Pocahontas County, W. Va.

Biking on the Greenbriar River Trail

The mountains here ensure that Pocahontas has the highest average elevation of any county east of the Mississippi River. Its five state parks and two state forests provide spectacular views.

Drive time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

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Colors peak: Mid-September

The Locust Hill Inn is a pretty brick home that has four guestrooms and an adjacent cabin on 20 meticulously landscaped acres. The cabin has a kitchen, an outdoor grill, covered porches, laundry facilities, and a private outdoor hot tub. Work off your complimentary breakfast while fishing, kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding.

Rooms and suites $88-$98, cabin $125. 1525 Locust Hill, Marlinton, (800) 617-0530.

On Thursdays and Sundays, the Locust Hill Inn has a lively pub with sandwiches, salads, quesadillas and hand-tossed, stone-deck-oven-baked pizzas ($9-$13). Fridays and Saturdays, full dinners feature classic American fare ($15-$19).

Greenbrier Grille offers home-style cooking, including rainbow trout and country fried steak.

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$7.49-$15.95. 814 First Ave., Marlinton, (304) 799-7233.

1. Her home might be in Perkasie, Pa., but the Birthplace of Pearl S. Buck offers another perspective on the award-winning author. A guided tour follows her early life and showcases memorabilia from her years in China.

$6. 8129 Seneca Trail (U.S. 219), Hillsboro, (304) 653-4430.

Pottery lessons at green bank gallery

Pottery lessons at green bank gallery

2. With a less-than-1-percent grade south to north, the Greenbrier River Trail is one smooth bike ride.

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4800 Watoga Road, Marlinton, (304) 799-4087.

Rent a mountain bike from Appalachian Sport for $25 per day.

18283 Seneca Trail, Marlinton, (304) 799-4050.

Before hitting the trail, grab a picnic lunch from the Dirtbean Café.

812 Third Ave., Marlinton, (304) 799-4038. 

3. Shop for wares from 50 local artists at Green Bank Gallery—or learn how to paint or make pottery from one ($15/hour)

Route 28/92, Green Bank, (304) 456-9900.

4. Ride the rails in a refurbished early-20th-century steam-powered locomotive on the Cass Scenic Railroad. Embark on a two-hour excursion to an authentic re-creation of a logging camp ($37). Or take in the autumnal views as the train climbs 11 miles up a mountain on a longer trip ($59).

242 Main St., Cass, (304) 456-4300.

5. Go fly-fishing with a guide from the Elk River Touring Center.

$249 full day, $175 half-day. 37787 Seneca Trail, Slatyfork, (304) 572-3771.

sharp's country store owner tom Shipley

Sharp’s Country Store Owner Tom Shipley

6. Meet Tom Shipley, fifth-generation owner of Sharp’s Country Store, a county landmark since 1884.

35087 Seneca Trail, Slatyfork, (304) 572-3547.

7. Take in the jaw-dropping views on the 22-mile Highland Scenic Highway, which runs through the Monongahela National Forest, with elevations up to 4,500 feet. 

8. Stop by the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center to find out what’s blooming at the Cranberry Glades. Take a guided tour of the glades, which are home to a wide range of flora and fauna. And don’t skip a hike to the three Falls of Hills Creek, the highest of which drops 63 feet.

932 N. Fork Cherry Road, Richwood, (304) 653-4826.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Science Center

National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Science Center

Space Is the Place

Ever wonder if we’re really alone in the universe? The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Green Bank Science Center just might have an answer. Here, scientists use giant telescopes to track radio waves from space. You’ll learn how stars are born and planets form.

Take a guided bus tour ($6), or check out the telescope control rooms and engineering labs, which are normally closed to the public ($15). Just don’t expect to use your cell phone. By law, there’s no service in Green Bank, and no internet of any kind, prompting CNN to call it “America’s quietest town.”

155 Observatory Road, Green Bank, (304) 456-2150. 

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