With its nearly 1,400 acres of pristine woodlands and lakes, Tomlinson Run State Park in New Manchester, Hancock County, has get-away-from-it-all appeal, and for good reason.
Located in the northernmost tip of the northernmost county in the state, the park offers its guests a back-to-nature experience that's unrivaled.
"It's the most pristine state park out there," said Dan Greathouse, executive director of the Top of West Virginia Convention & Visitor's Bureau and a Hancock County commissioner. "We have beautiful trails, beautiful topography ... it's really a great way to get away from it all."
The park has the usual amenities — a swimming area, paddleboating, miniature golf, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as picnic shelters, a 54-site campground (39 with electrical hookups for trailers) with bathhouses and a laundry, and a group camp site.
There's also a wilderness area replete with hills, trees and wildflowers, along with miles and miles of trails for walking and biking, plus more than 33 acres of ponds and lakes stocked with bass, catfish, bluegill and trout.
Campers can bring their own equipment or rent from the park, subject to availability.
"The campground is packed all the time with people who just want to get away," Greathouse said. "A lot of people prefer tent camping."
Every July the park hosts a pre-1840s encampment and Civil War encampment — a realistic representation of life more than 150 years ago. It also hosts educational programs, such as the "Wings of Wonder/Birds of Prey" demonstration in August courtesy of Wonderful West Virginia magazine and the Three Rivers Avian Society, and an old-time fair in September.
And if you get homesick for WiFi hookups and the sounds of civilization, MTR Gaming's Mountaineer racetrack and casino and an executive golf course are just minutes away.
"The park is just a great draw," Greathouse said. "Unless you go visit, you don't recognize how many people use it, but the pool's one of the top one or two in West Virginia. There's no fancy lodge, but it's quiet and peaceful — just a great place to get away from it all."