Road Trips from Pittsburgh: Mountaineer Country

The Mountaineer Country Region of West Virginia is a lively and beautiful area filled with scenic attractions, fine dining, ample shopping and a vibrant community feel. Voted “One of the South’s Best Small Towns” in 2019 by Southern Living Magazine, this region offers small-town charm and big-city luxuries; the perfect travel destination for anyone looking for the best of both worlds.

Day 1

Considered one of the most exciting places in West Virginia for nightlife, music and art, Morgantown has something to offer everyone. Located in the very heart of Mountaineer Country, this city is known for its live events, marathons, annual festivals and its spirited nightlife atmosphere.

Morgantown is home to West Virginia University (WVU), the state’s largest institution of higher education. Offering some of the nation’s leading programs in law and medicine, it’s no surprise that WVU’s enrollment rate is an astounding 27,000 students per year (home to students from 118 different nations as well as all 50 U.S. states). This university offers 360 majors, over 500 student organizations, and is one of only a dozen schools in the entire country that is a land-grant, doctoral research university with a comprehensive medical school. Not only does this school offer a wide range of academic excellence, but WVU’s football team is also quite literally the pride and joy of West Virginia. Known as The Mountaineers, this team has been a part of the Big 12 Conference since 2012 and boasts having 20 of their players go on to compete in the Super Bowl. Including football, WVU offers 7 men’s sports, 10 women’s sports and 1 coeducational sport.

Visit the West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) and take a walk through 82 acres of beautiful natural scenery and hiking trails that are home to various species of one-of-a-kind plants, some of which can only be found in the Appalachian region. Opened to the public in 1982, this garden serves as an educational and recreational facility, offering monthly family walks, nature workshops, large group tours and summer nature camps. The garden is free of charge and open to the public.

For some fresh produce, check out the Morgantown Farmers’ Market, open every Saturday morning from May through October. Holding the title of the first solar market in West Virginia, it offers a wide array of fresh produce from over 30 farms. With a variety of farm-to-table products, you can buy fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, poultry, freshly baked bread, pastries and other specialty foods. The market also features events like culinary demonstrations, nutrition assistance programs, and yoga and dance classes.

Shop until you drop at the Suncrest Towne Center, a premier destination for shopping, dining, and more. An outdoor plaza in the heart of the city that features numerous clothing stores, fine dining restaurants, fast food stops and wellness centers.

One great place to grab dinner in the area is Pies & Pints, a restaurant located just 5 minutes away from the WVU campus that serves up some of the finest craft beer and artisan pizza. 

Wrap up your day at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place, a hotel with 207 guest rooms and suites that overlook the stunning Monongahela River.

Day 2

Spend the day in the beautiful city of Fairmont, rich in 18th-century history, culture and recreational activities. Located where the West Fork and Tygart Valley rivers meet, Fairmont is known as the birthplace of West Virginia’s most iconic food, the pepperoni roll. Originally created as a delicious, preservable treat for coal miners to take with them to work, this food has earned its title as a timeless state favorite.

Visit Prickett’s Fort State Park, a living history museum where visitors can see a recreation of an original 18th-century fort. Spanning over 188 acres, this park allows for a deep connection with nature and a rich education on past historical events. Also included are trails, picnicking areas, an outdoor amphitheater for performances, a research library and a gift shop.

For some authentic Italian dishes, check out Muriale’s Italian Kitchen, a city favorite since its debut in 1969. Serving timeless classics like fried calamari and bruschetta from beloved family recipes that have been passed down over many generations, you can expect quality food and quality service during your visit. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant is currently offering curbside pick-up as well as takeout options.

Ever wanted to try a banana split with NINE huge scoops of ice cream? The Poky Dot, a classic diner-themed restaurant that has been taking the word “desserts” to an entirely new level since 1951, is just the place for you. With delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, it’ll be hard to save room for dessert, but it’s a must if you want to get the full experience out of this one-of-a-kind place. The Poky Dot is offering curbside pick-up options along with both indoor and outdoor seating and is wheelchair accessible.

In Mountaineer Country, there’s something for everyone. How will you plan your trip to this charming region?

This post was last updated on February 25, 2022