Town guide: Athens
This southern West Virginia town full of quiet charm and natural beauty is the gateway to Pipestem Resort State Park. Route 20 leading into Athens winds through rural countryside and is a popular ride for motorcyclists.
If you like a menu that’s chock full of choices, visit Moe’s Restaurant & Cafe. This New York-style eatery has it all: pasta, stromboli, gyros, burgers, baklava. They also serve the area’s largest pizzas (a hearty 18 inches). Get something fancy like the loaded penne capri, which comes with shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and creamy marinara sauce. Or keep it simple with a classic sandwich and fries. Portions are generous and affordable, too.
Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti House is a West Virginia chain, but it serves decent Italian meals. Stop by for homemade meatballs, hot pizzas, large subs and baked spaghetti. For a lighter meal, try Gino’s signature “pubwiches.” These are smaller sandwiches made with fresh dough and your choice of ham, chicken or steak.
Treat your family— even the dog— to a nostalgic evening at Pipestem Drive-In Theatre. This local favorite has been around since 1972. And no wonder— double-feature prices are a steal at $7 for adults and $4 for children, or $14 per carload on Sundays. Movies show April through October, Fridays to Sundays starting at dusk. (Gates open at 7 p.m.)
Seek seclusion at Brush Creek Preserve, a romantic spot of wilderness with gorgeous waterfalls. In fact, the largest cascade in southern West Virginia is a short walk from the parking lot. Brush Creek also has a rich array of spring wildflowers. Keep your eyes peeled; you might find the rare Canby’s mountain lover shrub.
Locals are proud of Concord University, an institution that’s been around since 1872. Be sure to stick around and hear a short concert from the tuned bronze bells of the 48-bell carillon – it’s the only true carillon in the state! And if you tour North State Street and South State Street, you’ll find the intriguing Holroyd Homes. These Victorian houses are named after a family that settled in Athens after the Civil War. The Holroyd Mansion has a gawky frame, unusual turret and fussy, frilly architecture typical of the late 1800s. The James French Holroyd House is right nearby. Take a look at its scalloped trim and curvy balcony! But please be discreet, as these homes are privately owned.
Where to stay
If you ever need to unwind, The View B&B is a peaceful little spot. Its quiet, old-fashioned rooms and serene valley vistas will restore your spirit in no time. On weekends, look forward to hot, homemade meals. Guests rave about the owner’s cinnamon pancakes, fresh coffee and hash brown scramble. During the week, help yourself to generous self-serve breakfasts.