Summer Getaways in Nature’s Mountain Playground… Something for Everyone
Not too long after Henry Ford threw the switch on the first moving assembly line – making mass production of the automobile a reality – the summer road trip became an American tradition. Since that historic day in 1913, for generations, we’ve piled into our cars every summer and headed out across this great country to behold the likes of historic landmarks, geological wonders and yes, even life-size fiberglass dinosaurs. Whether it’s the entire family, a couple or a solo adventurer, the summer getaway is something most travelers look forward to each year. And after all 2020 has thrown at us, hitting the open road in 2021 looks to be high on everyone’s bucket list. Whatever type of summer getaway you’re looking for, Pocahontas County, West Virginia offers something for everyone. Check out these suggestions to help you plan your best summer getaways in Nature’s Mountain Playground.
Summer Weekend Getaways
Friday: Base your stay in Marlinton and check out any number of lodging options from a cabin adventure at the Mason Jar Cabin, Jerico Pre-Civil War Log Cabins and B&B or Country River Cabins to a quaint inn visit at the Locust Hill Inn or the Old Clark Inn. Once you’re settled in, spend a little time getting to know Marlinton. Visit local shops like The Cackling Hens, 4th Avenue Mason Jar Trading Post and the Pocahontas County Artisan Gallery housed in the historic Marlinton train depot. After you’ve purchased a few souvenirs and grabbed an iced coffee at the Dirt Bean, take advantage of the Greenbrier River Trail passing through the heart of town. Rent a bike from Appalachian Sport and enjoy the scenic views along the river as you ride. Wrap up your day with dinner and a glass of wine while enjoying the evening air on the patio of the Locust Hill Pub.
Saturday: Start your day off with a hearty breakfast at the Greenbrier Grille along the Greenbrier River. If you’re traveling with the kids, be sure to give them a chance to feed the ducks swimming nearby. Once you’re fueled up and the ducks are satisfied, head out of town less than ten miles North on Route 219 to the Highland Scenic Highway. Route 150, a 23-mile portion of the Scenic Highway, has four scenic overlooks of the surrounding mountains and valleys as well as numerous hiking trails to be explored. Continuing on Route 150 will bring you to the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center at the intersection of Routes 150 and 39. A right turn will lead you to the Cranberry Glades Boardwalk where you can investigate the unique flora (including two species of carnivorous plants) and fauna of this National Natural Landmark. As the day heats up, make a quick run to Watoga State Park for a dip in the pool or rent a paddle boat from the park for a spin around their 11-acre lake. Finish up your visit at Jack Horner’s Corner with pizza on the outside deck and some of their soft-serve ice cream. For one of the best, quick getaways this summer, Marlinton and the surrounding area have the makings of a great summer weekend getaway.
Couples Summer Escape
Whether for a week, a weekend or just a day trip, taking time away to reconnect with that special someone in your life is always time well spent. And summer couples getaways in Nature’s Mountain Playground are ideal for sharing new experiences and spending quality time together. Start your couples retreat with one of the many distinctive lodging options found throughout Pocahontas County. Book a stay at Elk River Inn and Cabins for a secluded getaway in the Monongahela National Forest. Couples can choose from eight guest rooms and four cabins for that perfect time alone. A summer getaway at Elk River can include hiking, biking, fishing or just a healthy dose of quiet time together in a beautiful and tranquil setting. For more adventurous couples, how about an overnight stay 65 feet in the air? The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, located in Seneca State Forest, is made available for one-night rentals from May to October. You’ll want to pack in food, lights and blankets as the 12-foot by 12-foot cab of the tower provides little more than two cots. But with floor to ceiling windows on every side of you, what better place to wrap up in those blankets and share a sunset with that special someone? If a rustic couples getaway isn’t what you’re looking for, consider booking a stay at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Check in at Allegheny Springs, Soaring Eagle Lodge or any of over thirty lodging options available. Once you’ve unpacked and had a little time in the pool or hot tub, head out for dinner to Appalachia Kitchen for one of their delicious farm-to-table meals and finish the night up with a craft beer and moonlight stroll through Snowshoe’s Village. With first-class lodging, shopping and dining all in one location, you may have a hard time finding a reason for leaving the mountain.
Summer Getaways for Families
For many, the heart of the summer getaway is the family summer vacation. And with five state parks, two state forests, more than 800 miles of hiking and biking trails plus a variety of outdoor attractions, Nature’s Mountain Playground is one of the best destinations for summer getaways in West Virginia. Why not go big and start your next summer family adventure at Watoga State Park? At over 10,000 acres, Watoga State Park is the largest state park in West Virginia. The park features 34 cabins as well as a total of 88 campsites divided between two campgrounds, an 11-acre lake and multiple hiking trails just waiting to be discovered. Be sure to start your mornings off with a big camp breakfast to keep you moving all day long (and to help you keep up with the kids). Explore the trails throughout the park and climb up the Ann Bailey Lookout Tower. After a morning of hiking and exploring, cool off at the pool or make a quick run to Jack Horner’s Corner to rent a kayak or inner tube for a relaxing float down the Greenbrier River. Don’t forget to set a day aside for a trip to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Spend the day learning the history of this nearly unchanged company town built in 1901 for loggers working in the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a ride in one of the open-air cars pulled by an authentic Shay locomotive as it navigates it way up the mountain; still riding the same rail line built in 1901. Once the old locomotive has brought you safely back, round out your visit to Cass with a stop at the Last Run Restaurant for a good, home-cooked meal and some delicious hand-dipped ice cream. Finish your day back at camp around a relaxing fire building family memories that will last a lifetime.
Whatever type of summer getaway you’re looking for: a quick trip out of town to take in some new sights, a romantic trip for two or a family summer adventure not soon forgotten, Nature’s Mountain Playground has something for everyone. So, jump in the car, tip your traveling hat to Mr. Ford, and hit the open road to Pocahontas County, West Virginia.