A Road Trip through Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia

Over the last several weeks, I’ve shared some of our favorite stops from our Summer 2019 Road Trip. However, there were soooo many more amazing things we did that I think you’d also enjoy. Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia all have an endless supply of unique and beautiful places to see, and there is so much variety in what you can do there. We had a blast visiting some major cities like Cincinnati and Louisville, but it was equally enjoyable driving through the scenic hills and mountains of West Virginia. 

Since we like doing a little bit of everything when we travel, I think you’ll find that this itinerary has something for everyone. I hope you’ll find it useful if you’re planning a road trip through any of these wonderful states. Or…that it inspires you to visit some of these places that maybe hadn’t been on your list yet!

  • Day 1: New York City – Wheeling, WV
  • Day 2: Wheeling, WV – Cincinnati, OH
  • Day 3: Cincinnati, OH
  • Day 4: Cincinnati, OH – Louisville, KY
  • Day 5: Louisville, KY
  • Day 6: Louisville, KY – Summersville, WV
  • Day 7: Summersville, WV – Davis, WV
  • Day 8: Davis, WV – New York City
  • Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: New York, NY – Wheeling, WV

Our first day on the road was a fairly straight-forward and practical drive. My family lives near Wheeling, so we do this drive a lot and our goal was pretty much to get to WV as quickly as possible so that we could spend some time with family. 

If you’re doing this drive yourself, Carlisle, PA is a great mid-way point to stop and have some lunch and then keep on plowing through. At the end of the tunnel (literally) is historic Wheeling, WV, which is actually the original capital of West Virginia! Downtown Wheeling isn’t quite what it used to be in its heyday, but it’s been going through a bit of a revitalization and still has plenty to offer the eager road-tripper.

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Wheeling Suspension Bridge

Wheeling is situated along the banks of the Ohio River, so in addition to strolling along the river or visiting the Heritage Port, you may want to consider walking across the old suspension bridge, which was built in 1849 (and was the largest suspension bridge in the world at that time). If you arrive in Wheeling early enough in the day, you may also want to swing by Centre Market to grab yourself a fish sandwich from Coleman’s Fish Market, a local favorite! 

Or you can head up the hill and spend some time at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. There is a beautiful lodge where you can stay for the night, and they have cottages, too, if you’re traveling with a group. The grounds are lovely, and you can spend hours walking around and exploring, paddle-boating, playing mini-golf, and more.

Another option is to stay at the hotel at the Wheeling Island Casino and Racetrack. They have live greyhound racing if that’s your thing, plenty of slot machines, and a fabulous dinner buffet for those who really like to destroy themselves while on vacation (or, you know, all the time, like we do). 

Regardless of where you stay, rest up because there’s lots to do on Day 2!

Day 2: Wheeling, WV to Cincinnati, OH

Our adventures really kicked into gear on Day 2, when we headed to our first stop in Cumberland, OH at The Wilds, which is North America’s largest wildlife conservation center. The 10,000 acres of property owned by The Wilds is on land that was formerly used for coal-mining, so as a result, it’s kinda in the middle of nowhere. Be sure to print out directions or bring a good map along with you!

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We bought tickets in advance for their Open-Air Safari, which takes about 2.5 hours. You ride an open-air bus through the property and have an opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with some of the many animals that roam the grounds. My favorites were the rhinos, giraffes, and the lazy little cheetahs! 

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After our safari, we had a snack and hit the road again for the nearly 3-hour drive to Cincinnati. I went to Xavier University for college, so we decided to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn-Midtown, which is in walking distance to campus. I wanted to be close to my old haunts, plus it didn’t hurt that the hotel was less than a year old and in excellent condition.

We dropped our stuff in the room and then set out to explore some of my favorite places from my college days. But first, we started with a tour of Xavier’s campus, which is such a beautiful place! I showed my husband around to all my old dorms and classroom buildings, and I was also surprised to see so many new buildings had sprouted up in the (many) years since I graduated.

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Xavier University’s Academic Mall – where I did my learnin’!

