The undulating Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia embody the state's abundant natural beauty and colorful past. Tucked away in the mountains, Charleston, West Virginia's capital and largest city, sits only a 15-minute drive away from Nitro. At the West Virginia State Museum, 26 rooms of exhibits chronicle the mountain state's history, covering eras ranging from prehistory to frontier life and coal mining.About 15 miles from the hotel, the Kanawha State Forest hums with life, boasting 9,300 acres of flora and fauna, including 19 species of wood warblers. Twenty-five miles of hiking trails and nine mountain-biking trails crisscross dense woodlands, streams, and chipmunk duplexes.
After continually traversing the globe since its breakout television performance nearly 18 years ago Riverdance returns stateside. A cast of six principal dancers will clobber the Music Hall’s stage with the stomps, taps, kicks, and tackles of traditional Irish step dancing, which, when synchronized with a live band and 18 troupe dancers, sends waves of rhythm cascading over all 3,420 seats in the Spanish Baroque theater. The show’s 18 scenes break into two acts: the first depicting the mythical beginnings of the Celtic people as they hatched from a kelpie's head, and the second portraying the Irish famine and ensuing wave of emigration.
Rivermen's New River rafting trips guide amateurs and avid aquanauts alike through some of the most scenic whitewater rapids of New River Gorge National River. Reverential rafters can drink up hearty eyefuls of the gorge and its abundant wildlife, weathered bluffs, and recognizable bridge, as seen on the West Virginia state Pog and quarter. The upper river excursion (4–6 hours, $124) traverses canyons on relatively mild waters punctuated by a few easy rapids. Easily navigable by group raft or inflatable duck (a kayak-like vessel that holds 1–2 people), the upper trip makes an enjoyable introduction to whitewater for families, beginner to intermediate rafters, and adolescent Loch Ness monsters. The lower route (4–6 hours, $134) quickens the pulse with more than 25 rapids, as well as tranquil pools and the requisite breathtaking scenery. Both tours will stop to provide lunch.
Nestled amid rustic riverside scenery, North American River Runner's 1,500-acre resort welcomes families, friends, and nature enthusiasts with a plethora of engaging al fresco entertainment. Guests can set up their own tents and equipment on the mountaintop campgrounds for two nights (a $26 value) amid peaceful, panoramic views of the surrounding forest, free from the modern world and its brilliantly colored jumbotrons. Although not included in this Groupon, campers may opt to upgrade from standard accommodations to bunkhouses or deluxe lodging for an additional fee or add on rental tents and gear, such as a flannel-lined sleeping bag and pillow ($5) or a camp kit with an assembled four-man tent and four half-inch, close-cell foam sleeping pads ($10). The grounds afford campers access to a fire pit and picnic table, as well as shower houses within walking distance for washing up or crooning. Along with one breakfast (up to a $9 value) and lunch (a $9 value), NARR's foodie-friendly dinner banquet boasts vegetarian options, tender beef brisket, and Cajun-rubbed rack of pork alongside an army of side dishes, desserts, and drinks (up to a $20 value).
West Virginia's New River Gorge beckons thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike with a stretch of unspoiled nature, and Adventures on the Gorge rests on the rim to make sure they find it. Blending quiet country peace with adrenaline-pumping excitement, the resort has a little something for everyone. Whitewater rafting expeditions, for instance, send paddlers of all skill levels across the rolling rapids and peaceful stretches of the Lower New River and the Gauley River. Ziplines, on the other hand, lift nature explorers into the canopy, and the TimberTrek Aerial Park lets guests navigate the forest the same way squirrels do?on a series of ziplines, swings, and bridges.
So that guests never have to leave, Adventures on the Gorge tends to all their creature comforts. Cabins nestled in the woods contain comfy couches and even hot tubs, whereas campgrounds allow people to get back to their simpler roots. Yet no matter where they stay, guests can swing into the onsite restaurants and pubs to grab a cold one and avoid the hassle of cooking a casserole over a fire.
Watts Roost Vineyard started as a dream?specifically, a retirement dream shared by Barbara and Frank Tuckwiller. In 1998, the married couple made the dream a reality, planting a 9-acre vineyard with thousands of French-hybrid grapevines.
Weeks before each harvest, the Tuckwillers and their staff begin checking the pH and sugar content of their living grapes. When they're satisfied with the measurements, they pluck the grapes and begin the process of fermentation. The result is a roster of reds, whites, and fruit wines that have garnered state, national, and international awards. Visitors can stop by for vineyard tours and wine tastings, shopping for kitchen accessories and gourmet treats if desired.