Make the most of a brief visit to “The best walking city in the U.S.”
By Hope S. Philbrick
We spent just 19 hours in Morgantown, West Virginia—eight of them asleep.
Though a longer visit to this community is in order—Morgantown, situated on the banks of the Monongahela River, is home of West Virginia University and a broad range of tourism options—if your road trip from Point A to Point B passes through Morgantown, heed our advice to make the most of an overnight layover if you’re in the mood to get acquainted with the town, stretch your legs after a long drive, and relax.
Welcome to Morgantown!
Time permitting, head to Downtown Morgantown for more shopping. Among the not-to-miss boutiques: Appalachian Gallery (270 Walnut St.), which showcases works by West Virginian artisans (glass, jewelry, pottery and more), and Elegant Alley Cat (358 High St.), a specialty gift shop.
Another shopping destination is Seneca Center (709 Beechurst Ave.) This old glass factory now houses boutiques that specialize in quilts, tea, antiques and more.
Depart for Spa Roma.
If you’ve mentioned to any locals you’ve met while shopping that you’ll be going to Spa Roma, odds are they’ve sighed with obvious envy and said, “Oh, that’s nice! You’re going to enjoy it!” The place has a great reputation and you’ll soon see that it’s well deserved.
Arrive at Spa Roma (170 Lakeview Drive; 304.594.9782).
If relaxation and rejuvenation is your goal, a hot stone massage is an excellent choice, though any treatment may do the trick. Change into a robe and slippers in the changing room, stash your clothes and valuables into a locker, sit in the sauna if you’ve got some time or head straight to the relaxation lounge and let the bliss begin.
At the appointment time your therapist will escort you to a private treatment room. Inside that sanctuary the massage table awaits; it’s pre-heated, draped in silky soft sheets, and so cushiony that you may fall asleep before the treatment begins. Skilled hands rub tension away; hot stones nudge muscles into even deeper relaxation. At the end of the hour, the therapist uses hot towels to whisk oils away from feet and back; this serves as a warm transition from pampering back to reality.
You can then linger in the sauna followed by a private shower in the locker room before dressing and heading back into Morgantown.
Check-in at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (161 Lewis Dr., 304.598.5006).
This is a franchise where the staff members clearly have warm hearts and are eager to welcome you to their hotel and community, so whether you favor the consistency of chain hotel or appreciate the individuality of independents, the clean, cozy comfort and friendly, attentive service here will make you feel welcome. Have questions about what to do in Morgantown or the best route to take to get somewhere? Just ask for recommendations. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, this hotel provides everything you need for a comfortable overnight stay.
- Staff is available 24 hours a day
- Free high-speed Internet
- Free parking
- 32-inch flat-screen TVs in each guestroom
- Sealy posturepedic plush mattresses
- Fitness center with cardiovascular equipment and free weights
- Non-smoking property
- All rooms offer a coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, and ironing board
- Work desk and ergonomic chair
- Executive King Suites offer separate living and bedroom areas
- Bathtubs standard
- Odds of Encountering Children: Children are welcome at the hotel, but during the workweek the property mostly draws adult travelers.
Savor dinner and drinks at Tin 202 (202 High St.; 304.212.5863; ). Billed as “the best bar and restaurant in Morgantown,” this is the place grownups dine not a college-town hangout.
Tin 202 specializes in craft cocktails and creative fare.
Drinks feature small-batch spirits, hand-pressed juices and fresh, local fruits and herbs. The cocktail list changes with the season (and perhaps bartenders’ whims). Whoever is working behind the bar can prepare your favorite classic cocktail, but this is a place to go out on a limb and try something new, such as “Voodoo Chile,” a tasty blend of bourbon, sage-honey syrup and orange.
The menu offers a range of soups, tapas, entrées and desserts, all showcasing seasonal, local ingredients to the extent possible. The clam corn chowder and cauliflower steak satisfy both taste buds and tummies.
Before departing, be sure to look up at the tin ceiling (circa 1890). It’s gorgeous!
Return to the hotel to relax until it’s time to catch some Zzzzs.
Enjoy complimentary breakfast at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. This isn’t just a continental breakfast—though you can have that, if you prefer. The buffet features a variety of hot items plus fresh fruit, yogurt and more.
Check out of the hotel.
Depart Morgantown with plans to return.
Safe travels! Don’t text and drive.
More Grownup To-Dos in Morgantown…
We didn’t have time to check out any of these places during our quick visit, but you might fit them into your schedule.
Morgantown is listed as the No. 1 best walking city in West Virginia and the 34th best walking city in the U.S. by Prevention Magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association. It also ranks as one of the Top 10 places to retire for under $100 a day by AARP Magazine.
50% of the population of the United States and 33% of the population of Canada resides within a 500-mile radius of Morgantown. Morgantown is one day’s drive from 6 of the 8 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, 20 metro areas with populations of 1 million or more, and 22 of the nation’s top 35 industrial markets, according to the City of Morgantown.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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