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  • The Satiated Blonde

Road-Tripping Through the Appalachian Mountains: Exploring the Best of Virginia and West Virginia in Fall 2022

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Pictured: Moonrise View from the overlook at The Lodge at Blackwater Falls
Pictured: Moonrise View from the overlook at Blackwater Lodge

I can't believe it's taken me so long to share about this trip! Looking back at the pictures brings back so many good memories.

We made our way down to Virginia via West Virginia for a family wedding, and divided the drive up since I am not really that fond of road trips. We researched so many blogs and travel sites to make the most of our trip! See our adventure in pictures below.

world's smallest post office

Our first stop (besides rest stops) was a tiny church in West Virginia, apparently the smallest church in 48 states. Just behind it, pictured above, is the smallest post office in the world! These weren't planned stops but they were on our way and right off the side of the road.

Blackwater Falls, WV

Our first planned stop was Blackwater Falls. I have to give it to West Virginia on their parks system - the steps were beautifully made with places encouraging pictures and visitation of other nearby parks. The waterfalls were quite serene and the stairs leading to it were like a guided hike. We were here for quite awhile as my husband got some pictures and video footage. There was a lookout deck even closer to the water and another vantage point bridge with better accessibility.

pic of us in front of the falls
I had to snap a pic of us in front of the falls!

Next (I think) we headed to the claim to fame, "most scenic overlook" in West Virginia. Still Technically in Black Water Falls State Park, we hiked to the Lindy Point overlook. It was less than a mile, but definitely on uneven ground. We were surrounded by a rhododendron forest, just past bloom (unfortunately). The hike seemed longer to me, only because there were no trail markers saying things like, "you're almost there" or even just regular mile markers, haha! But it was really pretty!

It was my first time hiking in these boots. My hubby got some great pictures and I chilled on the rocks taking in the view while he did. Such clean, crisp air!

We stayed deep in the park at Blackwater Lodge. It was fine for a nights stay. The rooms were small and no fridge (thank you, Yeti). However, the nighttime scenery outback was amazing. My husband got some awesome astrophotography shots, especially since it was so dark there.

That night we ate at the restaurant inside the lodge, The Smokehouse at Blackwater Falls. This is where I learned (after the fact) that the South is more pork barbecue, not as much for the brisket scene. Unfortunately, my husband didn't tell me this until after I ordered, lol. It was fine and we didn't have to drive in the dark.

The next day we stopped at the highest peak in West Virginia: Spruce Knob. It was about seven miles up so I was planning on it being a quick trip. It took about half an hour to get up there! I've never experienced anything like it before. It was pretty much a one way road, without guardrails, and I'm not the most relaxed person in the passenger seat, sooo... It was very pretty when we got up there but also very cold. I was unprepared. Unfortunately it was a little foggy, too. My husband was able to get a better view at the lookout point which is maybe half way on our way down.

Staunton, VA was our next destination. We stayed at a boutique hotel called Gibson's Warehouse in the historic downtown. Our room had an open floor plan and was clean, private, and had a full kitchen (a necessity when I travel). I would go back to Staunton just to stay here! It's a perfect place for extended travel. I shared some on my stories when we were there - find a clip below that includes a snippet of the room and the spray I always travel with (code: SATIATEDBLONDE). The location was perfect for us - right behind the train and walking distance (even in heels) to the wedding venue (which is actually harder to figure out in google maps)! While we were in Staunton, of course we explored the area. My husband found the largest privately owned camera museum in the United States, and got a camera to add to his collection. We tried out a Mexican restaurant named as one of the top 5 taco places in Staunton, Baja Bean. It was good--and fast--which was important since we were hungry!

father in law outside the boutique hotel
Pictured above: outside the boutique hotel.

Video below: Clip from inside our room as I used my cleaning spray.

My hubby had a great idea that I could make some more coffee cubes using plastic bags. It worked in a pinch! But look at that fridge!!!

coffee cubes in mug in the kitchen

We could see the farmer's market from our back window, so of course we had to go check it out! We found a couple great cheeses from Bellerino Creamery (I want to buy some more!), got some Indian snacks at Chai Dhoba, and my hubby got some breakfast at one of the food trucks. Oh, I almost forgot we also picked up some specialty tree syrup, from birch trees instead of maple. We go all out, haha!

farmer's market tents

As we were exploring more downtown, I saw this funny little cactus in an alley that was absolutely thriving, and had to document it!

cactus growing outside a brick building

We woke up early the day of the wedding, so we had time to pop out to Polyface Farms. I was so surprised when I found it was right where we were going, as we were researching for the trip. I'm a huge fan of sustainable (and unconventional) farming, and have been familiar with Joel Salatin for years now! It's also where Dr. Cowan's Garden sources their meat from -- so cool! You can use my code: SATIATEDBLONDE to save on their powders. We walked the grounds, visited the chickens and the store. We got some bread and butter pickles and some other items from the freezer - so delicious!

A family lunch was enjoyed at Zynoda back downtown Staunton. I had forgotten we actually ate there on our honeymoon, 11 years before! It was still delicious!

pic of food on lunch table

The wedding was beautiful and I should have taken more pictures!

We did pop in the photo booth for these fun ones, though!

Before we headed out, we joined the post-wedding family brunch, and my husband really enjoyed his breakfast, haha:

pastry and coffee with latte art

On our way home, we wanted to hit the newest National Park: New River Gorge and I had also made a reservation at a hot springs location. We hadn't decided if we'd stay after a dip in the springs or drive straight home. But, we got a call the morning we were heading out that they had to cancel our reservation, so after New River Gorge, we were on our way home. Honestly, I would have been okay to just go straight home, but I knew my husband wanted to capture more moments with his cameras. Luckily, it ended up being one of the most beautiful places we've seen. We did not go to the bridge, which is where most people tend to stop, I think. We went to the horseshoe lookout...not quite sure how we found it because they do not have it marked well from the main road. But wow! It's the cover page for this post...we even got to see a train winding around the horseshoe. If you look close, you should be able to see the track. Here's a pic of us in front of it:

Overall, we had a great visit (and road trip) and I'm glad we split it up and checked out the places we did! I look forward to our next adventure! As you can tell by some of the pictures, we were just past peak leef-peeping season, but they were still beautiful! Where are your favorite West Virginia and Virginia stops? Tell me in the comments. Keep up with my travels on socials.

P.S. If you made it this far, thanks! This is my longest post to date!

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