A Memorable Trip Through the Potomac Highlands

Located just two hours outside of Washington, D.C., the Potomac Highlands region features some of the state’s most dramatic scenery. Everything from towering peaks to soft meadows make this an ideal, peaceful retreat from the bustle of city life. Scattered throughout the landscape, not only will you find vast, natural beauty but you’ll also get to experience some of the most charming small towns and exceptional Southern hospitality.

Inside Lost River Trading Post shop with items for sale laid out on tables and shelves

Lost River Trading Post

Nestled among the rolling green hills in the charming town of Wardensville, you’ll find the Lost River Trading Post. Located in a picturesque Colonial-style house, the Lost River Trading Post is way more than just a general store. Inside the bright, sunny space you’ll find stylish antiques, beautiful pieces of local art, delicious baked goods, and the largest selection of craft beers in Hardy County. Stop by for a handmade souvenir, and enjoy a drink on the cozy, wrap-around porch. 

The Purple Fiddle

Part coffee shop, part restaurant, part music venue, The Purple Fiddle has been described as a place “where tender and creative souls gather.” With just a small stage by the front window, and a limited number of wooden tables and chairs, enjoying a drink and some live music at The Purple Fiddle is about as intimate as it gets. If you happen to find yourself there during lunch, be sure and order the turkey sandwich with their homemade cranberry salsa—it tastes like your family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Close up of a pizza on a metal pan with one slice missing, topped with herbs and tomatoes

Sirianni’s Cafe

Family owned and operated since 1988, Sirianni’s Cafe is the place to go for made-to-order pizzas and mouthwatering Italian dishes. If you get a chance to dine inside, take some time to enjoy all of the local newspaper clippings, West Virginia sports memorabilia and family photos that adorn the walls. One of the owners is usually always around to welcome you and offer suggestions on what to order. All of the pizzas are made fresh daily, including the beloved Parmesan Wedge, which is a pizza crust topped with butter, herbs and lots of cheese.

Flowing waterfall surrounded by green pine trees and black rock cliffs

Blackwater Falls

Located within Blackwater Falls State Park, these falls are easily some of the most beautiful and most popular in all of West Virginia. Falling at a height of 62 feet, Blackwater Falls is actually the highest above-ground waterfall in the entire state. The best place to view this cascading jewel is from the wooden observation platform that extends from the parking area. Or, if you’re on the other side of the Blackwater River, take the Gentle Trail for a more distanced view and get a real appreciation for the water’s true power.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park

While it may be known as a popular ski destination, there is truly something for everyone—and every season—at the Canaan Valley Resort State Park. For the more adventurous types, there is plenty of hiking, biking and paddle sports to enjoy. If you prefer something a little more relaxing, Canaan Valley Resort offers stunning golf courses and luxurious spa services. After a full day of activities, enjoy a delicious meal at the Hickory Dining Room and take in the panoramic mountain views while you dine.

Dolly Sods Wilderness

Part of Monongahela National Forest, Dolly Sods Wilderness (or Dolly Sods for short) has some of the most brilliant sunsets and sunrises. Located on high, rocky plateaus, this 17,000 acre stretch of wilderness is a popular spot for hikers, backpackers and sightseers. In the spring, you’ll find an abundance of wildflowers blooming. In the fall, the changing foliage bursts across the landscape. And year round, the stargazing atop Dolly Sods is truly one of a kind and some of the most spectacular you’ve ever seen.

Seneca Rocks Discovery Center

Seneca Rocks is not only a West Virginia icon and full of natural beauty, but it also has a pretty interesting history. You can learn more about this history, and the area’s role in World War II, at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Located as the base of the rock formation, the Discovery Center is a great place to start your visit. Not only will you experience some of the most picturesque views, but you can also plot your hiking path, visit the gift shop and enjoy the art displays.

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This post was last updated on February 23, 2022