Town guide: Fairmont
Get a hearty helping of European and old-time heritage in “Italy in Appalachia!”
Taste Old-World cuisine, tour quirky museums and sip mountain moonshine in Fairmont.
Fairmont’s food scene is a mix of decades-old family restaurants, old-time diners and hot dog joints.
The Italian influence in Fairmont is clear! Locals love Muriale’s Italian Restaurant & Catering. This authentic family eatery boasts award-winning recipes. Colasessano’s is another mainstay, with its thick-crusted pizzas. Visit during the Feast of the 7 Fishes Festival, and learn to cook up your own traditional 7-course Italian holiday feast.
No trip to Fairmont is complete without a pitstop at Country Club Bakery, “Home of the Original Pepperoni Roll.” Snack on a true West Virginia classic, hot from the oven.
If you’re lucky, you may catch the elusive Yann’s Hot Dogs when it randomly opens! They only make it one way (and ketchup is forbidden), but it must be the best, because the lines wind out the door.
Top it all off with towering ice creams at the Dairy Creme Corner stand (possibly the largest in America), or The Poky Dot’s famous 9-pound banana splits.
Come Saturday, there’s only one place to go for live country music and old-time sounds: the Sagebrush Round-Up. Each week brings a lineup of local and national bands.
For more Appalachian music, stop by rustic-chic Heston Farm for live shows served up with quirky mountain moonshines, handcrafted wine and farm-fresh foods. In the summers, “Backroads and BBQ” brings a bluegrass twang to the historic Hamilton Round Barn.
All that emphasis on roots music isn’t just coincidence. The town also pays homage to its many mountain music greats during Pattyfest and the Johnnie Johnson Blues Festival.
If the kids are in tow, let ‘em explore all the games and excitement at Valley Worlds of Fun.
Fairmont is a trove for treasure seekers with country-primitives taste. Start the hunt at Arts and Antiques Marketplace, where more than 80 vendors’ riches are spread over 3 stuffed floors. Find anything from vintage clothing and paintings to furniture and glassware.
Then check out Sweet Memories Antique Mall for antique furniture, primitives, vintage appliances and intriguing odds and ends. You might find ox yokes, clocks, shutters and cupboards.
Putt your way through Appalachian history at Coal Country Miniature Golf, where the obstacles are made from vintage mining equipment.
Dig into coal industry history at the mining museum on-site. Or, if you want another round of games, head to the Seth Burton Disc Golf Course.
Have a picnic on the banks at Valley Falls State Park, or cycle around the mountain trails. Pedal even deeper into the countryside along the tracks of the town’s rail trails, winding through old train tunnels and along the riverbanks.
Prickett’s Fort State Park living history museum is recreated based on the original 18th-century fort. Costumed actors share stories and demonstrate colonial crafting, like blacksmithing and sheep shearing. Pack a picnic lunch and pretend you’re a pioneer family!
The Telephone Museum is a quirky labor of love. It’s only open once a week, but where else will retired telephone company staffers lead you through shelves of vintage phones, switchboards and early cellular devices?
Where to Stay
Fairmont has several chain hotels, but if you want to experience local character, head to The Inn at Pettyjohn. There’s also the Shady Lady Lounge, which is tricked up like an Old West saloon!
Or cozy up in the farmhouse at A Nature’s Song B&B, overlooking 140 rolling acres. They’ll cook up a hearty breakfast, served with pure mountain-fresh spring water from right on the property.