We’re continually on the hunt for opportunities to add richness to our lives. In the time of the road trip revival, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston that make for a great getaway. We feel that our worldly and devoted readers will find these places interesting.
Driving two hours northeast of Charleston brings you to Elkins, and 45 additional minutes will get you to Davis, West Virginia. These areas are close enough that you can make a dual-city road trip to save money and gas, plus you have many things to see and do in the majestic mountains and Monongahela National Forest. You will surely have a great weekend getaway in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia as you experience a community with a railroad and logging history.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN ELKINS/DAVIS
Elkins is home to the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, where from April through December, you can ride the rails to some of the state’s most scenic areas. The Tygart Flyer, a vintage diesel-powered passenger train, is the newest offering, taking a four-hour round-trip to the High Falls of Cheat, a picturesque waterfall area. Splurge on the 1922-era parlor car for an attendant who serves you drinks for the duration of the train ride. Lunch is included. Be sure to spend some time seeing the train station and the nearby West Virginia Railroad Museum for a more in-depth look at the state’s railroad history and connections.
Also in town is the Elkins Farmers Market, right along Railroad Avenue. Vendors offer fresh produce, crafts, baked goods, dairy products, and more every Saturday morning from May through October.
In Davis, you’ll find one of the state’s most incredible attractions: Blackwater Falls State Park, with a 62-foot cascading waterfall. The gorgeous state park’s scenery amidst the Allegheny Mountains is top-notch and has something for everyone. They tout having “the longest sledding magic carpet on the East Coast” and offer boating, fishing, swimming, geocaching, and several wintery experiences.
Davis is also well-known for mountain biking through the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail, a big draw for people of the Mountain State and those in the DC area. Bike rentals are available if you need them.
West Virginia’s Canaan Valley Resort in Davis is a golfing, hiking, biking, and sporting clays destination in the summer and a winter skiing, snowboarding, and tubing attraction. Seneca Rocks are nearby, offering world-class jaw-dropping rock climbing and hiking opportunities. These picturesque rock formations are around 900 feet tall.
Hear live music at The Purple Fiddle, a Davis, West Virginia landmark. People come from all around to hear great music, eat the delicious deli-style sandwiches and hand-dipped ice cream, and enjoy the beer and atmosphere in this desirable location. The Wild Turkey Wrap is so darned good!
You can’t come to this part of West Virginia and not enjoy a cold craft beer, which perfectly matches the laidback vibe. In Davis, try a hop-centric ale, or my top pick, Over the Tip Top Breakfast Stout, from Stumptown Ales. Big Timber Brewing is the spot in Elkins, making beer for eight years now, with IPAs, porters, blondes, pale ales, and several seasonal choices.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Davis has Milo’s Cafe at the Bright Morning Inn with Huevos Rancheros, country skillets, and egg sandwiches for breakfast. The locals swear by the over-stuffed burritos and vegetarian options at Hellbenders in Davis for lunch or dinner. They also serve tacos and a few appetizers, including queso, guacamole, chips, and green chili.
Meanwhile, in Elkins, Bob Evans is always a good choice for early morning dining and has off-the-hook biscuits and sausage gravy. For lunch or dinner, I’ve been eating at C.J. Maggie’s for the better part of 25 years and never tire of the Fried Zucchini with honey mustard and the gourmet burgers. Smoke on the Water BBQ is a second popular spot, serving deep-fried pickle fries, brisket sandwiches, and dry-rubbed ribs.
Beaners Restaurant & Tavern, established in 1992, is another contender in Elkins, similar to Cheers from the popular TV show. Food ranges from Island Chicken Salads to All-American burgers and Reubens to spaghetti & meatballs. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, Byrd’s House of Donuts is a good choice on Saturday from 7 AM-3 PM.
WHERE TO STAY IN ELKINS/DAVIS
Elkins has several typical chain hotels that will run you $125-150 per night. I recommend the Hampton Inn Elkins and Wingate by Wyndham Elkins, with pretty much the same amenities but different reward programs.
In Davis, check out the retro uber-cool Billy Motel & Bar. For a more mainstream place to stay with more amenities, there is always the Canaan Valley Resort, which also offers cabins, campsites, cottages, and indoor/outdoor pools.