Road Trip Destination: Snowshoe, W.Va.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Showshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia is open and ready for those who love to hit the slopes. Located in Pocahontas County on the eastern border of West Virginia, it is a place to enjoy a winter wonderland with skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tubing, Snowcat tours, zip lining and more. There are 251 skiable acres, including 26 acres of freestyle terrain and seven acres of gladed terrain. The area gets 180 inches of snow annually.

The resort makes a guarantee from Dec. 15 through March 15, 2013, there will be more skiable terrain open than any other ski mountain in the Southeast or your next day of skiing is free.

“Snowshoe is the one true destination ski mountain in the mid-Atlantic,” says David Dekema, vice president of marketing for Snowshoe. “Offering a total resort experience you might otherwise think you'd have to fly to find. With great skiing and boarding on the biggest mountain, plus a quaint walking village, choice of restaurants, the best nightlife, shopping, swimming pools and The Big Top game center for kids. Snowshoe has it all.”

From St. Bernard Catholic Chapel and the Pocahontas Episcopal Ministries on top of the mountain to dining options to shopping, this area has a variety of options after guests are done playing in the snow. Stores feature everything from the latest ski and snowboard equipment and outerwear to hand-carved West Virginia wood products to logwear and knick-knacks.

Snowshoe is nicknamed the “Birthplace of Rivers” for the eight rivers that flow out of Pocahontas County: the Greenbrier, Shaver's Fork of the Cheat, Tygart Valley, Williams, Cherry, Cranberry, Gauley and Elk.

Details: Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, W.Va.; 304-572-1000 or

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

Pocahontas County Opera House

This opera house is the county's premier performing-arts center. An intimate venue, with seating for about 250, it is part of the West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail. It has more than a dozen performances on its stage each year, ranging from bluegrass to jazz, folk to musical theater.

Ornate pressed-metal panels adorn the ceiling, and the large performance hall is accented by a balustrade of American chestnut, which wraps around three sides of the balcony. Light pours in through the building's 32 windows.

In 1991, Pocahontas County's Historic Landmarks Commission purchased the Opera House and, with support from the community, worked to transform it from an abandoned building into a beautiful performance space and center for community activities, reopening its doors and bringing performances to its stage once again in 1999.

The century-old building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It also hosts a variety of community events, from open jam sessions to family-movie nights.

Details: 304-799-6645 or

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, in the Greenbrier River Valley north of Lewisburg, is the site of West Virginia's last significant Civil War battle. On Nov. 6, 1863, the federal army of Brig. Gen. William W. Averell, in his second attempt to disrupt the Virginia Tennessee Railroad at Salem, Va., faced again the Confederate troops of Brig. Gen. John Echols. Throughout the morning, Echol's smaller Confederate army held the high ground and blocked the highway with artillery, but in the afternoon was overwhelmed by the crushing advance of federal infantry on his left flank. After the collapse of his lines, Echols retreated south into Virginia with the remnants of his command.

The Battle of Droop Mountain is re-enacted every October on even-numbered years. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the museum, lookout tower and other buildings in the 1930s.

Details: 304-653-4254 or

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory was founded in 1956 in Green Bank. Its first telescope was completed in 1959. This site was originally chosen because of its sheltered valley location and its distance from large population centers. The natural mountain bowl surrounding Green Bank helps protect it from man-made radio interference, which is harmful to sensitive radio astronomy observations. It is also the center of a 13,000-square-mile area known as the National Radio Quiet Zone.

The Green Bank Science Center is the starting point for a guided tour of the observatory. Plan to enjoy interactive exhibits and displays. The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope, is 485 feet high, taller than the Statue of Liberty and almost as tall as the Washington Monument. It weighs 17 million pounds and the dish is 100 meters by 110 meters. There also are several arrays of smaller telescopes. Tour fees are $6; $5 for seniors; and $3.50 for ages 7-12; 6 and younger are free.

Details: 304-456-2150 or

Greenbrier River Trail

This 78-mile-long rail trail operated by the West Virginia State Park system offers a “wild and wonderful” experience. Trail uses include bicycling, backpacking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. A packed, crushed run surface coupled with a mere 1-percent grade creates an ease of riding that allows cyclists to enjoy the many breath-taking views. The trail closely mirrors its namesake, the Greenbrier River, for most of its length and offers trail users countless opportunities for swimming and fishing. The trail traverses one of the most remote areas in the state park and lies adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest, Seneca State Forest and Watoga State Park.

Details: 304-799-7416 or

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