Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze
I can’t say that I’ve been to West Virginia but if singing this John Denver song counts then I’ve been many times. 🙂 I even played it in the background while I was doing my research for this post. I figured it would put me in the mood.
One of the first things I ran across was Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Nestled in the mountains of West Virginia, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers excursions that transport you back in time to relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. Now that sounds like a top of the list experience in my book.
For a scenic drive West Virginia boasts the 43 mile long Highland Scenic Highway. This was built for the pleasure of mountain driving. The quiet two-lane highway takes you into the heart of the 919,000 acre Monongahela National Forest. On the 23 mile section known as Rt 150 there isn’t a house, business, utility pole, bill board or traffic signal! There’s no plowing in the winter so unless you plan to travel it on your snowmobile, plan a summer visit.
In Wheeling, a winter trip will land you in the middle of the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights. A 6 mile driving tour set in a spectacular setting – a 19th century ridge top resort that was once a “Gilded-age” tycoon’s estate. The estate is now owned by the city of Wheeling and every year more than a million people enjoy more than 5o lighted displays.
Adventurous souls should explore the New River Gorge in south-central West Virginia. Once the coal capital of the state today tourism rules the economy and the New River and nearby Gauley River have become top white water rafting destinations.
Plan your trip for October and you might see some crazy acrobatics on and off the New River Gorge Bridge. Bridge Day is the largest BASE Jumping event in the world. Every year some 450 BASE jumpers leap off the 876 ft. high bridge doing all kinds of flips and turns before deploying their single parachute.
At the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers you’ll find Harpers Ferry, the site of John Brown’s ill fated slave rebellion. But long before this historic event, Thomas Jefferson described it as “perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. ” Harpers Ferry is remarkably well preserved with narrow streets and a lot of history.
West Virginia is the only state completely contained in the Appalachian Mountain Range giving the state a hilly winding topography. Folks joke that if the state were pulled flat it would be bigger than the state of Texas!
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
Take me home, country roads
The count now stands at 20/28