Summer is disappearing in our rearview mirror, so why not aim the car toward Mountaineer Country, West Virginia for an autumn getaway weekend? The Appalachian Mountains are well-known for their stunning fall foliage that boast vibrant hues of amber and russet. Better yet, this is the season for buckwheat, beer and covered bridges!
The 78th Preston County Buckwheat Festival, held Sept. 26-29 in Kingwood, is a historic celebration of the fall buckwheat harvest. The flour is made into thin “cakes” and served with lots of butter, maple syrup and a side of country sausage. The festival itself includes Appalachian artisans, agricultural displays and lots of hometown folks eager to share their stories and learn about yours.
While in Kingwood, stop for a java and pastry at Brew Ha Ha. The coffee beans are roasted onsite and the fresh-baked pastries are a glorified injection of sweetness, which is most likely why this homegrown establishment was named one of the 101 Unique Places to Dine in West Virginia.
Friday evening, Sept. 27, take an “Arts Walk” in historic downtown Morgantown. Whether you’re a serious collector, fan or an artist yourself, this astonishing array of art spread through 40 businesses is worth the visit.
You don’t have to hop a plane for Germany to enjoy a good beer. Mountaineer Country is surrounded by craft breweries, and a number of them are on display and offering tastings during Homerun and Hops Craft Beer Festival, Friday, Sept. 27, set inside the Monongalia County Ballpark, named best short season Single A ballpark in the country according to BallparkDigest.com. (The ballpark is also home to the West Virginia Black Bears, Minor League Baseball team affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are in residence June through Sept.) The following day, Sept. 28, enjoy round two of the beer lovers weekend during Hops on the Mon, held in downtown Morgantown.
If you’re not able to make it in for the weekend, download the do-it-yourself Craft Beer Crawl guide at tourmorgantown.com/greater-morgantown-craft-beer-crawl. One of our favorites is Chestnut Brew Works Tap Room, open Wednesday through Saturday (check hours). Their Halleck Pale Ale pairs well with a pepperoni roll cheese melt — West Virginia’s official food!
A fall driving tour of Mountaineer Country’s covered bridges is an afternoon filled with history and relaxing landscapes. You’ll visit five bridges on this excursion, erected between 1852 and 1953. The route includes the Philippi Covered Bridge, the oldest and longest covered bridge in West Virginia. Your tour ends at Tygart Lake State Park for an afternoon of fishing, picnicking, kayaking, and 18 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The beauty of the park is enhanced by a series of waterfalls created by the Tygart Valley River. There are plenty of places to spread a blanket and picnic in the crisp fall air. Download directions at tourmorgantown.com/ride/#covered-route.
While on the way to Tygart Valley, it’s worth the short drive to Copper House Grill. The upstairs and deck deliver a casual space for dining on their legendary creamy crab dip served in a bread bowl or jack mac bites: elbow macaroni blended with creamy pepper jack cheese in a crispy beer batter, served with spicy ranch dip.
If you’re looking for that perfect “Man Trip” this fall, Mountaineer Country is giving one away! The package includes two rooms for two nights and 18 holes of golf for four at the luxurious Lakeview Golf Resort. If the guided fishing excursion (equipment included) with McFly Outdoors doesn’t promote bonding, then two hours of tossing sharp objects at Mountain Man Axe Throwing will! Guys are also treated to a private tour and craft beer tasting at High Ground Brewery. Includes $250 in dining gift cards as well. Register at tourmorgantown.com/mantrip.
Accommodations in Mountaineer Country range from rustic 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 D.C. area 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).
For help planning your weekend getaway, contact the Greater Morgantown Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-458-7373 or visit tourmorgantown.com.