West Virginia is one of those places I’ve driven through a million times but never considered stopping for. In planning trips, I never thought to myself hmmm let’s check out West Virginia. After spending the weekend there to a visit my boyfriend, however, I learned how much the state has to offer, and I cannot wait to go back. Here’s a look at some of the things we did that I very much enjoyed.
Saturday: Go hiking at the New River Gorge and visit Fayetteville.
View of the bridge from an overlook near the visitor’s center
The New River Gorge Bridge was once the longest bridge in the world, and now it’s the third longest. It stretches out over a beautiful valley with the New River running down below. There’s a road that allows you to drive to the bottom of the river, where you can look up at the bridge and the even more beautiful mountainous landscape around you. The area also has many hiking trails of varying lengths.
After hiking around the New River Gorge, we drove to the nearby town of Fayetteville, named the “coolest small town.” While there, we stopped for food and drink at a restaurant recommended by the hotel concierge: Secret Sandwich Society. This restaurant was one of the coolest I’ve ever been to. The restaurant has an upstairs bar area, where we got beers before our dinner because of the thirty minute wait (at 4 p.m.! That’s how popular it is.). The bar hosts live performers all the time and is a cozy place to relax, with comfy furniture and paintings decorating the floors to draw you in.
Looking at the menu, everything looked amazing. First of all, all of the salads are named after first ladies; burgers, after secret service code names for presidential family members; and sandwiches, after former presidents. I ordered the Truman, the second most popular sandwich – a turkey sandwich with peach jam, blue cheese spread and crispy onions on a toasted baguette. My boyfriend got the staff favorite – the Eisenhower – a sandwich with seared mortadella, ham, cherry peppers, provolone, roasted garlic mayo, red wine vinaigrette, lettuce, onion and tomaro on a toasted baguette. As you can see, these aren’t your typical sandwiches. As for the side, we both got pimento cheese fries, which I would highly recommend. It was all to die for! The restaurant makes everything from scratch, even the ketchup, which takes the food to a whole other level.
Sunday: Visit Mothman and check out Huntington.
The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, WV
On Sunday we drove to Point Pleasant, WV, to see the Mothman statue and visit the Mothman Museum. I had always heard about this “bigfoot of West Virginia” growing up, so I thought it would be fun to check it out. The museum had clippings of newspaper articles from the ‘60s when the sightings occurred. It had handwritten testimonies by people claiming to have seen Mothman. Props from the Mothman Prophecies movie were also in the museum.
While Point Pleasant as a town didn’t seem very cool – in fact it was eerily dead, although it was a Sunday in Winter – it’s in a beautiful spot where the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers meet. Apparently George Washington gave the town its name because it is such a pleasant point, shall we say. If you visit, take a stroll from the Mothman Museum along the riverfront to the Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, a battle monument built as a tribute to the frontiersmen who fought in a battle there.
After leaving Point Pleasant, we drove to Huntington, where Marshall University is located. We didn’t explore much, but we did end up stopping at the cutest place – a 1905’s drive-in called Frostop. There we got foot long hot dogs, chili cheese fries and the drive in’s popular root beer floats (They make their own root beer!).
Next time I visit West Virginia I’d love to go to these places:
–Capitol Market – a market full of food and crafts in downtown Charleston
Where have you been in West Virginia that you’ve enjoyed? I’d love to hear more in the comments below.