Experience autumn the West Virginia way
Enjoy the beauty of autumn in West Virginia this year. In September and October when the changing leaves are at their most vibrant, the state is home to many miles of trails - ideal for outdoor autumn-time adventure.
Hike, bike, or ATV along and through trails and state parks, or enjoy the scenic landscape from the comfort of an Amtrak train route. Attend one of the many fall festivals, try your hand at apple butter making, visit the famous Pumpkin House, listen to live music and try local foods, from blackberries to barbecue.
Join a guided group tour or explore on your own at Backwater Falls, Tygart Lake State Park, or Seneca Rocks, all within a few hours' drive from Washington, D.C. Blackwater Falls boasts over twenty miles of hiking trails, boating, fishing and a nature centre. Blackwater Lodge has an indoor swimming pool for guests, and at nearby Canaan Valley Resort a large outdoor heated pool is open to the public. At Tygart Lake State Park, stay in a rustic lodge or a two-person cottage with views of the lake. Golf at two nearby courses or visit historical Pickett's Fort, and dine at the lodge restaurant. Fish, hike, raft, and rock climb at Seneca Rocks. Stay at the nearby Smoke Hole Caverns Hotel and visit Smoke Hole Caverns where you can get an insiders' view of a moonshine distillery and the world's longest ribbon stalactite. This area is also home to West Virginia's largest souvenir and gift shop.
Activities in these areas also include rock climbing, white water rafting, biking, ATV rentals, and horseback riding.
For those looking for a more relaxing holiday, West Virginia offers multiple train tours. Enjoy the scenery in comfort on a variety of rail excursions through such cities as Cass, Durbin and Elkins. This October, the CP Huntington Railroad Historical Society will offer a 300 mile excursion through the heart of West Virginia where it will pass over the famous New River Gorge, also named the "Grand Canyon of the East". The journey will pause in the town of Hinton for passengers to stretch their legs and enjoy the local fall festival, an essential aspect of small town American life. For a shorter trip, step aboard Potomac Eagle in Romney for a three hour journey along the Potomac River. This area is known for being the eastern home of the magnificent national symbol, the American Bald Eagle.
There are festivals sprinkled around the state that present everything from grape stomping, art shows to chilli cook-offs. In Clay, stop by the Golden Delicious Apple Festival to celebrate West Virginia's state fruit. The four day weekend includes activities like apple butter making, the skillet flinging contest, cookie stacking contest, Name That Apple contest, and live music. In Ceredo and Kenova, attend the C-K Autumn fest and see the famous Pumpkin House decorated with over 3,000 pumpkins, and try one of the many recipes resulting from the pumpkin bake-off. For music visit the West Virginia State Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival in Hedgesville, featuring over two dozen bluegrass bands and the West Virginia State Barbecue Championship. In Fayetteville, attend Bridge Day which takes place every third Saturday in October at the New River Gorge and cross the 900 foot bridge on the only day of the year it's allowed! Also enjoy the annual car show and chilli and cornbread cook-offs.
America As You Like, americaasyoulikeit.com, offers packages to West Virginia to experience the fall colours along John Denver's country roads. A seven-night package is priced at £1165 per person which includes return flights to Washington, car hire inclusive of taxes and insurance for one driver and accommodation on a room-only basis: one night in Winchester, three nights in Blackwater Falls Lodge and three nights at Tygart Lake Lodge.