Next, we set out to Ault Park to enjoy a stroll and then headed over to Eden Park to catch the view before sunset. Eden Park was hoppin’ and we almost couldn’t find a place to park! Soon after, we moved on to pretty Mount Adams to wander around in search of food and drink.

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Ault Park
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Eden Park Overlook. That’s the Ohio River and Kentucky across the way!

It was late-ish on a Sunday, so there were hardly any people out and about in Mt. Adams. And since it was past 9 pm, many places were getting ready to close for the night, too (we definitely weren’t in NYC anymore, Toto). I did notice that there was quite a crowd at one of my old favorites, the Blind Lemon, so if you’re in the area and just want to have a drink and listen to some live music, you can always head there and settle in for the night.

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Mt. Adams – pretty sleepy at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night!

We, however, were quite hungry, and we headed back near our hotel and settled on a late-night pizza and a flight of beers at Mad Tree Brewing. The pizza was delicious, and we enjoyed all of our beers, which is always a good thing when visiting a new brewery. We sat at the bar outside, and most of the tables out there were packed, which was surprising for a Sunday night! Good luck if you visit on a Friday or Saturday because I suspect there will be quite a crowd.

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Mad Tree Brewing

And no visit to Cincinnati would be complete without a stop at Graeter’s for ice cream. I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream in my life, but I still maintain that Graeter’s is the best. They put these enormous chocolate chunks in some of their flavors and somehow the chunks don’t get rock hard in the freezer. They stay soft and melty, and I’m drooling all over my keyboard right now just thinking about it.

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Graeter’s!  Oh, how I missed thee…

(Pro-tip: If you live in NYC and need a Graeter’s fix, Edward’s in Tribeca has a Cincinnati night the last Monday of the month which features Montgomery Inn Ribs, LaRosa’s Pizza, Skyline Chili, and Graeter’s Ice Cream.)

Once we were all fat and happy from our pizza, beer, and ice cream, it was time to turn in for the evening and rest up for Day 3!

Day 3: Cincinnati, OH

We really only had one thing on the agenda for Day 3, and that was to ride roller coasters at King’s Island, which is about 20 minutes north of Cincinnati on I-71. We LOVE roller coasters. In fact, we actually spent three days riding roller coasters for the trip we took for our first anniversary. So if you’re into roller coasters, too, King’s Island is definitely worth a visit.

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King’s Island isn’t a huge park, but they have a nice mix of both steel and wooden coasters. They also happen to have the world’s longest wooden roller coaster, the Beast, which we rode twice on our visit to the park. The Beast’s track is more than a mile long, and the whole ride lasts more than four minutes!

And while we were in the park, we treated ourselves to another Cincinnati specialty: cheese coneys from Skyline Chili. Mmmm…look at all that glorious cheese…

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Skyline Cheese Coneys. So. Much. Cheeeeeeeese!

It was incredibly hot the day we visited the park, so we went back to the hotel and had a nice dip in the hotel’s pool. There is a water park at King’s Island, too, though, if you want to really spend a whole day there and be able to cool off at the end of it.

If amusement parks aren’t really your thing, though, there are plenty of other fabulous ways to spend a day in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Zoo is fantastic, and one of the largest in the U.S, and the excellent Newport Aquarium is just across the river in Kentucky (and has a shark tunnel!). You could take a ride on a riverboat or check out the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. Strolling along the riverfront is always fun, and you can even walk across the Purple People Bridge!

When the day is done, though, you’re going to want to have some dinner and relax, and we decided to walk the 15 minutes from our hotel to the Listermann Brewing Company. Sadly, this place did not exist when I was in school, but we were glad to have it so close to the hotel during this trip. We really enjoyed our beers here, and they have a food counter in the back where you can order all kinds of bar snacks and sandwiches. 

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My flight at Listermann Brewing Company

We spent a couple hours there, enjoying our beer and relaxing after our hot day out in the sun at King’s Island. Then, we headed back to the hotel to pack up in preparation to head out of town on Day 4!

Day 4: Cincinnati, OH – Louisville, KY

We checked out of our hotel on Day 4 and drove to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati. We were heading to Louisville, KY later in the day, but we first had a couple stops to make in Cincy before moving on.

