There is a sense of freedom that accompanies having the baby years in the review mirror. But while we may no longer be buried in sippy cups or making sure we packed the stroller, our calendar is now filled with soccer practices, baseball games, scouts, and other activities that make it difficult to escape for the weekend, which was common practice for us when the kids were little. But this past weekend, we bid adieu to our neck of the woods on Saturday afternoon after a morning of soccer games and drove about two hours west to a cabin in rural West Virginia.
Lost River, West Virginia is an unincorporated community near the border of Virginia. It’s namesake, the Lost River, runs through the Appalachian Mountains in the western panhandle of West Virginia. We lost cell service about 15 miles from our cabin and didn’t see bars on our phones until we were heading back home. We’re so connected as a society that it was a bit of shock to experience a part of the country were cells phones aren’t really a thing.
I found our pet-friendly rental on Vacation Rental By Owner (VBRO) and the owners couldn’t have been easier to work with – if interested, please contact me and I’ll gladly pass along the information. We arrived about 4:30pm and spent the next hour enjoying the brisk air, watching the sun set with cocktails and sparkling waters in hand, and relishing in the wide open space surrounding the cabin.
On Sunday morning, we cooked breakfast and sipped coffee and hot chocolate on the deck. We knew we wanted to hike later that day but we took our time getting ready. We worked on a puzzle as a family, walked around the property, and lounged on the super comfortable leather couch.
Thankfully, the cabin had WiFi so we were able to research possible hikes that morning. When planning this little getaway, I looked into super remote and rustic cabins but Clay’s current position requires him to be accessible so we tabled that plan for the future. While we didn’t have cell service, we did have an internet connection in our cabin, which was admittedly quite nice.
We opted to explore Lost River State Park and hike the White Oak Trail to Cranny Crow. The trail itself was perfect for our kids to reach their first Appalachian summit. Hiking is one of Clay’s and I’s favorite things to do together and we’ve enjoyed many trails and summits in various states and countries so we’re excited that the kids are finally old enough to hike 3-5 miles themselves with minimal complaints.
The hike to Cranny Crow is uphill but it is has plenty of switchbacks so it isn’t too strenuous for kids or people who aren’t terribly active. We were thankful we wore boots because there were plenty of roots and other obstacles on the trail.
It was a fairly cold day so we had the summit to ourselves that day. We passed a few people on the trail but for the most part, it was a very private hike. I’ve read that is typically not the case during the warmer months.
At the top of Cranny Crow, you can see five different countries with panoramic 270-degree view. Clay and I commented that the view looked similar to some that we experienced during our hikes in Scotland. After spending about 30 minutes at the overlook, we began our descent.
After our hike, we drove about 30 minutes on windy back roads to an unremarkable restaurant that we hoped would be better. The sun was setting by the time we returned to our cabin so we settled in for another quiet evening.
On Monday, we found ourselves heading back to the city by late morning refreshed and reinvigorated by the mountain air. We stopped in Strasburg, Virginia for a late brunch at Cristina’s Cafe, which was absolutely delicious. We were back home by early afternoon. We really enjoyed our weekend in wild and wonderful West Virginia and look forward to exploring other areas of the mountain state during our time here. What’s your favorite West Virginia town? We’re open to suggestions!