To, through and beyond: West SideMarch 23, 2018
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
If the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, are the individual parts greater than the sum of their respective parts? Conclusion: Philosophy is hard. Moving on!
This blog is one in the series “To Through and Beyond,” which will explore all the individual areas of Marion County.
Today, we’re driving to Fairmont.
(This is the first of a four-part blog exploring Fairmont.)
For those of you who don’t know, Fairmont is divided into two parts: East Side (the Bees), West Side (the Polar Bears), the downtown historic district and the University district.
Originally known as Middletown, both east and west sides were and still are gateways to other places. The name changed to Fairmont because the town had a beautiful overlook of the Monongahela River, giving it a “fair mount.” (And indeed it does. Check out Palatine Park when you get the chance.)
So, again we’re driving to Fairmont, but more specifically, West Side.
We’ll start right where Downtown Fairmont ends.
If you’re wondering how to decorate your home, look no further. Our Country Corner might not have it all, but it definitely has plenty. Wreaths, lamps, furniture, vintage signs and burlap pillows are just a few of the aesthetic possibilities. Discover the interior design of elegant, vintage or country chic.
Walk a couple blocks up and this is where health begins. And where it’s maintained and where it’s pursued. Health Naturally isn’t your typical vitamin shop, and it’s not your typical grocery store. And one reason for its abnormality is that it’s both. Nut butter, jelly, bread, bacon, eggs, meat, sugar, and flour- you can find it all in the food area. The majority of it is in some way organic, natural, detoxifying, or just plain health-inducing.
It’s the same with the supplements. Get your Amazing Grass protein powder, vitamins a, d minerals. However, these aren’t the typical synthetic vitamins found in any store. The ingredients, like the foods, are in some way natural, pure, health-inducing or just plain green. You’ll also find beauty products (lip gloss and probiotic face soap), hygiene products (crystal deodorant and dry brushes), and fun things like essential oils and flower essences.
Just behind Healthy Naturally is Comic Paradise Plus, which is quite possibly West Virginia’s oldest comic book store. It’s full of character and full of characters. It’s packed with all things DC, Marvel, old and new, within budget and without. Take home an action figure, vintage comic book and something new. Regardless of your love for comics, it is a statistical certainty that they have comic worlds and characters you’ve never heard of.
Very near and dear to this location is the site of an ages-old attack, the Jones-Imboden Raid.
Confederate Gen. William Jones attacked the B&O Railroad Bridge, riding by the turnpike April 29, 1863. The significance of this historical moment is unintentionally memorialized up the road.
There are only winners and losers in any raid … and in any bowling game. Fairmont Bowling Center is where the serious bowlers and serious fun-lovers go for a good game. Plus, those two types of people create the perfect dichotomy to have a crowd of winners and losers.
Down the road from Paradise is Tuscan Sun Spa and Salon, a paradise of its own and a trip in and of itself. After you’ve shopped for Vera Bradley bags, clothes and jewelry, shop for makeup and skin care. Once you’re done with that, get a body wrap, a massage, a facial. Consider the medical spa or stick to manis and pedis – your call!
Just a block from the Salon is The Poky Dot. It’s famous, practically infamous, for its incomparable love of ice cream. The sundae is comprised of tubs and tubs of ice cream. The milkshakes are topped with candies and cookies. The burgers alone are half a cow. The breakfast is served in a trash can lid. Oh, well, I guess their love isn’t so much for ice cream as it is enormous servings. With the eight (or more) different kinds of cheesecake and adorable, over-the-top 1950’s vibe, it’s a pretty good pick.
You can’t go anywhere in Marion County where you won’t find something Italian. Cantoni’s is just across the street from Poky Dot. It’s a pizza place, but it’s really more like a delicious circle with the circumference of a trash can lid kind of place. (They should borrow trash can lids from Poky Dot. It’s great when businesses work together to fulfill all your trash can lid plate dreams.) If you can’t handle the pizza, go for the garlic knots, mozzarella sticks and/or pepperoni sticks. (Having all three is almost like eating a pizza.)
At Accessories by Marlena, there’s no end to the jewelry. There’s more than enough Brighton charms and designs. You won’t be able to pick a scarf. Good luck trying to decide on a purse. Is it possible that the accessories might be too pretty? Umm, I don’t think so. Just make a decision (because you can’t go wrong!).
The perfect counterpart to Marlena’s is Jack and Jill’s Menswear, and it’s right downstairs, too. It is, as you’d guess, for men. But that’s only half right. This place is for stylish men who are trying to look good. Suits and tuxedos of all kinds are here for you to look perfect for your next event. Don’t forget a tie! They have plenty!
And now, prepare for the most options you’ve ever seen on a menu. And then prepare yourself for the most options you’ve ever seen on a dessert menu. Pufferbelly’s Ice Cream Station understands the delicate balance of quality and quantity. Any of the near infinite and locomotive themed meals – the Railroad Reuben, Tram Turkey Wrap, Grand Central Chowder and the Casey Jones Caesar Salad – are appropriately scrumptious and toothsome.
With sweet and unique decor, Craft Connection will provide all the finishing touches to your decorating dreams. You don’t realize what all truly goes into a design scheme besides paint and furniture. There’s fragrance, inspiration, light, education – all important to the ambiance.
This is where Craft Connection comes in handy. It has West Virginia made candles in birthday cake, buttercream, cafe espresso and orange clove – whatever suits your aesthetic. For inspiration, consider a vase, mason jars, and pallet art. For light, a good old-fashioned lantern will do. As for education, get local works by West Virginia authors. Display those on antique shelves, chests and in cabinets.
Keeping up with traditions
The 12th Street Pool, like all good things, has been around for years. It’s the place of your parents’ parents’ summertime fun. It’s generally agreed that it’s not just the Olympic length pool, the sunshine or the fun that make 12th Street so nice. It can only be the atmosphere of the friendly city and generations past.
And right behind the pool is where all the rivalrous high school action takes place. In the fall, witness the very height of the rivalry: the East-West Game at East-West Stadium. (It may be a renowned rivalry, but we still know how to share.)
As is true with the majority of restaurants, if you can’t find it, you know it’s going to be delicious. 8th Street Confectionery is not on the main strip as everything else is. It’s a couple blocks back and over, hidden from view but found only by those worthy of the pursuit. This is where you can get classic American food, but the home cooking kind – if you know what I mean. Stuffed peppers, meatloaf sandwiches, and potato salad are not common items to see on a menu. But the deliciousness is completely normal here.
If you prefer an ambiance with your meal, then Aquarium Lounge is perfect for you. A fancy dinner with ritzy food is the evening special. Some lobster tail with your white wine and ambiance? Maybe an appetizer of roasted red pepper bruschetta with your filet mignon?
If you’re not so much a lavish eater, stop by for lunch. The burgers might be gourmet, but they’re still burgers!
And now, sadly, we’ve come to the end of West Side. However, philosophers might argue that it really isn’t an end. Where there’s an end, there’s always a new beginning. Stay tuned for the rest of the intricately connected parts and pieces that make up our Marion.
What’s your favorite West Side hangout?