Tell me about the Wild and Wonderful parts of southern West Virginia
June 20, 2012 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Virginia to Kentucky road trip. Looking for interesting places to stop in southern West Virginia along I 64.

Next week my husband and I are hitting the road to visit friends in Lexington, KY. Once we get there, they are going to take us around to see the sights and check out the bourbon trail. We have planned an extra day at the beginning (6/28) and and extra day at the end (7/2 or 7/3) to take our time and explore the southern part of WV.

Currently we're planning to camp one night at the New River Gorge National Park. We may stop in Beckley to see the exhibition coal mine, and we'll probably check out The Mystery Hole.

I'm looking for suggestions for stops along I 64 in WV or in KY before Lexington. I'm open to anything that you consider a must-see, non-chain or regional chain restaurants, curiosities, parks, natural wonders or anything that you believe would be worth getting off the highway for.
posted by JennyJupiter to Travel & Transportation around West Virginia (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Your question is well-timed: a few of these ideas lie along your route.
posted by deeaytch at 6:51 AM on June 20, 2012

Greenbriar Hotel, with the formerly secret bunker?

We're going here next year on our Road Trip and I can't WAIT!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:15 AM on June 20, 2012

A regional restuarant that is popular in Eastern Kentucky / West Virginia is Giovanni's Pizza. There are a few locations around the Ashland, KY area.

Carter Caves State Park in Olive Hill, KY is pretty and not too far off the highway.
posted by at 8:06 AM on June 20, 2012

The Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley is excellent.

Just north of Beckley on I-64 is Tamarack, which specializes in WV art and culture. The cafe is catered by the Greenbrier cooking folks and the food is excellent. We always stop there when headed west on I64 for a brunch or lunch. The building is full of WV goods (glass and wood and pottery and sculptures and everything. There is a markup for that, so if you like something, see if the company/artist is on your route and if you can get it more affordably), and it makes for a lovely walk.

The Blenko Glass Factory is still open, and you can watch them blow glass in Milton, WV (just off I-64). They have a mini-museum and a gift shop where you can buy fantastic classic designs and the less successful recent design glass lines.
posted by julen at 8:28 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend just keeping your eyes open on the drive and doing the speed limit. Most of West Virginia along I-64 is just absolutely beautiful to gawk at from the comfort of your automobile.
posted by kuanes at 9:21 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: so i drive this route home a lot: i grew up in charleston and went to school in huntington.

here are some delicious restaurants to try along the I-64 corridor:

in huntington, which is right over the border, there's a fairly new place called black sheep burritos. it's pretty delicious. i ate there a few weeks ago when i was in huntington. there's also hillbilly hotdogs which is a little hokey but i don't even care because their taco dog is the stuff dreams are made of.

while you're in fayetteville, eat at pies and pints - it's delicious. they also have one in charleston, but i mean, the fayetteville one is the original.

in the mornings, please find the nearest tudor's biscuit world and eat a dottie (fried egg, hashbrown and cheese on a biscuit) for me. they're all over the state. and delicious.

as far as things to do, definitely read that daily mail piece that deeaytch linked above. a sizable chunk of those things are on your way home.

ALSO today is west virginia's birthday. so happy birthday, west virginia <3
posted by kerning at 12:17 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We've had a great trip. As much as possible, we tried to stick to back roads and the drive was much more beautiful because of it. The scenery was gorgeous throughout the area.

We made it to Black Sheep Burritos, Pies and Pints and The Mystery Hole.

After setting up our tent at the Glade Creek campsite, we drove up to Fayetteville and had lunch at Pies and Pints. The bartender was friendly and even turned on a soccer game for us. Pizzas were outstanding, beer selection was great.

The next day on our way to Huntington we went to The Mystery Hole. We were the only people there, so we were able to poke around the gift shop and check out the funky decorations outside. Although the guide/owner was funny and entertaining, the tour of the actual hole wasn't worth the money. This is really geared toward little kids. If you happen to drive by-they best stuff is outside.

We drove to Huntington specifically to try Black Sheep Burritos. Good service, interesting decor. I wasn't a huge fan of their salsas-but I'm pretty picky when it comes to salsa. We each got a "Flock of Tacos" so that we could try almost every type of specialty taco on the menu. Each taco was unique and tasty. I wasn't blown away by the fish taco-but it would have been a good taco with less competition.

I am going to keep all these suggestions in mind for our next trip and hopefully get to try a few of them out. I specifically want to go to the Exhibition Coal Mine the next time we are in the area.

Thank you all for your great suggestions and tips.
posted by JennyJupiter at 8:59 AM on July 27, 2012

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