If you want to start an argument in West Virginia, the best way to do so is to start talking hot dogs. After all, is it chili or sauce that goes on a hot dog? Does a true West Virginia hot dog have to include slaw? Is it really a hot dog if no condiments are put on it? The best part of any argument; though, is who has the best hot dogs in the state?
My personal choice was always the Clendenin DQ hot dog. You see, my relatives lived near Clendenin and as a kid whenever we went to visit them the treat of the trip was to get hot dogs at the Clendenin Dairy Queen. Never mind that my brother-in-law said they tasted like a wet paper bag. To me, they were heaven.
New River Citgo
Hinton Dairy Queen
Then, in June, the floods hit and the Clendenin DQ was destroyed and the word on the street is it will not be rebuilt. I am now in search of the new best hot dog in the state of West Virginia. I’ve had hot dogs all over this state and I must say that there are some delicious hot dogs out there. Which begs the question…
Who has the best hot dog in West Virginia?
King Tut Drive-In
Since I’ve not had a hot dog at every hot dog place in the state, then I’m going to ask you what you think. I’ll include some of the good places I know about, and I’m also going to include some of the places I’ve heard about, but haven’t yet the opportunity to sample.
If your favorite hot dog venue isn’t included in the poll, please let me know about them in the comments section so I can possibly include them in a new poll.
By Guest Blogger: Sherry McCormick-Hawkins
Recently I had the privilege of spending a day in Pineville. It is a small West Virginia town with a lot of things to offer in regards to lodging, food and shops.
First, Bill and I checked into our room at “Trails Lodging.” We decided to “splurge” and we got a great room with our own private Jacuzzi! The room was terrific and had just been remodeled. The bathroom was large and spotless. We enjoyed sitting in the Jacuzzi and watching old movies! The cost was well under $100 and definitely a bargain. The staff is friendly and the lobby and atmosphere are inviting. On top of that they are located right beside the fascinating “Pinnacle Rock” and across the street from the Wyoming County Courthouse.
I felt like I was stepping back in time as we ventured out after checking into the room. The downtown area is small, but exciting. Our first stop was “Pat’s Fashions”. After looking around a few minutes I urged Bill to head out because I knew that I would be “busy” for quite a while. He gladly complied once he realized how large the store was and he knows I love to “look around.” I was amazed at the HUGE assortment of formal dresses as well as fashionable clothing ranging from jeans to dress clothes. They also have a large variety of jewelry, purses, shoes and other things that women can’t live without. I bought myself a really neat shirt while I was browsing around. The ladies working there were all very friendly and eager to help me find what I needed. In fact, one of them owns a new lodging place herself named “Mimmies Place” which sounded like the perfect place for ATV people, business people and travelers. It is out in the country and has all of the amenities of home. I’ll be back at “Pat’s Fashions” soon.
Once I left Pat’s I crossed the street and headed to “The Blossom Bucket.” This is a really neat store. First, it is a florist where you can get exactly what you need for weddings, funerals, and anything else. They also offer fruit baskets, balloon and candy bouquets, silk flowers and other items. I love how the store is decorated! You can buy curtains, bedspreads and other home décor. They have candles, primitives and many other items available for sale. Again, just like every place else in Pineville I was greeted with a smile and a willingness to help me find what I needed.
That night we ate at the “Cornerstone Grill” which is located in “Trails Lodging”. I love the décor of the place and they have a great menu with a wide variety of items. I especially enjoyed the steak salad! It was so good that we ate there again a few days later on our way to McDowell County! Their prices are budget friendly too and that is always good.
After leaving Pineville I told Bill that I definitely want to come back again soon and stay overnight. The folks are friendly, the area is beautiful and the atmosphere is perfect for relaxing. The perfect place to come and leave your cares behind!
