11 top Mountain State traditions to start this holiday

Start new traditions in the Mountain State this holiday season.

Share Mountain State memories with folks you love most— decorating together, sitting side-by-side at the town Christmas parade (with hot cocoa of course!), heading to local shops to pick out the perfect gifts.

Try a new tradition you’ll treasure for years to come. Here are some of the season’s best in West Virginia:

Lights & Classic Cheer

1. Winter Festival of Lights

Wheeling 

The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling is one of the nation’s largest, spanning 300 acres along a 6-mile drive. The festival’s 80 displays include a 300-foot-long Rainbow Tunnel, Peanuts characters and Cinderella. 150 shimmering hanging baskets float overhead in the The Gardens of Light tour at the Mansion Museum, lighting your entry to the Christmas Tree Garden.

Even the Good Zoo gets into the spirit with a dazzling show of more than 35,500 LED lights choreographed to holiday music. The lights festival has been recognized by the American Bus Association as a top travel destination, and featured on the Travel Channel’s “Extreme Christmas Celebrations.”

2. Christmas Fantasy Light Show

Point Pleasant

Krodel Park’s annual drive-through Christmas Fantasy Light Show features unique animated light displays of seasonal favorites like Santa’s workshop, gingerbread men and angels, sprinkled with local folklore, like Point Pleasant’s famous Mothman. Discover new displays every year!

3. Holiday of Lights

Bluefield

Holiday of Lights, featuring more than 700,000 lights across 40 acres of Bluefield City Park, is one of the largest light shows in the 2 Virginias. Every year, they add new pieces, and even the legacy lights get an updated look. Plan around special events like a 5K race, hayrides with Santa, trolley rides through the park and more.

4. Christmas Festival of Lights

Petersburg

Take a walking tour through Welton Park’s annual Christmas Festival of Lights. Time your visit with the park’s Old Time Christmas to enjoy an evening of horse-drawn sleigh rides, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a special reading of “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Arrive on the Snowflake Express train, which departs from the South Side Depot.

5. Fayette County Park’s Winter Wonderland

New River Gorge

Lacy’s Lights and Maples Display at Fayette County Park in Beckwith is one of the area’s longest-running holiday celebrations. What began as the combined displays of 2 local families has blossomed into 300,000 lights covering the majority of the park. Wander this winter wonderland on a stroll by foot, or from the car.

6. Christmas in the Park

Chief Logan State Park

Christmas in the Park showcases hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights on a 2 to 3-mile drive through Chief Logan State Park. The kids can visit with the Jolly Old Elf in Santa Land.

Historic Holidays

7. Colonial Christmas at the Adam Stephen House

Martinsburg

Martinsburg dates well back into the colonial period, when we were part of the Old Dominion of Virginia colony. The home of Martinsburg’s founding father, General Adam Stephen, has been restored to its early republic state of the 1780s, and is open year-round for historical tours.

One of the best times of year to visit this stately limestone mansion is during the holidays. During the annual Colonial Christmas event the first 2 weekends of December, the Adam Stephen House will show visitors how the holidays were celebrated during the colonial days with period music, food, and decorations. Although donations are appreciated, admission is free!

8. Heritage Farm Way Back Weekend Christmas Village

Huntington 

In the riverside city of Huntington, Heritage Farm is a museum and period-specific historical village that celebrates Appalachian heritage and history. Their “Way Back Weekends” are fun-filled extravaganzas of artisans, music, food and special museum tours. In December, it’s transformed into a cheerful Christmas village with a Holiday Market, live music, and of course, a visit from Santa Claus!

9. 46th Annual Harpers Ferry Olde Tyme Christmas

Harpers Ferry

The small town of Harpers Ferry is one of the most history-rich places in West Virginia. For the holidays, the entire town comes alive with festivities. Streets are decorated, locals dress in period costumes of the 1860s, and 19th century folk music fills the chilly air. This event is also especially great for the kids, with puppet shows, storytelling and extended shopping hours throughout town.

10. Christmas at the Plantation

Parkersburg

Step back into days gone by as you walk through the festively adorned rooms of Henderson Hall. This special Christmas Tour offers all-access throughout the Hall, which will be filled with the sounds of live Christmas music. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and refreshments as you explore. Spaces are limited, so reserve your spot early.

11. Bramwell Christmas Historic Homes Tour

Bramwell

Bramwell was once home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere in the country, and its beautiful historic district is lined with mansions, a museum, banks and shops, all from the turn-of-the-century heyday of the coal boom. Every Christmas, costumed historical guides lead visitors on a tour of the town’s finest and best-preserved mansions, telling stories of wealthy aristocratic Christmases from this bygone era.

Your holiday memories are waiting!

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This post was last updated on December 17, 2018