Escape Keys: Getting There, Staying There, Eating There and More

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

GETTING THERE: Elkins is just under 4 1/2 hours from the Capital Beltway. Take Interstate 66 west to I-81 south to Route 55, toward Strasburg. Follow Route 55 into West Virginia and take Route 28/55 to Elkins.

WHAT TO DO: Davis & Elkins College (100 Campus Dr., 800-624-3157, overlooks the city and is home to the former summer estates of early-20th-century senators Henry Davis and Stephen Elkins. The college hosts the Augusta Heritage Center (304-637-1209,, which helps preserve Appalachian heritage and traditions and holds week-long workshops such as those dedicated to swing (July 13-18) and bluegrass (July 27-Aug. 1). The free Augusta Festival-- featuring dance, music and crafts -- is Aug. 8-10.

STAYING THERE: The Lodge at Kelly Mountain (Route 33, four miles east of Elkins, 304-635-0300, is pet-friendly and has lodge rooms for $95.

All the rooms have a water view at the Cheat River Lodge (Route 33, five miles east of Elkins, 304-636-2301,; from $88 double), while the Graceland Inn (on the Davis & Elkins campus, 304-637-1600; from $130) features 11 Victorian-era guest rooms. The new Holiday Inn Express (50 Martin St., 304-630-2266,; from $95) is near the depot and the American Mountain Theater.

EATING THERE: Several lodging options offer fine dining, including the Lodge at Kelly Mountain, where you can dig into rack of wild boar and duck; entrees from $21.

El Gran Sabor (413 Kerens Ave.) serves Venezuelan food and has live music Wednesdays and Fridays; entrees from $9. C.J. Maggie's (309 Davis Ave.) is a local chain that has Tex-Mex, pastas, salads and pizzas. Stop at Beander's (314 Davis Ave.) for the $2 draft beer and the smorgasbord of dead animals on the walls. The hippest spot for morning coffee and WiFi is Kissel Stop (23 Third St.), which also has great smoothies and wraps.

INFO: Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce,304-636-2717,

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