A trip to Sandstone falls is more than simply watching water cascade over a rock, because this waterfall has an island below it with a boardwalk and plenty of places where a person can wander over the island and climb around the falls. Also, a trip to the falls takes you through Hinton, which affords places to stop and get a bite to eat with spectacular views of the New River. The drive to the falls from I-64 is half the fun.
We took exit #139 and turned down Route 20 heading toward Hinton. Just after you pass the store across the railroad tracks on the right, be sure to look to your left as you cross the bridge which spans a creek, whose name I don’t remember, to see a towering cliff carved from the side of the hill. Shortly thereafter, you will wind up the mountain which twists its way toward the town of Hinton 12 miles away. Don’t worry, the road doesn’t snake through the mountain the entire way.
There are places to pull off and view the river, and even the falls, along the way. I encourage you to stop to view the falls because it will heighten your anticipation of when you can get up close and personal with them.
When you reach Hinton, you could stay at the Guest House on Courthouse Square (Lodging > Bed & Breakfast, Inn and Suites), or choose from restaurants like Kirk’s, or the Dairy Queen, where you can sit and enjoy a spectacular view of the New River as you enjoy your meal. Kirk’s has an open patio so you can enjoy the breeze and lean over and watch the huge catfish begging like puppies – well, almost. If you prefer to eat inside and still have a great view of the river, Dairy Queen is the place to go. To visit their listings go to WVyourWay and click the heading “Restaurants.” Then scroll down and click on the keywords, “Breakfast All Day, Desserts, Family, Fast Food, Homestyle Cooking, Motels or Wireless Internet.” To get directions, simply add them to your itinerary and they will be provided.
We then drove down to the falls using the road on the west bank of the river, since it’s the only way to reach the falls. As we strolled along the boardwalk and watched fisherman wade to the edge of the pools of cool water, the area reminded us of a scene from “Swiss Family Robinson.” More accurately, the “Swiss Family Robinson” attraction at Disney World, but I digress.
Since there were several places to get off the boardwalk, I took a hike over the rocks to see if I could get closer to the falls on the eastern side of the river, which appeared to be bigger, and thus, more spectacular. However, I discovered other streams of rushing water that seemed to overflow the rocks, which made passage a bit more difficult than I had initially anticipated. That’s when I prudently decided the adventure part was over and settled into the appreication part of the visit.
We met other couples, and several pets, as we walked the loop around the island. Some were simply enjoying being outdoors on a pretty day, while others were studying the tiny plant life which was just starting to bloom.
If you’re looking for a nice day trip to enjoy a day, it will be hard to beat Sandstone Falls, which just may be West Virginia’s finest!
My brother-in-law is a hamburger connoisseur who is so serious about his favorite food that they vacation around burger places they find on the Food Network. A few years ago, when our niece got married, they had to leave the wedding early in order to visit a burger place in South Carolina they had heard about. They’ve also visited hamburger joints in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and many more places too numerous to remember. So before coming to West Virginia, they visited www.WVyourWay.com and planned some places for me to take them.
Under Restaurants they chose the keywords “Bar-B-Que, Burgers, Casual-Fine Dining, Family, Home Style Cooking and Steaks.” They then narrowed their search to the New River/Greenbrier Valley and hit the search button under the map. The first result they saw was the Mason Jar Restaurant in White Sulphur Springs. (By the way, the Mason Jar also have the keyword Catering, but my sister wasn’t needing a caterer on her visit.)
My sister’s family arrived over the weekend and off to the Mason Jar we dashed. When we got there I told Jeff, my brother-in-law, about the burger challenge where if you eat their entire Triple Decker Burger they’ll give you a free dessert. It was on!
My wife tried to warn Jeff not to eat too much food before the burger got there because of the size of the Triple Decker, but Jeff had already seen the salad bar with the potato salad and macaroni salad, and it was too late. I tried to warn him also since I had already taken the challenge and struggled to eat the entire burger. I’m no small man at 6′, 1″ and 225, but compared to Jeff I guess I am. That night we watched Jeff down a heaping plate of potato salad, macaroni salad and all the other parts of a salad. Then he enjoyed a few of the fried green tomatoes and fried pickles we ordered as an appetizer. Next came the Triple Decker Burger and it’s side of potato chips. Jeff ate the entire burger and chips before I was able to finish even half of my burger! Of course, the extra time enabled him to munch on some of his daughters fries, but who is counting?
