Making the Most of a Long, Winter Weekend in Nature’s Mountain Playground

It’s probably safe to assume whether you’re a student, employee/employer, or a hard-working stay-at-home parent, or any number of us juggling a Monday through Friday schedule for that matter, we all usually look forward to the weekend.  And while the weekend affords us a break from our routine, work schedule, it’s just a fact of life; those couple of days are many times filled with responsibilities we can’t get to during the week.  But every once in a while, the stars align, the heavens smile down upon us, and a holiday lands at the beginning or end of the week, giving many of us the highly coveted long weekend (insert angelic singing here).  These are the rare breaks from our normal routine that are perfect for making quick weekend getaways and (with Valentine’s Day in mind gentlemen), spending a little quality time away with the one we love.  

Well, there’s good news when it comes to long weekends and the month of February – we have the possibility of two in one month!  That’s right.  February has two holidays that land on a Monday – Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.  And what better month than February to plan a couple of romantic getaways over a long weekend?  Now granted, President’s Day, probably isn’t your “go-to” romantic holiday but it may be, nevertheless, a chance for a long weekend, and if so, why not make the most of it with an extended stay in the beautiful mountains of Pocahontas County?  And of course, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to get away on a long romantic weekend and Nature’s Mountain Playground offers some of the best long weekend getaways for couples anywhere in the state of West Virginia.  Whether you’re looking to stay bundled up by the fireplace of a snow-covered cabin or hoping to get out and lay first tracks in some fresh powder, Pocahontas County has all you need for some of the best weekend getaways winter has to offer.  Here are a few suggestions of how to make the most of a wintertime long weekend in Nature’s Mountain Playground.          

Relaxing Hideaways 

If your idea of a wintry, romantic getaway is enjoying the snow from the comfort of indoors, next to the warmth of a crackling fire, you definitely want to consider cabin rentals in Pocahontas County.  You might want to begin your romantic winter getaway plans by contacting Watoga State Park and see about reserving one of their Classic Cabins.  Available all year, these cabins feature water and electricity, fully equipped kitchens, stone fireplaces, and many more amenities that will give you all the creature comforts of home.  Your only reason to venture out into the cold might be for a romantic dinner.  Or stay in, break out your culinary skills, and enjoy a romantic dinner for two in by the fireplace.  Check out all the cabin rental details for Watoga State Park here

If the idea of a secluded, long weekend, winter getaway sounds good to you, consider Elk River Inn and Cabins in Slaty Fork.  In operation for over 40 years, Elk River Inn and Cabins offer their guests lodging options between eight guest rooms or four cabins and features sitting rooms, a TV lounge, and an outfitter’s shop.  While Elk River is bustling in the spring, summer, and fall with their flyfishing and mountain biking adventures, winter is also a perfect time of year to plan a visit to Elk River Inn and Cabins.  Whether you want to enjoy the snow from the warmth and comfort of your room or take advantage of their rental options and hit the nearby trails for a little cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, Elk River Inn and Cabins is a great choice for that wintertime long weekend.  Check Elk River Inn and Cabins’ website for more information.  

We’ll close out our relaxing hideaways list with just one more of the many suggestions we could offer.  The Morning Glory Inn, located about 3 miles from the base of Snowshoe Mountain Resort, combines the convenience of being close to some of the best east coast skiing around, with the always popular option of watching the snow fly from the comfort of one of the inn’s spacious guest rooms.  Morning Glory also offers a common area with a large screen tv and fireplace for those of you looking for a cozy fire and a movie, or perhaps just curling up with a good book and cup of hot chocolate.  Be sure to go to their website where you can view the accommodations, check availability, and book a room.

Well, that’s just a few lodging options for any of you looking forward to a romantic, wintertime getaway, where the only thing on your bucket list is enjoying a warm fire and spending some quality time with the one you love.  But what if you what to expand that bucket list to include a little outdoor winter adventure?  I’m glad you asked because Nature’s Mountain Playground has you covered there as well.  Here are a few suggestions for those of you seeking to add a little outdoor adventure to your long weekend getaway plans. 

Outdoor Adventure 

Let’s kick off this list with the biggest wintertime destination in Pocahontas County, Snowshoe Mountain Resort.  With over 60 ski trails (ranging in skill level from easy to extreme), five terrain parks, as well as night skiing, snowmobiling, and tubing, Snowshoe offers just about any kind of wintertime fun you could be looking for.  If you’re new to the slopes and hoping to change that over a long weekend, Snowshoe offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for beginners of any age.  Rest assured, they have the instructors and rental gear to get you out on the powder.  And if a little mechanical muscle is more your speed, be sure to check out Snowshoe’s guided snowmobile and RZR tours.  Their guides will lead you on a journey into remote fields, forests, and ridgelines for breath-taking views and beautiful scenery, few winter visitors have the opportunity to enjoy.  Check all the activities and wintertime adventures available on Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s website.     

If you’re looking for a little more of an isolated vibe to your long weekend wintertime adventure, how does cross country skiing or snowshoeing just off The Highland Scenic Highway sound?  Stretching 43 miles from Richwood to US Route 219, just north of Marlinton, this National Scenic Byway meanders its way through the Allegheny Highlands and Plateau rising from 2,325 feet to over 4,500 in elevation.  A 23-mile portion of the Highway (designated as State Route 150) is not maintained in the winter, and while travel along this two-lane paved road is highly discouraged between November and April, near the intersection of The Highland Scenic Highway and US Route 219, there is a small trail system designated for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  A map of this small trail system can be found by going to the Highland Scenic Highway website and clicking winter sports at the bottom of the page.    

Now if your long weekend wintertime adventures fall somewhere between the crowded slopes of Snowshoe and the seclusion of The Highland Scenic Highway, you might want to consider one of the most popular trails in Nature’s Mountain Playground – The Greenbrier River Trail.  Once part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, but abandoned in the late 1970s, the 78-mile-long Greenbrier River Trail is now a popular trail destination for hiking, biking and horseback riding throughout much of the year.  But once the snow starts flying, you can add cross country skiing and snowshoeing to that list.  Being one of the longest trails of its kind in West Virginia and at no more than a one percent grade, the Greenbrier River Trail is the perfect choice if you’re looking for an ideal place to strap on those cross-country skis or try out that new pair of snowshoes.  Even if you bike or hike the trail during the warmer months, the wintertime views and scenery will undoubtedly make you feel as if you’re visiting the trail for the first time. For information on events, a downloadable map or to make a donation to the trail association, visit this website. And swing by the Marlinton visitor center for a map of the trail. We’ll be happy to help you out.

That’s a Wrap

Well, we’ve in no way given you a complete list of where to stay and what to do (or not do) over a wintertime, romantic long weekend.  Instead, we’ve made just a few suggestions with the hopes that you’ll be motivated to start doing a little digging and planning for this Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day weekend. It’s our sincere wish that you get the extra time off and that you plan to make the most of it with that special someone and with us here, at Nature’s Mountain Playground.