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Nestled between lofty mountains and thick forests in Randolph County, Elkins is a picturesque refuge from a hectic world. With less than 45 miles between Elkins and three major ski resorts, it is already well known as the place to stay while enjoying great skiing east of the Mississippi River. Elkins also sits right outside the Monongahela National Forest, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. The hardwood forests of oak, birch, spruce, and maple beckon visitors with activities like spelunking, hiking, birding, fishing, hunting, and whitewater rafting.
Those that enjoy the outdoors should also know that over 13 percent of all wild caves in West Virginia are located in Randolph County, with four of them being found right in Elkins. For whitewater rafters, the Tygart River in neighboring Barbour County has rapids as wild as Class V and has the largest drop in the Monongahela River basin that can be rafted or kayaked. Of course with such a picturesque, protected forest practically on its doorstep, Elkins is a great location to view throngs of migrating birds passing overhead. Red-tailed hawks, indigo buntings, kingfishers and rose-breasted grosbeaks are only a few of the species that make their stop in the Elkins area. Naturally, these forests are perfect for hiking and mountain biking. In addition, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad runs four trains in the area that feature breathtaking views of mountains and streams.
Theater & Shopping
After trekking through the pristine Monongahela National Forest, visitors can head into town and check out the many cultural activities offered year round. Boiler House Theatre at Davis and Elkins College and Old Brick Playhouse offer a variety of plays all year long. American Mountain Theater, located in the historic rail yard in downtown Elkins, presents the state’s first and only “Branson Style” family-friendly music, comedy and variety show. Before heading off to catch a play, make sure to stop by Artists at Work, a co-op well known for its unique pieces from artisans in the Elkins area. There are also numerous craftsmen that sell their wares directly from their homes or at MountainMade.com. Mountain Made Artisan Gallery is located in Thomas, Tucker County, a short drive up U.S. 219 North from Elkins. Both the Web site and store offer homemade quilts from Cabin Creek Quilts, glassworks from Fenton, and numerous other fine West Virginia crafts.
After a busy day of shopping or enjoying other recreational pursuits, visitors will need a place to sit back and relax while eating some homemade cooking at one of the many restaurants in Elkins: The Graceland Inn, C.J. Maggies American Grill, the Lodge at Kelly Mountain, Cheat River Inn and Pub, Kissel Stop Cafe and 1863 Tavern at Elkins Motor Lodge.
Don’t forget that the area ski lodges are also known for their delicious food in addition to the best skiing on the East Coast. Timberline Four Seasons Resort in Tucker County offers both delicious steaks and spicy Mexican food in its Timbers Pub and Fireside Grill. For the skier on the go, head to the Timberhaus Cafeteria for more traditional fare like pizza and hot dogs. Also in Tucker County, Canaan Valley Resort’s meals come complete with a beautiful view of the mountainside as well as a blazing fire during the winter. Be sure to remember that just because these resorts offer skiing, that does not mean that they are open only during the winter. Their dining facilities are open year-round and Golf Digest Magazine gave Canaan Valley’s golf course four stars.
While in the area, Davis and Elkins College is not to be missed. Founded in 1904, Davis and Elkins was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best comprehensive colleges in the South. Perched on one of many hills on the campus, the Graceland Inn bed and breakfast is a beautiful Victorian mansion that offers a captivating view of the mountainside as well as delicious food from the Mingo Room. The Augusta Heritage Center, an affiliate of Davis and Elkins College, offers weeklong workshops in many folk-based activities like bluegrass music, blacksmithing, stained glass window making, and Celtic music. These workshops along with many other cultural and outdoor activities are why many visitors find themselves turning a weekend getaway into an annual vacation. In the fall, tourists might wish to plan their trip around the annual Mountain State Forest Festival. Billed as the state’s oldest and largest festival, the event features music, competitions, a parade and more.
For more information, visit the Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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