If you’re looking for a spring escape, look no further. Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia are only an hour-and-a-half drive away, and each offers a day of adventure for the travel bug on a budget. In these, two of the most dog-friendly spots I’ve visited, my pup and I were welcomed with open doors, smiling faces and beautiful hilltop views.
As a native Midwesterner, hometown visitors often comment on how hilly Baltimore is. But let me tell you –Virginia offers some serious competition. I felt like a kid again, when I used to close my eyes in the backseat and feel my stomach drop as we descended rolling hills. Shepherdstown, named One of America’s Coolest Small Towns by Budget Travel, is the answer to your weekend prayers. With a history dating back to the Civil War and contemporary shops and restaurants, it’s got a little something for everyone.
It’s also home to Shepherd University, which gives it a youthful feel. It was quiet on a Thursday, which was fitting with the laidback vibes it gave off. My pup was welcome in nearly every store, much to my delight (and fellow browsers’).
On a whim, after strolling the streets of Shepherdstown, we headed to Harpers Ferry, and boy am I glad we did. After just one visit, I think it’s safe to say that it’s now one of my favorite spots. Situated on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, I felt right at home among outdoor enthusiasts and those simply seeking a day’s escape. The stone walls, grand church, and green pastures made me feel as if I were strolling through the English countryside. You don’t even have to go in the shops or restaurants to admire the scenery that surrounds them, but there are plenty if it’s a souvenir you seek.
Harpers Ferry also boasts 20 miles of hiking trails and is where three of the most popular intersect: the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and the Potomac Heritage Trail. We didn’t go on any hikes this time, but it’s on my mental calendar to come back for one in the summer. Instead, we walked along the water’s edge and crossed the bridge over the Potomac for some incredible views.
The sun was shining by the end of our visit, and I left feeling excited for the next. Whether this month or the summer months to come, these spots are worthy of a day or weekend away, made all the more so by the cascading hills welcoming you to West Virginia.
Harpers Ferry: https://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm
Actually, that bridge over the Potomac is the Appalachian Trail.