A Trip to Morgantown and Fairmont Will Make You Feel Like a Real Mountaineer

Only a short drive over the Pennsylvania border, cities like Morgantown and Fairmont offer both the friendly intimacy and bustling activity that only college towns can provide. Pair that with the local hospitality and endless opportunities to explore untouched wilderness, and you’ll get a true taste for Mountaineer Country.

Forks of Cheat Winery

Nestled among West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains you’ll find Forks of Cheat Winery. Named after the many twists and turns of the nearby Cheat River, Forks of Cheat actually utilizes the water from its namesake to help make a variety of fine wines. The winery not only produces its own wine on-site, but also has a tasting room, gift shop and beautiful outdoor patio. Cheat Winery is the perfect place to spend an afternoon sipping on a glass of sweet fruit wine and enjoying the abundant panoramic views.

Morgantown Brewing Company

Located just south of West Virginia University, in the heart of downtown Morgantown, sits Morgantown Brewing Company. The large, loft-style brewery offers a variety of beers—from IPAs to sours—many of which come in colorful, artistic cans. The staff at Morgantown Brewing Company is both extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and will help you find the exact beer to match your unique taste (including gluten free options). The brewery also boasts some of Morgantown’s best burgers, including an extra spicy “fuego style” burger with ghost peppers. You can even order a dog treat for your furry friend made from leftover brewing grains.

Coopers Rock State Forest

Coopers Rock State Forest is best known for its iconic views, offering sweep vistas of nearby Morgantown and the Cheat River. A popular destination for weekend explorers, there are over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as hunting and fishing. If you want to maximize your time and spend the night, there are two distinct places to camp: McCollum and Rhododendron campgrounds. McCollum has plenty of amenities, including RV hookups, showers and WiFi. Rhododendron is a good option for the more experienced camper, and only offers tent camping with minimal bathrooms. Both campgrounds allow pets, and both are open spring through fall (weather permitting).

Muriale’s Italian Kitchen

Tucked away inside a nondescript brick building in the city of Fairmont you’ll find some of the best southern Italian food in all of West Virginia. Muriale’s Italian Kitchen has been serving hungry customers since 1969 and has become a true local favorite. The proof can be found in the many letters of appreciation that cover the restaurant’s walls. Specializing in southern-style Italian food (more emphasis on tomato-based recipes) some of the most popular dishes are Aunt Mary’s lasagna and the meatball casserole. Muriale’s also has a fully-stocked bar and a great selection of authentic Italian wines.

Photo by McKenzie Young

Short Story Brewing

A visit to Short Story Brewing will feel like you’ve stopped by a family friend’s house for a nice, relaxing drink. Totally family-owned and operated, the taproom at Short Story offers a nice rotation of five or six different beers, as well as boardgames, live music and a delicious food menu. Try a flight of their best craft beers and enjoy some huevos rancheros tacos. Or grab a pint of your favorite ale and head outside for a game of cornhole and a sunset on the patio.

Mon River Rail Trail

Originally built as a railroad line, the Mon River Rail Trail has since been converted into a stunning stretch of hiking and biking trails that run along the Monongahela River. Spanning 48 miles, the entire Mon River Rail Trail connects three counties in north central West Virginia. The southern half of the trail runs below Morgantown, and follows the Monongahela River until it ends near Pricketts Fort State Park. This stretch of the trail is extremely beautiful, offering calming riverside views year-round and incredible foliage in the fall. There are multiple entry and exit points, so you can enjoy the trail for as long (or as little) as you like.

West Virginia Botanic Garden

The West Virginia Botanic Garden was built inside a former reservoir and offers visitors a chance to explore miles of lush greenery and delicate ponds. Inside the 82-acre botanic garden, there are numerous smaller gardens, including a colorful butterfly garden and a hammock garden for those who want to take a quick, nature-filled rest. There are eight different trails that snake through the property, ranging from 100 yards to one mile long. Both kids and adults will enjoy discovering the various wooden sculptures and ‘tree faces’ that are scattered throughout the garden’s grounds.

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This post was last updated on February 23, 2022