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Our morning started with a delicious breakfast at the B&A Street Kitchen. You order at the counter and they bring your piping hot breakfast out to you. There were far too many good choices on their menu, so good luck picking what you want. Both of us enjoyed our meals immensely, though, so you’re probably going to be fine with whatever you choose!

After breakfast, we strolled around downtown a bit. We passed through Washington Park and saw the Music Hall. We admired all of the beautiful architecture as well as some pretty sweet murals. Eventually, we worked our way back to Over-the-Rhine for our next activity of the day, which was the Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour.

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Music Hall
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Looking out from a gazebo in Washington Park
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I loved this mural!
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And this one, too!

Cincinnati had tons of breweries back before Prohibition, and prior to the days of modern refrigeration, many of these breweries used underground tunnels to brew their beer and keep it cool. During our tour, we learned about the history of Over-the-Rhine and got to climb through a hole in the ground down into some of these old brewery tunnels. It was so much fun! Probably one of my favorite tours I’ve been on, and I’ve been on a lot of tours

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Our tour wrapped up with a free sample of beer at Taft’s Ale House, and we added on a snack to fortify us for our drive south. We hit the road, and within about an hour and a half, we had reached Louisville, KY. We stayed at the Econo Lodge – Downtown Louisville, which was fine but certainly nothing fancy. For downtown, the price was right, and it was clean, so it did the trick.

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Obligatory road trip photo of the “Florence, Y’all” water tower on I-71 to Louisville

We dropped our bags in the room and immediately set out for a bourbon tasting at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse. The tasting experience lasted about 15 minutes, and we got a couple cute little shot glasses as parting gifts. For me, it was particularly fascinating because we learned that the same company who makes Jim Beam actually also makes Baker’s, Booker’s, Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden’s, Knob Creek, and more. Who knew???

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The Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse, located at Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville.
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I got a kick out of this bottle trolley up above us!

Next, we walked down to the river and admired some of the pretty riverboats that were tied up along the pier. Several are used for dinner cruises, but at least one, the Queen of the Mississippi, does longer river cruises and was just tied up in Louisville for one of its stops. 

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The Queen of the Mississippi does river cruises and they were tied up in Louisville for one of their cruise stops.
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The Belle of Louisville is one of the local boats.

Which made a lot of sense because downtown Louisville definitely felt like the part of the city where people visit for concerts or events at the arena or as a stop on a riverboat cruise – it certainly wasn’t where locals were hanging out, and if we were ever to go back, we would definitely choose to stay in a different part of town.

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Downtown Louisville

It was also really, really hot and humid walking around downtown Louisville in July, and eventually, we were too tired to continue and needed to find some refreshment. We popped in at Doc Crow’s, and ordered some dinner at the bar because the wait for a table was far too long. Our cocktails were delicious, and the food was, too. Their mac and cheese! Oh so good. And don’t even get me started on that bread pudding. Oh. My. God.

We had a friendly bartender, too, so we asked him for some recommendations for a couple good places to grab breakfast the next morning. We ventured back out into the steamy night and found our way back to our hotel to get a good night’s rest.

Day 5: Louisville, KY

We were up bright and early on Day 5, and our first stop of the day was at Highland Morning for breakfast. This was recommended by our bartender from Doc Crow’s, and it did not disappoint! The food was so good and the service was friendly and prompt. For a Wednesday morning, there was a decent crowd, so I’d be prepared for a wait if you swing by on the weekend.

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My breakfast at Highland Morning. Tasted as good as it looks!

Since breakfast was so quick, we had a little time to kill before our first activity of the day. A quick look at Google Maps showed us that Cherokee Park was very close by, and reviews indicated that you could drive a 2.4-mile scenic loop through the park. Seemed like a perfectly delightful option, and off we went.

Folks, this park is so pretty! What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. We learned that it was actually designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed NYC’s Central Park, so it’s no wonder this place was so lovely. We drove through it for a bit and then found a little lot where we could park and then hop out to stroll around the woods. The trails were very well maintained, and we encountered plenty of other folks who were out and about, enjoying the beautiful day.

