The Washington Heritage Trail is a 136-mile national scenic byway inspired by the prominent footsteps of George Washington through the three historic counties of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Compelling history, spectacular scenery, geologic wonders, recreation and year 'round activities and festivals are highlighted by 45 historical sites. The trail meanders across mountains and rivers, through forests, farms and orchards as it connects five18th century towns that remain the center of life today and offer comfortable lodging, unique shopping and fine dining. More information on attractions and services throughout the area is available at each town's Visitor Center.
Paw Paw. Paw Paw is the westernmost settlement in Morgan County,incorporated as a town on April 8, 1891. A former canal, railroad,orchard and tannery boomtown, Paw Paw is embraced by one ofthe bends of the Potomac River. Colonial travelers heading west,including George Washington, often forded the river or crossed thegap in the mountain here. In 1928 a bridge replaced the pre-CivilWar ferry. Braddock's French and Indian War army camped southof town, a site used in the Civil War as the federal Camp Chase.The B&O Railroad arrived in 1838; by the 1930s, six trains perday stopped at the depot. Passenger service ceased in 1961.The Paw Paw Pullman car was dedicated on April 16, 1948 andassigned to the Capitol Limited route from Washington, DC to Chicago.
Paw Paw Tunnel. Beginning in 1836, the C&O Canal Company took 14 years to carvea 3118-foot tunnel through Sorrell Ridge, eliminating 6 miles ofriver bends. The Paw Paw Tunnel was dubbed by Americanpromoters as a wonder of the world. At 24 feet high, it is the largestmanmade structure on the C&O Canal and is lined with more than6 million bricks. A mile north of town, the restored towpath is partof the C&O Canal NationalPark and welcomes cyclistsand hikers year 'round.
The Fruit. The town is named for the fruit that growsalong the river and ridge. Found throughoutthe United States, the paw paw is NorthAmerica's largest native edible fruit withpurplish-brown flowersin April and ripe fruitin September.A natural custard, itwas a favorite dessertof George Washington.
"...our party entirely out of provisions...perfectly contented and tell us they canlive very well on the pappaws..."—Sep. 18,1806 William Clark; Lewis & Clark expedition.