Learn All The Reasons You Should Visit ManningtonOctober 12, 2018
Once known as Koontown, Mannington was a leading center of commerce with the oil and gas industry, coal mining, sanitary pottery, and leather. Traces of early history can still be found throughout the city proper and beyond.
If you are a fan of country diners, fairs & festivals, and history, Mannington is a must-visit.
First stop is the Hamilton Round Barn, built in 1911 as a dairy farm. It’s now a massive museum at 66 feet in diameter and 75 feet high at the center. Aside from the ancient farm equipment, this museum may or may not be the last round barn of its kind. (In 1985, there were only five round-ish barns in the state.)
Throughout the summer, catch country, bluegrass, and gospel tunes on the fourth Saturday of the month. You can imagine with a round barn, the acoustics are amazing.
Drive down the road to educate yourself as generations past have done at Wilson School Museum. Once an elementary school, it is now – you guessed it – a museum. A whole other era awaits you! Stumble upon the history of mountain musical instruments, relics of the Bower’s Pottery, a 1900’s South Penn Oil Co. gas station, and a Chessie System caboose. But wait! There’s more! See how life was lived in an 1870s log cabin, fully restored and furnished. Get up close and personal with WV history when you see Francis Pierpont’s bed, dresser, and chair on display.
Big Momma’s Pizzeria is close, which says it all, but I’ll expound. It’s a deep dish (big) pizza cut in a (big) square the size of a (big) table. Don’t let the (big) size deter you; there’s a Little Momma and a Mini Momma pizza. And there’s quite literally something for everyone: waffle fries, bacon cheese fries, cheesy bread, wings, and even more on the menu than that. Leave room for an ice cream treat next to the restaurant.
Now back to history, The New Deal arts projects provided work for jobless artists, but they also had a larger mission: to promote American art and culture and to give more Americans access to what President Franklin Roosevelt described as “an abundant life.” The projects saved thousands of artists from poverty and despair and enabled Americans all across the country to see an original painting for the first time, attend their first professional live theater, or take their first music or drawing class.
Stop by the Mannington Post Office and check out one of the few remaining murals left in West Virginia.
In the good ol’ days, the front porch was a necessity that acted as an outdoor living room where family and neighbors would retire after a long day’s activities.
In Mannington, Our Back Porch is now the communal gathering place. Look beyond the hackneyed ice cream floats in favor of espresso and Shirley Temple floats. Try one of the many signature Arctic Freezes: homemade blackberry cobbler, french toast, lemon cream pie, and about a million more. (That’s an estimate, not an exact count). Occasionally, neighbors gather to hear live music on the porch.
If you prefer the quintessential flavor combos, head to T&L Hot Dogs. It’s the place to go for all things classic. Get that hot dog you’ve been craving, a burger, and fries, maybe a pepperoni roll or a baked potato with all the fixings.
Now, we’re moving onto Mead Avenue and Walnut Street, where more history awaits. The Mannington Vietnam Veteran Memorial is a beautiful statue to honor and remember the Mannington residents killed in the war between 1959 and 1975. Statues and memorials are dedicated all over the county to remember and honor the men and women who served their country and gave their lives.
If you are in town during the summer, follow the scent of BBQ to the Mannington Fairgrounds for the Forks of the Buffalo BBQ Brawl. You’ll be able to catch the Real Shoot Wrestlers in action, too.
Mario’s II Restaurant serves classic diner fare with amazing desserts to round out your meal.
Now that you’ve eaten walk it off and take in the sights. The Joel McCann Memorial Trail winds its way to the North Marion Senior Center. Make your way through West Virginia on trails alone!
Next, head down the street. Use the right side of your brain at Nativibes. Use the beauty of Marion to inspire your upcoming works. Nativibes is the only place to paint and create. But if you’re not so artistic, buy original paintings and watercolors there. (Browse the hand-carved jewelry for the perfect mix of art and fashion!)