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I loved this sculpture in Cherokee Park

We got back in the car and completed the rest of the scenic loop before heading on to our next stop, which was the Louisville Mega Cavern, a retired limestone mine. The Louisville Mega Cavern has several different fun activities, all of which take place underground (world’s longest underground zipline anyone???)

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Entrance to the Louisville Mega Cavern

We did their e-bike tour, which took us all the way into the back of the cavern, and we loved every second of it! My husband actually declared this his favorite activity of our entire trip, so definitely check this place out if you’re driving through Louisville.

Afterward, we took a 10-minute drive over to Churchill Downs to check out the Kentucky Derby Museum and take their historic walking tour. This basic tour is short, only about a half hour long, but it was a great introduction to Churchill Downs and the history of the Kentucky Derby, which is America’s longest continuously-run sporting event. One of my favorite parts was walking through the tunnel that all the horses walk through on race day!

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When our tour wrapped up, we drove back to our hotel to drop our car and then immediately headed back out for our tour at the Angel’s Envy Distillery in downtown Louisville. Prior to coming to Louisville, several bourbon aficionados had recommended a visit to Angel’s Envy, and we’re so happy we went! Our tour guide, Allie, was super entertaining, and the tour concludes with a tasting of their insanely unique and delicious bourbon. What’s not to love?

Inside Angel's Envy Distillery
Inside Angel’s Envy Distillery
Angel's Envy Distillery Lower Level
The lower level of the Angel’s Envy Distillery

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And tasting all that bourbon made us build up an appetite, so after we finished up our post-tour cocktails at Angel’s Envy, we walked right across the street to the Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse for some dinner and, of course, flights of beer. This place is attached to Louisville’s minor league baseball stadium, so be prepared for crowds if you come on game day. 

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My flight from Against the Grain

Fortunately, it was an off-night when we were there, and we were able to get a couple seats at the bar. Their beers were solid, with plenty of variety, and though their mac and cheese was not as good as what I had at Doc Crow’s the night before, they did have a pretty spectacular strawberry shortcake for dessert. The South does dessert right, friends!

With our bellies full and our wallets empty, we waddled back to our hotel to get some sleep and pack up for our drive to West Virginia in the morning!

Day 6: Louisville, KY to Summersville, WV

We hit the road fairly early on Day 6 because we had a long drive ahead and several stops we wanted to make once we made it to West Virginia. Most of the drive was across I-64 and went smoothly for the most part, but as we got closer to WV, the sky got more and more ominous-looking before it finally just opened up and dumped BARRELS of rain us. At one point, we just gave up and pulled off at a gas station because it was raining so. dang. hard.

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Is that an angry-looking sky or what???
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And…there it is…

Eventually, though, we made it WV. And soon after, we passed through Charleston, the capital of my beautiful home state. Shortly after, we passed by Kanawha Falls and then pulled off at Cathedral Falls to poke around for a bit. Both sets of falls are lovely and worth a stop if you’re driving through this way. Sadly, we couldn’t stay long because it started to rain again. Argh…

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Cathedral Falls

We pressed on, and our next stop was at a delightful little roadside attraction called the Mystery Hole. I don’t even know how to describe this place without ruining it for you, but suffice to say, it was a little goofy and a lot corny, but we had a fun time here all the same! There are stunning views of the river valley from their parking lot, and the whole experience will only take up about 15 minutes of your time. Stop in and let me know what you think!

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Pulling in to the Mystery Hole parking lot

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While waiting to get into the Mystery Hole, we admired the view from their parking lot.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center at the New River Gorge Bridge. This huge bridge is a marvel and was even the world’s longest single-span arch bridge for quite some time (it’s the fourth-longest now). The gorge is popular for whitewater rafting and you can even bungee jump off the bridge at certain times of the year if you’re into that kind of thing (that’s a hard pass for me, though!)

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New River Gorge Bridge, peeking through the trees

At the Visitor Center, you can journey down a pathway and some stairs to reach a viewing platform where you can admire this fabulous structure. The climb back up is a bit strenuous, but the views are more than worth the time and effort (and huffing and puffing, if we’re being honest). However, if you want to get even better and (I think) more interesting views, leave the Visitor Center and head for the Fayette Station Road.

