Make Historic Hinton, WV your Secret Getaway
West Virginia is full of secrets. Tucked into the hills and hollers of this lesser-known state are the stories of battles with the Shawnee and Cherokee, Civil War hideouts, the long-gone glory days of boomtowns reaping the benefits of the Industrial Revolution’s demand for coal and timber. There is a sense in many of West Virginia’s little towns that if you can get quiet enough, sit still long enough, the stories will tell themselves.
One of the best places to get away from the city bustle and daily grind is historic Hinton, WV. Whether you’re planning a trip in advance or you need a last minute escape, here are a few of the many reasons Hinton is at the top of our Secret Getaway list.
You’ve probably heard stories of West Virginia’s wild and wonderful backroads. Sure, locals call them highways, but if you’re from a place where you have access to a roadway with six lanes (or more!) you’re in for a surprise. One of only ways to get to Hinton is to exit I-64 and take Route 20 up and around the mountains and down into the New River Gorge. Yes, up, around, and down are operative words, here.
The views along the way are gorgeous. There’s an overlook or two where you’ll want to be sure to grab a shot for Instagram and see the bald eagle nest on Brooks Island. Only those willing to travel off the beaten interstate ever reap the rewards. All of this is to say that much of Hinton’s charm lies in the fact that it truly is an undiscovered gem.
Preservation and Restoration
Once you find your way to Hinton, you’ll discover this town has a real knack for preserving the history of the place without sacrificing modern convenience and style. Much of the architecture of downtown Hinton dates to the 19th and early 20th century when the town was linked to points east and west by the C&O Railroad. At one time, railcars heavy with coal headed out of Hinton into the cities and money flooded back in. Grand hotels, theatres, and estates were erected in many towns that today seem too small to contain them.
Nonetheless, the buildings remain long after the fickle economy moved on to new technologies. In some lucky towns, like Hinton, forward-thinking leaders and benefactors saw the wisdom in preservation and benefit in restoration for the purpose of tourism.
With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure to visit some of the historic spots while you’re in town. As a matter of fact, the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. But, specifically, theMcCreery Conference and Event Center, built in 1907 as a hotel, boasts original tile, magnificent columns and intricate woodworking, all accented by modern décor and amenities for large events of all sorts. Another gem worth discovering is the Ritz Theatre. This circa-1929 theatre shows new releases via a modern digital projector but visitors will feel they’ve stepped back into the days of Prohibition and flappers dancing the Charleston.
Access to Adventure
Another benefit of Hinton’s remote location is its proximity to some of West Virginia’s best outdoor adventures. Hinton is situated on the banks of the New River at the Bluestone Dam which creates the Bluestone Lake. Explore the lake on a duckie or stand-up paddleboard available to rent locally.
For those looking for a wilder adventure, we recommend white water rafting on the New River or ziplining with Pipestem Peaksat Pipestem State Park. The kids will love a day at Wild Water Expressand you definitely don’t want to miss Sandstone Falls. Make a stop at Sandstone Visitors Center, just off the exit from I-64, to learn about the natural and cultural history of the New River. Explore Summers County can help to plan your trip. No matter your preference for adventure, a trip to Hinton can include day hikes, fishing, and plenty of sightseeing.
The best part is you’ll feel like you’ve discovered a secret place just for yourself. For the best night’s sleep on your getaway, book a suite at The Guest House right in the heart of Hinton.