Got a long weekend coming up? Head to the top of West Virginia’s northern panhandle and discover all that Brooke and Hancock counties have to offer. We’ve got your itinerary. www.wvtourism.com/topofwv
First stop, Main Street. Check out the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center to learn about Weirton’s steel industry and the major motion pictures—The Deer Hunter, Reckless, and Super 8—that have used the town as a backdrop for on-screen action. Then head over to the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, where you’ll find a well-stocked gallery featuring the work of local artists.
End the day by catching a free concert at the Weirton Event Center, which hosts outdoor performances each Friday from Memorial Day until September. The performances are eclectic: One week you might see former American Idol contestant Gabby Barrett, another week it might be the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
For dinner, check out Theo Yianni’s with its authentic Greek food, from stuffed grape leaves and spanakopita to gyro sandwiches and souvlaki platters. Or head to Dee Jay’s Ribs & Grille, a favorite hangout for Pittsburgh pro sports teams—the Penguins hockey team once took the Stanley Cup there. For dessert there’s Gus’s Goodies, which offers cookies, cupcakes, and delectable donuts.
Homer Laughlin China—and especially the company’s famous Fiestaware line—has fans the world over. If you’re among them, call ahead and reserve an hour-long tour of the Homer Laughlin factory in Newell, about a 30-minute drive north from Weirton. And be sure to stop by the factory’s store to pick up a new addition to your collection.
For a different kind of tour, take West Virginia Route 2 south to Family Roots Farm. The family-owned farm offers a pick-your-own strawberry patch through June. Later in the season, you might get to see sorghum syrup being made. Family Roots also makes some of the state’s best maple syrup—get a jug to take home.
If you’re looking for some night life after your long day, head to the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland. The resort is home to a world-class casino, five restaurants, and regular concerts. Horse races take place Sunday through Wednesday from May through November, but the biggest race day of all is the West Virginia Derby, coming Saturday August 4.
For dinner, head to Drover’s Inn in Wellsburg. Built in 1848, it has served as an inn, a general store, and a post office but is now a warm and welcoming restaurant serving classic pub food. Be sure to try Drover’s wings and stop at the downstairs tavern—originally a fruit cellar—for a beer or mixed drink.
Sunday is the day of rest. So, before heading home, take some time to relax at Tomlinson Run State Park in New Manchester. The park offers six hiking trails, a swimming pool, a miniature golf course, and areas for camping, picnicking, basketball, and volleyball. For a little fun on the water, head to the park’s lake for fishing and paddleboating.
If you’d prefer to hit the links, check out the par-3 golf course at Wellsburg’s Brooke Hills Park. Or head to the nearby Highland Springs Golf Course, where you can tee off in West Virginia and putt out in Pennsylvania.
No trip to the Top of West Virginia is complete without a visit to the World’s Largest Teapot in Chester. Standing 14 feet high and measuring 14 feet in diameter, this classic tourist trap has earned write-ups on websites like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura as well as in The West Virginia Encyclopedia. On Saturday, August 11, Chester will mark its annual Teapot Day, celebrating the town’s landmark with food and entertainment.
Where to Stay
Barn With Inn offers three cozy rooms, including two in the renovated barn, as well as a saltwater pool, butterfly gardens, and breezy front porches. 4859 Bealls Ridge Road, Wellsburg 304.737.0647, barnwithinn.com
The Historic Sarah Miller House in downtown Wellsburg offers three stately rooms in a historic home overlooking the Ohio River. 900 Main Street Wellsburg, 304.737.0647@sarahmillerhousewellsburgwv on Facebook
Located at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, the five-story Grande Hotel at Mountaineer offers rooms and more than 20 suites. Mountaineer Circle Chester, 800.489.8192