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Now normally, you can take the Fayette Station Road all the way down into the gorge, cross the river, and then come back up on the other side in Fayetteville, WV. At this time, though, once you cross the river at the bottom, you can only go a little ways further before you’ll need to turn around and head back up the same road you just came down. It was a bit of a bummer to have to retrace our steps, but the drive is so pretty, and seeing the bridge from below gives you a whole different perspective (literally). It’s massive! 

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When you get to the river on the Fayette Station Road, you’ll cross this little bridge here and can pull into a parking lot to enjoy the views from the bottom of the gorge.
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Such beautiful scenery awaits you at the bottom of the Fayette Station Road. It’s definitely worth the trip down there to see this!
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Seeing the bridge from below makes you appreciate just how high up there the thing really is!

If you decide to drive the Fayette Station Road yourself, just be sure to check in with the Visitor Center on the current status of the road. And keep in mind that the road is verrrrrry narrow, so keep your eye out for other drivers and even a bus or two! They have buses that pick up kayakers and rafters, and it requires a bit of creative maneuvering to try to pass by a bus on this road.

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Heading back up the Fayette Station Road
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You can stop at one of the overlook areas on the Fayette Station Road to get this amazing view of the bridge!

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And since our long day of driving and sight-seeing had tired us out, we decided it was time to move on to the relaxing portion of the day. Our first stop was at the Freefolk Brewery. We had a flight and while neither of us was blown away by any of the beers, we did enjoy chatting with the bartender, and the other patrons all seemed very friendly. They also had some pretty tasty guacamole for an even more impressive price, so that was definitely a plus!

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The Freefolk Brewery

For the sake of comparison, we next visited Bridge Brew Works, which was not even 10 minutes away from Freefolk. We enjoyed our flights more here, but we weren’t quite as into the vibe. It also seems like there isn’t any indoor seating, so I’m not sure what happens in the colder months. Check their hours if you decide to visit in the wintertime!

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My Bridge Brew Works flight. As you can see, I jumped the gun a bit on that one on the right. Oops!

While at Freefolk, we had asked the bartender for some dinner recommendations, and I was pleased that the two places I had found in Fayetteville in my pre-trip research just happened to be his top two recommendations: Pies and Pints and the Secret Sandwich Society. We were both done with beer at this point and my husband LOVES a good sandwich, so we decided Secret Sandwich Society it was! And we really enjoyed our dinner.

We shared their cheese plate as a starter because we were both starving by that point. It was fairly substantial and reasonably-priced as far as cheese plates go, and we followed it up with some extra tasty sandwiches with a side of loaded fries. For some reason, my sandwich was round, and I’m not sure why, but it was soooo good. Fayetteville is an adorable small town, and if you’re passing through or spending time at the New River, I would definitely recommend the Secret Sandwich Society for dinner one night! 

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I love food way too much, and I was already halfway through those loaded fries before it occurred to me to take a picture. They were good! And so was that sandwich, despite looking a little odd.

After dinner, our plan was to check out Summersville Lake and have a post-dinner stroll, but the rain decided to rear its ugly head, again, and ruined all plans for that. We decided to go straight to our hotel instead, and we checked in at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Summersville and immediately made a bee-line to the hot tub and swimming pool to relax after our very long day. The hotel seems fairly new and was in excellent shape, and we both got a pleasant night’s sleep during our stay. I would recommend staying here if you’re ever in the area!

Day 7: Summersville, WV to Davis, WV

We had finally reached the last full day of our summer road trip, and we were both feeling a bit bummed that our vacation was coming to end. Fortunately, the included hotel breakfast included a make-your-own-waffle station, which helped lift our spirits immensely. It’s the small things, folks…

And we were definitely planning to make the most of our last day on the road. First up, we headed east to Richwood, WV and the start of the Highland Scenic Highway. As we drove through this phenomenally beautiful section of America, we stopped off several times along the way. 

Our first stop was at the Falls of Hills Creek, where my FitBit confirmed that we walked up about 34 flights!  There are three different waterfalls here, and while the climb down wasn’t so bad, going back up was quite the journey!  The two lower falls were quite pretty, and in the end, we decided it was well worth our time (and spent muscles) to venture down to see them both.

