It seems surprising to me, but in roughly four or five weeks (depending on how much snow you had) the children will be out of school. What to do as a family when the children are free to travel always seems to be a seasonal dilemma.
If you want to stay close to home so that you don’t spend all your time in the car trying to get to your destination and back, why not consider a few days’ lodging with a West Virginia bed & breakfast?
Most people think that all B&Bs are just for romantic retreats or weekend getaways — and there are, in fact, properties that prefer not to have children, are not appropriate for children or can only accommodate children of a certain age.
But many of our West Virginia Bed & Breakfast Association members welcome families with children and create activities to encourage family interaction.
Several of our WVBBA members have designed their guest rooms specifically to accommodate families with children.
Some create special breakfasts for their younger guests and others store games and puzzles for those rainy days or late nights.
Starting in the far eastern part of the state, Asa Cline House (www.asaclinehouse.com) is located in Yellow Spring, just on the edge of the Potomac Highlands.
The fully restored 19th-century house is surrounded by 25 acres of woods and pasture land with a few sheep around that will delight the children.
Three out of the four guest rooms easily accommodate families, including two suites with extra beds and a private bath.
The Carriage House, recently remodeled, has a queen bed, a day bed with a trundle and an additional portable bed.
The kitchen in the Carriage House is fully equipped and will be supplied with breakfast foods if you wish to cook in, or you can walk across the drive to enjoy breakfast in the main house, where Merrie might make shaped pancakes on special holidays for the children.
Aside from hiking on the mountain behind the inn or flying kites in the open fields, the children can fish in one of three ponds on the property.
The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad (www.potomaceagle.info), would make a great day trip.
Located in Romney, the three-hour train ride travels through the Trough, a narrow valley beside the South Branch of the Potomac River so pristine that you can see the fish in the pools. You might also see deer in the thick forests and eagles in the high mountains.
Camp Rim Rock for Girls is located nearby, and the Asa Cline House provides a convenient and comfortable place to stay when dropping off or picking up your children.
Dinner is available on Saturday nights.
Heading southwest, near Petersburg, is the Breath of Heaven B&B (www.breathofheavenbb.com). A perfect site for a family vacation, Breath of Heaven has three guest rooms and a one-room cottage; all but one room accommodate three to four guests each.
With summer coming, Geri and Ed will be building campfires, and, when it rains, there is Wi-Fi, TV and a big box of toys and games.
Ten miles away is Eagles Nest Outfitters (www.eaglesnestoutfitters.com) where you can enjoy tubing, rafting, canoeing or kayaking trips. There are 12 different river trips for you to choose from on the 80 miles of nearby South Branch of the Potomac.
If your children like to fish, Eagles Nest offers numerous fishing trips for some of the best bass and trout fishing in West Virginia.
Don’t know how to fish but want to try? Workshops and classes are available too.
Seneca Rocks, a unique rock formation that is a draw for rock climbers wishing to scale its almost-vertical 900-foot wall, is about 20 minutes away. There are nearby climbing schools and a walking trail that zigzags to a viewing platform near the peak.
Picnic by the river or visit the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, which has displays and workshops from April to October.
Surrounded by mountain vistas, Breath of Heaven has a hot tub on the large deck (for adults only) where you can end the day once you have put the children to bed.
On the other side of the mountains that bisect the state, you will find Gobblers Ridge Lodge Bed and Breakfast (www.gobblersridge.com).
Located on 19 acres in Linn, Gobblers Ridge is a large, secluded log cabin bounded by a hardwood forest. There is one private guest suite that includes one bedroom, a sleeper sofa and a full kitchen and private bath.
A second-floor bedroom with a double bed can be reserved for your use if you need more room for your children; this room would share the bath in the suite.
With only one suite, you certainly will have the attention of the innkeepers — that is, if Duane is not making turkey calls, tending to his dwarf fruit trees or demonstrating how to make butter or homemade ice cream.
The garden produce, berries and home-smoked and regionally smoked meats find their way to Rachel’s kitchen, where she prepares food in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition she learned as a child.
In addition to all of the activities and small-scale farming these innkeepers do, they also own a coffee farm with 6,500 coffee trees near Bogotá, Colombia.
Duane brings some of the green beans back to West Virginia and usually roasts the coffee beans on a Saturday over an open fire pit fueled with cherry wood.
There are three hiking trails on the property that can keep you busy, but if you would like to take the children swimming or boating, there is a beach and a marina at Sutton Lake and Dam, about 30 minutes away.
Cedar Creek State Park, just outside nearby Glenville, also has swimming, paddle boats, tennis courts and miniature golf.
For the truly adventurous, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, in Weston, gives ghost hunts and tours year-round.
The View Bed & Breakfast (www.theviewbb.com) is in the far southern part of the state, in Athens, just outside Princeton. Elizabeth has three guest rooms, two of which are perfect for families.
One room is a suite with a private entrance, a queen bed and a day bed with trundle; it has a private bath with a spa tub.
The second room has two twin beds. Mostly a summer business, The View gives a 10 percent discount to families traveling with children.
It’s only a few minutes from Concord College, where you can attend concerts and theater performances. The college also hosts a series of summer Upward Bound Programs.
Pipestem State Park has a summer amphitheater, golf, hiking, paddle boats, restaurants and an aerial tramway that goes down 1,000 feet from the canyon rim to the Mountain Creek River Lodge.
In addition, there are guided horseback riding trips, bicycle rentals and an Olympic-size pool with a diving board.
Each morning, Elizabeth provides breakfast to her guests, but while you are out and about, both Athens and Princeton have numerous restaurants to choose from. The View accommodates persons with disabilities.
Moving back north and along the Virginia border to the Lost River area is the Guesthouse Lost River (www.guesthouselostriver.com). Gary and Jesse do two weekends a year, usually April and August, that are completely family focused. There are four rooms and two suites dedicated to these weekends. The rooms each have two queen beds, and the suites each have a king bed and sleeper sofa. All of the rooms have private baths and private entrances.
This is not a “drop off your kid and leave” weekend. The children and their parents/grandparents/guardians participate together in the numerous activities planned for the weekend.
Past family weekends have included arts and crafts with local artists, yoga for adults and children, karate classes, cupcake decorating, butter churning and magic shows. Outdoor activities include swimming in the onsite pool (summer only), hiking, nature walks and fishing at the trout pond in the George Washington National Forest.
Recently, Hidden Trails Stables brought ponies to the Guesthouse for the children to ride. Breakfast is a full buffet including foods especially for children such as the pancakes and “children’s cereal.”
Other meals are available from the Guesthouse’s restaurant; they have a children’s menu. Families also may lunch together at the nearby Lost River General Store, where apples are supplied for children to feed the sheep and burros at Lost River Yoga next door.
The Guesthouse has earned the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for both 2012 and 2013 and, as you can imagine, these weekends sell out fast. Visit their website to find the actual dates for the next family weekend.
Although a property may not normally take children, in numerous instances many of our inns can be reserved for family reunions. Do not hesitate to ask!
This is just a sampling of the many WVBBA B&Bs and inns you can find in West Virginia, places to take your family and truly enjoy your time together.
Visit www.wvbba.com to search for just the perfect vacation spot.
Michele Moure-Reeves is a West Virginia innkeeper and president of the West Virginia Bed & Breakfast Association. Comments and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.