Just around the bend is Mountaineer Florist with gifts and flowers, which can be easily combined. For example, put some flowers in a lantern or a drawer for a country chic look. Pick up a little red wagon with your arrangement. A vintage mailbox would make a great gift – with or without flora! Get your floral, holiday, and Mountaineer needs to be met here.
Morris Marketplace Menagerie is a unique collection of small shops under one roof! Shoppers will find baked goods, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and antiques, among other great gifts.
BerTeas offers high-quality teas meticulously sourced from around the world and lovingly hand-packed in Mannington. Stop in for a quick chat and a lovely cuppa, or get all the supplies you need for your own tea-making pleasure. As you leave the tea shop, mosey over to the Mannington Public Library’s used book store. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up for a summer of beach reading or snuggles in on a long winter night.
Something Special is a name that can be taken literally (and applied to much of Mannington). Outfit your life with farmhouse-style decor and handmade furniture. Smell plays an important role in the ambiance as well. Take home Candleberry Candles in Country Rain, Gingerberry Sweet Wine, Hot Maple Toddy, Honey Buttered Rolls, and Pumpkin Praline Waffles. You can also stock up on seasonal and garden plants.
What’s next? Pool, park, and playground: the perfect alliteration and combination. And in West Virginia, that means swimming, playing, and fishin’. Hough Park has plenty of playground equipment near a fishin’ hole for your fishin’ enjoyment.
This is also the site of the world-renowned Great Buffalo Canoe Race! (OK, maybe it isn’t world-renowned.) It’s an ancient tradition (since 1966) to race your great buffalo in a canoe across the river. Just kidding. That may be how it originally worked (it wasn’t), but now it’s a whole new race (it’s the same). Canoers and kayakers paddle their way down Buffalo Creek towards Farmington to vie for the grand title of Great Buffalo Canoe Race Winner. Take your chances, take your buffalo.
After beginning your summer racing a buffalo down a river, end it at the Mannington District Fair. This is more than a fair, it’s family. Former residents come from all over the country to attend. This isn’t just family fun. This is family fun. It’s also music, rides, corn dogs, pretzels, hot dogs, and a demolition derby. There’s nothing better than family, food, and fire!
For more than three decades, residents and visitors have gathered for the annual Octoberfest, held on the first Saturday. Food vendors, crafters, and entertainers fill Market Street for the day.
All year long, get all your outdoorsy needs met at Main Street Trader, and I mean all. From chicken chicks to turkey chicks to duckling chicks, they just might have everything you can imagine. Aside from cute animals, consider an ATV or maybe taking up archery. Don’t forget your camping needs! You’ll need a guitar when you’re out by the fire. (Yes, they have guitars, too!) Hunting supplies? Check. Farm supplies? Check. Garden Supplies? Check. Hardware supplies? Check. Camouflage supplies? Double check.
Once you’re fully stocked, you’ll need somewhere to go. How about 695 acres of pure West Virginia? Around the 30-acre Curtisville Lake are plenty of hiking trails (once you’re done fishin’, of course). Boat, hike, bike, fish, and relax. You’ll need more than an afternoon to get through this beautiful land. Stay at the campground. Pick from RV or primitive sites without fear of being judged.
Not done being outdoorsy? Good. We’ve got more trees, more land, and more water than you realized. Dent’s Run is twice the size of Curtisville at 1,226 acres. It is both a wildlife area and an outdoor shooting range. After practicing your hand/eye coordination, get out there! Hunt for deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, waterfowl, and other unsuspecting animals. Remember, in West Virginia, there is always fishin’! (There’s never fishing.) A 30-acre impoundment provides all the warm water fishin’ you could want.
Just like there are always trees and pepperoni in Marion, there’s usually a monument to remember the important things. Stop by the Farmington No. 9 Mine Disaster Memorial. Around 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, 1968, the No. 9 mine exploded. Although a cause was never determined for the blast that killed 78 miners, it was the beginning of new laws and regulations to protect miners in America better.
Enjoy your trees and your hunting, your shopping, and your eating!