Road Trips on I-77: Mountain Lakes
The Mountain Lakes Region of West Virginia, while being the portion of the state with the smallest population, is in no shortage of beautiful scenery, a peaceful atmosphere, old-fashioned shopping venues and world-class recreational activities. Rich in Civil War history, this region combines a modern lifestyle with a timeless atmosphere; the perfect destination for anyone looking for a place where old and new collide to make for an exciting travel experience unlike any other.
Start your journey in Weston – founded as Preston in 1818 until it was changed to its current name in 1819 – a city located in Lewis County that is full of history and delicious Appalachian cuisine.
The city, once home to over 30 glass plants, held a reputation as a center for hand-blown glass. While that reputation quickly declined between 1980 and 1990 with the closure of WV Glass and Louis Glass companies, Weston is still widely known for being home to the famous Museum of American Glass. With over 20,000 unique pieces on display, this museum includes stunning feature collections from 1860 all the way to the present. Thousands of these one-of-a-kind pieces are available for purchase in the gift shop that sells everything from jams, jellies, and specialty foods to pottery and other hand-crafted items.
If you can only see one thing in Weston, you have to check out the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum located in Historic Weston. Also known as the Weston State Hospital, this place served as a sanctuary for the mentally ill beginning in the mid-1800s. Originally designed to house a maximum of 250, the facility reached its peak in the 1950s with an astounding 2,400 patients. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the building led to its closure in 1994, but the building remains open seasonally for historical and paranormal tours. The 2021 season ranges from April 3rd to November 14th.
Make yourself at home at Stonewall Resort– a popular lodge situated within 1,900 acres of park grounds – and bask in the serene atmosphere and immaculate views of the rolling West Virginia hills highlighted by the tranquil lake water that stretch out into eternity. This lodge includes three high-end restaurants, an indoor/outdoor pool, spa, Arnold Palmer golf course, campgrounds, hiking trails, and a marina with boat, kayak, and canoe rentals. Please note that some activities are seasonal, and others may be currently unavailable due to the impact of COVID-19.
Enjoy some of the fine dining options that include fresh, creative, and Appalachian-inspired dishes to give you the complete West Virginia dining experience. Stillwaters, TJ Muskies, and Lightburn’s are currently open for dine-in. As the hours of each place are subject to change, it is highly recommended that you reserve your seats in advance.
Visit Summersville, a city located in the heart of West Virginia – known for being the site of the famous Carnifex Ferry Battle of the American Civil War – and enjoy the beauty of the pristine waters and world-class recreational activities.
Stop by Summersville Lake, the state’s largest lake, and see for yourself why this place attracts upwards of one million visitors annually. With 2,800 acres of water and roughly 60 miles of shoreline, this lake offers activities like boating, water-skiing, swimming, fishing, scuba diving, picnicking, hunting and biking. Rock climbing and whitewater rafting are also available year-round.
Check out Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, one of the oldest state parks in the United States and learn about the infamous battle that took place on September 10, 1861. Located on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon, this park stretches over 156 acres and is part of the Civil War Discovery Trail, a trail linking more than 300 historical sites across 16 different states. The park also includes picnic areas with tables and grills, a playground area, and public restrooms.
Grab a bite to eat at Maloney’s Pub, a pub-style restaurant with friendly staff and high-quality food. The restaurant includes both indoor and outdoor seating, vegetarian-friendly options, and is wheelchair accessible. To add to the laid-back environment, there are 14 HD television screens placed around the room showing sports games at all times and live music is also available in the back on the weekends.
End your day at La Quinta Inn & Suites.
Immerse yourself in Almost Heaven history or spend your days out on the lake— all this and more awaits you in the Mountain Lakes Region of West Virginia.
This post was last updated on February 25, 2022