Top 10 Getaways

Need a change in scenery? These are our picks for a great getaway within a three-hour drive of Huntington.

By The Editors

During the heat of the summer months, we’ve been daydreaming about our favorite spots for a quick holiday. How did we arrive at our choices? Great question! First, the places we chose had to be within a three-hour drive of Huntington. Second, we did some research on our own, sometimes in person, and at other times scouring the Internet for reliable reviews and recommendations. And third, we asked some of our out-of-town subscribers for their advice and they gave us their opinion on the nicest hotels, best restaurants, favorite activities and more in their hometowns. So, the next time you feel like getting away from it all, try one of our picks and rest assured that we have done all the homework for you. The following list is in no particular order.

The Greenbrier

This world-class resort and National Historic Landmark has welcomed guests since 1778. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier provides a venue for rest and relaxation, or fun for the whole family. The elegant estate boasts 710 rooms, including 22 suites and 96 guest and estate homes. The 11,000-acre property has more than 55 activities with something to interest everyone.

Distance: 3 hours

Where to stay: For an economical option, ask to stay in one of the charming Gable Rooms. For a pricier and more romantic alternative, book a cottage where the staff will even light a fire for you on cool nights. And, the cottages allow pets!

Where to eat: Main Dining Room, Prime 44 West, Draper’s (some dress codes apply).

Best Bets: Where to start? The Greenbrier’s world-renowned spa offers a veritable plethora of services to help you relax, rejuvenate and look your best. Hit the links on any of the three championship golf courses including the Old White TPC Course. There’s also tennis, croquet, indoor and outdoor pools, casino, bowling, horseback riding, carriage rides, falconry, gun club, movie theater, bunker tours and even off road driving. There are shops inside the hotel where you’ll find world-famous candy, resort apparel and a photography studio. Or peruse the eclectic Art Colony where you’ll see artisans not only selling but also creating their designs.

 

Lewisburg

Home to the West Virginia State Fair, Lewisburg’s historic charm dates back to the 18th century. Downtown features fashion boutiques, unique galleries and an ever-expanding restaurant scene. Enjoy a relaxing weekend exploring this charming town with big city culture.

Distance: 2.5 hours

Where to stay: Historic General Lewis Inn, Church Street Bed and Breakfast, Maison Marcel.

Where to eat: Historic General Lewis Inn, Food & Friends, The French Goat.

Best Bets: Explore the Lost World Caverns or stroll the Greenbrier River Trail where you can fish or go kayaking. Lewisburg is home to one of only four Carnegie Halls in the world, so try to catch a theatrical performance while you’re there. The downtown has a number of antique shops selling economic finds to high-end treasures. In addition, there are a variety of art galleries and charming boutiques — some of our favorites are Patina, Yarrids and Cooper Gallery.

 

Fayetteville

If you’re looking for adventure or some breathtaking scenery, this is the place to be. Named one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America” in 2006 by Budget Travel magazine, there’s something for both the outdoorsy and the artsy in this wonderful West Virginia hideaway.

Distance: 2 hours

Where to stay: A modern cabin at Adventures on the Gorge or the Historic Morris Harvey House.

Where to eat: Secret Sandwich Society, Pies & Pints Pizzeria, Cathedral Café.

Best Bets: Whitewater rafting down the New River or Gauley River, zip lining high atop the trees, great smallmouth bass fishing and paddle boarding. In the mood for something more relaxing? Then go antiquing in the historic downtown. And you simply must walk across the New River Gorge Bridge, the longest single-span arch bridge in the world when it was built in 1977. If you go the third Saturday in October, you can join 100,000 people for Bridge Day and watch BASE jumpers hurl themselves off the 876-foot-tall structure.

 

Louisville

One of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains, Louisville is now known as a foodie destination and the home to the Kentucky Derby. Responsible for producing more than one-third of the world’s bourbon supply, Louisville is the location of several stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. It is also boasts more than 20 festivals each year!

Distance: 3 hours

Where to stay: The Brown, 21c Museum Hotel, Omni, The Galt House.

Where to eat: Jack Fry, Jeff Ruby’s, La Moo.

Best Bets: Great places to tour are The Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum, Kentucky Science Center and Muhammad Ali Center. The Speed Art Museum is home to one of the most revered art collections in the South. If you want some adventure, explore Mega Cavern. There’s great shopping to be found at the Paddock Shops or the Saint Matthews/Frankfort Avenue district. Finally, try to snag a ticket to the “Run for the Roses,” held annually on the first Saturday in May. Going to the Derby is a Bucket List item for most, and with good reason. You get to dress up in distinctive attire, sip Mint Juleps and rub elbows with the rich and famous.

 

Stonewall Resort

Offering immaculate views of West Virginia’s rolling mountains and tranquil lake waters, Stonewall Resort is tucked away in Stonewall Resort State Park. Signature restaurants, a relaxing spa, fitness center and more come together to provide a serene retreat from everyday life. If you can’t relax at Stonewall, then it might be time to seek professional help.

Distance: 3 hours

Where to stay: You can book a room at the modern, beautifully-designed lodge or one of the resort’s cozy cottages, both overlooking Stonewall Jackson Lake.

Where to eat: Stillwaters, Lighburn’s, TJ Muskies Bar & Grill.

