A Perfect Three-day Weekend in West Virginia: Harpers Ferry

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A Little About West Virginia

West Virginia is the only state born out of the Civil War and features rich historic museums, exhibits, and battlefields like Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park and John Brown’s Fort.

Known as a state made up of small towns (no city has more than 50,000 people – many of which have been named among “America’s Coolest Small Towns!”), each one is brimming with art galleries, live music, delicious restaurants, and one-of-a-kind local shops.

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

Jefferson County

Just a short distance from Washington D.C. and Baltimore, West Virginia’s Jefferson County, located in the Eastern Panhandle Region, is the perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The county has a variety of historic, scenic, small-town charm, and entertaining outdoor attractions.

In partnership with the West Virginia Department of Tourism and Jefferson County CVB, we got to go on an adventurous road trip to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Day 1: Things to do In and around Harpers Ferry Weekend Itinerary

1st Stop: Jefferson County Welcome Center

Our first stop was the Jefferson County Welcome Center. This is a perfect place to stop for information on where to explore and learn about Jefferson County and West Virginia. From hiking, dining, adventure, historical sites, and more. The staff will point you in the right direction.

2nd Stop: Lunch in Harpers Ferry

Lunch at Rabbit Hole, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Just a few minutes drive from the Jefferson County Welcome Center we had lunch at Rabbit Hole. The restaurant is perched up on the hill on the main road of Harper’s Ferry and overlooks the beautiful mountain views. I recommend sitting outside to take all the views in. Rabbit Hole has a great beer list, the choices are expansive, and if you like local beer, they have tons of it. 

3rd Stop: Shopping in Harpers Ferry

Shopping at downtown Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

After lunch, we checked out the charming shops in Harpers Ferry. If you are looking for souvenirs and gifts to buy for friends and family, I highly recommend checking out Vintage Lady, True Treats, and Tenfold Fair Trade.

4th Stop: Hiking Jefferson Rock and Potomac River in Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock and Potomac River in Harpers Ferry

Jefferson Rock is a Famous Landmark in West Virginia. This is a short hike along the Appalachian Trail and is the very same spot in which Thomas Jefferson stood centuries ago. Here you can view the gorgeous Shenandoah River just before it is joined with the Potomac River. 

To reach Jefferson Rock from Lower Town in Harpers Ferry, locate the stairs between the African American History Museum and the Civil War Museum on High Street. Climb the stairs, pass St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and take the next set of stairs. Continue along the path past the old St. John Episcopal Church until you reach Jefferson Rock. Keep in mind, it’s not an ideal spot if you’re using a wheelchair, stroller, or have physical limitations due to steep stairs and uneven surfaces.

Another must visit landmark is The Point, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet. We then walked across the pedestrian bridge to get to the C&O Canal and stroll along the Potomac River.

Things to remember when spending time outdoors:

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

5th Stop: Dinner in Shepherdstown

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

After exploring Harpers Ferry, it was time for dinner. We went to the Bavarian Inn, Resort, and Brewing Company. It is a European Inspired Boutique Resort overlooking the Potomac River. The service and food were outstanding; the Sausage samplers and Beer Brewed are must-try.

Day 2: Things to do In and around Harpers Ferry Weekend Itinerary

1st Stop: Breakfast in Bolivar

Started the day early, we grabbed some breakfast at Country Cafe. It is a casual, comfortable cafe serving breakfast and lunch where you can enjoy home cooked fare. I definitely recommend trying the omelets and donuts!

2nd Stop: River Rider’s Family Adventure Resort in Harpers Ferry

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

River Riders offers whitewater rafting, tubing, canopy tours/ziplining, aerial forest adventure parks, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, lodging options and fishing adventures on the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers (class I-III) in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. We did the forest adventure park and mega zipline! This is one of the highlights of our trip. We had so much fun and our guide Ryan was amazing!

3rd Stop: Lunch in Harpers Ferry

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

After spending the whole morning at River Riders we stopped by at Yatai Hibachi which was recommended by our guide Ryan. This Food Trailer is only a 2-3 minute drive from River Riders. We loved the Bulgogi Rice and Shrimp Hibachi.

