Christmas lights glistening in the snow, town squares with decorated trees, and Christmas carolers singing familiar melodies echoing through the streets. A few snowflakes falling put you in the mood for a joyous celebration. Holly jolly holiday towns that remind you of the ones you see in a Hallmark movie — these are the type of towns you find in West Virginia, where the country roads lead to home.
Let’s take a look at a few of the notable towns in West Virginia where visiting feels like you’re in a Hallmark movie.
1. Capon Bridge
The festive town of Capon Bridge is tucked into a peaceful valley west of Bear Garden Mountain and overlooks the beautiful sparkling Cacapon River. A tiny town featuring lovely local businesses and historic architecture, the friendly people are its biggest asset.
Each year, the community comes together for Light Up Capon Bridge. The event is normally held on the first Saturday in December and kicks off with an old-fashioned parade. The tree lighting, Santa visits, and other festivities follow.
Christmas Tree Forest is another community initiative and invites businesses and organizations to decorate a tree alongside other community-decorated trees.
In 2022, there are two Christmas Tree Forests! The Christmas Tree Forests are available for everyone to view every through the New Year. The forest of trees at the library features trees decorated by local students; the forest of trees at the fire hall pavilion feature trees decorated by clubs, businesses, and organizations.
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The River House in Capon Bridge hosts a Holiday Artisans Market, a wreath-making workshop, and more.
There is something for everyone in Capon Bridge. Check it out and learn why it could be the setting of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
West Virginia’s oldest town, Romney, serves as the county seat and hosts Christmas in Romney. Nestled in the beautiful rolling hills, Romney is rich in history, culture, and Christmas cheer. With a population of 1,707 people, everyone gets involved in the holiday celebration. Picture a charming small town, a giant tree decorated with carolers singing, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a train going by as it heads out for a breathtaking winter wonderland excursion on the Potomac River. It sure sounds like a Hallmark movie town to me.
The season starts with “Bringing of the Greens,” where everyone in town brings cuttings and other natural items to make wreaths and garlands. They are used around town, and families are invited to make a wreath to display at home. The first Friday in December starts with a cookie crawl and business open house, followed by the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the courthouse and the lighting of the Festival of Trees. The Festival of Trees is sponsored and decorated by local businesses, families, and civic organizations. The trees are on display and can be viewed from the beginning of December through the first of January.
Christmas in Romney will include decorating the courthouse, local businesses, and the town Christmas tree. Businesses will be adorned with lights and decorations and ready for shoppers to shop and pick up locally hand-crafted items.
The Potomac Eagle/North Pole Express will return this year and take riders for a 75-minute ride to the “North Pole,” where Santa will board the train.
This year, on the second Saturday in December, Romney will be alive starting with breakfast with Santa and gingerbread-house making at the local fire hall. The day continues with the Romney Christmas Parade and a Christkindl Market. New this year is a Chili Cook-Off, where contestants will enter their best chili recipes and be awarded prizes including a People’s Choice award. Horse-drawn sleigh rides will also be offered this weekend beginning Friday and running through Sunday.
A few miles southeast of Romney, you will find Augusta, a small town brimming with Christmas Spirit. Its annual Christmas Festival of Lights kicks off with a lighting ceremony in late November at the amphitheater at Afton and Pauline Malick Central Hampshire Park. Everyone attending the festival lighting ceremony is welcome to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies.
What started as a small 24-display community light show has grown to 225 displays, including a 22-foot Christmas tree. Guests are invited to join in decorating the official Christmas Festival of Lights Christmas Tree by bringing an ornament to hang on the tree. The festival runs through January 1 and is open every evening.
Step into a festive fairy tale town and visit Lewisburg, population 3,831. Lewisburg pulls out all the stops as it transforms the downtown area into a winter holiday wonderland. The Magic of Christmas in Lewisburg is complete with horse-drawn carriage rides, sweet treats, and seasonal shopping.
The holiday season kicks off in late November with the Jingle Bell Jog, hosted by Greenbrier Community School. Twinkling lights, magical decorations, and giant snowflakes line the streets.
If you are bringing little ones with you, they can take a Christmas Tale stroll through town and stop by Santa’s Mailbox.
5. Harpers Ferry
The town of Harpers Ferry is full of history. When it comes to Christmas, the entire town joins in the festivities of their Olde Tyme Christmas and Holiday Light Tour during the first two weekends in December.
Candles were put in windows starting in Colonial times as a symbol of good news, a welcome for tired visitors, or when a family member was abroad. The Edison Light Company extended this practice with the advent of Christmas lights. Today, tourists in search of holiday spirit come to the small towns of Harpers Ferry and neighboring Bolivar to see the lights.
A map will direct visitors to see the shops and beautiful homes decorated and illuminated in the traditional holiday style, and they will vote for their favorites! They will feel like they are in a Victorian-era holiday season with quaintly decorated streets, shops, and inns. Horse-drawn wagon rides are available. Locals can be found dressed in period costumes from the 1860s. Folk music from the 19th century, extended shopping hours, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the town’s gazebo make Harpers Ferry a great place to spend some holiday time.
Note: The town’s website currently indicates with the rise in COVID cases, events may be changed or canceled. Please check their site to make sure events are happening.
Shepherdstown invites guests to experience the past and enjoy the present during their Christmas in Historic Shepherdstown.
Shepherdstown exemplifies the Hallmark town holiday spirit. They throw in some Civil War history and tours, provide carriage rides, Christmas caroling around the community, a tree-lighting ceremony, Mrs. Claus reading stories, a craft market, and a big parade to make their celebration a Christmas tradition. Businesses will be hosting themed events throughout December.
The town will be full of festive decorations and a touch of holiday magic just like we see in the Hallmark movies.