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Next, we stopped at the Cranberry Glades Boardwalk, which was definitely one of my favorite stops on our road trip. The boardwalk is a half-mile loop through some ancient bogs that have no business being in WV in the first place. Every 50 feet or so, the scenery begins to change dramatically, and by the time you get to the other side of the loop, you don’t even realize you’re in the same place. This place is breathtaking, and I truly hope that I can make it back there someday to enjoy it all over again.

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And before finishing our journey across the Highland Scenic Highway, we stopped off four more times to enjoy the scenic overlooks sprinkled throughout the highway. The views were stunning, and we were a little sad that we weren’t traveling through in the fall because all of these overlooks are going to be spectacular during peak foliage season!

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After hopping off the Highland Scenic Highway, we continued on to the super fascinating town of Green Bank, WV. This town is in an area called the National Radio Quiet Zone, which means your cell phone won’t be able to help you navigate in and out of there. The reason for the quiet zone is that Green Bank is home to the Green Bank Observatory, which houses a collection of radio telescopes (i.e. really giant antennae that are looking for objects in space based on the radio waves they emit.)

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More specifically, we went to the Observatory for their SETI tour, which focused all on the work done at Green Bank in the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Our tour enabled us to get behind the scenes and go inside some of the telescopes’ control rooms, and the highlight was being able to get up close and personal with the Green Bank Telescope (the GBT), which is the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world. The thing weighs 17 million pounds! It was massive and oh so very cool to check out up close.

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Sadly, no communications from intelligent life were coming through the day we visited, and after our tour was over it was time to get back on the road. We first headed up a fairly sizable mountain to the Germany Valley overlook upon the recommendation of my father, who is a big fan of the area. Upon seeing the sweeping views, it wasn’t hard to understand why he likes it there so much!

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We continued on to the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, which was already closed for the day, but we did stop for a few minutes to take a few pics of these iconic West Virginia rock formations. Though we didn’t pull out our binoculars, it wouldn’t have surprised me if there were a few people climbing the sides of the rocks or even walking along the top! If you’re into that kind of thing, be sure to tack on an extra day to your trip so you can check it out. For me? No thanks. I enjoy the view from the ground just fine and thank you very much!

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And because we hadn’t had quite enough for the day, we had one last stop to make and that was Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area. I could remember riding up to Dolly Sods with my family when I was a kid, and I had also remembered that the view from the top was breathtaking. But to be honest, the ride up is 100% of the adventure!

We’re talking very narrow and mostly gravel roads here. At one point, halfway up, we weren’t feeling entirely confident that we were on the right track and we had yet to pass a single car. Eventually, a truck started coming down the hill our way, and we stopped to let it pass. The driver stopped and told us we were going the right way and that it was beautiful on the top, so onwards and upwards we went. And then…

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Yep…it was just as stunning as I had remembered! Even the trees were all bare on one side, which is the kind of thing you always notice when you’re a kid and never really forget. It had seemed so unusual to me the first time we went up there, but part of me was delighted to find that not much had changed. Once we reached the top, we ran into all kinds of people. Some were hiking, others were setting up tents to camp out for the night. But everyone was enjoying this magical place. 

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And for the record, we made if up there in a Jetta with no 4-wheel drive, so despite the gravel and numerous potholes, it’s definitely doable even if you don’t have a truck or SUV. But eventually, you’ll need to head back down and we opted to head off to the west and back down the other side of the mountain.

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We passed many more cars on the way down than we did on the way up, and the gravel section seemed to drag on forevvvvver. Eventually, we made it to a super curvy paved road which was adorably striped down the middle as though it was intended to be a two-lane road, but it was most decidedly NOT wide enough for two cars to pass without a lot of skillful maneuvering. I remember my mother being slightly terrified on the drive to Dolly Sods when we were kids, and I can appreciate her terror now having done this trip as an adult.

But the reward was that we found ourselves at the Canaan Valley Resort at the end of the day. It was on the late side when we got there, so we were going to be too late for dinner in the dining room. Fortunately, though, we discovered that the lounge was open later and we could order from the dining room menu from there and that’s just what we did. We settled in for the evening with some bourbon and steaks and relaxed after our epic day of road trip adventuring.

