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The new West Virginia Vacation Guide is a travel inspiration magazine dedicated to promoting the state. This year’s guide is a special edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Jim Justice unveiled the new West Virginia Vacation Guide, a travel inspiration magazine to promote the state.

Southern West Virginia — in particular, the Hatfield and McCoy Mountains in Mingo and Logan counties — was recognized as one of the state’s top travel destinations for tourists.

The 128-page special section guides readers to begin their journey to the Hatfield and McCoy Mountains in Williamson by visiting the Coal House and the historic Mountaineer Hotel before grabbing a bite to eat at 34:Ate and hitting the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System for some high-thrills fun at the nearby Buffalo Mountain Trailhead.

From there, the guide recommends to park the ATV back in Williamson and head on the winding US 119 northeast to Logan County to check out Chief Logan State Park.

While in Logan County, travelers are recommended to stop to eat at Morrison’s Drive Inn and then head for dessert at nearby Nu-Era Bakery before heading on WV Route 44 toward Gilbert to visit the Hatfield and McCoy Moonshine Distillery, which is the only legal moonshine distillery in Mingo County.

After trying Devil Anse’s “white lightning,” the journey says to make the short drive through the winding roads to the nearby history-rich town of Matewan.

While in Matewan check out the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum to explore the struggles that took place as miners fought for rights in the early 1900s.

To round out the trip, the guide suggests to take the hour-long Hatfield and McCoy Airboat Tour down the Tug River between West Virginia and Kentucky led by local Keith Gibson.

This year’s guide is a special edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

“I’ve been saying it since the first day I took office: John Denver surely got it right when he coined ‘Almost Heaven, West Virginia.’ The song is a perfect love letter to our great state, and one that so many know by heart,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m so proud of this new guide. It showcases our four beautiful seasons, unmatched outdoor activities and several of our incredible small mountain towns.”

Work on the 2021 Vacation Guide had begun prior to the pandemic, however, the guide’s focus shifted slightly as new travel trends emerged showing the post-COVID traveler’s desire for road trips, outdoor recreation and crowd-free small towns.

These trends align with not only the experiences West Virginia has to offer visitors, but also the anniversary of Denver’s beloved tune. The new guide focuses heavily on road trips across the Mountain State.

“As soon as we saw the research on road trips, we knew we had the perfect pitch,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “Summer road trips in West Virginia lead to destinations where folks can reconnect with what’s been missing over the past year. It’s the same sense of longing people feel each time they hear ‘Country Roads.’ ”

The 2021 Vacation Guide was produced in partnership with Meredith Travel Marketing, a leading publisher that produces Southern Living, Real Simple and Parents.

More than 100,000 West Virginia Vacation Guides will be included with subscriber copies of Southern Living, Real Simple and Parents magazines to encourage summer road trips to the Mountain State.

The Vacation Guide also features interactive content with the use of QR codes throughout. When scanned, codes bring the guides to life in a digital format and unlock exclusive content such as new covers of “Country Roads” by West Virginia artists and travel inspiration from more than 50 tourism partners.

“Our goal was to create a new marketing piece that helps visitors plan their trip whenever they may be ready. Spring, summer, winter or fall — you’ll find travel tips and ideas for all seasons,” Ruby said. “By adding interactive components, we will continue to update and share new content with prospective travelers all year long.”

To request a copy of the special edition West Virginia Vacation guide, visit wvtourism.com.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.

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