See autumn arrive with a Thomas and Davis leaf-peeping road trip.
West Virginia’s color-coded School Alert System map is rich with reds, yellows, and now gold. On first glance, the map might be mistaken for a late-September fall foliage map, which reminds us: now is a perfect time to head east. Leave for Thomas and Davis, where leaves are at their partial peak; you’ll find full fall foliage between September 21 and 28. Here’s how to make the most of your Thomas and Davis leaf-peeping road trip.
Head to Blackwater Falls. While the Blackwater River is named for its tannin-tinted waters caused by the fallen needles of coniferous trees, the state park has its fair share of deciduous trees to peep. The park’s high elevation provides breathtaking views of the Allegheny Mountains, where leaves change color before the rest of the state.
If you’d rather explore someplace new, shoot for the moon—Moon Rocks, that is, at the Yellow Creek Natural Area just east of Davis. The otherworldly landscape is made of 480-million-year-old sandstone bedrock, once at the bottom of Canaan Valley bogs. The popular hiking and biking destination is surrounded by undeveloped woodland. Here, you can see some serious “senescence”—the biological process that causes leaves to change color.
Not feeling that adventurous? Travel to Latin America, East Africa, and the Pacific Rim with your taste buds, all from the comfort of TipTop coffee bar in Thomas, a town surrounded by almost a million acres of the Monongahela National Forest. Sip an oat milk pumpkin latte on TipTop’s outdoor patio, a primo spot for leaf peeping.
Before you head home, fill a growler or two at Mountain State Brewing Company. Their Closs’ Harvest is the pumpkin spice latte of beers, made from pumpkins harvested in Tucker County, then slow-roasted in a wood-burning brick oven. For a brew you can’t buy in Morgantown, try Stumptown Ales—their Cranky Conifer Pale Ale is made of Blue Spruce tips from Colorado—or Wicked Wilderness Pub, serving regional favorites.