The Potomac Highlands region is in eastern West Virginia. Like the name of the region suggests the two dominant features are the Potomac River and the Appalachian Mountains providing hiking and rafting opportunities throughout the region. Scenery and history abound and they aren't hard to find. Two of America's Scenic Byways traverse the region leading travelers into the wilderness or to important locations in George Washington's life. The beauty of the surroundings inspires artists and pockets of creativity can be found throughout the region. However, the Potomac Highlands isn't just winding rivers and tree topped peaks. This region has its share of small towns, main streets, and family owned businesses you can't find anywhere else.
While this region isn't officially subdivided on this website, it is important to note that there is a drastic geographic change from east to west. The eastern counties in the panhandle are known for rolling/jagged hills that give them a strong agricultural feel while the western counties lay claim to some of the tallest mountains in the eastern United States. Highlighting this contrast, both the highest point in the state (Spruce Knob - 4,863 ft) and the lowest point in the state (Potomac River at Virginia border - 240 ft) can be found in the Potomac Highlands. There is a drastic change in population between east and west too. The eastern two counties of Jefferson and Berkeley are home to more people (approx. 168,400) than the other 9 counties combined (approx. 128,400). Given this change, the type of activities, restaurants, etc. will be different in the eastern counties compared to the rest of the region.
The Potomac Highlands of West Virginia is a large region comprised of 11 counties. This region is filled with hills and mountains that provide remarkable beauty, but at the same time make travel by land difficult. Counties that may seem close on a map can be much more distant as far as travel time, and some areas in West Virginia are more closely related and connected to nearby cities in neighboring states. Mountains that run north/south that have been barriers during the Civil War are still barriers today and they continue to limit east/west travel options. For example, the Appalachian Mountains and I-81 (this region's only interstate highway) make it easier to travel between Martinsburg, WV and Hagerstown, MD rather than Berkely Springs, WV. However, this lack of interstate highways provides for more relaxed, scenic travel along smaller highways and county roads. It is worth noting that a trip from Harper's Ferry on the eastern tip of the region to Marlington in the southwest of the region may take 4 hours by car almost extensively through the state of Virginia. Trying to make the trip between these two towns while staying within WV will take you an extra hour.
One of the best ways to experience the Potomac Highlands is to leave the main roads behind and travel along the more local roads. They provide spectacular off the beaten path views or winding roads clinging to pristine creeks and rivers. While some roads are more spectacular than others, each winding Potomac Highlands road has its moments.
The Potomac Highlands region has no airports with commercial flights and has no cities served by long distance bus service. The best ways to enter the region are by car or train. If you are traveling from far away, the closest airports would be Dulles International Airport west of Washington, D.C. about an hour drive from Harpers Ferry or the Morgantown Municipal Airport in Morgantown, WV about 2 hours from Elkins. If you are flying in and you would like to get in by rail, the Ronald Reagan National Airport also in Washington, DC has an adjacent Metro station where you can then use the Yellow Line and then the Red Line to connect with Amtrak in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station.
Getting in to the eastern panhandle's largest city Martinsburg can be accomplished easily by traveling on interstate I-81. To travel to any of the smaller towns in the eastern section of this region you will have to leave the interstate highways.
Getting in to the western section of this region can be a little more difficult and requires leaving the familiar interstate highways.
For the most unique entrance to this region, exit I-68 in Cumberland Maryland onto MD SR 51. Drive east on SR 51 for approximately 15 miles to Oldtown, MD. Turn south onto Green Springs Rd. toward Green Springs, WV and cross the Oldtown Historic Toll Bridge. It is one of a few private toll bridges left in the country. You will cross the North Branch Potomac river on an all wooden bridge that is not far above the water below. Cars/Trucks/Vans $1.50 per crossing, Motorcycles $0.50 per crossing, Tractor-Trailer/Buses - $6 and pedestrians and bicycle are FREE. For more information you can call the Oldtown Toll Bridge at (301) 478-5500 
The best way to get around the Potomac Highlands is to drive. Cites and landmarks worth seeing in this region are spread out making travel by car ideal. If you are traveling in the region, consider driving along the two Scenic Byways. The Washington Heritage Trail  crosses the three eastern counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan and the Highland Scenic Highway is in the southwest part of this region in Pocahontas County near Marlinton.
There are some forms of public transportation (see below), but they don't provide frequent service typical of major public transportation systems. The public transportation maps, schedules, and bus stop signage are not meant for people foreign to this region. Neither is the service, since it generally travels to shopping plazas, local hospitals, or major employers. In case it is helpful or necessary, here are the regional public transportation providers.
Civil War History
National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV
Celebrate Fasnacht in Helvetia, WV. This is a holiday with Swiss roots celebrated before Ash Wednesday (Mardi Gras's Fat Tuesday) that culminates with the burning of Old Man Winter. Participants create intricate paper mache masks for a parade through town and a masked ball.
The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV
Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepard University and the Shepherdstown Film Society both in Shepherdstown, WV
Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton, WV
American Mountain Theater in Elkins, WV
The Old Opera House in Charles Town, WV
Apollo Theatre in Martinsburg, WV
Hollywood Casino and Racetrack in Charles Town, WV - Watch exciting horse races, play slots or table games, or just stop in for the restaurants and entertainment. Liver horse racing takes place year round (almost every week) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and on some Wednesdays with typical start times of 7:00 PM. Charles Town Race Track hosts three major events each year; the Charles Town Classic (Late April), the Race for the Ribbon, and the West Virginia Breeders' Classic (Fall).
Summit Point Motorsports Park  Racing track complex with spectator events and driver training/practice from beginners to professionals on 3 different road course circuits. Located about 20 minutes southwest of Charles Town in Summit Point, WV.
Tuscarora Trail  This is a long distance hiking trail that crosses the West Virginia Potomac Highlands Region in two different locations. The Tuscarora was originally created in the 1960's as an alternate route for the Appalachian Trail. Separated into sections on the trail website, Sections 11-13 cross West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle in Morgan and Berkeley counties for approximately 32 miles. The majority of sections 11-13 lies within the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area. Sections 16-18 straddle the border of WV and VA on Great North Mountain for approximately 14 miles in Hampshire and Hardy counties east of Capon Springs before spending around 8 miles completely in Hardy County south of Wardensville. Sections 16-18 travel through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
Greenbrier River Trail  A 78 mile long state park for hiking and biking. The trail begins in the north in Cass and extends into the New River and Greenbrier Valley Region of West Virginia, ending in Caldwell. The trail follows the old path of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and includes two former railroad tunnels. Sharp's Tunnel, immediately followed by a crossing of the Greenbrier River, is in the north near Seneca State Forest.
Wine, Beer, and Spirits
This is not a full list of lodging in the entire region but it does provide a good idea of where hotels can be found and what type of hotels you can find in the different towns. The towns are listed from east to west beginning with Harper's Ferry. The two locations with the highest concentration and diversity of options are the eastern two counties of Jefferson and Berkely (Harpers Ferry, Charles Town, and Martinsburg) and the ski resort area of Canaan Valley near Davis and Thomas.
Martinsburg and I-81 Corridor
Be careful while driving on mountain roads. The weather can be unpredictable and can change very quickly. The current weather may be fine in the valley, but the weather in higher elevations can be much different. Rain, snow, fog, and high winds can catch you off guard when you reach the top of a local mountain in the Potomac Highlands, and windy roads can combine with treacherous weather to create difficult driving. Additionally, high winds and just a small snowfall may create large snowdrifts.
Be careful when hiking during hunting season.