By Terri A. Phillips
Are you looking for something different to do for the holidays? Do you enjoy history, maybe you are an art connoisseur, or you might just need a quick getaway for the weekend from all the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring? Why not join us at the Top of West Virginia.
Nestled in the beautiful West Virginia hills between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Hancock and Brooke counties are located at the very top of the state and offer that small-town charm you have been craving. These quant towns in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, including Weirton, Wellsburg, Follansbee, New Cumberland, Newell, New Manchester, Bethany, Beech Bottom and Chester, are all in easy driving distance on State Route 2.
Only 25 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, three hours from Columbus or two from Cleveland, you can see the World’s Largest Teapot or tour a beautiful Victorian Home or gamble the night away at Mountaineer Racetrack Resort and Casino. Of course, all these towns will be decked out in their holiday finest. Downtown Main Streets will transform into glittery storefronts and festive streets for the upcoming season.
Start your travels through the scenic, historic byways of Route 67, 88 and 27 in Wellsburg and Bethany enjoying the splendor of the winding roads and charming landscapes. Stay the night at the Barn Within Bed and Breakfast in Wellsburg (www.barnwithin.com) and enjoy the elegant yet homey farm experience. Rise and shine and tour several national historic mansions in Wellsburg, stopping by Drover’s Inn Restaurant and Tavern (built in 1848) in one of their four historic dining rooms (www.droversinn1848.com).
Visit the Weirton Veterans Memorial as you enter downtown Weirton for a day of sightseeing. If art is your forte, the newly renovated Summit Art Gallery (www.summitgallery.com) located on Main Street in downtown Weirton has a variety of artwork from local artists. So many of these artists are award-winners throughout the art world community. And do not forget, artwork is always a unique gift idea for someone special.
Another must stop is the Weirton Museum and Cultural Center with a trip down memory lane filled with the rich history of the world-famous Weirton Steel Corporation and the local area (www.weirtonareamuseum.com).
Before you leave Weirton, travel to Three Springs Drive just off Rt. 22 for a mixture of delicious food choices from a steak house, Italian, Chinese or Mexican or even many fast-food choices.
Tomlinson Run State Park, a 1,398-acre state park located in New Manchester, features a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, fishing, boating or a unique stay in one if their yurts or cabins (www.wvstateparks.com). Hop back in the car and travel north to New Cumberland with a view of the beautiful Ohio River along the way and stop by the Queen-Anne style mansion that houses the Hancock County Museum (www.historicalmuseum.org).
Of course, you need to try your luck at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in New Cumberland. Spend the evening enjoying one of the hundreds of slot machines or gaming tables. Too tired to drive, stay the night in one of their 354 newly renovated rooms (www.cnty.com/mountaineer.com).
Your travels may take you all the way to the top of the state, with a visit to Newell known for America’s favorite Fiesta Dinnerware, formally known as Homer Laughlin China Company.
If you are a collector of this iconic, hand crafted dinnerware, this would be the perfect place to stop and take a tour of the factory and purchase several pieces for your collection or as holiday gifts (www.fiestafactorydirect.com).
Before you leave the Top of West Virginia, a visit to the “world’s largest teapot” in Chester is an enjoyable road-side attraction. The teapot was built in 1938 and stands 14 feet in height by 14 feet in diameter. Originally it was a barrel-shaped building used as a Hires Root Beer advertising campaign (www.chesterwv.org). There is so much to see throughout Brooke and Hancock counties, and we are here waiting at the top for you!
In these days of COVID 19, please call ahead to make sure of availability and hours of operation. For more information, contact the Top of WV Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-877-723-7114 or www.topofwv.com.
Celebrate at the Top of West Virginia