1. Wet and Wild
Start your morning at Little Sandy’s Restaurant, where the local buckwheat cakes and fan favorite sausage gravy and biscuits are served all year long. The waitress still calls you “hon” when she tops off your coffee. Now you’re ready for some whitewater with a rafting trip through the Cheat Narrows! Call ahead and reserve your seat for a Class III thrill ride with Cheat River Outfitters in Albright.
For those looking for a little R&R, visit Alpine Lake in nearby Terra Alta, a cool oasis in the West Virginia Alleghenies. The pristine 150-acre lake is fed by fresh springs and mountain streams that are visible from five of the 18 holes on the award-winning golf course. Next, head over to Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo in Kingwood for a wild encounter. This home to giraffe, cougars, tigers, black bear and leopard is family friendly. Check into the Quality Inn Morgantown with outdoor pool and free wifi, located right off of 1-68.
2. Paddle and Peddle
Push your paddle through the serene waters of Bruceton Mills Lake with help from Paddlz Canoe and Kayak Rentals, where the old mill still stands – don’t forget your camera! Drive down the mountain for some rail trail pedaling on a bicycle from Wamsley Cycle Rentals. The Caperton Rail-Trail offers 6 miles of paved surface, perfect for rollerblading, walking and biking with easy access to neighboring restaurants and shopping.
Stop by the River Birch Café for a premium coffee, fresh smoothie and some healthy wraps and sandwiches. Make reservations for Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton for free wifi, free breakfast, and the ideal location to access shopping and dining at Suncrest Town Centre. That’s where you’ll find Crab Shack Caribba, a seafood lover’s paradise that features Maryland blue crabs, Louisiana crawfish, Alaskan snow crab, Maine lobsters and oysters from the James River.
3. Pitchers and Pitches Batter up!
The MiLB Black Bears are in town through Sept. 3. The Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates plays at Monongalia County Ballpark, named the “Best Short Season Single A Ballpark in the Country” according to BallparkDigest.com. Enjoy a cold beer during the game and make plans to come back in September for The Home Run and Hops Craft Beer Festival.
After the game, take a hike on the 6-mile Mon River Rail-Trail (North Section) along the Monongahela River. The compacted limestone trail is perfect for walking and biking and is handicap accessible. A fan favorite on the trail is Terra Café with indoor and outdoor seating. All ingredients are fresh and local and the pastries are nearly too beautiful to eat!
Check into LaQuinta Inn and Suites with free wifi and breakfast, just 1 mile from the Greater Morgantown Visitors Center and next door to Triple-S Harley-Davidson. Enjoy dinner at The Green Turtle Sports Bar and Grille, featuring craft beer and plenty of TVs for game-watching.
4. Wine and Trees
Before you make your escape, stop at Honey Baked Ham for a picnic lunch, you’ll need the energy to finish this day-long itinerary! Your first stop is the cool tree-top canopy with the Adventure WV Zip Line Tour: four lines comprising 2,000 feet, an aerial bridge, rappel station, and top speeds of 35 mph. You’ll need a long, leg-stretching hike to calm down, and you’re already at Coopers Rock State Forest. Venture out to the overlook for the scenic 1,200-foot view into the mile-side gorge that cradles the Cheat River. The park’s enormous boulders and cliffs offer some of the best ropes courses on the East coast.
Travel down Cheat Mountain for a wine tasting at Forks-of-Cheat Winery, where French hybrid and American varietal grapevines are spread over sixteen acres of fertile mountain hillsides, all viewable from the winery’s relaxing deck. Check into the Euro-Suites Hotel located in central Morgantown before heading off to dinner nearby at The Wine Bar at Vintner Valley, featuring a menu inspired by small villages found in Southern Italy. More than 300 wine selections, craft beers, spirits and a full menu of domestic and imported cheeses are waiting.
5. Height and History
Start your escape in Cathedral State Park, West Virginia’s largest old-growth forest and the only stand of virgin hemlock in the state. The 133-acre park offers sanctuary for these ancient trees, as well as 170 species of trees, ferns and wildflowers. During spring and summer Cathedral State Park offers excellent hiking on its three miles of trails and unique photography opportunities. Stop by Melanie’s Family Restaurant for a truly home-cooked meal.
Drive to Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead under President Roosevelt and championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The multi-building museum is comprised of a forge filled with original tools, an Esso service station reminiscent of a bygone era, the historic Center Hall, the original federal government administration building, and a fully restored Arthurdale homestead. Appalachian crafts, fresh produce, local foods, and gifts are sold in season.
Drop by the Preston County Inn for lunch or dinner. The rocking chairs on the Inn’s front porch are difficult to resist! You’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep at Hampton Inn & Suites Morgantown / University Town Centre offering free wifi and breakfast.