 200 juried arts-and-crafts booths along with live bluegrass music.
Vandalia Gathering, May 25-27, Charleston, (304) 558-0220. This statewide folk festival shows off the cultural variety of the Mountain State with traditional Appalachian music, local art, clogging (if you have never experienced clogging, you should, because it is a trip), folklore storytelling, and ethnic food.
Atasia Spa, 206 Congress St., Berkeley Springs, (877) 258-7888, www.atasiaspa.com. You should pamper yourself at least once this summer, and a stay at Atasia Spa, with its Swedish massages, stone therapy, and reflexolgy, might be just the thing. You can pretty yourself up too, with a pedicure, manicure, or loofah body wrap.
Bavarian Inn and Lodge, Shepherdstown, (304) 876-2551, www.bavarianinnwv.com. Built in 1930 as a private residence and converted for the tourist trade during the early '60s, the Bavarian Inn and Lodge has 72 guest rooms and 42 state rooms, the latter with private balconies overlooking the Potomac River. The Bavarian Restaurant serves--you guessed it--German fare, and you can work it off in the outdoor pool or on the tennis courts.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park, near Davis, (800) 622-4121, www.canaanresort.com. The campsites, cottages, and 250-room lodge at this state park offer easy access to the many scenic and recreational attractions in this mountain valley, the highest east of the Mississippi River.
Greenbrier, 300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, (800) 624-6070. Did you hear they are building a new home for the governor of West Virginia? His trailer burned down. Ha ha! West Virginia is ever the brunt of dumb jokes about its hayseed reputation, but you don't hear them at the Greenbrier, a five-star luxury resort situated on thousands of acres that include three golf courses. Tours are available of the underground Cold War bunker built as a haven for members of Congress.
Harper's Ferry KOA Campground, Harper's Ferry, (800) 562-9497, www.koakampgrounds.com. When you hear the name KOA, you think of camping, and this KOA has that--you can even rent tents and trailers--but it also has cabins and a bunkhouse, for those who like their accommodations permanently attached to the ground. Activities include basketball, horseshoes, swimming (in an Olympic-size pool), volleyball, and indoor games.
Maria's Garden and Inn, 201 Independence St., Berkeley Springs, (888) 629-2253, www.mariasgarden.com. Just two blocks from the Roman Baths, this two-house Italian inn has an outdoor garden dining room.
Washington House Bed and Breakfast, 216 S. George St., Charles Town, (800) 297-6957, www.washingtonhouseinnwv.com. This B&B in historic Charles Town includes a Victorian wraparound porch said to be built by descendants of George W. himself. That's Washington, not Bush.
Woods Resort and Conference Center, Hedgesville, (800) 248-2222, www.thewoodsresort.com. Located in the state's eastern panhandle between Berkeley Springs and Shepherdstown, this 1,800-acre resort, conference center, and golf/recreation area has a lodge, meadow and forest cabins, and rental houses. Hungry? There are three, count 'em, three eateries: the Walden Restaurant, Walnut Pub, and Clubhouse Grille.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Blackwater Falls State Park, Davis, (800) 225-5982. The 63-foot-tall falls that gives this park its name is especially impressive when frozen, but you're likely to see it in liquid state during the summer. It's pretty that way too. The park offers overlooks of the falls on both sides of the Blackwater River, plus a 55-room lodge, 25 cabins, 65 sites for tents or trailers, horseback riding, bicycling, and hiking.
Butts Tubes and Appalachian Whitewater Express, 10985 Harper's Ferry Road, Purcellville, (800) 836-9911, www.buttstubes.com. Set up a whitewater trip on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers via tube, canoe, duckie, or raft.
C&O Canal Bicycling, 19351 Deer Path, Knoxville, (301) 834-5180. The C&O Canal's elevated trail offers 184.5 level, tree-lined bicycling miles, and C&O Canal Bicycling is happy to rent you a two-wheeler to try them out.
Mountain Thunder Motorcycle Rentals and Tours, 235 W. Washington St., Charles Town, (888) 982-4537, www.wvbiker.com. The folks at Mountain Thunder say the only true way to experience West Virginia's magnificent mountains and valleys is on the back of a boss hog. You can find out if they're right by renting a bike from their collection of late-model BMWs, Harleys, Hondas, and Triumphs.
Blenko Glass Wholesale Outlet and Museum, Milton, (877) 425-3656, www.blenkoglass.com. Blenko is known for its decorative hand-blown and sheet glass (used for stained glass), and you can watch artisans make it from an observation deck over the factory floor. Learn more at the museum.
Jefferson Orchards, Kearneysville, (888) 792-4453, www.jeffersonorchards.com. Summer is the season for apples, nectarines, peaches, and plums, and Jefferson Orchards has more than 500 acres of trees dripping with them. In July the farm market opens with jams, jellies, and baked goods.
Tamarack, Beckley, (888) 262-7225. The building itself is a piece of art--the roof has 20 red-shingled peaks which become waterfalls when it rains--and inside are tens of thousands of West Virginia-made objets d'art. W. Va. victuals are for sale too, including apple butter, honey, chocolate, and wine.
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