West Virginia

Despite being called the Mountain State and John Denver singing about his mountain mama..., there are actually just hills in West Virginia, but plenty of them. Out here, you're really in the country. It's more about attitude than altitude. The remoteness from city life is one of the charms of most parts of the state. If you get a chance to attend a square dance or learn some country line dance moves, take it. Harpers Ferry has a lot of history and natural beauty. The National Historical Park commemorates John Brown's failed abolitionist uprising, which helped strike a blow against the institution of slavery. The merging of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers provides an excellent site for whitewater rafting, fishing, and inner tubing, and there is also walking and biking on the C&O Canal. Canaan Valley offers great skiing, snowboarding, and other diversions. You can descend into a former coal mine in Beckley, or see dramatic waterfalls nearby in the New River Gorge. West Virginia arts and crafts can be pretty impressive, especially the blown glass, which you can see at the Morgantown Glass Museum. The Monongalia Arts Center on the WVU campus has art exhibits as well as dance classes, sewing circles, and an Internet radio station. You can get decent sushi in college-y Morgantown. Charleston has a good variety of healthy, sustainable foods, such as small batch organic pastries and fair trade organic coffee and tea. Dig into some vegetarian pepperoni rolls, Indian food, spinach pies, or johnny cakes. You can even find locally-made tofu tacos and veggie dogs. There's organic ice cream and coffee in Harpers Ferry, vegetable tarts and quiche in Martinsburg, and vegetable soups and organic juices in Shepherdstown. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can enjoy Latin American cuisine in Parkersburg (try the plantain-based nachos) or organic Kenyan food at a Morgantown restaurant known for its chai teas and coffees, as well as their in-house hot sauces. Take some bottles to go for a real kick!