Town guide: Moundsville
Down-home comforts and fascinating historical attractions are just 2 reasons you should visit this Ohio River town.
Bob’s Lunch serves comfort food at its finest and most unpretentious. Tuck into basic but satisfying dishes like hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes (both drowning in gravy), club sandwiches and sizzling fries. Try one of their homemade cinnamon buns, too.
Rock N Rowdy’s is a good choice if you like American diners. Their menu showcases hoagies (like reuben, hot sausage and even pizza), gyros and classic sandwiches. You can also order old-time desserts like shakes and floats. Come on Mondays for Bike & Karaoke Night!
Remember how towns used to have corner bakeries? Well, you can taste that made-from-scratch difference at Quality Bake Shoppe. Shiny glass cases reveal nostalgic favorites like apple dumplings, cherry-filled donuts, pies and cookies. Need a recommendation? Locals swear by the “Mad Dog” donut, an elongated indulgence stuffed with vanilla, chocolate or peanut-butter cream.
No visit to Moundsville is complete without a trip to prison, and the West Virginia State Penitentiary is a real stunner — one of Time magazine’s Top 50 Authentic American Experiences. Erected in 1876, this grim fortress has all the fascination of a Gothic cathedral without any of the charm. That’s the point. You’ll feel dominated by its pointed arches, turrets and soaring walls. Until its closure in 1995, criminals lived — and died — within its claustrophobic cells. Now it’s your turn to pay a visit. Choose from a variety of tours: daily, 3-hour investigations, sleep overs, twilight visits and special trips.
Take a trip to “America’s Taj Mahal” — Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold! Originally designed for the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, this ornate attraction is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Tour marble halls with mirrored ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Outside, walk through lush gardens populated with swans and peacocks. You’ll also see gushing fountains, calm lily ponds and Lord Krishna’s cows. Exotic? Definitely.
Archive of the Afterlife is one odd museum. This eccentric spot collects anything creepy or occult. Highlights include haunted items, life masks, an embalming table and artifacts from the West Virginia Penitentiary.
While you’re in the area, pop into Dragonfly Crafts & Gifts. You’ll find cute and unusual salt-and-pepper shakers, furniture, knitted items and lots of homey kitchen ware.
Chey Nan’s Western Tack & More isn’t just for the horsey set. Step in for cute country decor, primitives, charming lanterns and lights, whimsical signs and West Virginia-themed shirts. Just don’t be surprised by all the halters, saddles and pony supplies.
Grand Vue Park is like an enormous playground. You can take a 3-hour canopy tour, which boasts 8 dual zip lines and multiple suspension bridges. Or, keep things short n’ sweet with a half-hour aerial experience instead. Grand Vue also has a giant swing, 12 miles of trails, geocaches and much more.
Since it’s located right alongside the Ohio River, Moundsville has plenty of spots for kayaking and canoeing, too.
One of Moundsville’s most noteworthy attractions dates to prehistoric times: the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. At 62 feet high, this National Historic Landmark is one of America’s largest conical burial grounds. Walk its enormous circumference and admire what the Adena people accomplished so long ago. Then, visit the nearby Delf Norona Museum for in-depth information about early West Virginia life. Browse exhibits and artifacts and learn how the mound was made.
Before you leave, visit the Anna B. Smith House — headquarters of the Fostoria Glass Museum. Its exquisite collection of delicate stemware bids homage to Fostoria Glass, a company that lasted from 1887-1986. Its eye-catching glassware was especially popular at the White House. Please note that the museum is closed from December-February.
Where to stay
Sleep Inn & Suites is your best bet for an affordable night’s sleep. If you prefer something a little more unique, drive just outside town to Haven Inn. This hotel in Glen Dale has been around since the 1950s!