Winter’s here, and it’s time to chill with four weekend escapes that won’t put a deep freeze on your finances.
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Located high in the Alleghenies in Northeast West Virginia, Tucker County is home to the 6,000-plus-acre, winter-sports-centric Canaan Valley Resort State Park. But if the word “resort” makes you think of Aspen-like glitz, you’re barking up the wrong mountain. There’s no need to gild this gloriously wild territory. Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe this same land was virtually stripped bare in the early 20th century by lumbering and coal mining.
Drive time: Five-and-a-half hours.
Stay here: Davis has one of those don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it downtowns with an old-fashioned look and feel, so it’s a real surprise to find the elegant Meyer House Bed & Breakfast (Third Street and Thomas Avenue, 304-259-5451, meyerhousebandb.com; rooms $90-$150). Proprietor Cindy Robeson and husband Jon have turned this Victorian residence into a warm, four-guestroom haven, and Cindy’s multi-course breakfasts are lavish and luscious.
If there’s no room at the inn, check out the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau website (canaanvalley.org) for accommodations ranging from no-frills lodges and hotels to luxurious condos and cabins.
Eat here: If you’re in the mood for seafood, the Golden Anchor Restaurant (Route 32 South, Canaan Valley; 304-866-2722, goldenanchorcabins.com; entrées $13.95-$27.95) flies in a fresh supply daily from Baltimore. (Try the smoked trout dip.)
White Grass Café (Freeland Road, Davis, 304-866-4114, whitegrass.com; entrées $13-$20) offers global selections like lamb tikka and Portuguese fish stew, plus veggie dishes. Locals love the pasta and pizza at Sirianni’s Café (William Avenue, Davis, 304-259-5454; entrées $10-$19).
To-do list: Every member of the family can enjoy the 39 beginner-to-advanced slopes at Canaan Valley Resort (Davis, 304-866-4121, canaanresort.com; lift tickets starting at $30/adults, $22/kids and seniors). Snowshoers and cross-country skiers have access to miles of ungroomed, marked trails and acres of open meadow at no charge (equipment rentals available).
Kids young and old will love air-boarding on inflated “rockets” that travel faster and are easier to control than traditional snow tubes ($40 per two-hour session, rental and lesson). Or you can rent a GPS ($15/day) and go geocaching for hidden treasure. Canaan Valley also has a covered outdoor ice-skating rink ($5/adults, $4/kids for two hours).
Located in nearby Thomas, Mountain Made Artisan Gallery (100 Douglas Road) and Country Store (Front Street, 877-686-6233, mountainmade.com) showcase handcrafted items, from rocking chairs and musical instruments to specialty foods. For an economical evening out, stay in town and enjoy live music at the Purple Fiddle Coffeehouse (21 East Ave., 304-463-4040, purplefiddle.com; tickets $5-$15) or join the locals at Mountain State Brewing Company (One Nelson Blvd., mountainstatebrewing.com, 304-463-4500) for a game of cornhole (soft horseshoes) and a pint.
Thrifty tip: Save about 35 percent on many accommodations by booking midweek. For upscale food at bargain prices, try Muttley’s Downtown (William Avenue, Davis, 304-259-4858) on Tuesday for $1.09-per-pound New York strip steaks.