Morgantown

Overview

Introduction

As is the case in many university towns, the college in Morgantown—West Virginia University—is the town's main attraction, but certainly not its only one. In 2007, the National Trust named it one of the country's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations." Morgantown is 130 mi/210 km northeast of Charleston.

Getting to and around the campus is easy with one of the country's most advanced—and most unusual—forms of transportation: the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). These fully automated, computerized, small vehicles zip students around campus with Spock-like efficiency. (They'll zip visitors around as well.)

On campus, visit the COMER (College of Mineral and Energy Resources) Museum, which has videos, working models and limited-run exhibits, the Cook-Hayman Pharmacy Museum and the WVU Creative Arts Center, which offers more than 500 performances a year. (You must call in advance to visit these campus features.)

Away from the university, you can take a walking tour of the historic downtown and the riverside Wharf District, with its amphitheater for free summer movies and concerts. There are small, privately owned galleries and a number of pubs, including a brew pub—the West Virginia Brewing Company—set among cafes and coffeehouses.

Restaurant choices vary widely and include Malaysian, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, organic and vegetarian options and, of course, old-fashioned home cooking. A short drive north of town takes you to the Forks of Cheat Winery, which offers tours and tastings.

For a good hike and nice views, go to Cheat Lake in Coopers Rock State Forest, home to historic chestnut buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Overlooking Cheat Lake is the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa, which has two championship golf courses.

Venture south on Route 119 from Morgantown, and you will pass through Grafton, home of two national cemeteries. Continue south to Route 250 and you will cross Philippi Covered Bridge, one of West Virginia's few remaining covered bridges. Spanning 285 ft/88 m, the bridge was built in 1852.

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