Sprawling across 16 acres of mountain terrain atop Wisp Resort and the 550-acre Fork Run Recreation Area forest, Adventure Sports Center International immerses thrill seekers in a range of river sports, climbing, hiking, and other outdoor programs. On the river, experienced rafting guides—some of whom are U.S. Olympians—pilot adventurers down a one-third-mile artificial whitewater river, through four classes of changeable but authentic rapids bordered by boulders excavated onsite. Those who have reached the bottom return to the starting pool on a raft conveyor belt that defies gravity better than when Newton threw apples back into the trees. In the forest preserve, visitors frolic along rugged mile-long trails on bike or on foot, or scale natural limestone boulders and ledges. Climbing guides teach basic bouldering and rappelling while keeping the ledges clear of heckling mountain goats, or send adventurers off geocaching to hunt for a container hidden somewhere on the rocks or forest floor.
As visitors explore freely, youths hone academic and social skills through outdoor adventure and learning programs where guides teach them to raft, kayak, climb, mountain bike, and hike using only their imaginations and any required gear. The center’s artificial aquatic park and preserve have also hosted a range of festivals and competitions, including seven national whitewater championships and a bouldering championship.
On the rolling hillsides of Wheeling, West Virginia, the white pillars of the Mansion Museum stand majestically over the manicured lawns and landscaped gardens of the Oglebay Institute. Originally built in 1846 as an eight-bedroom farmhouse, the mansion entered the Oglebay family in 1900, and was willed to the city 30 years later to serve as a facility for education and recreation. Today it features a rotation of exhibits and programs, which share fine art, glassware, and environmental education with more than 100,000 people annually.
Tucked next to the Mansion, the glass museum has collected some 3,000 pieces of Wheeling glass, cut lead crystal, and Victorian art glass. The Sweeney Punch Bowl, a 5-foot, 225-pound piece of cut lead crystal, is the jewel of the collection, epitomizing the aesthetic splendor and unwieldy nature of most Victorian-era flasks. The Schrader Environmental Education Center imparts visitors with an appreciation for the natural world with interactive trail tours, campfires, and astronomy events; and the Stifle Fine Arts Center's ever-changing visual-arts exhibits display work from local and national artists.
The traditional farmers' market at Trax Farms, owned and operated by the Trax family since 1865, teems with an eclectic array of produce grown onsite, freshly baked goods, deli fare, and gifts amid 325 acres of fields and orchards. The owners eschew imported produce for farm-grown, seasonal vegetables and fruits, and furnish their shelves with local and international specialty foodstuffs, Sarris and Wagner’s chocolates, and the farm’s own brand of flavored coffee. The aroma of freshly baked seasonal pies, homemade breads, and made-from-scratch cookies tantalizes noses as the deli rolls out soups, salads, and sandwiches assembled from premium meats and cheeses. In addition to a selection of quilts, clothing, and jewelry, the shop boasts wines, including award-winning Arrowhead Wine Cellar varietals. Furthering its homey, community-centered approach, the farm hosts flea markets, festivals, and special events, such as its autumnal hayride, which entices young visitors and scarecrows with thinning scalps.