NPR newscaster and former West Virginia Public Broadcasting staffer Giles Snyder and his teenage daughter Kendall are going on a road trip through the Mountain State from their home in Martinsburg—for extra credit. They’ve got a lot of ground to cover in just a few days, and they’re giving WV Living a firsthand account from the road. Here is Giles’s second installment:

Blackwater Falls, Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, and a night in Helvetia

I would like to be able to tell you exactly how many miles my daughter and I put under our belts yesterday, but there are two good reasons why I can’t.

For one thing, setting the trip odometer on the car only just occurred to me. And for the other, I simply don’t have the internet at my fingertips.

The Beekeeper’s Inn

I’m writing this Monday evening in the small Swiss village of Helvetia, Randolph County, in the sitting room of a bed and breakfast called The Beekeeper’s Inn. It’s a charming place. The grass seems greener here and you can hear water rush down a swiftly moving mountain stream outside our bedroom window.

Helvetia is quiet. The Beekeeper’s Inn is peaceful.

This is my first visit to this corner of West Virginia, but I still feel somewhat anxious. Chalk it up to internet withdrawal. There is no access here. No wi-fi. No cell service. No way to ask Google how many miles we drove yesterday. All I can do is tell you where we went and, if you really want to know our mileage, let you ask the internet yourself.

We left our home in Martinsburg on Monday morning earlier than I thought we would. Well, by five minutes, anyway. It’s usually a struggle to get everyone in the car and driving down the road as one, but my daughter Kendall and I were apparently ready to get going. After stopping at the nearest convenience store for gas and pepperoni rolls—West Virginia road food—we drove to Tucker County to see Blackwater Falls.


The falls seemed angry when we got there a couple hours later. I assume the rains that caused flash flooding in parts of northern West Virginia last weekend also swelled the Blackwater River.


From the Blackwater, we moved on to nearby Dolly Sods. The weather was perfect. The vistas beautiful. And temperatures were in the upper 60s—at the end of July! It was nice to not need air conditioning.


We had planned to hike Seneca Rocks, but Dolly Sods was so spectacular our schedule got thrown off. We settled for stopping by the visitor’s center where we snapped a selfie to prove to Kendall’s teacher that we were there. We then took advantage of the bathrooms and hit the road to Helvetia before the restaurant where we planned to eat dinner closed.

We’ve got a busy day today. We’re planning to drive over the New River Gorge Bridge and, if we have time, we’ll check in with the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem.

Right now, though, our main goal is to get back into range of the internet so we can send this dispatch from the road and post our progress on Twitter.

You can keep tabs on us. Just follow @wvliving on Twitter. I’m @gilessnyder.

UPDATE: Dispatch filed from Flatwoods, where we found a Starbucks and more importantly, wi-fi.

Click here to see Giles’s update from Day 3!

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