Every time I return to West Virginia I am awe-struck by its beauty and uninhibited nature. I love driving through the mountains and seeing the mist settle between them, the winding road, and the sense of wonderment and excitement as I approach my destination.
Last Fall, My Town had the pleasure of visiting several small towns in Southern West Virginia (see article here). The experience stayed with me, and I decided this was an area to continue to explore. As fate would have it, I was contacted by a local business owner and My Town reader while deciding where my destination would be. The result, planning a trip to the small towns of Madison & Danville WV, known for its outdoor adventure on a scale unlike any other.
The Hatfield and McCoy Trail Systems Are Connecting Small Towns!!
Over the past 25 years, West Virginia’s Tourism Planners in various roles across the state have been creating something spectacular; The Hatfield and McCoy Trails. The Hatfield and McCoy Trails are now a haven for ATV, UTV’s, and dirt bikes. With over 1,000 miles of professionally managed trails, this trail system brings in adventurers from all over the country and international travel. The Trails are named after a bitter family feud that took place over 150 years ago in the Tug River Valley; and are located in the beautiful Southern West Virginia Mountains.
The Trails encompass a total of ten individual trails, each one unique and offering its own amenities. The coolest part about these trails? They are all interconnected and and connect the small towns housing the amenities as well.
One of The Best Values For Adventure In The Country!
Another huge perk- the permit for out-of-state visitors is only $50 for an entire year! So, you can ride the trails as much as you want all year long!
The scale that has been achieved for these trail systems is massive. I truly was blown away by the scale, yet how the small town atmosphere is present everywhere. This is because the trails have created another great activity; visiting the connected small towns in Southern West Virginia.
So how do you get started? Go to the website and figure out which trails you want to ride, then take a look at the lodging options and amenities for those trails. My Town started at the Ivy Branch Trail. This trail system is only minutes from West Virginia’s capital, Charleston, and has a great lodging option with Mountain Mama Lodging. Don’t have an ATV/UTV? No problem, there are plenty of places to rent. The trails are open 365 days a year, so pick your small town destination to ride now!
Where to Stay In the Madison-Danville Area
As aforementioned, the Hatfield and McCoy Trails have detailed lodging and amenities per trail area. But My Town had the opportunity to stay at “The Trailhouse” of Mountain Mama Lodging, near Ivy Branch Trailhead & Hatfield and McCoy Welcome Center. The Trailhouse is a newly renovated home. It has has all the personality, cleanliness, and amenities you need for your Ivy Branch adventure. The owners are incredibly hospitality-minded and are invested in the success of your stay. I loved how I was able to plan several activities for my trip, just by talking with Paula of Mountain Mama Lodging.
Besides being in a great location for Ivy Branch, the number one reason you should stay at The Trailhouse is The Amount of Space! The Trailhouse offers four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, and even a two car garage for your ATVs! (If you bring your own). The back bathroom has a lovely soaking tub, and there is a great fire pit with provided firewood in your private back yard.
Whether you are coming with a group of friends or family, you will have plenty of room to spread out, relax, and enjoy the comfort of this eclectically decorated home. The family that owns this location is also involved in a boutique shop in downtown Madison. So, you’ll see when visiting where the love for décor comes from, while exploring the small town scenery.
You’re in Coal Country
It is no secret that when you’re in West Virginia, you’re in Coal County. And this profession has a long-standing history worthy of exploring. In Madison, the best place to do this is at The Coal Heritage Museum. The Museum showcases the history of Coal, its workers, and the communities the industry created. What My Town loved best was the hands-on aspects of the museum. Real coal tools and made for exploring displays that give you an idea of what coal mining was all about. Favorite experience was exploring the Boone County Coal Mine No. 2. See Video Here.
The Hatfield & McCoy Trails are not the only adventure trails you can do when staying in the Madison-Danville area of West Virginia. There are also water trails, such as the Coal River Waterways!
Separated into The Big and Little parts of the Coal River; this water trail system snakes through Boone and Kanawha Counties, and its small towns of Madison, Danville, and St. Albans.
Your journey of the Coal River begins at The Coal River Center (run by a nonprofit- The Coal River Group). Here you can see what Water Trail you want to explore, rent a kayak, or go out with an experienced guide. You can also do a Driving Tour of the Water Trail if kayaking is not your thing. Go see beautiful landmarks along the Coal River and destination small town locations.
A great spot to drive to while exploring is Drawdy Falls. It’s about a twenty-minute drive from the Madison-Danville area.