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Looking out at the pool at Canaan Valley Resort from the lodge

We eventually retired to our room for the night, and it was definitely the nicest room we had stayed in all week. Both of us agreed that it would have been nice if we could have tacked on an extra night to enjoy spending a bit more time there. Sadly, though, we were only there for one night because tomorrow we had to head home.

Day 8: Davis, WV to New York City

Just because it was our last day didn’t mean we weren’t going to try to squeeze in a bit more adventuring before heading home! We started the day with the excellent buffet breakfast in the dining room at the Canaan Valley Resort. After we checked out, we headed out to the main road and stopped briefly to say hello to some of the local wildlife.

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Oh hi! You’re not supposed to feed the deer here, but they clearly are used to people giving them food from their car windows.
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This one was pretty annoyed that I didn’t have any treats for her!

Across the main highway from the resort is the ski area, and despite the fact that it was summertime, there was still some fun to be had over there. In our case, we hopped on to the chair lift for a long and scenic ride up the mountain. The air was cool, but the sun was HOT so we were pretty happy once we made it up to the top. If you have the time, you can hike back down on one of several different trails.

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We needed to keep moving, though, so we rode the lift back down. The views definitely made this a worthwhile stop, and it’s a lot easier to just relax and take it all in when you’re not preparing yourself to fly down the side of the mountain on a couple planks of wood like you would in winter!

We got back on the road and drove about a half hour or so to our next stop at Blackwater Falls. The water isn’t black, but it does have a reddish-brown tint to it, caused by tannins in natural organic matter like pine needles and moss. Sometimes there’s only but a trickle coming over the falls, but my friends, it was not that time when we were there. WV had been having tons of rain in the weeks prior to our visit and the falls were ROARING when we were there!

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Finally, it was time to start making our way back to NYC. We decided to break up our trip home with a quick stop in Harpers Ferry, WV, but to get there we first had to travel across U.S. 48, also known as Corridor H. While the Highland Scenic Highway was incredibly gorgeous, 48 was equally stunning. Here, though, you have a four-lane highway instead of a 2-lane road, and with the way the road cuts through the mountains, you get magnificent views all around you.

At one point, you’ll come across several ridges that are lined for miles with windmills. We couldn’t find a good spot to stop and take a photo, but it was a beautiful sight and almost mesmerizing to see so many windmills in one place, all spinning and hard at work. There was hardly any traffic, either, so it was a quick and efficient way to cross a good portion of the Eastern Panhandle.

Not long after 48 turned back into a two-lane road for a ways, we made it to Harpers Ferry. We took a wrong turn and soon ended up in an insane line of traffic. Once we finally got back to where we wanted to be, we found the town to be completely overrun, with nowhere to park for miles (literally, the closest place to park was over two miles away at the National Park Visitor Center, where you could then take a shuttle into town.)

Since we were driving back to NYC that day, we just didn’t have the energy to try to deal with all of that and gave up on our plan to visit. I was pretty bummed because I hadn’t been there in quite some time, and it’s a wonderful, historic town. As with a lot of our travels, it may be the kind of place we’ll head back to in the off-season when fewer people are out and about!

And since we weren’t stopping in town for lunch as we had originally planned, it meant that it was instead time to start the slog back to NYC. Fortunately, we had very little traffic, despite driving around Baltimore, Philly, Wilmington, and the Jersey Shore on a Saturday evening.

**********

Over the course of our week on the road, we put 1865 miles on the car and passed through 9 different states! We also put on a few extra pounds from all the great food and drink we had along the way, and we certainly made a whole lot of new memories. We covered a lot of ground, and I was happy to get to share with my husband some of those special places from my childhood and college days.

We were able to see and do everything we wanted to, and we even tacked on some stuff we didn’t know we could do! We loved every part of our week on the road, and all three states have a little something for everyone. If you think that some or all of this trip is something you might want to do sometime, you can check out my detailed itinerary to help you with your planning. And if you have questions, reach out and I’ll be happy to help!

Happy road tripping!

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