We’re continually on the hunt for opportunities to add richness to our lives. In the time of the road trip revival, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston that make for a great getaway. We feel that our worldly and devoted readers will find these places interesting.
Driving 2 1/2 hours northeast of Charleston brings you to Morgantown, home of the Mighty Mountaineers. Not only can you see a fantastic sporting event, but you can also indulge in a terrific meal, drink tasty beer, enjoy the great outdoors, and a multitude of other things in the heart of Mountaineer Country.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN MORGANTOWN
Touring a college campus is fun, no matter whether you are interested in higher education there or not. West Virginia University (WVU) has a gorgeous campus, and one that is an easy walk to see the photogenic architecture and historic buildings. Why stop with just a tour when you can get in the true spirit by attending a WVU Mountaineer baseball, basketball, or football game?
Famous WVU alumni include Don Knotts, Jerry West, and Katherine Johnson. And speaking of Don Knotts, a statue in his likeness sits in front of the Metropolitan Theater if you would like a photo-op. The newly restored playhouse has musicians, comedians, and touring productions on their fall itinerary.
Wine tasting is a cherished activity at Forks of Cheat Winery, offering several cozy places to enjoy the scenery and fruit wines. Blueberry and pear are popular choices.
Enjoy a natural setting and 82-acres at the West Virginia Botanic Garden (at Tibbs Run Preserve) with four miles of walking trails amidst flowers, trees, and native plants. Or, get out on the water, swim, or fish at Cheat Lake, located 13 minutes northeast of Morgantown. Walleye and perch are two of the most desired catch at Ices Ferry Bridge, a great location for shore fishing.
If you want an even bigger taste of the outdoors, Coopers Rock State Forest is an excellent place for a walk, hike, birding, or ATV riding, and it is only minutes away in Bruceton Mills. The scenic overlook alone is worth the drive to the picturesque property.
Another fun activity is biking on the Caperton or Decker’s Creek Trails, with ten miles of paved pathways. If you don’t have a bike with you, Wamsley Cycles down by the Monongahela Riverfront rents them.
If you want to update your wardrobe, shop for gifts, or just browse a bit, Suncrest Town Centre has a wide array of boutiques and shops, plus a few noteworthy restaurants such as Pies & Pints, Primanti Bros., and Peace, Love, & Little Donuts.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Breakfast in Morgantown is delicious from Zeke’s Breakfast & Bakes; great for breakfast tacos, pastries, and all your coffee and tea needs.
Iron Horse Tavern on High Street is a popular place for gastropub food, nightlife, and great beer, while Morgantown Brewing Company is another. Iron Horse Tavern has a raved about brunch, while Morgantown Brewing Company’s burgers are drool-worthy.
One thing for sure is that you need to visit Terra Cafe, a cute little eatery with a coffee shop and full-service restaurant, on your weekend travels to Morgantown. The pastries are stunning, on par with some of the best I’ve seen (and tasted) in the whole country. Enjoy your treats inside or out on the scenic patio.
Oliverio’s at The Wharf is a must for delicious Italian cuisine and a romantic, yet casual atmosphere. Oliverio’s Meatballs (with a dollop of ricotta) and Classic Lasagna are quite tasty, and the complimentary bread is 10/10 perfection.
Grab a snack or quick-serve style meal from The Backyard BBQ, with burger, shrimp, and chicken combos, and a tantalizing ice cream menu.
WHERE TO STAY IN MORGANTOWN
Lakeview Golf Resort has been welcoming visitors to the Mountain State for as long as I can remember. The Trademark Collection property by Wyndham has two championship golf courses, world-class fitness center, and both indoor and outdoor pools. The Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place is another beautiful hotel with premium lodging, an onsite restaurant, Starbucks coffee shop, 24-hour fitness center, and pool.
My top pick for Morgantown accommodations is the newly opened Hotel Morgan, a luxury Wyndham property with functional and stylish amenities, and a fantastic lobby cocktail bar and European coffee shop (Anvil + Ax). There are 81 rooms to choose from and one of them is the stunning Chancellor’s Suite with a full-sized living/dining room and wet bar. If you can afford the splurge, I highly recommend it.