After the meal Jeff said that was the best burger he ever ate. Coming from him, that was high praise indeed! Of course, it helps that the Mason Jar Restaurant has chefs with over 70 years of 5-Star restaurant experience. The little secret is you can enjoy meals from Greenbrier Chefs at the Mason Jar Restaurant at great prices. The restaurant even caters, and all I told you about was the burger. I didn’t even mention the brisket which is so big they should make a challenge to eat the entire slice of meat. Or was it two slices? Yep, it was that big!
Go to www.WVyourWay.com and click on the keywords in bold above to find the Mason Jar Restaurant and see all the other kinds of delicious meals they serve. And while you’re there, you can even buy a hillbilly wine glass!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Jeff did win the challenge and a free dessert which he gave to my sister. After all, he was almost full and didn’t want to stuff himself.
Something is happening in Sutton, West Virginia!
A few years ago I visited Sutton and came across a town similar to many downtowns all across America. Empty storefronts, dust-covered windows and a feeling a despair as a once vibrant downtown was crumbling before the eyes of people who remembered the busier days.
There are reasons for the decline of downtown areas, and I’m sure there are good reasons for the decline of downtown Sutton. However, this is not about decline, but it’s about a resurrection of a small West Virginia community!
This summer I returned to Sutton and was surprised by what I saw. The people were redefining their downtown and there was a sense of excitement in the air. Al Surgei, owner of Summit Media, called the road between Flatwoods and Sutton, “restaurant row.” He then went on to name five restaurants along that road: Café Cimino, The Town Market, p.j. berry’s, The Century Restaurant and Stancatti’s. So I visited these restaurants in the order of coming off the interstate at Flatwoods.
You can visit them online too at www.WVyourWay.com. At the end of each paragraph about a restaurant is the category it can be found in on our Information Engine. Feel free to browse the site to find what you are searching for.
The first restaurant you’ll come to is Stancattis. It recently returned to the original owner who is restoring it to the way it used to be. You will see it on your right after you leave the cluster which has become Flatwoods.
Drive on toward Sutton and when you reach the “Y” you will see The Century Inn Restaurant sitting on your right. This is the local homestyle restaurant if you’re wanting a taste of the more traditional West Virginia cooking. The make their breads, pies and other desserts fresh daily. Actually, they make nearly everything from scratch and it’s really quite good. The also have a small gift shop where you can buy local jewelry, candles and other such items. [Restaurants – > Breakfast All Day – > Family – > Home-Style Cooking – > Take Out] [Tourism – > Candles – > Gift Shop]
p.j. berry’s is on the opposite side of the square and it’s located in the old department store bearing the name of Mr. Berry. Yes, it’s spelled all lower case, so no need to correct me on that one. This is the newest restaurant in Sutton and it reminds me of a place like the restaurant bar in the old TV show “Cheers.” However, the emphasis is on restaurant and not the bar.
The food is also very good and the prices aren’t too bad either. There is even a section set aside for crafters, which is very nice. They also serve locally brewed micro beer, which I hear is very good. I don’t drink beer, so I’ll take their word for it. [Restaurants – > Casual-Fine Dining – > Micro Brewed Beer – > Sports Bar/Grill]
The Town Market is located on the corner of courthouse square, and it offers some excellent food as well. The thing I enjoyed most about the restaurant was the menu, though. That might sound funny, but the names of the sandwiches was quite entertaining and humorous. The food was delicious and the kind a cut above the ordinary. The food is grown on their own local farm, so it doesn’t get any fresher. [Restaurants – > Breakfast – > Casual-Fine Dining – > Family]
Cafe Cimino could be called the anchor for Sutton and the revitalization of the town seems to be built on the success of this excellent restaurant. There have been many write-ups in various magazines and newspapers around the state and elsewhere that testify of the high quality of food being served. When I visited, I looked at it as a trip back in time. The restaurant is part of the country inn where you can also stay in luxury as part of the lodging facilities. The difference between a Bed & Breakfast and an Inn is the restaurant that comes with an inn. In days of yore, inns were required to not only provide a place of rest, but also a place of refreshment and a good meal.
