Town guide: Romney

Officially chartered in 1762, this city is 1 of the 2 oldest in West Virginia.

Dining

Main Street Grill harkens to 1950s nostalgia. Order milkshakes, sundaes, “bottle caps,” and ice-cream cones from the soda shop, or treat yourself to comfort food like BLTs and pasta. The menu overflows with surprises, too— like flatbread entrees and General Tso’s Chicken.

RomneyIf you crave something south of the border, there’s El Puente 2 Mexican Restaurant. Warm colors and attractive booths capture that Old West feel, as do the spiffy margaritas. Menu choices have all of your favorites: tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.

Italian Touch stays true to its name. You can order lasagna dinners, antipasto plates, and generous portions of pasta with mussels. On the other hand, it isn’t afraid to flirt with wings, jalapeno poppers, and hoagies.

Entertainment

Romney’s Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad trip is a visual feast. Board a locomotive, sit by the window, and gaze at craggy mountain landscapes and valleys. So remote are these regions that bald eagles appear more than 90 percent of the time.

Train rides include the Trough Trip, a 3-hour venture to Sycamore Bridge, and 8-hour adventure to Petersburg.

If you’re more of a night owl, check out The Brass Rail, a sports bar. It’s a casual spot with pub snacks, cold beer, and TVs. Regular live music sessions, pool tables, and darts keep things lively, too.

Shopping

RomneyDillon’s Country Treasures keeps things upbeat with its whimsical accessories. Vera Bradley purses share space with gourmet crackers and jelly, candles and home decor. It’s also full of West Virginia spirit gear.

Reclaim Renew appeals to your imagination with its stash of vintage and repurposed goods. You’ll uncover furniture, light fixtures, clocks, and farm equipment, just to name a few. It’s a great place to tickle that shabby chic fancy.

B Belle’s Boutique is your source for Mountain State miscellania. Step inside for nifty neon lights, mugs, and bowls, all emblazoned with “WV.” You’ll also find cheery home decor and accessories like jewelry and beaded neck scarves.

There’s also Tiny Snapdragon Antique Boutique and Christian Bookstore— a shop with diverse interests to say the least! Besides purses and vintage glassware, the owner has religious coloring books, puzzles, and CDs.

RomneyRecreation

Romney is close to North River Retreat, an expansive wilderness in Delray. The owner, a skilled frontiersman, provides everything you need to hunt or fish. Just make an appointment and show up!

Highlights include skeet shooting, camping, hiking, and outdoor classes. Learn how to use GPS units, shoot clays, identify native plants, and shoot firearms safely, among other things. The owner also has a cabin with 3 guest rooms, which you can rent.

There’s also Ice Mountain Preserve, a geological oddity 40 minutes away from Romney. Unique vents release chilly air during summer, resulting in natural refrigeration. In fact, folks used to come and gather ice!

Rare plants also appreciate Ice Mountain’s unusual climate. With luck, you might find twinflower, bristly rose, and dwarf dogwood.

History

Start your walking tour of Romney at Taggart Hall Civil War Museum and Visitor’s Center, which houses a display of Civil War Memorabilia and Fenton Art Glass.

Orange swirled Fenton art glass from West VirginiaJust a few miles outside of town you’ll find one of the nation’s best-preserved Civil War trenches at Fort Mill Ridge. An outer ring of entrenchments and a central redoubt for artillery was established by the Union army to help them control key roadways and defend the B&O Railroad. An interpretive trail provides an overview of the fort and its history.

At the Indian Mound Cemetery (circa AD 500-1000, credited to the Hopewellian tribe) you’ll find a historic monument commissioned by Romney’s citizens shortly after the war’s end. The marker— a marble plinth crowned with a covered urn— was completed by the Gaddes Brothers of Baltimore in 1867.

The Davis History House, built in 1798, is the only log house still standing on its original lot in Romney. It was home to the Davis family— an example of the “brother against brother” reputation of the war in that 2 of their sons fought for the Confederacy and 1 for the Union. The house has been converted into a museum with Civil War artifacts and period furnishings on display.

Places to stay

The Koolwink Motel has definite personality with its Mid-century Modern furniture and colors. Guest rooms are crisp, comfortable, and wireless, too.

If you prefer chain hotels, book a room at South Branch Inn. Generous amenities include a free exercise room and passes to a local bowling alley and movie theater.

More mountain charm >

This post was last updated on July 30, 2020