The Road to Appalachia

The Road to Appalachia


Prep work and driving to Appalachian Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia


By Giles Kennedy

Family and Travel Columnist


With recent restrictions lessening in Ohio, Columbus Wired continues their  goal to bring you fresh content and ideas for family trips.

Last year, we visited Walt Disney World.

Due to budget constants and travel restrictions to some states; the thought was to stay close to home.

Myself, my wife Tanya and a growing young lady (my daughter) agreed on West Virginia.

Heading there already was a bit of a challenge.

Heavy construction was on Interstate 70. Some folks are not driving politely. These factors would sway the faint of heart driver to stay home.

Not our family.

My wife; currently in the healthcare industry, has been forced to work from home by her employer. My current employer is a million square fulfillment center; working on their safety team. My daughter is having some interaction with neighborhood kids; but has not been outside much.

We wanted outside.

Planning a trip to the Upper Potomac Valley, Cass Scenic Railroad, Lewisburg, and the New River Gorge was the perfect solution.

We already covered how to travel safely in previous travel articles this summer. Let’s go over where and how to stay for accommodations.

Check the state/area COVID-19 levels and cases

I know that some states have higher cases, others do not. Be mindful of their travel regulations, restrictions and policies.

This is not feeding the fear. This keeps you and your loved ones safe.


      1.If booking hotels and resorts; check their protocol.

I am currently a Choice Rewards member (Choice, Quality, Clarion Inns and Hotels). Each place you’re staying; don’t be afraid to call ahead. Some places don’t even have pools open or restricted on continental breakfast. This allows you to plan accordingly so you, your better half and whatever kids or relatives can be aware. 


     2. Any attractions, areas, and states; check their COVID-19 case records.

Keeping you and your loved ones safe is priority #1. High COVID-19 cases in areas should be avoided.

This doesn’t, however, keep you from traveling.

Take our trip for instance.

Studying West Virginia’s Health Department website, plus updates we were interested in, made this easier to plan.


         3. Have a travel itinerary.

A loose plan is better than no plan at all. You can always change a stop or destination. 

Surprises can come along our route; as well,


On our way to Martinsburg/Harpers Ferry, W.VA; we traveled a portion of US 40. 

This was the first National Road, allowing explorers and settlers to go from Cumberland, MD to territories west.

We stumbled on a small yet important battlefield.

A young George Washington, as a British officer, fended off French and Indian forces at Fort Necessity. It is a National Historical Battlefield nestled in the Laurel Highlands of Southern Pennsylvania.

Many visitors to this area know it for biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.  Fort Necessity was a wonderful surprise and break on our road trip.


The visitors center and battleground; off US 40, has been opened back up. Although the actual fort is small; the visitors center has a display walk through.

It follows native American settlements, European exploration, the battle Washington fought in, plus early history of the National Road.


It is these gems; if you open your eyes, you will discover.


Side note. My daughter, Hannah, found a piece of wood. She made it into a primitive knife and named it “Timmy”.

Who knew watching a live musket demonstration would spark her frontier spirit,

As you should explore with your family and loved ones. Don’t feed the fear and discover new things.



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