WV Living magazine is closing its offices. And we want you to close yours, too.

Wait. What? On June 20, join us in a statewide movement to show your love for West Virginia by clearing your schedules and setting your out-of-office replies. But this isn’t just any day off. We’re going to celebrate West Virginia’s 156th birthday the way she deserves—by getting out and authentically experiencing all that she offers.

Here at New South Media, we spend our days telling stories about West Virginia. On nearly every page of every magazine we publish, we recommend a new restaurant, shop, art gallery, music venue, artist, musician, or author for you to discover. So join us on June 20 by putting our stories into action, and document your journeys on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags #wvdayofplay and #almostheaven. And don’t forget to tag us at @wvliving—because if you tag us and use the hashtags, you’ll be entered to win one of our amazing giveaways to some of your favorite vacation destinations!

This issue is filled with ideas to help you plan your #wvdayofplay. Make sure you read Choose Your Adventure on page 95, where we’ve rated some of the top activities by mild, medium, or hot. Do you want to take to the air? The biplane rides at Wild Blue Adventures are something you’ll never forget. Or if riding in an open-air biplane is just too mild, then jump out with skydiving from WV Skydivers in Huntington or Skydive Mountaineer in Fairmont. If your idea of adventure involves water, West Virginia has plenty of it. Rent a boat on a lake, experience the exhilaration of rafting our whitewater, or learn to scuba dive.

Just get out of your routine and comfort zone. Explore a place in West Virginia you’ve never been—like Lovers Lane in Webster Springs, featured on page 20. Grab a Custard Stand hotdog while you are at it. Have you ever visited New Martinsville? It’s a little before West Virginia Day, but you should definitely check out the Vintage Regatta (see page 38) on June 15–16. There’s also the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival, coming June 28–30.

Looking for a place to stay? Airbnb has transformed the lodging industry. Check out some of its most wish-listed homes on page 103. And don’t forget while you are traveling, to not only shop local but also fuel local. The gas station of yesteryear is long gone. Mega convenience centers are popping up on what seems to be every corner. But when given the option, choose to support a business that is headquartered in the state—like Morgantown-based BFS; GoMart, which has its corporate offices in Gassaway; and Little General Stores, which was founded in Beckley. Learn about these three companies on page 90 and how they are competing in this new landscape—and know that, by choosing them over out-of-state competitors, you’re keeping your money within our borders.

Do you remember our WV Living road trips? We are bringing them back! Throughout the year, we will be offering special experiential trips called WV Living Adventures. I’ve repeatedly said that one place that every West Virginian should visit is Heritage Farms in Huntington. It is the state’s only Smithsonian Affiliate. And it received this designation for good reason. Join me and the owners of Heritage Farms for a special weekend on August 9–11. This is a place that is perfect for girlfriend getaways, couples’ retreats, or family trips. It will be an experience you’ll be talking about for years. We’ll eat some great food, explore the farm and museums, experience Appalachian ingenuity, and learn how to blow glass, weave a basket, carve wood, and pound white-hot metal with a blacksmith—and you’ll take away the product you create.

We’ll also spend some time exploring Huntington with a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the town’s most historic buildings. At night, we’ll stay at one of the luxurious cabin accommodations at Heritage Farms—or if you want to crash on a bunk, you can even stay in a caboose! There are limited spaces, so hurry and give us a call at 304.413.0104. For more information, visit wvliving.com/adventures.

Get out and play!

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Nikki Bowman
Written by Nikki Bowman
Nikki Bowman, a West Virginia native, is the founder and owner of New South Media, Inc., which publishes the critically acclaimed WV Living, WV Weddings, West Virginia Focus, Explore, and Morgantown magazines. In January 2015, her company also took over the editorial and design of Wonderful West Virginia magazine. She graduated from West Virginia University and received her master’s degree in Writing from DePaul University in Chicago.