The Inn is located in a late 1800’s mansion built P.J. Berry, a business man of wealth in the area. The food is a mediterranean/Italian style and the service is done with flair and class. This is the type of restaurant for special occasions, or when you want a delicious meal and wonderful ambiance. They also have Mountain Made Products for those interested in taking home a unique West Virginia made product. [Lodging – > Bed & Breakfast] [Restaurants – > Casual-Fine Dining] [Tourism – > Historic Homes]
So next time you’re passing by Sutton, take a little bit of time to try one of their fine restaurants and discover the other gems in this renewed town. I will write more about the rest of the town and attractions in the area soon, so come back to check it out.
So you’re heading to Snowshoe in the mountains of West Virginia to do some skiing. You can speed up and speed back and miss all the points in between, or you can take a few minutes to enjoy some things along the way which will offer some variety from what you will see, and pay, on the mountain.
There are different routes to Snowshoe, so I’ll cover more routes in other blogs. Let’s start with US 219 between getting off I-64 at Lewisburg and heading north to the mountain. There are plenty of shopping venues in Lewisburg, so let me just highlight a few. Downtown there is the Old Hardware Gallery (China, Gift Shop, Jewelry), which has nothing really to do with hardware. It is mainly a gift shop with a wide variety of unique items to choose from. They also carry FiestaWare, which seems to be very popular. I liked it because the staff was very friendly and you can even get a free cup of coffee or glass of lemonade.
Bella’s The Corner Gourmet is another place downtown right on the corner of US 219 and US 60 which offers gourmet cheeses and unique gift items. They even have a very nice suites if you need a place to stay (Cheese Shop, Shopping, Wine Store). Discount Decorating, which is located between the interstate and downtown offers some very decorating items and gifts for the home. Plus, the ladies are very friendly and helpful to answer questions (Arts & Crafts, Gift Shop, Primitives).
I love books, and so does Plaid Eagle Antiques located in the downtown area. They have many rare books dealing with history, and especially West Virginia, that you will drool over. They have more quality items than most antique shops, so they’re definitely worth taking a look at (Antiques, Books, Collectibles, Primitives, Prints, Quilts, Vintage Clothes).
Now, head north on US 219 and 3.2 miles north of the I-64 you will find the Ruby Rooster Antique Mall. They have 25 dealers specializing in furniture, glassware, pottery, books, decorative items, primitives and various collectibles. It’s under a large roof, so be prepared to do some browsing. There’s also a small bakery and cheese shop located next door (Antiques, Collectibles, Shopping).
Nine miles north of Lewisburg in Frankford is Lowell’s Bakery. This place has some good eatin’! If you like hot dogs with chili, you have to try their’s, ’cause they have a smoke flavoring that is making me hungry right now just thinking of it! Check out their listing on www.WVyourWay.com which has even more information about this nice little place. Oh yeah, and they also have some nice memorabilia from the area on the wall (Bakery, Desserts, Pizza).
Continue driving north and you will reach the top of Droop Mountain and enter Pocahontas County. On this mountain is the biggest Civil War battlefield in the state. It also has a very nice overlook with a grand view of the Little Levels and Hillsboro. Once you drive down into Hillsboro you may want to try the Pretty Penny Cafe. It’s a nice restaurant that utilizes locally grown produce and organic fare to create a familiar but jazzed up version of your favorites (Casual-Fine/Dining, Catering, Family, Wireless Internet, Music).
