GETTING THERE: To get to Thomas, W.Va., go north on I-270 from the Beltway. Around Frederick, bear left onto I-70 and head west toward Hagerstown. When you come to I-68, go west through Cumberland. At Route 219, go south through Oakland, Md. The highway leads you, eventually, to Thomas.

WHERE TO STAY: One of the nights we were at the Purple Fiddle (21 East Ave., 304-463-4040, a University of Maryland student was taking a survey of Fiddle-goers because she's thinking of opening up a bed-and-breakfast nearby. There are a few. The most logical place is Fiddler's Roost, which is right next door (same phone and Web site). It's a low-key place also run by John and Kate Bright. Rooms are basic and down-home. There's a bunk room for the visiting bluegrass band, and a parlor for chatting and playing games but no television. You would expect to run into traveling salesman Willie Loman, except he's dead and he's fictional. On the weekend, rooms start at $69. You can also try the Ladybug Bed & Breakfast in Thomas (304-463-3362, It advertises a $100-a-night package that includes art lessons. The lodge at Blackwater Falls State Park, with reasonable rooms and suites, is only three miles away. Info: 304-259-5216,

WHERE TO EAT: The Purple Fiddle kitchen is open 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and to 6 p.m. weekdays. If you want to get away from the fine Fiddle victuals, the restaurant at Blackwater Falls State Park lodge is open year-round. Dinner entrees, such as steak, ham, meatloaf, chicken and lasagna, fall in the $10 to $15 range. The Blue Ridge Restaurant (Route 32, Thomas, 304-463-4291) at the Tally Ho Mountain Lodge is open all day.

WHAT TO DO: If you're looking to get physical, call the folks at Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in St. George, W.Va., about 30 minutes from Thomas. They can point you to the sickest canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking and caving spots in the area. Info: 304-478-3775, For hiking, the Purple Fiddle is at the head of a 30-mile rail trail along Blackwater Canyon, between Thomas and Elkins, W.Va. You may want to catch a weekend perfomance at the Valley Ridge Theatre on Front Street. Call ahead for curtain times (304-463-3365,

INFO: Canaan Valley and Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-782-2775,