Roadside attractions along I-77?
December 17, 2004 11:41 AM   Subscribe

WestVirginiaTravelFilter: Looking for a good road-side attraction along I-77 [mi]

Over the holidays my family will be traveling from Michigan to North Carolina with a 12 month old. The trip takes 12 hours without a baby, and so we are considering trying to break the trip into 2 days. The logical place to stop is somewhere like Charleston or Beckley (or somewhere close), but Parkersburg and Wytheville, VA are also possibilities. Does anyone have a recommendation for a fun baby-friendly stop that takes just a few hours in the afternoon along I-77? The Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley looks interesting, but it is closed in December.
posted by Tallguy to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
Tamarack is pretty cool and I believe it's open all year. It has good craft right there along with shlock craft, and the whole thing is sort of a strange marriage between a highway rest stop and a craft mall; there's a lot to look at, and sometimes they have glassblowing demos and such, which your baby will enjoy. Warning: there are many cute cute stuffed animals for sale. . .
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:39 PM on December 17, 2004

Oh, and they have food there too; not bad actually.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:40 PM on December 17, 2004

Best answer: mygothlaundry is right-on; Tamarack is pretty interesting.

Wytheville, on the other hand, is an utter armpit unless you have some sort of fascination with truck stops.

(I was born in Parkersburg and grew up in NC, and traveled this road more times than I could count because I had a parent in each.)

You might like Marietta, Ohio, which is on I-77 just before Parkersburg. It's a nice little town on the Ohio River, full of Victorian houses, with a good, walkable downtown. It's got a long history -- it was the first settlement in the Northwest Territory, which the Campus Martius Museum relates. (Unfortunately, it's closed during the winter.) They also have the Ohio River Museum (ditto), which has an old sternwheeler and tells the story of the riverboats that helped Marietta grow. There are ancient Hopewell Indian mounds in Mound Cemetery and along Sacra Via. Rossi Pasta, downtown by the riverfront, makes awesome fresh pasta and is definitely worth a stop. (They supply Neiman-Marcus and the Greenbrier, among others.) It's just down the street from the grand riverboat-era Lafayette Hotel. And, I haven't been to the Marietta Soda Museum and its old-school soda fountain yet, but I'm planning to go when I'm there in early January.

Across the river in Williamstown, WV, there's the Fenton Art Glass factory, and Parkersburg has the Blennerhassett Museum. (Blennerhassett Island -- closed during the winter -- was where Aaron Burr hid out after shooting Alexander Hamilton in their 1804 duel.)
posted by Vidiot at 5:30 AM on December 18, 2004

Response by poster: Vidiot: Thank you so much for the tips! We go through Marietta all of the time, and so we will have plenty of opportunities to tour those places.

We thought about the Fenton Art Glass tour, but under-2-year-olds are not permitted, so we will have to wait.
posted by Tallguy at 10:29 AM on December 18, 2004

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