->Overview: The 9 Regions of WEST VIRGINIA
Mountaineer Country, West Virginia
Start with the descendants of European immigrants who came in the 19th and 20th centuries to mine coal, lay railroads, cut timber and build factories. Add the flock of mountain bikers, hikers, rafters, kayakers, rock climbers and nature lovers who come for the mountains, rivers, lakes and trails.
The rolling hills of Mountaineer Country help to preserve the area’s rich mountain customs and old world style. Parks and forests offer scenic overlooks and virgin forests virtually untouched by mankind.
Home to research, development and academic tradition, the region is rich in captivating cultural events, fairs, festivals and living history programs.
Mountaineer Country at least partially takes its name because it is the scenic mountain home of West Virginia University and the beloved Mountaineers. It’s an area of dramatic scenery, rich history and small towns, yet it offers a progressive and vibrant atmosphere that’s intertwined with the universities.
Visit two national cemeteries in Grafton, which also is the home of Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day.
Explore pioneer life at Watters Smith Memorial State Park (www.watterssmithstatepark.com), or recall the era of FDR’s social programs at Arthurdale (www.arthurdaleheritage.org ), a New Deal homestead community.
The covered bridge at Philippi is a West Virginia landmark that’s not to be missed on a visit to the town that is the site of the first land battle of the Civil War.
Visitors to Prickett’s Fort State Park (www.prickettsfortstatepark.com) can watch costumed interpreters demonstrate colonial crafts in this 1700s pioneer village. In addition to football and other sports in Morgantown (www.tourmorgantown.com ), the university’s Creative Arts Center boasts more than 500 performances a year. The Monongalia Arts Center and galleries and stores that dot the hilly town provide cultural diversions and charming shopping, while the Main Street audio walking tour highlights unique and historic buildings and sights. Conquer world-class whitewater on the uncrowded Cheat River. Massive Coopers Rock State Forest (www.coopersrockstateforest.com) is a haven for rock climbers and wildlife watchers, while the frothy whitewater at Valley Falls State Park (www.valleyfallsstatepark.com) is perfect for a streamside picnic. Stay at a charming bed and breakfast along the West Fork River Rail Trail, where the innkeepers will help set up a customized travel itinerary which might include point-and-shoot stops at seven of the region’s covered bridges. Or sit in the lap of luxury with a spa package at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. Mountaineer Country is ripe with food and festivals throughout the year. If you like Italian food and culture, Clarksburg’s annual Italian Heritage Festival is the place to be on Labor Day weekend. Taste bud-tempting fun continues throughout the year with festivals that celebrate buckwheat, apple butter, blackberries and wine.