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Getting excited for your road trip to Mountain Music Festival this summer? Remember it is the journey that is the destination. Whether you are coming from the north, south, east or west there are plenty of cool things to see and do between wherever you may be reading this and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. We put together a list of a few of our favorite roadside stops while traveling though the Mountain State.
Coming from Morgantown/Pittsburgh
Whether you are leaving from Morgantown or just passing through on your way down I-79 this is a great place to stop, grab lunch and do some shopping. Check out all the restaurants in town like Black Bear Burrito, Pies and Pints and Morgantown Brewing Company. The burgers at the brewery could very well be the best in the state! While you let your food settle walk up High Street and check out all the cool shops and stores. Stock up on some supplies with Cool Ridge & Company who offers everything from jewelry, clothing and a full service head shop in the basement. You will roll out of town well fed and only be two and a half hours from ACE Adventure Resort.
Just down the road from Morgantown in Weston is the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum that housed thousands of mentally ill patients from the mid 1800’s through the 1990’s. Stop in and take a historical tour of the building exploring 9 acres of hallways and rooms inside. Feeling a little braver then take the paranormal tour and learn all about the ghosts who still walk the halls of the asylum today. Trans Allegheny is known as one of the most haunted places in North America and has been featured in numerous paranormal shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Challenge and more.
As you leave Weston you are less than 100 miles from Wonderland Mountain. Roll down the windows, turn up the music and enjoy the scenic mountain drive through the heart of West Virginia. As you hit highway 19 and drive through Summersville and Fayetteville be sure to watch your speed. The local police love to target out of state drivers and you can see the blue and red lights behind you for doing as little as ONE MILE over the limit. So take your time, watch your speed and you should have no worries.
Coming from Roanoke
Roanoke is only two and a half hours from ACE and it is a nice easy ride over the mountains along I64 into Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. Before heading out of Roanoke be sure to stop by Ripple, the hippie general store to grab some goodies for your weekend. Grab a cool new tapestry for your campsite or pickup some new threads to wear over the weekend.
Soon after crossing the state line into WV you are only minutes from Lewisburg and the Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company. Stop into the brewery and have a tasting in the taproom. They love to do small batches that you can only get here in their taproom! Watch the dedicated staff here brewing the next great batch of West Virginia craft beer.
While visiting the brewery be sure to pop into Smooth Ambler right across the street. When you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by the warmth of antique wood floors, warm colors and a solid wood, hand-crafted bar at which you’ll have the opportunity to taste Smooth Ambler’s patiently crafted spirits. From the Tasting Room you’ll find 4 large viewing windows that look out into the production floor giving you a view of the mash tank, fermentation tanks, stills and barreling process. Not coming through Lewisburg, don’t worry we will have plenty at The Lost Paddle Lounge for you to try some!
Less than an hour from Mountain Music Festival is Sandstone Falls on the New River. This is the largest waterfall on the river at 20 feet tall and spanning 1500 feet across the New River. Stop by the National Park Service Sandstone Visitors Center right off I64 to get more info and area maps. Once you arrive at the falls you will find a beautiful trail following boardwalks and bridges along various islands below the falls. If you have a West Virginia fishing license this is a great place to catch smallmouth bass and catfish. Now that you have had a chance to breathe in that fresh mountain air you are ready to cruise through Beckley and into ACE for the weekend.
Coming from Columbus, OH
Columbus is only a short and easy 3 and a half hour drive on lightly traveled highways and interstates. While coming though Ohio University territory in Athens be sure to stop at Jackie O’s Brewery for some great beer and tasty food. This place has been called the best brewpub in Ohio and has 18 unique beers for you to try in the taproom. Ever heard of a farm to table brewpub? Jackie O’s even has their own farm where they grow many of the vegetable resources they use in the brewery and restaurant. Rolling out of Athens you are only about 45 minutes from crossing into West Virginia.
As you pass through Charleston, the state capital, be sure to hit up the Capital Market right off the highway. Check out this year-round outdoor market and an eclectic collection of indoor shops featuring fresh fish, meat & produce; books, wines, chocolates, West Virginia foods & things. This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or stock up on groceries for the weekend. Also while in Charleston be sure to explore the state capital complex on the banks of the Kanawha River. Heading into the mountains out of Charleston you are less than an hour from MMFest!!
Need to go for a hike or stretch your legs one more time? Stop at Plum Orchard Lake just off I64 where you exit the highway on Route 612. This man-made lake offers plenty of hiking trails and is a great place to throw a line out and do some fishing. Field and Stream Magazine called this lake one of the best bluegill fishing lakes east of the Mississippi. The highlight at Plum Orchard is the thousands of flowered lily pads covering the lake. The flowers are in peak bloom during the early weeks of June too! Grab some pictures and jump in the car for a short 20-minute ride into Oak Hill and the New River Gorge.
Coming from North Carolina
Coming from the south you will enter into West Virginia through the tunnel at East River Mountain. Be sure to hold your breath through the tunnel for good luck! This tunnel itself is pretty interesting with lots of local lure and stories. I have heard that they broke into a giant cave while excavating the tunnel then they quickly filled it in and forgot about. Also local stories are floating around talking about a top-secret military operation going on here. Either way when you pop out of the mountain you are less than an hour from ACE Adventure Resort.
As you head north on I77 stop into the Bluestone Rest Area around mile marker 16. Here you can grab a coffee, gas and a snack; plus you can get some great views of the Bluestone River Gorge here. The Bluestone River is part of the New River Gorge National Park and offers cliff-lined scenery, whitewater rapids, great fishing.
Continuing north towards Beckley you will find Tamarack featuring the best of West Virginia. At Tamarack you will find a unique mix of Appalachian art, food and music. You will find artisans creating pottery, blowing glass and painting on site. While visiting be sure to find the $20,000 coffee table and setup your layaway plan! Pulling out of Tamarack in Beckley you will hit Highway 19 north and you will be minutes from West Virginia’s best music festival this June 1st, 2nd & 3rd.
Once you get off highway 19 in Oak Hill on the East Main Street exit you are only minutes away from the party. We recommend that you do not use GPS to find your way to ACE from here, who knows where you will end up… You will see a BP gas station just off the exit. Take a left onto the road just across the street from the gas station. Follow this road down the hill and through the old coal mining community of Minden. Look for the ACE Adventure Resort signs and you’ll be there in a flash!