West Virginia

See for Yourself Why “Almost Heaven” Has Stuck

There is a reason folks still think of the opening of Country Roads (that old John Denver song) when they think of West Virginia. It really is a beautiful state.

DSCN1220 I actually read once where someone said it’s hard to find a straight road in West Virginia. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t as far off as one might think.

If you like curvaceous, hilly, twisty roads and an ever-changing panorama of loveliness… forest, rolling pastures, cows, grazing sheep, babbling brooks, roiling rivers… West Virginia just might be the place for you, too.

There is a reason folks still think of the opening of Country Roads (that old John Denver song) when they think of West Virginia. It really is a beautiful state.I actually read once where someone said it’s hard to find a straight road in West Virginia. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t as far off as one might think.

If you like curvaceous, hilly, twisty roads and an ever-changing panorama of loveliness… forest, rolling pastures, cows, grazing sheep, babbling brooks, roiling rivers… West Virginia just might be the place for you, too.

DSCN1218
Railroad Bridge, Shepherdstown, WV

West Virginia is a big state. There are 55 counties split into nine regions in West Virginia. At the time of this writing, we’ve only become really familiar with three regions of the state: Potomac Highlands, Eastern Panhandle and Mountaineer Country. It may not sound like much, but it’s a pretty big area and there are plenty of awesome roads to keep anyone happy for a good amount of time.

Although we haven’t covered (and documented the entire) state, there are others who have gone before us. And because this Web site is meant to be a resource and not an its-all-about-me propaganda vehicle, I’ll be providing links both to rides Hubby and/or I have discovered as well as rides others have traveled and documented.

West German Street, Shepherdstown, WV
West German Street, Shepherdstown, WV

Our WV Rides

Lost River Loop: Portions of this route were new to me while some parts are old favorites. The new sections are just as good as the old. My “favorites” list has officially grown.

Greenland Gap Run: This starts in Hampshire County and goes west into Mineral County, south into Grant County, back east through Hardy County and, finally, north into Hampshire County.

Franklin Discovered: I remember this ride well. When we got to Franklin, we were kicking ourselves for not having ridden the route years ago. The portion of US-220 from US-50 near Burlington south into Franklin is a smooth, winding, picturesque stretch of blacktop that should not be missed.

Star Tannery, VA: Yes, half of this ride is in Virginia. But the WV half is a route I thoroughly enjoy. So I HAD to include it here.

Capon Springs and Farm Resort/Spa is the type of place we’d normally stay in a heartbeat. Except it’s too close to us to make sense. People have traveled to Capon Springs since the 1800s for healing and relief from pain and stress. This map shows how close it is to I-81, Winchester and Harrisonburg. Don’t use the map to plan your route, though, because you’re almost certain to find a dirt road. Follow these directions on their Web site.

Others’ Rides

Paw Paw / Berkeley Springs: I’ve ridden this road several times. I LOVE it. Someone else has already documented it and provided video for you to enjoy.

Places to Stay / Things to Do

DIVERSIONBerkeley Springs State Park

This small state park in the center of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia packs a powerful punch. Since opening in the 1930s, the bathhouse has seen thousands enjoy the wide variety of baths and treatments in the warm mineral waters that flow from the springs at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees. Here you can enjoy roman baths, a dip in a jacuzzi, professional massage, and even saunas. The springs actually discharge approximately 2,000 gallons of clear, sparkling water per minute from within a hundred yards of the bathhouse.

LODGING & DIVERSIONCacapon Resort State Park

Offers over 6,000 acres of year-round outdoor fun, including swimming (seasonal), fishing, boating, golf, trap shooting, horseback riding (April-November), lake activities, hiking opportunities and more. Come and see what West Virginia’s eastern panhandle has to offer and enjoy top visitor services in a first-class lodge. (NOTE: I have not visited this park as of February 2011.)

DIVERSIONPotomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

Their Web site says… “The historic Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad is one of America’s most beautiful train rides. For three hours enjoy a narrated excursion through a tranquil and pristine mountain valley. View historic farms and lush mountain greenery. Around every curve you are rewarded with the splendor of native wildflowers, evergreens, and mixed hardwoods in an unspoiled countryside environment. Experience “The Trough,” a spectacular narrow mountain valley. Below you runs the South Branch of the Potomac River, where the water is so clear that you can see fish as they lie resting in the shade. Above you the high mountain walls and thick forest help keep a secret few have discovered.”

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