7 small but vibrant WV towns you’ll need several days to fully explore
Our state is full of small towns. But our small towns, like our people, have more to them than meets the eye.
West Virginia small towns have many things in common: spectacular locales, amazing views, history, great people and fun things to see and do. But each has its own unique character.
We’ve made a list of some of our favorite small towns that you should plan to spend some time in— and take a few days:
This remarkable Victorian-era railroad town has stunning buildings and architecture. Situated along the New River in southern West Virginia, Hinton features dining, shopping, coal heritage tours, and charming B&B’s and hotels. Stop into the Market on Courthouse Square for a bite and some shopping. Best of all, you’ll have convenient access to the New River Gorge National Park, Winterplace Ski Resort, and hunting and fishing at Bluestone National Park.
Two weekends a year, you can ride a train through the scenic mountains to Hinton’s Railroad Days celebration to explore the museum and train heritage.
Lewisburg’s picture-perfect Main Street could keep visitors occupied for days with shopping, art galleries and diverse dining. Taste the truffles and American classics at family-owned Food and Friends, the locally sourced and handcrafted freshness of Stardust Cafe, and a strong coffee at The Wild Bean before you browse the antiques, galleries and boutiques, like Harmony Ridge Gallery or Roberts Antiques and Wine Shop.
You can still visit the old stone Spring House and other architectural treats that are a hallmark of the town, as well as many Civil War Sites. Special events take place throughout the year, including monthly gallery crawls and a Chocolate Festival. Visitors can also see live performances and music at the historic Carnegie Hall, which also hosts monthly square dances. Just outside of town are plenty of caves and mountain terrain to explore. Nearby, The Greenbrier Resort is a must-visit, even if you’re staying elsewhere in the area.
Buckhannon may be small, but its arts scene is not. Located along the West Virginia Artist Gallery Trail, their Main Street Gallery houses 30 local artists. Film fans can catch rare showings at the Lascaux Theater that don’t screen in mainstream movie houses.
Buckhannon’s antique mall is sprawling with artifacts from the old days, or you can satisfy all your modern geeky desires at Nerducopia. Then roll the evening away at Skateland, the community rink of more than 60 years. For a calmer evening, enjoy a show and sky tour at the West Virginia Wesleyan Planetarium.
Enjoy some of the old-fashioned flair of Elkins. Start with a scenic train ride on the vintage New Tygart Flyer, which will whip you through the stunning mountain landscapes and land you back in town for dinner. Try the classic Custard Stand diner. While you’re in, stay at the historic Graceland Inn.
Laugh along with a nostalgically campy, old-time variety show at American Mountain Theater or Gandy Dancer Theater. Or, immerse yourself entirely in ol’ folk sounds and arts at the Augusta Heritage Center’s famed bluegrass and old-time workshop weeks.
This charming small town is located along the banks of the Potomac River, only about an hour and a half from both Washington DC and Baltimore. You can eat award-winning food at the beloved Blue Moon Cafe, Shaharazade’s Exotic Tea Room or The Press Room, or sit awhile in one of the many quirky cafes. This fun, lively town is often celebrating a special event, and there’s always something on stage.
Rich in Civil War and American history, you can tour museums, battle sites and see re-enactments all year round. You can also stay in historic inns or modern hotels and shop or explore the surrounding countryside for outdoor adventure.
Thomas, an old coal mining town, has the feeling a wild frontier town. With more than 50 homes and sites on the National Historic Register, take the self-guided walking tour to explore the different architectural styles of this cool mountain town.
Close to amazing outdoor venues, Thomas is also home to great restaurants, bars with live music , coffee shops and antique and artisan shops. A full calendar of special events and a fun and spirited nightlife keep this small town vibrant. The Purple Fiddle almost always has a musician on stage, and homemade ice cream to boot. TipTop coffee bar’s artisanal roasts and cocktails are some of the finest in the state.
Davis, just a short drive from Thomas, is an another old lumber town. It also has the distinction of having the highest elevation of any town in West Virginia. Because of this, you’ll experience cool summers. It’s the perfect east coast enclave for beating the heat.
Today visitors can explore the old town and historic buildings. Nearby outdoor adventures like biking, hiking, water sports, skiing, fishing and hunting are readily available at Canaan Valley State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park. The town has great restaurants and craft beer. Don’t miss funky Hellbender Burritos and Blackwater Brewing Company.
Which small towns in West Virginia will you explore?
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This post was last updated on July 17, 2020