“Best thing I did this summer”
Some inspiration for your next adventure from the GoToWV team, who set some serious #travelgoals this summer:
Every Summer my friends and I cannot wait to attend the Wine & All That Jazz Festival during FestivALL Charleston. My friends and I gather early afternoon on the lawn at the University of Charleston with our blankets, chairs and nibbles. We position ourselves to have a nice view of the Capitol and the concert stage. Your ticket to the event includes a commemorative wine glass to taste wines from multiple West Virginia winemakers. Our group takes turns walking around partaking all the wine samples and enjoying talks with the different winemakers. Several food vendors are set up offering ice cream, barbeques, crepes, cheese and grapes. Along with enjoying wine, you can sit and listen to several different jazz groups late into the evening. A large space in front of the stage area is available for dancing. Around 7 p.m. there is usually a large crowd jazz dancing… including my group. What fun we have!
I took a day trip to the New River Gorge for a bit of trail running and exploring. My explorations in the Fayetteville area included Long Point Trail, which ends in a spectacular unobstructed view of the New River Gorge Bridge; and the old Kaymoor Coal Mine, where buildings and signs still stand marking the once-bustling operation. At the mine, a long (800+ steps!) wooden staircase leads down the mountain to the remains of the coal processing plant and coke ovens. I finished the day with a short drive over to Glade Creek, a popular fishing stream dotted with swimming holes and waterfalls. Of course, I couldn’t leave the gorge without indulging in my favorite soft-serve blueberry ice cream from The Custard Stand in Oak Hill.
Far and away the best thing I did this summer was hit the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System with my buddy. There is nothing like getting away from normal life and riding for hours. There is no email, no meetings and no cell phones for miles— just fresh air, endless pristine nature and the sound of an engine. The trail system is perfect for a quick adventure, and the fact you can ride your ATV or side by side through town for food and fuel makes the experience all the more enjoyable. There is nothing like playing in the mud.
The best thing I did in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia this summer was go see my favorite band, Lake Street Dive, on Mountain Stage (it was a close call—I recently conquered the Via Ferrata at NROCKS). It was a very special performance, unlike your typical Mountain Stage show, with limited on-stage seating at the Clay Center. This marked the 3rd time I had seen them perform live in 2016 (I’m now up to 4 and hoping to make it 5 by the end of the year!). I was beyond giddy watching the group in this setting after getting to meet 2 of the 4 band members by chance the evening before on a bike ride in Charleston. It was surreal getting to welcome them to Wild, Wonderful West Virginia in person. Of course, I had to take this opportunity and get a picture with them! After watching their Mountain Stage performance the following evening, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to live in a place that supports the talents of hard-working musicians, both from here and across the country.
The best thing I did this summer is so hard to pinpoint, so I am going to give you something new I did this summer, and I will consider it the best. I got to feed the buffalo at Buffalo Trails Cabins, Cottages and Campgrounds in Bluefield. This place has a great restaurant and, you guessed it: they do serve buffalo burgers. We stayed in one of the cabins that is close to the Hatfield McCoy Trails so the next day we went ATV riding.
Since I’m such a big foodie, the best thing I did this summer was dine for the first time at Café Cimino Country Inn in Sutton. Before dinner, I was treated to a tour of the grounds and house by the host, Melody Urbanic. The dinner was fantastic, and included soup, entrée and dessert. I’ll definitely be going back very soon. If you’re a foodie, Café Cimino is the place. You can even stay the night in one of their posh guestrooms, if so inclined.
This post was last updated on October 19, 2017