Learn All The Reasons You Should Visit ManningtonApril 19, 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.
Round barn dairy farming might be a thing of the past, but trades are still in. Learn one at Never Enough Fabrics and Quilting. This isn’t just a store but a classroom! Take a class, get supplies, and start quilting!
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 1870’s log cabin, fully restored and furnished. Get up close and personal with WV history when you see on display Francis Pierpont’s bed, dresser and chair.
Across the street is Big Momma’s Pizzeria, which basically says it all, but I’ll expound. It’s 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.
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 when you are in town 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 the activities of a long day.
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 you might even see neighbors gathered 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 fixins.
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.
After such a weighty visit to something so significant, we’ll need to take a mini break. How about some kielbasa and brisket melt? Baby B’s Barbeque & Cafe has the best of both wings and breakfast! This place is the real deal … and they have it too! The Reel Deal is two 1/3 lb of angus burgers between grilled cheese sandwiches. Enjoy! (Yeah, it will be the true test of how much food you can eat at once. Good luck!)
If you are in town in June, follow the scent of BBQ to the Mannington Fairgrounds for the Smokin’ on the Buffalo BBQ Brawl. You’ll be able to catch the Real Shoot Wrestlers in action, too.
Mario’s New York Style Restaurant is actually a very well rounded restaurant. It has more than just pizza, though that’s really all they’d need. But the stromboli, the calzones, the lasagna are more than appreciated in this Appalachian town. That’s why Mario’s is even more than Italian food; it provides the best of a good hometown breakfast with biscuits and gravy, home fries and egg sandwiches.
Now that you’ve eaten, walk it off and take in the sights. The Joel McCann Memorial Trail winds it 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, instead 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 both 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.You can always do separates, too. A vintage mailbox would make a great gift sans flora! Get your basket, holiday and Mountaineer needs met here.
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 ambiance as well. Take home Candleberry Candles in Country Rain, Gingerberry Sweet Wine, Hot Maple Toddy, Honey Buttered Rolls and Pumpkin Praline Waffles.
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 located very 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 the 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 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. To get through all of this beautiful land, you’ll need more than an afternoon. 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 outdoor shooting range. After practicing your hand/eye coordination, get out there! Hunt for deer, wild turkey, squirrel, waterfowl and other unsuspecting animals. Don’t forget, in West Virginia, there’s always fishin’! (There’s never fishing.) A 30-acre impoundment provides all the warm water fishin’ you could want.
Just like there’s 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 better protect miners in America.
Very close to all this history, education and the great outdoors are two places to stay. Mannington is the only place in Marion where you’ll get an authentic bed and breakfast experience. Where the Rhododendron House is centrally located, A Nature’s Song is a getaway in itself. The choice is yours! (The good news is that you can’t go wrong.)
Enjoy your trees and your hunting, your shopping and your eating!