Quaint Towns and Skiing in Canaan Valley, West Virginia

Do you like to ski? Raleigh blogger Chana Lynn recently vacationed in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. Her photos were so great from her trip that I asked her to share her travels with us today.  This rural area of West Virginia looks beautiful, and like me, Chana can always find a good brew or cup of coffee about everywhere she goes.  And this may be all the snow I see this year. Enjoy!  Leigh

Just about every year around Christmas time, we pack up the car and leave Raleigh in search of “whiter” pastures.  This search often has us heading Northwest to Canaan Valley, West Virginia. Quite rural, and almost untamed, this area is a diamond in the rough. We have been going to Canaan for the last ten years and it remains truly “wild and wonderful”. We enjoy spending time “off the grid” here every year.

Picturesque Canaan Valley, WV near Timberline Ski Resort 

The drive from Raleigh to Timberline is around 7 hours, but most of the drive is highway until the last couple of hours. There are lots of great places to stop for breaks on the highway including Richmond, Charlottesville, Wintergreen area and Harrisonburg. Once you hit Canaan Valley, the McDonald’s and Starbucks give way to beautiful pastures, forests and farmland.

Canaan Valley includes two ski resorts in very close proximity to each other.  Canaan Valley Ski Resort and Timberline Ski Resort. They are within a mile or so of each other. We are partial to Timberline because our family has a place up on the mountain. 

There are lots of rentals and a new slope side hotel for lodging. We have always skied at Timberline but we often take some time at Canaan for some fun snow tubing and ice skating. Canaan Valley’s snow tubing park has just completed a major renovation, and has its grand re-opening January 2013!

 Skiing at Timberline is a little like stepping back in time. It’s not fancy or high tech, but there is a good variety of slopes to ski and the resort is ideal for families with young skiers. Our girls have grown up learning to ski here and have enjoyed getting their bearings here in preparation for that dream ski trip out West some day. The best thing about Timberline is they have the longest green/beginner trail in the Mid-Atlantic called Salamander that is two miles long and provides amazing views from the top and a great run down the mountain. Timberline offers nice accommodations where you can actually ski right onto the slopes. In the Summer months, Timberline offers horseback riding, mountain bike trails, golf, canoeing on the lake and much more.

 If you are into Cross-country skiing, White Grass is a great place with great trails near both Timberline and Canaan Valley. They also are home to an amazing little café with all natural, local dishes served up in a cozy little space. Delicious, organic meals are their specialty.

It’s not just the skiing, sledding and snow tubing that brings us here every year in the Winter (all seasons are amazing here by the way!!), it’s also the two local towns of Davis and Thomas. We always make time to drive into the quaint post-industrial towns of Davis and Thomas every time we are up here. It’s about a ten mile drive from the ski resorts, but well worth it.


Siriannis Cafe in Davis, WV

In Davis, we make our usual stop for pizza at Siriannis. Located on the main drag, they offer up delicious specialty pizza and local craft beer on tap. The place is very homey and it’s always a warm cozy spot on a freezing cold winter evening! The place can get very busy during the ski season and they do not take reservations. First come first served! They also DO NOT take credit cards, and it’s important to know that so you don’t get stuck driving across town looking for an ATM! But, try and make time for lunch or dinner there, it’s delicious. Davis also offers Hellbenders Burritos and Boomtown Java for your specialty coffees.


The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV

Just about two miles further from Davis is the town of Thomas. Lots to fill an afternoon or evening here!

Purple Fiddle is a highlight in downtown Thomas. “The Fiddle” always has high quality live music lined up and their food is delicious. Local micro brews are on tap and fabulous homemade ice cream make this a must stop for the whole family. 

Tip Top Cafe in Thomas, WV
Depending on the weather, there is indoor and outdoor seating.  Just down from the Purple Fiddle is a new place called Tip Top Café. They are a wine bar, coffee bar and also serve up a small menu of tasty treats. They do a great job of offering up fresh, quality food and drink. There are several other new food, drink and shopping establishments starting to pop up along the main drag nearby such as Gargantuan Emporium and Flying Pigs Cafe that we look forward to checking out during our next visit.

Before leaving Thomas, you have to make a quick stop at Blackwater Falls. Winter or any season, these Falls are a fun and easy hike down the path where you can view the Falls from several vantage points. In the Winter they are generally frozen over and very cool to see. In the Summer the water comes gushing over the Falls and the cool spray is a welcome relief on hot sunny days. Kids can hike this easily and lots of photo ops here. Bribe them with some ice cream from the Fiddle if you must! 

Mountain State Brewing

  After the hike, you may need to refuel and hydrate, so consider stopping off at Mountain State Brewing for an excellent craft beer off the taps. We often fill a growler to take back to the cabin with us. Winter hours can be a little tricky, so check their hours on Facebook or their website before stopping by the brewery. Fill up a growler or have a drink at the bar. We always end up having some great conversations with other folks and we have had many fun, unexpected adventures here in the Summer or the Winter.

If you enjoy handmade crafty items, nearby MountainMade is worth a stop. Local crafters and artisans offer up beautiful art, jewelry, ceramics, food, textiles, etc. This is a great place to stop and pick up a unique gift or simply something to remember your mountain trip.

Artistic benches in Thomas, WV

Overall, if you are looking for an opportunity to truly get away from it all, leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a few days and discover Canaan Valley. It is definitely worth the drive to make your escape to this beautiful WV mountain destination and reacquaint yourself with a renewed appreciation for a slower pace and natural beauty.


Chana Lynn has lived in Raleigh for the past 12 years working as a Web Designer and Social Media Consultant for several local businesses. Besides working with clients to improve their web and online presence, she is also the creator of RaleighWhatsUp.com, a blog about the latest happenings in Raleigh regarding restaurants, breweries, boutiques, music and other fun city events! Supporting the local businesses is a critical part of making Raleigh the hip and trendy city it is quickly becoming! When not pinning or tweeting, she keeps busy with two active girls, loves traveling, interior design, and spending time with friends and family. Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @RaleighWhatsUp.

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