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Mid Atlantic States

West Virginia: Fall Foliage

West Virginia, nearly 80 percent covered by forests and therefore one of the most tree-packed states, might be the most underrated fall foliage destination in the USA.

Its varied topography provides a fall color show that begins in West Virginia in September in the most mountainous and highest-elevated areas and continues well into November in the lower-lying areas and Ohio River basins.

Visitors can plan their leaf-peeping vacations to West Virginia throughout the autumn and aren’t limited to just a couple weekends.

West Virginia boasts stunning vistas and mountain overlooks just about anywhere in the state you can imagine.

The New River Gorge in southern West Virginia is home to the state’s largest one-day festival, Bridge Day, which is strategically planned for the peak of fall-color season in the area.

Fall festivals abound in the Mountain State. It’s an Appalachian tradition to celebrate the harvest with events such as the Pumpkin Festival and the state’s rich forestry tradition with the Forest Festival.


Traveling through the Mountain State, visitors will find an eclectic blend of the contemporary and the historic, with a distinct emphasis on those people, places and things that make West Virginia special. WEST VIRGINIA HOTELS

West Virginia’s museums offer visitors diverse views of the arts and culture in the Mountain State. The Huntington Museum of Art has offered guests a fascinating and growing permanent collection of art and glass.

In Charleston, the Cultural Center at the State Capitol is home to the state museum and archives. The art gallery of the Avampato Discovery Museum at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia houses a permanent collection as well as important, large-scale traveling exhibitions, and has two floors of hands-on science exhibits. CHARLESTON HOTELS

Discover the state’s history at the interactive Independence Hall Museum in Wheeling. See the story of John Henry, carved in native state woods at the John Henry Museum in Hinton. 

The West Virginia State Farm Museum, near Point Pleasant, and the Heritage Farm and Museum just outside of Huntington both pay tribute to West Virginia's agricultural heritage.

In the Eastern Panhandle, visit Boarman House Arts Center in Martinsburg; in Lewisburg, delight at the ever-changing exhibits and wonderful year-round programs at the state’s own Carnegie Hall.

The Museum in the Community in Teays Valley will change your opinion of museums if “stuffy and closed” come to mind. In the Northern Panhandle, the Stifel Fine Arts Center at Oglebay Park houses an extensive collection of glass, arts and crafts.

The Wheeling Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony, Charleston, offer programs that blend the best of traditional symphonies with local and guest performances, pop concerts and special programs. Listen for the strains of fiddles, dulcimers and guitars at any of the traditional musical events around West Virginia.

Experience a full week of fine Appalachian sounds and traditional mountain dancing at the annual Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins. 

Look to the Northern Panhandle for a favorite country music venue. Wheeling is home to the Capitol Music Hall and Jamboree USA, the second-oldest country music radio program in the country. 

Around the Mountain State, you’ll find traditional outdoor drama, dance and contemporary theater.

Appalachian heritage presents itself in many forms. Vandalia, celebrated every Memorial Day Weekend at the State Capitol, is one of the best heritage festivals.

West Virginia celebrates its ethnic heritage with festivals for many occasions. One of the best is the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival each June in Parkersburg.

Artisans gather at The Mountain State Art and Craft Fair, a Fourth of July festival, to demonstrate and sell arts and crafts. This long-standing festival takes place at Cedar Lakes near Ripley.

Enjoy a weekend of non-stop music, dancing, storytelling and arts displays during the annual Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins.

The Midland Trail, crossing the country from Virginia and moving westward, has stops that showcase the state’s natural resources along the New River Gorge, its African-American heritage at West Virginia State College in Institute, and its tenacity at Cabin Creek Quilts in Malden.

The firearms used by Lewis and Clark in their discovery expedition were forged at Harpers Ferry. And it was at Harpers Ferry where John Brown, the fiery abolitionist, seized the federal arsenal in 1859. Historic re-enactments, 26 historic sites and cemeteries in eight counties offer Civil War enthusiasts plenty of places to trace this war of the states. 

The Greenbrier River area has a gracious reputation as a place of culture and rejuvenation. which still offers the ages-old spa treatments along with modern spa techniques to its guests.

In the Northern Panhandle and along the Ohio River, historic sites with hands-on programs highlight the changing face of the country in the early 1800s.

Just outside of Parkersburg, Blennerhassett Island offers a faithful reproduction of the romantic frontier life that Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett came from Ireland to find.

Fort New Salem in Mountaineer Country is a collection of log buildings that represent a 19th Century frontier settlement. Workshops, fairs and festivals throughout the year allow visitors to experience the typical 1790s celebrations, holidays and routine.

Pricketts Fort State Park, just a little farther up the road, offers another interactive site for travelers to learn more about frontier history.

West Virginia is rich in industrial heritage, and its visitors can tour family-owned glass factories that continue the tradition of producing fine blown glass that is prized around the world.

A wonderful glass museum in Wheeling and a special glass exhibit at the Huntington Museum of Art offer wonderful displays of state work.

In southern West Virginia, visitors to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Southern Youth Museum will want to take sweaters. The ride on a real underground mine drops 600 feet below the ground and the temperature won’t get above the 50s.


PHOTO: Civil War Weekend – Photo Courtesy West Virginia Division of Tourism


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