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Bags Packed?: Consider Tucker County, West Virginia

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When it comes to collecting Washingtonian dollars, the D.C. Department of Tourism has real competition from West Virginia's Potomac Highlands.

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That's not to say there's a lack of things to do inside the Beltway, but if you're looking for a bit of nature, concrete-free surroundings, and pure excitement, the District falls short compared to Tucker County, West Virginia. If travelers take scenic U.S. Route 48 (US 48 or Corridor H), Tucker County is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Beltway.

There are many places to visit there: the cities of Thomas, and Davis (which are two miles apart); the Blackwater Falls State Park, and the Canaan Valley Resort State Park; along with the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Monongahela National Forest, and the Dolly Sods Wilderness. These attractions can be used year-round.

“Canaan Valley is more than just a winter hang out," Bill Smith, director of the Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau mentioned. "We get thousands of visitors because there are fantastic things to do in the area all year long; and when the current phase of U.S. 48 is completed, we anticipate even more visitors."

Another resident of the county said there's a lot hinging on Corridor H.

Why using US 48 is important? Outside of cutting travel time from D.C. to that part of West Virginia in half; there's more than 1000 historic structures, five historic districts, two Civil War battlefields and a few other archaeological sites within five miles of the iconic thoroughfare. US 48 will be a 148 miles [when completed] that runs east-west from northern Virginia to central West Virginia.

US 48 is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, and when Phase 3 is complete in late 2014 the new road will come within two miles of Thomas. Other major roadways through the county are: U.S. Highway 219, West Virginia Route 38, West Virginia Route 32, West Virginia Route 72, West Virginia Route 93, and West Virginia Route 90.

The county has a population of 7,141, according to the 2010 census, and the city of Parsons serves as it's county seat. It's the second-least populated county in West Virginia, but what it lacks in people population, it easily makes up for in square milage of breath-taking views.

Tucker County was established on March 7, 1856, through the Virginia General Assembly, by reforming part of Randolph County, which was then part of Virginia; and in 1871, Tucker County received a small part of Barbour County. It was called "Tucker County" to honor Henry St. George Tucker, Sr., a judge and Congressman originally from Williamsburg, Virginia.

You can learn more about the Tucker County Convention & Visitors Bureau by checking out, http://www.canaanvalley.org.

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