My Marion Bucket List: Summer

After the longest winter and the shortest spring, life is finally in the air … and in the trees … and in the ground. And this means it’s time to make summery plans! But these aren’t just any plans I’m making; these are bucket list plans specific to good ol’ West Virginia.

For each beautiful season that West Virginia has to offer, I’m making a bucket list so as not to miss one, single, awesome thing. (Take a look back at the spring blog and keep an eye out for the fall and winter blogs still to come.)

Summer officially began June 21. I have until Sept. 22 (when summer ends) to complete the list or wait until next year to finish it.

On my bucket list is a mix of both regional and local places to see and experience as well as things I’ve already seen and experienced. I added them so you can add them to your bucket list – you’re welcome!

First up is… Sunset Ellis Drive In: I have gotten to go here quite a few times and every summer, I’m always trying to go back. Aside from the low price and good movies, it’s an awesome throwback to the past when friends, family, and community gathered together to enjoy the weather and a good film… or two. (They always show two!)

family swimming in a wave pool

Marion County Wave Pool

The Wave Pool: It’s an oceanic experience. Soak up the sun while you drift in the waves on a big inner tube. That is unless you’re a kid; then, fight the waves, ride the waves and love summer!

Farmers Market: There aren’t two farmers markets anywhere that are similar to each other. That’s why Fairmont’s Farmers Market (and most other markets) is necessary to see. It’s artisanal, healthy and delicious – that’s why I go!

Now for those local activities that I’ve never experienced:

WVSUP: This motley assortment of letters stands for West Virginia Stand Up Paddleboarding. This is not an activity I’m entirely comfortable doing. I sink quite easily in just about any watery situation: oceans, rivers, pools, kitty pools, baths, puddles (but not the salt pod at Spa Oasis– it’s magic!). Anyway, I refuse to accommodate fear, so I will soon be standing up and paddleboarding simultaneously (with a life jacket and plenty of floaties).

man in red kayak going over falls

Kayaking at Valley Falls State Park

Valley Falls Kayaking: I’ve been to Valley Falls. I’ve been kayaking (it went well) and whitewater kayaking (I fell out…twice). But I’ve never combined the two: Valley Falls Kayaking. Not to knock the places I’ve gone before, but I have a feeling kayaking at Valley Falls is going to be so much more beautiful! I’m excited and nervous (for reasons previously and very recently mentioned).

Something I want to include in my summers is a pizza and ice cream night. Every week or so, I’ll hit up a pizza place, find an ice cream joint and enjoy a good film. Where all will I be going?

In Mannington: Big Mama’s Pizza and Our Back Porch
On East Side: Original Italian Pizza and Dairy Creme Corner
On West Side: Cantoni’s and Pufferbelly’s
In the middle: Muriale’s and Poky Dot
In White Hall: Colasessano’s and their gelato counter

I couldn’t find a pizza place or movie place close to Monongah’s Dairy Kone, so I’ll just eat extra ice cream that night!

(I may have already tasted a morsel or two from a couple of places on this list. But I’ll try them again, just to be sure.)

What about some cool regional bucket list items?

For this part of the bucket list, let’s start close: Morgantown.

wooden sign at the entrance of the WV Botanic Garden

WV Botanic Garden at Tibbs Run

The West Virginia Botanic Garden: From what I’ve been told and from what I can see on Facebook, this place is beautiful and fragrant and the perfect place for me. And it’s free!

WVU Core Arboretum: Ninety-one acres of forest, wildflowers a, d wonder. Much like the botanic garden, this is certainly a place for me. With trails that meander the land, I could meander for weeks here!

Black Bears: I’m not talking about a zoo or even the animal. I’m talking about baseball! Witnessing various athletic events is essential to a well-rounded life, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been. But that’s about to change!

Now let’s move onto other parts of the state!

Tygart Flyer: This will be my very first train trip to the past! The New Tygart Flyer is a vintage train (my favorite adjective!) with a buffet (my favorite noun!) and ends at the High Falls of the Cheat!


Summersville Lake Lighthouse

Summersville Lake Lighthouse Festival: I have yet to go to West Virginia’s only working lighthouse! And the best way to do it is to do it in style with some celebration and cake! That’s why I’m going to take a tour, enjoy the sights and the sounds of Appalachia – as well as the tastes!

Mountaineer Race Track: Something else I have never seen up close is any kind of race. So this summer, I’m going to go watch many Seabiscuits vie for the title of fastest horse!

And that’s just the summertime bucket list! By the end of the season, I hope to be able to tell you how awesome everything was and give you my fall bucket list plans. Stay tuned!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

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