This is the second installment on our summer road trip through West Virginia.
After waking up in Morgantown, we really wanted to check out the WVU Zipline, but it only operates on Saturday and we happened to be there mid-week. Oh well! Plan altered. Instead, after breakfast at Blue Moose Cafe, we set off on the road again.
Morgantown is a very cool college town, and I’d love to go back, preferably in the fall over a home weekend—WVU has one of the best football teams in the state—when I can a) tailgate and b) take advantage of the Farmers Market and aerial ropes course.
But next up, we had another kind of family fun in store as we were headed straight for Wheeling where a zoo awaited the wrath of Kid Augustine.
A small park up in the mountains of northern West Virginia near Pittsburgh, the Good Zoo houses more than 50 species, 20 of which are rare or endangered.
Part of the 1,700-acre Oglebay Resort, the natural area comprising the zoo grounds houses lemurs, goats, donkeys, cheetahs, eagles and birds of all kinds.
We focused most of our hour and a half there on the Outback Exhibit and Lorikeet Landing, because who doesn’t love marsupials and avian friends?
Once we got into the lorikeet land, they immediately gravitated toward Augustine and Bob, but it took a lot of coaxing and nectar to get them to land on me, and even then, it was a strained effort.
We were ravenous after our fun in the aviary, so from the Good Zoo we headed into Wheeling proper for lunch at the charming Avenue Eats. We did not eat a bad meal the entire five days we were cruising through West Virginia, but Avenue Eats tied Thyme Bistro as my favorite of them all. Brie and pears and bacon and crispy onion rings always need to dress up burgers, in my opinion.
And when we spied the cupcake spread, there was no getting out of there without trying one. What kind of self-professed cupcake addict would I be if I said no to this delightful peach bellini?
We’d also caught wind of a a brand new brewery in town, Brew Keepers, so that was our last stop before we got on the road again. Literally a small brewing room, Brew Keepers offers samples and also growlers for sale.
I’m no IPA fan, but Brew Keepers’ Flip Flop IPA is to. die. for. When we were there, they were only making a half dozen or so brews, but each one was high-quality and delicious.
We went light on the sampling for a change, though, as our next stop was in Moundsville at Grand Vue Park. This adventure park in Marshall County is outfitted with cabins and camping sites and also offers golf, mountain biking, an aquatic center and plenty of extreme activities.
I like to think of myself as pretty adventurous. I’ll scuba dive any wreck, I’ll jump out of a plane, I’ll pretty much try anything once, but when I climbed to the top of the aerial ropes course, I’ll admit: I was terrified.
You’re basically doing a seven-course American Ninja Warrior course high up in the area with very little stability at all.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.
At the very end, you could walk down the stairs to get to the bottom or you could jump.
Grand Vue has a giant trampoline, as well, which is a favorite activity among the kiddos.
There was also a giant swing, which Bob vlogged via Facebook Live as we dangled precariously high up in the area, nearly identical to the one SVV and I tackled at Travaasa Austin last month.
And an eight-line dual zipline course—the longest one of which spanned an impressive 2,100 feet—which we did not have time to tackle, but looked pretty darn amazing. I’d love to come back to this spot and soar above the trees. While an aerial ropes course may cause me some duress, ziplining is my jam.
And then, back on the road we went. This week was peppered with plenty of driving, which truth be told are my favorite kind of trips as you see so much of a state that many others never experience.
This afternoon was particularly fun as we weaved back and forth between West Virginia and Ohio, over the river (and through the woods) as we made our way down to Parkersburg.
When we arrived in Parkersburg, we only had an hour to grab a pint at the oldest brewery in the county (and also the state, allegedly), North End Tavern, before we noticed the sun was sinking and we were about to miss the finale.
So we raced downtown and over to Fort Boreman Park. This Indian mound offers one of the best vantage points in town in addition to sweeping panoramas of the city, Ohio River and Ohio just beyond that.
We then went down by the river to Point Park, which provides a great alternate view of the riverfront.
From there, it was just a couple blocks to our digs for the night, the historic Blennerhassett Hotel, where we also had dinner and a few more regional craft brews like Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co.’s Mothman Black IPA before crashing for the night.
Not at all a bad way to end our third day whizzing across West Virginia.
Drive time: 184 miles / 3 hours, 48 minutes
- Kickstarting a West Virginia Road Trip: Huntington, Morgantown & Coopers Rock
- Rivers & Rapids in West Virginia: Adventures on the Gorge