VIPP, Take 2

In March of 2012, Jon and I signed up with the West Virginia State Parks’ VIPP Program (Very Important Parks Person).  One of my first posts detailed the VIPP Program (read it here) and explained that to become a VIPP, you must visit 20 of West Virginia’s state parks and forests and stamp your card with the associated VIPP stamp and date.  When you complete your card, you mail it in and in return will receive a nice VIPP jacket.  You also have the opportunity to attend the VIPP Picnic, held each year in September at various state parks.  This year’s picnic was held at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park and 2014’s is scheduled for Pipestem State Park.

When we originally signed up for the program in March 2012, we had a goal of six months to complete the 20 stamps.  We started off strong until we only had 5 outlier parks to obtain, all of which were not easily mapped in a day drive.  So we put it off.  And off.  And off.  And then in July 2013, with us still only 5 parks away from completing the program, our apartment flooded and the cards were destroyed.

Bye-bye VIPP.

Last week, I finally made the phone call to the State Parks’ office and signed us up for the VIPP Program once again… and we received our cards on Saturday!  To be fair, I’m giving ourselves one full year to get all 20 stamps, which means come November 14, 2014 (the day we signed up for them), we will have them all!  I’m hoping we can finish it before then but we’ll see 🙂

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If you’re interested in participating, visit the VIPP Homepage for all the details.  You can also stay tuned throughout the coming months as I recap our VIPP project until we get all 20 stamps — and this time, it WILL happen!

VIPP Website: http://www.wvstateparks.com/community/vipp.htm
Map of all WV State Parks: http://www.wvstateparks.com/map.html

Until next time,
Sara (WV Travel Queen)

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Peak Fall Color in West Virginia

I may be biased, but West Virginia is one of the most breathtaking states during the fall season.  With our curvy mountain roads and expansive valleys, no matter where you look you are guaranteed to see vibrant reds and burnt oranges in your vision.  What I love most about fall in West Virginia though, is that it seems never ending.  As a resident of Charleston, I have to wait until the end of October for colors to be at their peak — and trust me, it makes for one amazing Halloween!  However if I find myself getting impatient, all I have to do is travel to higher grounds and I am able to enjoy the foliage sooner as higher elevations like Canaan Valley and the Highland Scenic Highway are already beginning to change colors (if you want to capture the sought-after Dolly Sods crimson photos we often see, the window is quickly closing).  West Virginia’s diverse elevations allow us to enjoy fall colors from mid September all the way through early November.  You just have to know where to go and when to visit.

That’s where the beauty below comes in.  If you’re interested in taking a road trip in the Mountain State this fall to see the array of colors, the West Virginia Division of Tourism has created this handy map that displays the peak color times.  In my experience, I believe this map is fairly accurate.  Of course, exact time frames for peak foliage greatly depend on the weather in August and early September but as a general rule, if you plan your foliage trips according to this map, you should be right on target.  Have fun and safe travels!

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Until next time,
Sara (WV Travel Queen)