Tuck the family away in these mountain towns this holiday

If you want to add a little charm to your season, escape with your loved ones to the secluded hills of West Virginia.

Tuck away for some togetherness in the mountain beauty. Here are 5 pastoral places to enjoy the winter wonder together:

1. Secluded Chapmanville

Rugged, remote and ripe for exploration, Logan County offers adventure opportunities whether you’re a thrill seeker or simply seeking to reconnect with the outdoors.

If you’re craving excitement, you can suit up to maneuver the winding mountain trails of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, a world-class trail system spanning more than 500 miles in southern West Virginia. Off-roading enthusiasts flock to the trail system to ride ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes through the coalfields. With the  4,000-acre Chief Logan State Park nearby, those looking to experience the mountains at a slower pace can opt to hike, mountain bike or ride horseback.

Almost Heaven Cabin Rentals has fully equipped accommodations for families looking for a rustic vacation. Enjoy the hot tubs, pool tables, fire pits, full kitchens and more.

2. History-rich Shepherdstown

The oldest town in West Virginia, Shepherdstown, sits along the Potomac River in the top of the state’s eastern panhandle. Shepherdstown has long been prized by locals and visitors alike for its quaint charm, lively culture and war-era history. Less than a 2-hour drive from metropolitan cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the town presents a convenient opportunity to escape city life for the holidays and instead opt for a soul-stirring experience among West Virginia’s rolling hills.

For history buffs, historic Shepherdstown is near Civil War sites at Harpers Ferry, and also offers diverse recreational opportunities for families of all ages. Hike or bike the C&O Canal Towpath, a 185-mile-long trail along the Potomac River; eat and drink on German St. (check out The Press Room and Bistro 112); and stay at the Bavarian Inn, a country inn that blends elements of European elegance and rustic warmth.

3. Peaceful Lost River

The Lost River Valley, situated in between the mountains of Hardy County, is gaining popularity for its serene locale and variety of unique lodging options. With accommodations like the Inn at Lost River, an award-winning boutique bed and breakfast complete with an artisan-stocked General Store and neighboring Lost River Yoga, visitors are sure to connect with the peacefulness of the country in style.

Right down the road, the Lost River Grill serves up hearty fixin’s to satisfy any appetite, and a short drive to nearby town Wardensville lands you at Lost River Brewing Company, a brewery and pub with elevated Americana cuisine. Families can also head to Lost River State Park to hike or opt for guided horseback rides.

4. Historic rail town of Cass

Backtrack to the turn of the century at Cass, a former company town for employees of West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, now famed as a railroad town. The train was used to haul timber to the mill in Cass until the plant closed in 1960. The town’s central feature, the Cass Scenic Railroad, is a novel attraction for a scenic ride through the mountains during the state’s peak sightseeing seasons.

The train closes for winter, but Cass Scenic Railroad State Park’s original company homes are available for rent year-round. The refurbished cottages can accommodate up to 12, and feature fully equipped kitchens and all the necessities for a long- or short-term stay.

Cass also boasts a restaurant, general store and a living history museum. Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern even visited in 2008 for a squirrel hunting expedition. Less than a half-hour away is Snowshoe Mountain Resort, which offers dining, shopping and outdoor opportunities, including geocache hunts, off-road tours, clay shooting and more.  

5. Scenic Pipestem

There’s a reason why Pipestem Resort Park has been affectionately dubbed the “year-round crown jewel of West Virginia State Parks.” From breathtaking overlooks of the Bluestone Gorge to the resort’s 2 lodges, rental cottages, campgrounds, golf courses and Nature Center, the park has a deep connection with nature.

Explore that connection through bird watching, walking tours, documentary screenings and other daily activities. Inside the Nature Center, visitors can catch a glimpse of live reptiles, view interactive displays about the region’s flora and fauna, and learn about nearby historical artifacts and buildings.

If you need to unwind, nearby Pipestem Spa and Event Center offers luxurious packages, including massages, body scrubs and wraps, essential oil “raindrop therapy” and more. Don’t forget to stop by one of the locals’ favorite spots, Brandon’s BBQ Grille, for a plate of St. Louis-style ribs and lump Maryland crab cakes.

Where in WV do you tuck away for the holidays?

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This post was last updated on July 23, 2020