7 hands-on heritage sites the whole family will love

In West Virginia, you can turn back time and revisit history. Literally.

The state has a uniquely rich and exciting heritage. Enjoy the wonderful hospitality of her friendly folks while you discover and explore these 7 stops that will transport you right back into the past:

1. Jackson’s Mill

The rolling hills outside of Weston, WVU Jackson’s Mill offers heritage-based education programs for folks of all ages. Once the home of Civil War General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, Jackson’s Mill is the historic home of 4-H camping in the United States and continues to host thousands of 4-H’ers every year. Visitors can tour the property, visit the General Store and see live demonstrations of pioneer life, such as:

  • Candle Dipping
  • Spinning and Weaving
  • Grist Milling
  • Basket Making
  • Blacksmithing
  • Wood Working
Harper's Ferry, WV

Harpers Ferry, WV

2. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

At the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, a trip to Harpers Ferry is like stepping into the past. You can visit exhibits and museums, or hike trails and battlefields. Harpers Ferry has an integral role in American history and has been home to:

  • Important advances in interchangeable manufacturing processes.
  • The arrival of the first successful railroad.
  • The largest Civil War surrender of federal troops.
  • One of the earliest integrated schools for former slaves.

3. Prickett’s Fort State Park

Built by pioneers on the Western frontier as a refuge during times of Native American attacks, Prickett’s Fort overlooks the confluence of Prickett’s Creek and the Monongahela River. The Fort is a reconstruction of the original Fort, built in 1774. Interpreters recreate the life and activities of early settlers, and dress in period costumes. Visitors can learn about life on the frontier and see demonstrations of:

  • Blacksmithing
  • Wood Working
  • Butter Churning
  • Spinning and Weaving
  • Firearm Manufacturing

4. Heritage Farm Museum

Heritage Farm invites visitors to step back in time and experience the history of progress with the Museum of Transportation, the Heritage Museum, the Museum of Progress and the Children’s Activities Museum. Designed as a recreation of a traditional Appalachian village, you can take a guided tour of log homes, country stores, a blacksmith shop and a one-room school house. Stay in the on-site country inns or remodeled caboose for a truly immersive visit to the past.

5. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Ride a steam-driven locomotive through the mountains of West Virginia on the Cass Scenic Railroad, and tour the restored town of Cass. You can explore railroad and transportation history and enjoy spectacular wilderness views. In Cass, you can tour the Company Store and Railroad Museum to see what life would have been like in a mountain railroad town. Special tours on the Cass Scenic Railroad include a visit to Whittaker Station, a 1940s logging camp. At the camp, you can tour the living quarters and see logging equipment. Most impressive is the Lidgerwood tower skidder, one of only 2 left on the planet. It could carry logs from the forest on aerial cables up to 3,000 feet.

6. West Virginia State Farm Museum

The West Virginia State Farm Museum has a collection of reconstructed historical buildings on the grounds. The museum changes with the seasons, and new exhibits are always being added. Currently, you can tour a blacksmith shop, sawmill, carpenter shop, newspaper office, homes, gardens and the country store.

7. Augusta Heritage Museum at Davis and Elkins College

The nationally renowned Augusta Heritage Museum exists to educate people about local, regional and ethnic traditional folk cultures. It offers instructional workshops, presentations and performances in folk music, dance and heritage. You can view old photographs and hear oral histories of West Virginia and its people. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, you can enjoy live bluegrass music as part of the ‘Pickin in the Park’ series at the Elkins River Park.

Will you and your family step back in time in West Virginia?

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This post was last updated on March 14, 2022