by Merle Exit
West Virginia University has a reputation for their football team setting fires to celebrate whether it’s a win or a loss. This would be the last reason to visit the area with so many other attractions to experience.
Animal lovers, like myself, should head for the Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, located in Kingswood on Herring Road. Run by Brian Hovatter it is less than 20 miles from Morgantown. The entrance house has a great view of one of many groups of primates and where you can purchase feeding food. Carrots are suggested for the giraffe, candy bars (of the healthy genre) go to the bears. At some areas, like at one primate cage, there is a machine to get a handful of “Cherrios”. Long white tubes are placed in most of the cages so that you can simply put the food in the tube and the animal will be waiting for it. I was able to pet Zack, a giraffe who had appeared in movies. www.westvirginiazoo.com.
Pontoon rides are a favorite as well. Sunset Beach Marina is the perfect spot to begin a boat ride along the 13-mile Cheat Lake less than 15 minutes from Morgantown. The exact address of the marina is 177 Sunset Beach Rd. www.sunsetbeach-marina.com.
Coopers Rock State Forest, 13 miles East of Morgantown, was more than a viewing attraction. The drive alone gave me a glimpse of the oxygenated outdoors. West Virginia Botanic Gardens is located in and around the parking lot. www.wvbg.org. Rockcliffs line the Cheat River with a gorge furnishing a panorama as well as distant horizons. Hike to the historic Henry Clay Furnace just nearby and enjoy the state forest. www.coopersrockstateforest.com
Morgantown Theatre Company has a usual focus of “teaching” as it functions as a community theatre for elementary, middle and high school students. Sometimes you can take in a performance by the alumni. www.morgantowntheatrecompany.org
No matter what state you travel in there always seems to be wineries. Forks of Cheat Winery is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains with a tasting room that could keep you there for the afternoon. Owned by Jerry and Eric Deal, the view alone is worth the ride. There is no charge for the wine tastings of which you can taste them all. Head for the deck for a great view. www.wvwines.com
Spark Science Center will satisfy the imagination of children with interactive exhibits. Just the opposite from admission price, children are charged $2 while adults have to fork over $6. www.sparkwv.org.
Expect a number of cuisines in the area. Stefanos, located above a bowling alley, has some of the best Italian cuisine with a bit of a twist. I loved their meatballs stuffed with mozzarella and topped with a meat sauce as well as the mac and cheese made with lobster and mascarpone. www.stefanoswv.com.
Check out the downtown area called the Wharf District where Morgantown Brewing Company, is located. This micro-brewery has an array of beers, delicious food and some live entertainment as well. www.morgantownbrewingcompany.com.
photo: wikicommons user Jae69376 CC BY-SA 3.0