4th Stop: Pedal and Paddle in Shepherdstown

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

Pedal & Paddle is a full-service bike, kayak, and canoe shop providing sales, services, and rentals to locals and visitors. After choosing our bikes, we then headed to the C & O Canal. On the way, we tried the delicious popcorn flavors at Mountaineer Popcorn.

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

Shepherdstown shops to buy gifts and souvenirs: Four Seasons, Books German Street Market, Dickinson & Wait, and On the Wings of Dreams.

5th Stop: Dessert in Shepherdstown 


rock hill creamery Sheperdstown West Virginia

After 2 hours of biking, we cooled down with some homemade ice cream at Rock Hill Creamery. This is right beside Pedal & Paddle so you won’t miss it. I don’t usually finish a scoop of ice cream but the Strawberry Ice Cream was so good I finished it without sharing.


6th Stop: Beer Sampling in Charles Town

abolitionist Ale Works west virginia

We then went to Charles Town for beer sampling at Abolitionist Ale Works. It is a microbrewery, pub and restaurant serving flavorful beers and artisan pizzas. My husband loved their beer and I really enjoyed their Cider and the Beverley Flat.

7th Stop: Dinner in Charles Town

Sumittra Thai Restaurant West Virginia

For dinner, we chose Sumittra which is a few steps away from Abolitionist. The restaurant showcases authentic Thai flavors prepared with classic techniques to enhance the taste, textures, and aesthetic of each dish.

Day 3: Things to do in and around Harpers Ferry Weekend Itinerary

1st Stop: Hiking Maryland Heights via Harpers Ferry

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

Maryland Heights is a great sunset hike with a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry from the main overlook and steeped in Civil War history. But be prepared for the crowds, on nicer days this hike is very busy, so we chose to do it early in the morning. There are several routes to the summit, we did the 4.6 miles out and back. Note that although this is rated moderate, the hike is all uphill. Dogs are allowed on this trail.

If you are not into hiking, but would still want to see some great views, I highly recommend catching the sunrise at Jefferson Rock or The Point.

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway
the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

2nd Stop: Breakfast in Harpers Ferry

the ultimate West Virginia Panhandle Getaway

Battle Grounds Bakery serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches, pastries, bagels, ice cream, specialty coffee and many more. I LOVED their Breakfast Sandwich and Iced Coffee! 

3rd Stop: Weverton Cliffs

Weverton Cliffs isn’t exactly in Harpers Ferry, but it’s just a quick hop across to Maryland, less than a 10-minute drive. Since you’ll be exploring Harpers Ferry, why not throw in a short but fun hike? Once you reach the parking lot, the distance to the overlook is about 1.5 miles. Just a heads up, some parts can be a bit rocky and steep. This trail isn’t stroller-friendly, so make sure to wear shoes or boots with good grip. Keep following the white blazes along the Appalachian Trail, and soon enough, you’ll get to enjoy the view at the overlook.

Wrap up notes:

Nearest Airport:
  • To reach the historic town of Harpers Ferry, the closest airport to the town is Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia. 

Parking:

  • The largest parking lot in Harpers Ferry is located in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitors Center at 171 Shoreline Drive.
  • Metered street parking is available on Potomac Street and along Washington Street. All other streets in Harpers Ferry are resident-only parking. Cash is not accepted at meters. For ease of use, download the ParkMobile app to your cell phone in advance.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Entrance fee:

Meet Sunshine
and Sancho

I’m so glad you’re here (and so is Sancho). I’m Sunshine! A Virginia-based travel enthusiast on the hunt for cozy stays, great views, unique experiences, and dog-friendly adventures. Sancho and I have spent the past 3 years exploring Virginia (and beyond) in order to share our favorite places and uncover hidden gems.

Join us on a journey to get out of our comfort zone, take the road less traveled, and explore alongside our furry family members.

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One Response

  1. Missing out on Kelly’s Farm Kitchen was a Hugh miss – cruelty free dining is the area is the greenest thing you can do!

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