A Scenic Drive to One-of-a-Kind Experiences in West Virginia
A drive along the western side of West Virginia is not only stunningly beautiful—with plenty of river views and towering mountain ranges—it is also full of hidden gems and unexpected surprises. As you follow the Ohio River and make your way from Point Pleasant to Logan, you’ll be sure to find art, culture and adventure unlike anywhere else in the country.
The Blennerhassett Hotel
Since its grand opening in 1889, the Blennerhassett Hotel has remained very much the same—with its stunning Queen Anne architecture and European glamour. And while the amenities and room features have been updated over the years, stepping inside this historic landmark still offers a unique combination of feeling significant but also homey and familiar. There are over 80 spacious guest rooms, many of which overlook the charming streets of downtown Parkersburg. Stop by Brunello, the hotel’s main restaurant, for a delicious meal and a truly incredible selection of over 500 different wines.
Right along the border of Ohio, where the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers meet, Point Pleasant is the perfect name for this jovial little town. Due to its location along the water, there are plenty of river activities to enjoy, including boating, fishing and kayaking. There is also a splash pad located inside Krodel Park, where kids can cool off among waterfalls, fountains and showers of fresh water. To see more of the city, try riding along Point Pleasant’s five-mile historic loop and check out some of the beautiful buildings and structures that give the city its character. And of course, a visit to Point Pleasant isn’t complete without seeing the Mothman Statue and the world’s only Mothman Museum—a tribute to the legendary monster that was spotted flying over the town in the 1960s.
If you’re looking for a place that offers incredible dining, great shopping and loads of entertainment, then Pullman Square is the place to be. Spanning multiple blocks in downtown Huntington, Pullman Square is an extra-large, indoor shopping and lifestyle center. Here you’ll find everything from coffee shops and ice cream parlors, to an arcade bar and a painting studio. If you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, be sure to check out the weekly farmers market for a variety of fresh, local produce and lunch specials.
Blenko Glass Company
Surrounded by the sloping hills and quaint farms of Milton, Blenko Glass Company has been creating exceptional, colorful masterpieces since 1921. The artists and employees at Blenko make a point to honor this timeless art form by practicing glassblowing the same way it was done hundreds of years ago. In fact, it is one of the few studios in the country that still creates mouth-blown, hand-blown glassware. Visitors are allowed to take self-guided tours of the facilities and see how the incredible pieces are made. There is also an impressive showroom and gift shop—the perfect place to purchase a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Located on the west side of Charleston, the small town of Elk City is seeing a big revitalization—most notably with its art and culture scene. The unique blend of urban charm and industrial revival make it a memorable place for both visitors and locals alike. The town boasts a small, yet diverse, mix of creative businesses, including adorable boutiques like Kin Ship Goods and notable music venues like Elk City Records. Elk City’s artistry extends well beyond shop walls and can be spotted in various murals throughout the city, including Josh Martin’s esteemed Elk City Mural on the corner of Washington Street and Tennessee Avenue.
What started as a small farmers market has quickly grown into one of West Virginia’s largest indoor-outdoor retail spaces. Covering over 16,000 square feet, Capitol Market houses multiple markets, cafes, restaurants and greenhouses. You can get everything from sushi to gourmet chocolates to fresh cuts of local meat. If you’re looking for a more traditional restaurant experience, stop by Soho’s—one of Charleston’s best Italian restaurants. And don’t forget to visit the outdoor section of Capitol Market for free cooking demonstrations and rows of beautiful, fragrant plants.
Chief Logan State Park
Nestled in the heart of West Virginia’s coalfields and surrounded by mountains, Chief Logan State Park is a true treasure. Encompassing over 4,000 acres, Chief Logan is one of the state’s most popular parks due to the natural beauty and abundance of recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy plenty of hiking, biking, fishing, even ATVing. There are multiple cabins and campsites inside the park grounds, as well as a cozy lodge just outside the park entrance. In the summer, Chief Logan is full of wildflower blooms. And in the winter, colorful lights fill the trees for the annual “Christmas in the Park” drive-thru holiday light display.
Part of the renowned Hatfield-McCoy trail network, Bearwallow Trail is an extremely popular destination for adventure-seekers and experienced off-roaders. In fact, Bearwallow is the only trail open to Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs), as well as ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes. With over 70 miles of trails, Bearwallow includes a wide variety of terrain types and experience levels, ranging from smooth and easy to steep and difficult. Due to its close proximity to food, gas and lodging in the town of Logan, it’s not uncommon for visitors to spend a whole weekend exploring the dusty roads and epic views.
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This post was last updated on September 15, 2020