Across the mountains and through the West Virginia woods, the Canaan Valley offers a perfect blend of scenic relaxation and adventurous activities.
With two state parks, a national wildlife refuge and two resorts, it is hard to run out of things to do, said Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing manager, Jessica Scowcroft.
"People love seeing the falls at Blackwater Falls State Park," she said.
Photo provided by Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Autumn foliage in the Canaan Valley frames the majestic Blackwater Falls. The falls are the namesake of Blackwater Falls state park which offers lodging, camping, hiking, boating and numerous other activities.
Blackwater Falls State Park is home to three beautiful waterfalls, all of which are easily accessible in the autumn, said Erica Merritt, the park's receptionist.
The centerpiece of the park is its namesake, Blackwater Falls. The Blackwater River's 62-foot plunge is a site well worth the small trek to get there.
"It is a little over 200 steps to the bottom but it is really pretty once you get down there," said Merritt.
If you go:
From Parkersburg, follow Route 50 East to I-79 South to Rt. 33 East (exit 99). Follow Rt. 33 East (4 lane) to its end. Follow Rt. 219 North to Thomas, W.Va..
Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.canaanvalley.org or 1-800-782-2775
Blackwater Falls State Park offers lodging, camping, and attractions: www.blackwaterfalls.com or (304) 259-5216.
Canaan Valley Resort and State Park offers lodging, camping, and activities: www.canaanresort.com or (304) 866-4121.
Timberline Four Seasons Resort offers lodging and activities: www.timberlineresort.com or 1-800-766-9464.
For information on geocaching, visit www.geocaching.com
On Pendleton Lake, park visitors can go fishing and boating. The park also has several hiking trails and offers bike rentals for those who wish to peddle instead of walk.
"The trails are excellent right now with the leaves changing," said Merritt.
The park will be hosting a free Halloween party Oct. 20 for children seventh grade or younger. The children can dress up and enjoy refreshments and fall-themed activities, said Merritt.
Nearby, the Canaan Valley Resort State Park provides an interesting take on exploration with several locations for geocaching.
"Geocaching is kind of like treasure hunting," explained Canaan Valley Resort marketing analyst Lenora Testerman.
The game involves the use of GPS units, which can be rented from the resort, or sometimes accessed from a smart phone, to help adventurers find caches. Usually the caches are little containers that contain little trinkets put there by the last person to find the cache.
"The idea is you leave a little something that tells about yourself, maybe a bottle cap or a wooden nickel, and if you leave something, you can take something," explained Testerman.
The Canaan Valley Resort has a few events coming up in November.
On Nov. 3, J.B. Barnett will present Red Skelton to Remember, a tribute to the famous comedian.
"Mr. Skelton's family members have actually seen the show and give it the thumbs up," said Testerman.
The weekend of Nov. 11-13, guests can enjoy either the Fall Holiday Scrapbooking Retreat or the Wild, Wonderful Wine Weekend.
The wine event will feature wines from around the world. Among other things, attendees will spend a lunch learning about wine pairings, take a class on de-mystifying wine and enjoy a gourmet dinner with accompanying wines.
The resort also partners with nearby attractions to offer seasonal activities such as horseback riding, canopy zipline tours and canoing. On its own property, the park has a four-star golf course, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a Euro Bungee and a climbing wall.
For less adventurous travelers, the Canaan Valley is dotted with towns that offer a variety of dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Downtown Davis, W.Va. features a handful of antique stores and several restaurants that are all within walking distance of one another, said Merritt.
The nearby town of Thomas has a bustling riverfront area. Filled with shops and art galleries, Thomas is a low-key place to socialize and have fun, said Merritt, who lives in Thomas.
"They also have The Purple Fiddle where they have live music every weekend," she added.
A lot of activities and attractions in the Canaan Valley are seasonal, explained Testerman.
But that does not mean all of the fun floats away with the autumn breeze. Ski season is always busy at Canaan Valley Resort and the Timberline Four Seasons Resort.
Canaan Valley Resort also has a snow tubing park this year with 10 lanes for snow tubing and a new warming hut area, said Testerman.
Ski season tentatively begins Dec. 15, she said.
For more information on Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, or other Canaan Valley attractions, visit www.canaanvalley.org or call the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-782-2775.