After leaving Hillsboro and not far after passing US 55 heading toward Richwood, you’ll come across Grandpa’s Pantry on the left. It’s a little off the road, but there are good signs to guide you. The small store sits on a knoll and it has some very good cheese and deli products you’ll want to stop and enjoy. They have Amish selections, sweets, WV made food products and many other tasty items (Amish Goods, Cheese Shop, Country Store).
Right after you pass by Marlinton you’ll go up a hill and sitting on the right is Gunter’s General Store. They have a slew of WV made crafts, jewelry, candles, wind chimes and other collectibles. They also have a nice selection of antiques (Antiques, Arts & Crafts, Gift Shop).
Right before you turn up Snowshoe Mountain you’ll see a strip of stores on your right. From about the middle of that building to the far left you’ll find the Route 60 Why Not Shop. This is a must stop store with all kinds of gifts. And I do mean all kinds. They also have a delicious deli where they serve some of the best sandwiches I’ve had in the state. It’s also a place you can rent ski equipment. So stop and tell them you saw them on www.WVyourWay.com! Oh, and spend some time reading all the interesting signs. You’ll get a good laugh (Biking, Canoeing, Gift Shop, Shuttle Service, Skiing, Tubing)
Greenbrier County, home of The Greenbrier Resort, has some very good restaurants. Most people know about the fine restaurants in Lewisburg; however, there are restaurants in other parts of the county that might suit your taste as well. So I’m going to give you a sampling of those restaurants as found on www.WVyourWay.com by searching under the “Restaurant” heading and the categories: Casual/Fine Dining, Family and Homestyle Cooking.
The Mason Jar Restaurant in White Sulphur Springs has a variety of steaks and seafood that is prepared by some of the best chefs in the business. They have a very nice buffet and the atmosphere is casual/fine dining, but it’s not so stuffy that you can’t laugh out loud with your friends. [Casual-Fine Dining – > Catering – > Family]
Food and Friends in Lewisburg is the same restaurant that was featured on the Food Network some time back because of their delicious meals. The breads, served in a clay pot that looks like it should have a plant growing in it, are some of the best breads that go very nicely with the meal. The whoe experiance of dining is top knotch from the time you enter the restaurant until you leave. [Casual-Fine Dining – > Seafood – > Steaks]
Rudy’s Corner Grill located off US 219 in downtown Ronceverte is another great place to eat while in the area. If you are looking for a more down home setting where the locals like to eat, you’ve found the right place. Their buffet will have you going back again and the waitresses will make you feel as if you’re a neighbor. [Buffet – > Catering – > Family]
The Dairy Delite Restaurant in Rupert is another homestyle restaurant where you can experiance not only local dining, but the friendliness of the local people as well. This isn’t just a place to find ice-cream, because they have a full menu of your favorite meals. Hamburgers are made from 100% ground chuck and their desserts are made fresh. In season they have ramp dinners, fresh catfish and pig roasts. They’ll even give you a free cookie if you mention you found out about them through WVyourWay! [Catering – > Country Cooking – > Family]
The Spare Time Sports Bar & Grill is located in the bowling alley north of Lewisburg on US 219 and they serve some very nice meals which you can enjoy while watching your favorite teams on their many TV screens. Their grille serves the number one burgers, wings and quesadillas in the valley. [Casual-Fine Dining – > Sports Bar/Grill – > Music]
The Gables Restaurant in Hines, which is between Rupert and Rainelle on US 60, offers dining in a soothing atmosphere for those wanting to enjoy a delicious meal. Their Bolivian coffee is roasted fresh daily and you can enjoy breakfast items any time of the day. Their menu includes a variety of casual foods from hot dogs and hamburgers to ribs, Rotisserie chicken, crab cakes, fried green tomato sandwiches, fried chicken and steaks and seafood. [Breakfast All Day – > Casual-Fine Dining – > Coffee]