Located in the upper center of the state alongside the Buckhannon River is the historic city of Buckhannon, West Virginia. Here, this quaint county seat is surrounded by rich scenery, historic buildings, and many unique offerings for a memorable trip. One of the best traits is that there is a fair amount of historical and modern attractions to enjoy. Ranging from exciting community events to outdoor recreational opportunities.
The West Virginia Strawberry Festival
Each spring Buckhannon is home to the state’s annual strawberry festival. The event combines their love for harvesting this fruity favorite with exciting carnival rides. In addition, arts and crafts exhibits, live entertainment, and many more opportunities for family fun.
What is unique about this festival is that it has been around since 1936, ending only for WWII. The festival is now a weeklong celebration since taking a brief break. For eight whole days, you can look forward to fun parades. In addition, there will be food vendors serving up the freshest strawberry treats, a gift shop, and more. If you love fresh berries and community fun, you have to check out the annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival.
Audra State Park
What can be better than a peaceful hike through a lush state park? Buckhannon is home to Audra State Park, one of the area’s most celebrated natural areas. One of the biggest draws to the park is the Middle Fork River, which provides swimming and kayaking opportunities.
Alum Cave and its surrounding exterior boardwalk offer stunning views of the park. High up on the ledge, you can see much of what Mother Nature has to offer. In addition to great hiking opportunities, visitors can also find picnic areas, as well as an impressive campsite. If you love the great outdoors, then you should certainly explore Audra State Park.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Those brave souls looking for a spookier historical offering will love a trip to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Constructed during the late 1800s and designed to hold 250 patients is the historic medical facility. At its peak in the 1950s, there were approximately 2,400 patients living in tight, terrible conditions.
Formally closed in 1994, this unique historical attraction is allegedly haunted. In order to provide different forms of exploration, you’ll have the opportunity to take a Ghost Tour during both the daytime and evening time. The asylum is the largest hand cut masonry building in North America and is second internationally only to the Kremlin in Russia.
This site does a great job of restoring this expansive four-floor asylum, as well as offering a variety of exciting and educational tour types. The Heritage Tour, offered Tuesday through Sunday, which includes a tour of the first floor, two health wards, and the Civil War Section. An expanded four-floor tour is available, as are separate tours of the Cemetery and Farm, as well as VIP tours.
Those brave enough to face the shadows of the asylum will want to take the guided tour at night or book their paranormal investigative tours. Also, many alleged hot spots for spirits and each tour offers a dedicated 8 hour stays in the major areas. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to take a tour during the day or evening.
The West Virginia State Wildlife Center
This local zoological park can be found just 12 miles south of Buckhannon’s downtown district. Here, visitors can learn and observe much of the native wildlife of the area. Visitors pass through a 1.25-mile trail that cuts through a hardwood forest in a peaceful yet expansive viewing area.
Here, you will see a variety of species resting comfortably in extensive environmental enclosures, not cages. As a result, the animals seem more like you would expect if you were to catch a glimpse of them out in the wild as they interact naturally with their surroundings.
This park is opened all year round, and a few seasonal specialty events can be enjoyed as well. February 2nd brings about the Annual Groundhog Day Celebration, as well as the possibility of a few more weeks of winter. Early June has the National Hiking Trails Day celebration, encouraging visitors to hike the Old Oak Trail, or if you are feeling especially adventurous, set up camp there as well. In the fall hayrides can be enjoyed, and Spooky Night Tours are offered in late October.
Historic Downtown Buckhannon
In addition to being the home of the annual Strawberry Festival, the historic downtown district is an attraction in its right. Formally obtaining a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, this hub for everything happening offers an easy glimpse into the city’s past.
Red brick buildings line the street and offer a variety of local businesses, restaurants, and unique shopping opportunities. Nearly 60 buildings make up the majority of commerce, as well as public offerings as well. Many community events are held in the downtown area, and some of the more historic buildings date as far back as the 1800s. No matter where your trip takes you, local history is always right around the corner.