You can count on fall to drape a carpet of autumn colors over the surrounding mountains in Mountaineer Country. The bonus for visiting Sept. 20-22: Wild and WonderFall weekend!
Sept. 21-22, the West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival returns to Morgantown’s Camp Muffly for its 21st year, packed with West Virginia wines, talented musicians, handmade Appalachian artwork and iconic foods on a scenic grass lawn (bring your own chairs and blankets). There is parking available free of charge, as well as bus transportation from the West Virginia University (WVU) MountainLair to the festival site. The festival will take place rain or shine. Tickets are available at wvwineandjazz.com.
Sunday, Sept. 22 marks the fifth year for the Morgantown Marathon. It’s 26.2 almost heavenly miles through diverse neighborhoods and can’t-miss sights within the WVU campus. Whether you walk, run or cheer, this course delivers all the way to the end; mile 26 is uphill and dubbed “Son-of-a-Beechurst Hill!” The full marathon, half marathon and Mountain Mama 8k support Operation Welcome Home, a local veterans’ organization. Registration is at morgantownmarathon.com.
This area of West Virginia draws those free-spirited types who have an eye for art, a taste for imaginative cuisine and a love for outdoor adventure. To make the most of your visit to Mountaineer Country, we’ve outlined a few “can’t misses.”
Start with a jaw-dropping sight from the 1,200-foot scenic overlook at Coopers Rock State Forest. The pleasant hike through old-growth trees delivers beauty in every season and the overlook has been noted one of the most “Instagrammable” places in Mountaineer Country.
A great follow-up to your hike lies on the north side of Coopers Rock: a tour through the tree tops at Adventure WV! The four zip lines, seven tree-based platforms, aerial bridge, aerial ladder and 980-foot zip to the rappel station (your 45-foot exit from the course) are exhilarating! Allow 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours for the complete tour.
You’ll have worked up an appetite, so stop by Legends Sports Bar & Grille at Lakeview Golf Resort. The pub-style menu does not disappoint, especially when overlooking the 18th hole.
Take the Interstate to exit 155 and Star City to visit to the Elegant Alley Cat for West Virginia and Morgantown souvenirs, papyrus cards and those hard-to-find home accents you’ll find difficult to resist. This would be a good time to walk over to The WOW! Factory for hands-on pottery painting, mosaics, glass fusing–walk-ins are welcome. With just one or several friends, you can create memories of your visit to Mountaineer Country.
This would be the perfect time to get out and stroll the Rail-Trail that follows the Monongahela River from Star City to the Pennsylvania state line. The six-mile compacted limestone surface is ideal for walking and biking and is handicapped-accessible.
Terra Café is on the trail, so why not indulge? The menu comes from delightful farm-to-table ingredients and features roast beef chimichurri sandwich, honey apple pulled pork and caramelized carrot soup. The daily made-from-scratch pastries will most likely have you back on the trail working off the calories, but the decadent mousse cake with a trifecta of lime, raspberry and coconut is worth it. Espresso drinks, local beer and wine selections go great on the outdoor deck.
Art is on display at any number of galleries and performance venues here. M.T. Pockets’ September production of “‘night, Mother” is a great option, followed by a late-night visit to Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza. Try the carnivore: crumbled meatball, pepperoni and Italian sausage, or the chicken bacon ranch, or the bianca, or the veggie, or the buffalo chicken . . .
Two Saturday morning must-dos are the Farmers Market (May through November) and the International Street Festival (Sept. 21 only), both in downtown Morgantown. The Street Festival is a celebration of food, cultures and entertainment from around the globe and very family friendly.
Don’t leave town without stopping at Peace, Love & Little Donuts in the Suncrest Towne Center where you can “Feed Your Inner Hippie” with bite-size cake donuts labeled “chocolate chip cookie dough,” “banana split,” “oreo” and “s’mores.”
For year-round festivals that celebrate motorcycle riding, art, Broadway and buckwheat harvest, Mountaineer Country ticks all the boxes. But that isn’t the only reason northcentral West Virginia is a popular weekend getaway. With wineries and whitewater rafting, this memorable Appalachian paradise is simply a delightful place to visit. You’re bound to run into friendly people, eager to reveal the local hidden treasures and share the best-kept secrets for hometown attractions.
Accommodations range from mountain cabins–complete with hot tub and breakfast basket–to boutique hotels situated in the heart of downtown Morgantown. Discounted rates are available at MountaineerDeals.com.
Mountaineer Country is centrally located in the mid-Atlantic, just 2 1/2 hours from the Metro DC market or a short flight on Southern Airways from Baltimore Washington International (BWI) or Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to Morgantown Municipal Airport (MGW). Daily flights from Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) arrive in North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB).