Town guide: Martinsburg
Fresh, traditional cuisine, whimsical entertainment and 19th-century attractions— that’s Martinsburg.
Sup on La Trattoria’s homemade Italian cuisine, straight from cherished family recipes. This top-ranking restaurant makes all of its sauces from scratch, too. Try appetizers like calamari frito or insalata caprese, then move on to hearty entrees and specials: spicy arrabiata, eggplant parmigiana, frutti di mare, spaghetti, pizza …
The Colandrea family has owned King’s New York Pizza, a small panhandle chain, for years. Their devotion to authentic flavor and technique shows, too; every day, they make homemade lasagna dough, sauce and pizza.
Popular appetizers include garlic bows, breaded mushrooms and garlic bread, while Italian classics fill the remainder of the menu. The salty linguini with white clam sauce is addictive, but you’ll have a hard time refusing King’s spaghetti with meat sauce, baked ziti and chicken parmigiana, too.
Everything Cheesecake does such a good job in the dessert department, you should come between meals to do it justice. Typical specialties are white chocolate raspberry, New York, pumpkin and Reese’s peanut butter cup. Enabling employees serve hot mugs of Black Dog Coffee, too. You’ve been warned.
Since 2007, fun-loving Joe Santoro has bewitched kids with his whimsical Wonderment Puppet Theater. His shows are refreshingly innocent and charming. He also has regular events with snacks, dances and stories. And if you or your kids get inspired by Joe’s world of make believe, the gift shop sells puppets!
Native Americans, 18th-century settlers and Civil War drama— all have made their mark on Martinsburg. You can bet there are some ghosts wandering around. Fortunately, Haunted History and Legends Tours doesn’t waste such an opportunity. Guides share stories gleaned from newspapers and eye witnesses, so you won’t hear sensational fillers. During the 2-hour walk, you’ll also learn fascinating trivia about Martinsburg in general.
Since 1914, the Apollo Civic Theatre has been a gathering spot in town. Vaudeville shows, skits and movies drew fans for generations. A whole cast of entertainers have passed by, too: Jeff Bridges, Merle Haggard, Will Rogers and Robert Duvall, just to name a few. The Apollo still enjoys a loyal following; stop by for a play, musical or seasonal special.
The West Virginia Glass Outlet is just like a museum— but you can buy what’s on the shelves! Wander past rows of vintage vases, bowls and pitchers; you’ll find pieces from 25 companies like Moser and Blenko. They also stock modern trinkets like earrings, ornaments and barware.
DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates is a touch above most confectioneries. Every day, candy experts Brenda and Charlie Casabona crank out dozens of creamy indulgences. They don’t skimp or cut corners, either. Real cream and butter goes into their velvety caramels and truffles.
“Fun and funky” Antique-ish stocks just about everything. You never know what’s around; just start digging! Typical finds include vintage photographs, glassware, antique furniture and signs.
When it comes to geocaching, “x” marks the spot for Martinsburg. In fact, the city ranks as one of America’s top destinations for “treasure” hunters. Grab a smartphone or GPS and explore popular trails like “Mystery Caches of Berkeley County.”
Ever tried halotherapy? Indulge yourself at Touch of Grace Spa & Salt Cave! Lean back in zero-gravity chairs, breathe enriched air and relax within the intimate confines of the “mine.” You can also get massages and reflexology.
No Civil War pilgrimage should be without the Belle Boyd House. The spirited Confederate spy once called this place home, and now you can check out her family’s residence. Though modest in size, there’s a little museum inside, too.
The B&O Roundhouse is a striking historic monument, too. At one time, the domed locomotive facility accommodated 16 steam engines— that’s 20,000 feet of floor space. Its construction in 1866 was a feat of physics and design. Even by today’s standards, the gigantic roundhouse is impressive. In fact, it’s a National Historic Engineering Landmark.
If you’d like a tour, contact the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority. Ask them about upcoming events, too!
For a brief escape from modern distractions, head to Old Norbourne Cemetery. It’s full of poetry and weathered beauty. Figural Victorian motifs grace the property, and you’ll find mossy monuments by the dozen.
Where to Stay
Martinsburg has its fair share of hotel chains: Hampton Inn, Motel 6 and Holiday Inn. But if you’d like something special, the Carriage Inn Bed and Breakfast isn’t far. Each room resembles an 18th-century chamber. Poster beds— some with lace canopies— and period furniture make staying here a treat. Downstairs, you’ll dine right where Civil War generals once plotted campaigns!
This post was last updated on July 30, 2020