Lost River, WV, an LGBTQ Retreat!

There is no shortage of events, festivals, and shows in the greater Washington, DC area to keep anyone busy for months on end. A jumbled mix of highways, byways, and traffic circles, it’s easy to get lost in the concrete jungle.

Getting away for the weekend for some fresh air and peace and quiet is easy with just a short 2 and a half hour drive to the West… West Virginia in fact, to the town of Lost River.

An LGBTQ retreat

If we’re being honest, West Virginia has never been known as a liberal bastion. A quick look at the electoral voting map of the state looks like a cross between red paint swatch art and a knock off Fifty Shades of Red. But the small town of Lost River has been a hideout for LGBT couples in the DC Metro for well over 30 years.

West Virginia Red from Wikipedia

With plenty of LGBT owned and operated stores, restaurants, bars, and hotels, it’s easy to “buy local” and support the LGBTQ community. Assuming that you’ve packed up your car and you’re ready to head out, let’s cover some of the basics; What should we do, where will we eat, and where are we going to sleep? There’s something for all tastes in Lost River.

What to do

Rolling green hills and thick forests await you just an hour outside of the city. Keep heading right through the Shenandoah Valley and cross over the state line. You’ll feel like you’re a day’s drive away as the sirens and horns of the city fade away to the chirping of birds and light breeze in the air.

If you’re up for a little detour, we’d first suggest heading down south on your way to Lost River by visiting the Luray Caverns. (https://luraycaverns.com) Our first date was at the Luray Caverns and 8 years later it’s still one of our fondest memories.

from Luraycaverns.com

The walkways of the caverns are well lit and some spaces rise to over ten stories high. If you’re lucky enough, you might even hear the world’s only stalactite organ play a few notes. The acoustics are remarkable.

Summer Concerts

If you’re a fan of music and visiting on the weekend, then you’re in luck. Each Saturday (with the exception of August 11th) the Summer of Music brings artists to the Guesthouse in Lost River. Admission is free so you can throw down a blanket and enjoy the fresh air and sweet sounds.


City life stressing you out? How about a nice yoga weekend to help rebalance things out? Lost River Yoga holds classes on the weekends (Friday-Monday). You can find their schedule and location here.

Connecting with Nature

The Lost River State Park is over 3,700 acres with 13 miles of trails for you to enjoy. With no fee to enter the park and hike, you can climb to the top of the Cranny Cow overlook and get an unobstructed view of over five counties.

Inside the park you’ll find the Hidden Train Stables. One of the best values you can find, horseback rides start at only $20 and a full two-hour ride is an incredibly affordable $45 per person. It’ll take you all the way to the top of Cranny Cow for an unforgettable escape.

from WVExplorer.com

Where to eat?

Catering to a very demanding palate, Lost River has stepped up their food game, playing on local flavors and simple food to satisfy any craving.

The farmers market runs every Saturday in the summer from 9am-1pm. You can find anything from honey to flowers to fruit and jams.

The Lost River Grill is best known for their homemade meatloaf and made from scratch pies. You’ll find plenty of your LGBT friends from the DC area bellying up to a table here, and since it’s such a cozy place it’s the perfect place to make new connections.

‘Lost River Kiss’ and ‘Sex in the Mountains’ are two of the signature cocktails at the Guesthouse Lost River. Food here is served farmhouse style in their modern farmhouse setting. The dishes are made from scratch and food is sourced locally, even their locally raised chickens!

Where to stay?

The Guesthouse in Lost River is gay owned and operated and has been the go-to place for the LGBT community for decades. There’s an onsite pool and a 24 hour gym so you don’t get out of your routine. This is a children-free hotel, so make sure to drop the kiddos off at your mom’s house before you leave town.

from https://www.guesthouselostriver.com/

If you’re looking for something more traditional and rustic, there are dozens of cabins available from AirBNB. Depending on your level of “rustic” you can find the traditional cabins with no facilities from $100 a night all the way up to full log cabins with all the comforts of home for $250/night.

During the summer both the restaurants and the lodging fill up quickly. With that said, reservations during this time are highly encouraged.

Sometimes you need to push the reset button on life and just get away for a weekender. It’s nice to know that there are places in the mountains just a short two hours away that are not only welcoming to the LGBTQ community but also the establishments are LGBTQ owned and operated.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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