This rural area of West Virginia is known for its serene lakes, historic Civil War sites and independent boutique shops.
Also known as the “Mountain Lakes,” Central West Virginia is a peaceful oasis dotted with quaint towns and blessed with beautiful natural scenery. The region thrives on tourism to its lakeside resorts, as well as agriculture and wineries. Watch river otters in their natural habitat, go swimming on warm summer days and discover the historic battlegrounds of the Civil War.
Central West Virginia’s five lakes are Stonewall Jackson, Stonecoal, Summersville, Sutton and Burnsville. Each one promises a variety of watersports ranging from snorkeling and waterskiing to swimming. Visit Summersville Lake for its rock-climbing ledges and lighthouse tours. Try a unique form of exercise, aqua cycling, at Stonewall Jackson Lake, which was named for American Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
See where General Stonewall Jackson lived from the age of 6 at Jackson’s Mill, which is located in Weston, 30 minutes’ drive northwest of Stonecoal Lake. While in Weston, take a tour of Lambert’s Winery and sample some of their wines. Delve into the wonderful world of glass making with a visit to the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia. Call ahead to see if a glass-blowing demonstration is being held at Appalachian Glass, a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Muster up the courage to listen to ghost stories at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, which served as a home for the mentally ill in the 1800s. Take a flashlight tour of the empty rooms late at night.
Discover more about local military history at the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, located near the city of Summersville, where reenactment events are often held. In the small town of Burnsville, visit the Bulltown Historic Center to learn about local living conditions during the war.
Time your visit to the Mountain Lakes to attend regional events. In spring, head to Buckhannon for the Strawberry Festival, be in Ripley in summer for the Mountain State Arts & Craft Fair and sip locally produced beer in December at Snowshoe’s Winter Brew Fest.
The rural nature of the region means that renting a car is a necessity. Roads are wide, well maintained and generally easy to navigate. Plan to carry cash with you as some smaller stores and cafés won’t take debit or credit cards.
Explore a region rich in history and natural scenery during your trip to Central West Virginia.