Are you ready for the perfect West Virginia winter getaway? Visit Mercer County, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Home to hundreds of miles of ATV trails, the meandering Appalachian mountains, old coal towns, and delicious restaurants. Only a few hours from DC and Philadelphia, Mercer County is the perfect weekend destination!
As a Washington DC native, I spent many summers exploring the raw beauty of the West Virginia mountains. I’ve been to all 50 states, and I can honestly say that this is one of the most underrated. Visit Mercer County to experience the quintessential Mountain State weekend. Explore local small towns, get out on the Appalachian trails 🥾, and get acquainted with the friendly locals
I was excited when West Virginia Tourism and Mercer County CVB reached out to host my husband and I for an adventurous weekend and sponsored this post to share about it with you. Read below to find out how to spend the perfect ❄️ winter weekend ❄️ in Mercer County!
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Table of Contents
West Virginia Winter Weekend Itinerary
Day One: Settle In
Stay & Dine at Buffalo Trail
If you’re outdoorsy or looking for a unique place to stay, then look no further. Buffalo Trail is one of the best places for accommodations in the area. They have incredibly unique options that range both in price and type. You can choose to stay in an RV spot, a yurt 🛖, their wonderful cabins, or my favorite of all, an old bank that was converted into a lodge. This is the perfect place to stay whether you’re visiting solo or going with all of your friends.
Buffalo Trail is very convenient for people spending time hiking or ATVing in the area. You can pull up your vehicles directly to your cabin, get delicious burgers or steaks at the Buffalo Trail Restaurant, and have everything you need at your fingertips. The variety of cabins caters to your desire to crash for the night in a basic treehouse or lounge in a luxurious yurt with friends. Spend the nights relaxing on wooden swings by the fire pits 🔥 or at the bar sharing adventure stories with other guests.
Movie at the Granada Theater
After settling in, head into Bluefield for a fantastic movie night 🎥. The Granada Theater is a historic building that was recently restored and reopened for a more unique local entertainment experience. Transport yourself back to the 1920s, when this theater was built, as you walk under the lit up marquee and through the doors.
Grab popcorn 🍿, drinks, or candy in the foyer before heading to your seats. When you walk through the doors, you’ll be awestruck by the beautiful facade. There are plenty of seats to choose from to enjoy the movie. The theater plays one movie at a time, so be sure to check ahead for the current viewing. We were lucky enough to watch The Fablemans, one of the best movies of the year. They change the movie that’s offered continuously, so you can be sure they feature top flicks.
Day Two: ATVs & Princeton, WV
Fuel Up at Old School Grocery & Grill
Start your day off like a local by fueling up for your big adventure! Old School Grocery & Grill is a quaint shop to grab a bite to eat or some essential groceries. We stopped in for a delicious sausage egg and cheese biscuit sandwich, a crispy hash brown, and a hot cup of coffee ☕️. We were ready to get back to our explorations.
ATV the Hatfield McCoy Trails
Mercer County is an ATV rider’s paradise 🏎 with tourists coming from all over to visit this area. The Hatfield McCoy trails weave all throughout this mountainous county. These trails traverse through the woods, over mountain ridges, and will take you to stunning viewpoints of the Appalachians. With over 1000 miles of trails at all levels, you’ll never be short on rides you can take. There’s always a new trail to ride down!
We rented an ATV from Eagle ATV Rentals and had a fantastic experience. It’s a family run business that’s been in the area for years, so they know what they’re doing. They’ll outfit you with all the safety gear 🪖 that is required as well as brief you on how to use the ATV. You can take a guided tour or they’ll program your route into GPS, so that you’ll know where to go.
If you’ve never ridden an ATV before, you may be a bit nervous. I was, but don’t worry, it’s actually much easier than you may think. It’s just like driving a car and you’ll have the hang of it in no time. We also opted for the GPS guidance 🗺 which kept us from getting lost. You can check out these tips before you go out on the trails. Make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, because chances are you’ll get covered in mud!
Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get out and drive! You’re in for a thrilling ride as you ride over the mountainous terrain and the muddy trails. Take in the area, steer around tight turns, and rush through mud puddles. It’s one of the highlights of any West Virginia winter getaway and a can’t miss activity in Mercer County! You’ll have memories that will last you a lifetime.
Lunch at the Corner Shop
After you’ve been riding for a few hours, you may be ready for your next meal. Luckily, there’s a great spot for lunch that’s right off the trails. Take a quick break at The Corner Shop in the historic town of Bramwell. It is an old-school fountain shop complete with a jukebox and diner stools. Grab a “West Virginian” pepperoni roll and try one of the best milkshakes 🍨 in the state. Your taste buds will thank you.
Before hopping back in your ATV, take a stroll through town. Bramwell was a huge coal mining town that grew in the 1800s, with many coal magnates living there. It even had the most millionaires per square capita in the entire country! You can walk around Main Street and go into the cute shops. If you walk a bit further, you can see what homes remain after a large fire burnt many of the houses down in 1910.
Walk around Princeton
Since you’ll probably be sufficiently covered in mud, make sure to go home and clean up 🧼 before you hit the town! Princeton is one of the most lively towns in the area with plenty to see and do! Spend an evening walking around town, going into local stores, eating great food, and admiring the murals that cover many of the walls. It’s the perfect place to end a Saturday night.
What to See in Princeton:
- Grab a drink and watch live music at Sophisticated Hound Brewing
- Shop for local honey and jams at Blue Ridge Bee Company
- Visit the Princeton Railroad Museum
- Look at collectible items at the 80s Toys of Princeton
- Get a new book at The Hatter’s Bookshop
- In warmer months, cheer on the Princeton WhistlePigs
Day Three: Day at Winterplace Ski Resort
Ski, Snowboard or Snow Tube at Winterplace
No West Virginia winter getaway is complete without a trip to the slopes! Winterplace has it all, snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding 🏂 and it’s just a 20-minute drive from Mercer County. We spent a day skiing and snow tubing on the mountain and it was a highlight of our trip. So, no matter what winter adventure suits your fancy you’ll find an adventure that is perfect for you.
There are ski/snowboarding runs and experiences for people at all levels. Their instructors are top notch and make sure to tailor lessons to your needs. My husband, who had never skied before, took a private lesson and was able to advance to the blue runs by the end of the day ⛷. Kids can attend SkiWee and Snow Explorers, while advanced skiers can hit the terrain park.
Winterplace Ski Resort has plenty of rentals for those who need them and skilled staff that help you choose the right gear 🎿. The facility has three restaurants to choose from with a variety of food options. Don’t worry if it’s been a dry season, their team always makes sure the runs are snow-covered and groomed. Get out to Winterplace and see why they’re one of the best ski resorts in the state!
After a long weekend full of adventures, it’s time to head home! West Virginia will capture your heart with its stunning views, thrilling experiences, and kind locals. I’m sure that you will love your weekend trip to Mercer County and you’ll leave wanting to go back for more. Happy riding!
Let me know if you enjoyed this itinerary in the comments!
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