Entrepreneur/Small Town Spotlight
Not only are you going to love the products being produced on-site by the small town company of Appalachian Botanical Co., but you will love their mission. Appalachian Botanical Co. “Is growing opportunity in the Mountain State” by employing those who need a second chance. Their mission is this: “We are building a profitable botanical enterprise that puts West Virginians and reclaimed coal mine land back to work. Some call this a “triple bottom line” business model, where positive impacts on people, profit, and the planet are valued equally” (https://appalachianbotanical.com/pages/about-us)
What an amazing mission! To discuss this, My Town had the opportunity to talk with Marina Sawyer, who is an expert in product formulations. Marina explained how the process of making Appalachian Botanical products starts right in their on-site lavender fields. Their fields are on nearly 40 acres and growing. Marina continued to explain how Appalachian Botanical Co. is proud to be a second chance facility. Their products are changing lives by putting West Virginians back to work.
The Process and Products
Once the staff of Appalachian Botanicals harvest lavender and/or other ingredients out of the fields; all the products are formulated and bottled on-site. Products now include body oils, creams, mists, men’s, women’s, and pet lines, culinary products, and even home décor.
My Town had the opportunity to try several products including: Lavender Mist, Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray, Lavender- Sage Bath & Massage Oil, Lavender Honey, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, & Organic Lavender Cream! I can tell you these products are authentically wonderful. My favorite since the trip has definitely been the Bath Oil and the Cream for an evening to myself. You must make Appalachian Botanical a stop on your Madison-Danville adventure. Not just for some great take-home items but to support a mission in Mountain State.
MTT Antique and Market Finds of Madison- Danville
Great Antique Shops, Boutiques, and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This can include Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and The Like! Here a a few of My Town’s Favorite Finds from the Small Towns of Madison & Danville.
Chloe’s Closet (Antiques and fun finds)
K’BO’S ( Ice Cream, Hotdogs, Wood-Fired Pizza, and just about every other kind of food you can think of!)
Tropical Sno (unique drive-thru/walk-up for coffee and Dole Whip)
Additional Activities To Enjoy In Madison- Danville Area
(Courtesy of Mountain Mama Lodging)
- IVY BRANCH TRAIL– 4.7 miles to the Hatfield McCoy Trail. https://trailsheaven.com/
- ATV, Jeep, SXS, UTV, or 4×4 RIDING– Minutes from trail riding in the West Virginia Mountains.
- KAYAKING– 1 mile to the Coal River Water Trail. Kayaks can be delivered DIRECTLY to you during your stay.
- SWIMMING– less than 5 miles to Water Ways Outdoor Water Park.
- FISHING- Rent fishing rods, buy bait, and get tips on where to fish at our local bait and tackle shop in town.
- HUNTING AND FISHING- 40 minutes to the small Mud River Lake for fishing and hunting opportunities.
- SHOPS, RESTAURANTS, GAS STATIONS– Several within minutes to the towns of Madison and Danville.
- CHARLESTON, WV– Less than 30 minutes drive to shopping, attractions, minor league baseball, airport, cultural recreation, and businesses.
- SOUTHRIDGE CENTER and TRACE FORK– South Charleston 20 minutes to the movie theater, Cabela’s, Dicks, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Marshall’s, Lowe’s, & restaurants.
- SKEET SHOOTING– Within a few minutes drive to WV Clays, Inc.
- STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING-A guided stand-up paddleboard tour at Kanawha Falls, slide down rocks at the falls, swim behind the falls. About an hour away but a great adventure (check out my Town’s visit to this location here).
A Note From My Town & Madison – Danville Photo Gallery
We hope you enjoyed this article on Small Town Places to Visit! My Town visits are based on exploring and discovery as a first-time visitor and promoting the unique assets small towns have to offer.
How Can you Promote Your Small Town??
Want My Town to visit your town? Contact Us to see how we can promote your unique offerings on Social, in Newsletters, on our Podcast, and on our Websites. Are you a Small Town Tourism Organization, Business, or Traveler? Head over to our Facebook page and ask to join our Private Group- Small Town Places to Visit. We are excited to be launching this new page where we are Connecting Small Towns and Visitors.
Join Our Small Town Directory!
In addition, we offer great opportunities to Join as a Promotional Member of My Town for less than $10 a month through our Directory & S.T.E.P ( Small Town Enthusiast Partner Programs). There are options for Tourism Organizations & Small Town Businesses! Click Here To Join!
And don’t forget you can always Post your Small Town Events for Free on the Small Town National Calendar!
You May Also Like These Small Town Articles
- The Dolphin Bar And Shrimp House:
The Local Favorite – Dock & Dine – Can't-Miss Experience in Small Town Jensen Beach, FL.
- Top Seven Reasons To Stay At Deer Creek State Park Lodge
Lasting Memories For Incredible Value
- Augusta, Kentucky Your New Favorite River Town
- My Town’s Top Six Health Benefits Of Travel