Best Bets: Play in the water at the 2,630-acre lake including boating and fishing, or go swimming at the indoor/outdoor pool. Stroll some of the 16 miles of hiking trails, pamper yourself at Mt. Laurel Spa or enjoy a good book in the lodge’s charming library. If you’re a golfer, the Arnold Palmer Signature Course is one of the finest tracts in West Virginia.

 

Beckley

Located in southern West Virginia, Beckley is the largest city in coal country. Some of its most famous residents include Chris Sarandon, Morgan Spurlock, Bobby Pruett, Doug Legursky, Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Withers. It also boasts three nicknames — the “Smokeless Coal Capital,” “The City of Champions” and “Gateway To Southern West Virginia.” (You’ll have to ask a local about the meaning of those first two nicknames because we have no clue.)

Distance: 2 hours

Where to stay: The Resort at Glade Springs. Accommodations range from modern rooms and suites at The Inn, to sprawling Manor Houses where you choose a floor plan that’s perfect for your family or group. The Oak Lane Villas feature views of the Cobb Course — ideal for a golf getaway. For great value, stay in one of the Executive Suites.

Where to eat: The Char, Pasquale’s, King Tut Drive-In.

Best Bets: Check out all the recreational activities Glade Springs has to offer. There are three amazing golf courses, an outdoor pool, spa and more. Scenic Grandview State Park is nearby. Tour the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and in the winter hit the slopes at Winterplace Ski Resort. Finally, go shopping at Tamarack where some 20,000 items are made or created by West Virginia artists and craftsman.

 

Lexington

In the mood to horse around? Then head to Lexington, Kentucky, “Horse Capital of the World.” A modern downtown and sprawling University of Kentucky campus nicely complement the rolling hills and rural countryside. Known for its horses, history, bourbon and basketball, Lexington is a vibrant city with plenty of Southern charm and hospitality.

Distance: 2 hours

Where to stay: 21c Museum Hotel, The Campbell House, Griffin Gate Marriott.

Where to eat: Tony’s, Distilled at the Sire Hotel, Merrick Inn.

Best Bets: Watch the ponies run at Keeneland in the spring and fall. This small, intimate track is the place to see and be seen. Other “musts” include visiting the Kentucky Horse Park, touring one of the big-name working horse farms (Winstar, Ashford Stud, Claiborne) and attending a UK Wildcat basketball game at Rupp Arena. Go Big Blue! Some of the best shopping can be found at The Summit at Fritz Farm where you’ll find both national brands and local favorites.

 

Cincinnati

Discover dynamic nightlife, fine dining, professional sports, live music and more in the “Queen City.” Have a major-league experience at the Great American Ball Park, home to the Cincinnati Reds, or take a hair-raising roller coaster ride at Kings Island. Come see for yourself why Cincy is the fastest growing economy in the Midwestern United States.

Distance: 3 hours

Where to stay: 21c Museum Hotel, AC Marriott at the Banks, Symphony Hotel.

Where to eat: Orchids at Palm Court, Sotto, Salazar.

Best Bets: If you love wildlife, then check out the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium. Cheer on the Reds or Bengals, tour the National Underground Freedom Center or listen to live music at any of a dozen venues throughout the city. Cincy also hosts some of the biggest rock concerts in the nation, so see what bands are performing before you make travel plans. Great shopping can be found at the Kenwood Towne Centre, Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine and Rookwood Commons. Finally, you can’t visit Cincinnati without a day of fun and sun at Kings Island.

 

Snowshoe Mountain

Have a top-of-the-mountain experience on the 11,000 acres that comprise Snowshoe Mountain. Known primarily as a ski resort, this getaway destination is located 4,848 feet above sea level and offers adventure year-round. Whether you’re on an extended visit or a weekend jaunt, there’s plenty to explore.

Distance: 3 hours (if you hurry)

Where to stay: Allegheny Springs, Seneca, The Brigham Collection.

Where to eat: Appalachian Kitchen, Foxfire Grille, The Elk River Inn.

Best Bets: An array of outdoor activities await you, including hiking, mountain biking, disc golf, sporting clays and golf. The Raven Golf Club, a signature Gary-Player-designed course, is one of the most scenic in the entire state. For a day to remember, head east to ride the Cass Scenic Railroad. As for shopping, several unique retail outlets sit atop the mountain. Last but not least, be on the lookout for black bears. Huntington Quarterly Editor Jack Houvouras has seen a black bear three times in his life, and all three sightings were at Snowshoe!

 

Columbus

A hot spot for art, culture and entertainment, the Ohio state capital has a lot to offer. Fast becoming a culinary destination, the city’s food scene continues to expand. From sporting events, concerts, excellent shopping, museums and a zoo, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Columbus.

Distance: 2.5 hours

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency, Hilton Columbus at Easton, and Hotel LeVeque (Autograph Collection).

Where to eat: The Refectory, Mitchell’s Ocean Club, Lindey’s.

Best Bets: Experience an Ohio State football game at The Horseshoe, explore the German Village area, or peruse the Wexner Center for the Arts. Everyone raves about COSI (Center of Science & Industry). In fact, in 2008 COSI was named America’s #1 science center for families by Parent Magazine. If you want to stretch your legs then check out the Scioto Mile, an urban oasis comprised of more than 175 acres of lush parkland. Some of the best shopping can be found at Easton Town Center, Polaris Fashion Place or the boutiques in the Short North Arts District.

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