This location is important to me because it’s in my home state. If you’re looking for a low key get away for a couple of days with a nice drive to get there, Wheeling, West Virginia is a good place to keep in mind. This city was the state’s capitol (sort of, it moved around) for a brief period of time until in 1885 it was decided that Charleston would be the capitol.
5 Things to do:
If you want to go to one place where there are multiple things to do on a Saturday afternoon, this park located on the outskirts of Wheeling is the perfect place. During the Christmas season, this self-supporting municipal park is known for their light display and gift shop. There is also a Mansion Museum at the home of the Oglebay’s which can be followed by a buffet meal at Wilson Lodge. Once you’re done with that, they also have a Glass Museum where you can view the largest punch bowl in the world, as well as other beautiful pieces of glass work.
This is more of a sight to see than it is a thing to do. Spanning over the Ohio River, from 1849-51 this bridge was the largest of its kind in the world. The bridge has been repaired over the years and remained in service until a Greyhound bus damaged it in 2016. Motorists are still permitted to drive across, but there are strict weight restrictions. The WV Division of Highways is currently developing a rehabilitation project for the bridge.
Take a short 10-15 minute drive outside of Wheeling and you’ll end up in Moundsville. Here you can visit the retired West Virginia State Penitentiary that was active from 1876-1995. This once self-sustaining prison now offers tours around the premises, and is having sections of the interior restored for a TV show. Tours are given by prior guards from the prison’s active days who tell fascinating stories about inmates they knew and prison policies.
Another peaceful activity for a low-key afternoon, this park has activities going on year-round. In the summer there’s swimming, mini golf, and paddle boat riding, while during the winter there’s ice-skating on the pond. You can feed the ducks as you walk around enjoying nature and beautiful weather. They also feature outdoor events such as music festivals.
5. Bob’s Lunch
This diner is located about just a few blocks from the penitentiary. From the outside, this local diner is nestled between houses, but I highly recommend going there for lunch one day. On a Sunday, there’s scarcely an open table to be found, but the friendly staff and home-style cooking is to die for. They have specials everyday of the week for those working in emergency services and are kind to anyone walking through the door.
Wheeling isn’t the social hubbub it was back in the day, but for a laid back, casual weekend getaway, the city and surrounding area is perfect. There’s no rushed feeling anywhere you go, and you could always pop into Ohio if you feel so inclined.