Note: Shepherdstown, surprisingly, is also known as the most haunted town in America.
7. White Sulphur Springs
The spirit of Christmas flows throughout the Greenbrier and White Sulphur Springs.
With a population of 2,398 residents, White Sulphur Springs certainly qualifies as a small town with an abundance of holiday cheer and old-fashioned Christmas spirit. It is located just west of the Virginia/West Virginia border and east of Lewisburg. Community shops, angel trees, and a holiday parade down Main Street make White Sulphur Springs a charming place to visit during the holidays.
The Greenbrier Resort, located on Main Street West, is a gorgeous place to visit during the Christmas season. It offers winter sleigh rides, a weekly tree lighting ceremony, viewing Christmas lights while riding on a trolley, and other delightful events during the holidays.
Stunningly decorated, the Greenbrier provides 60 days of holiday cheer with their decorations and lights. Visitors and locals alike enjoy fun-filled activities such as the Christmas Bell Ceremony in the Cameo Ballroom, a “Reindeer” Fun Run, and a Christmas Eve Ball (now doesn’t that sound like it is right out of a Hallmark movie?).
This year, the merriment continues the week following Christmas with a Wine & Decadence event and a Winter Wonderland Dinner Party. They offer a whole slate of magical activities during the holidays.
We aren’t the only ones who think the Greenbrier should be in a Christmas movie, it actually was the star in the recent Christmas at the Greenbrier that debuted on Thanksgiving 2022 on Fox Nation.
Officially trademarked as “West Virginia’s Christmas City,” Bluefield pulls out all the stops for Christmas. The community, with a population of 9,730, turns their city park into an impressive drive-through light display from Thanksgiving till after New Year’s. Bluefield Holiday of Lights showcases over 1.2 million lights and winter scenes. Drive through 50+ acres of Lotito City Park and enjoy the glow of holiday themes along with their Christmas Festivities.
A Christmas parade kicks off the holiday activities in early December.
For 2022, they not only have an animated Christmas Tree that lights up and plays music at the top of every hour, they added an ice skating rink downtown as well as a Ferris wheel that will be running throughout the Hometown Christmas Festival. The Festival runs from December 5 through 10 this year.
They will also be hosting a Hometown Christmas Festival also includes themed nights and a multitude of activities for everyone. They celebrate with a live nativity scene, music, hayrides, trolley rides, and letters to Santa’s post office.
Folks can also head downtown to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and even spot the Grinch at Santa Land and around the city during the festival. There is also an annual Christmas market made up of local vendors and small businesses.
Elkins has a population of 6,690 people. A magical town, people come from miles away to visit Elkins and ride the famous annual Potomac Eagle Polar Express train ride. The town has a Christmas light display contest, and everyone in the community tries to outdo the other with decorations for cash prizes. There is also a Mountain Memories Christmas Dinner show at the Gandy Dancer Theatre.
The Elkins Town Square Christmas Lights begin in November, and a huge Christmas Parade is held the first Friday of December. Other activities include Jingle Fest and the Annual Christmas Craft Show.
Nearby in Mill Creek, six families joined together to create a festive display of the town of Whoville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The homes and yards are extravagantly adorned with decorations and lights accompanied by the sound of Christmas music. This tiny neighborhood loop turns into West Virginia’s most magical street from the beginning of December till New Year’s Eve.
If you are in the area, it is certainly worth a visit. To get there, travel to Mill Creek, turn onto Back Road/Woody Simmons Drive adjacent to the fire department, and follow the road about a half-mile until you see the lights display.
Cass is a tiny Christmas town of 38 people and is considered one of the nation’s most well-preserved historic towns. Founded in 1901, the town is relatively unchanged. The snowy Allegheny highlands near Snowshoe Mountain are a backdrop to this magical holiday town. The Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is a highlight and runs excursion train rides.
Cass uses simple decorations to add to its charm. Each company house is decorated with twinkling holiday lights and greens for the Christmas Season. The Last Run Restaurant and the Company Store in Cass are usually the places to be for Christmas! They hold an old-fashioned Christmas open house and holiday bazaar. A tree-lighting ceremony and a holiday square dance round out their events.
Decorated for the holidays, the village of Cass indeed resembles the front of a Hallmark card.
11. Berkeley Springs
Berkeley Springs provides Hometown Holidays right out of a Hallmark movie. With decorated meters, a Santa’s mailbox, street lanterns, holiday photograph “selfie” stations, and more activities, everyone can find something to do in this small town’s holiday celebration.
Each year, keep an eye out for the Cocoa Crawl. Crawlers receive a map to visit shops around Berkeley Springs, each with a different treat or flavor in their cocoa. Some of the flavors may include Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, and Hazelnut!
This charming quintessential town has an abundance of small shops to spend a day in, and the people are friendly, just like in the Hallmark movies. Known for its mineral springs, there are many spas for the 50+ traveler to enjoy as they kick back and relax after a day of fun.
While Wheeling is considered a city and not a town, It draws thousands to visit to see the amazing Christmas Lights display each year at the Oglebay Resort. The spectacular Christmas lights display, The Winter Festival of Lights, was started in 1985. Since then, it has grown into one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows and has appeared on several top 10 lists of Christmas Light Displays in America.
Don’t miss this year’s new additions to the Festival of Lights route including a larger-than-life winter globe at Schenk Lake, Wheeling’s iconic Suspension Bridge, and a spectacular meteor shower of lights.
The Winter Festival of Lights is part of a 6-mile drive through 300 acres of twinkling lights. Over 90 lighted attractions and a million LED lights create a dazzling display of holiday magic. It is a can’t-miss extravaganza when visiting the area. This year, the event runs from November 10 through January 8, 2023.