Morgantown, West Virginia

Photo: tourmorgantown.com
Photo: tourmorgantown.com

It’s a beautiful morning for a run. The sun is already shining brightly overhead. The sky is so blue that it almost looks like the ocean. The temperature is quickly rising above 60 degrees. While you have a six-mile paved trail to follow through parks, an arboretum, and the riverfront. It’s a picture-perfect day in Morgantown.

Morgantown, West Virginia is considered one of the best small cities in the United States. It sits near the Pennsylvania border, just 75 miles south of Pittsburgh, in an area that remained Native American land until almost the American Revolution. After it was settled in 1767, several forts were built along the Monongahela River. Today, the city is known for its beautiful natural surroundings. It’s also home to West Virginia University, a unique transit system, and a revitalized riverfront area.

You start the morning at the Chestnut Hotel, a nice surprise in a place where you only expected to find chain hotels. The hotel’s lobby is decorated with wood, leather, and rich colors. Each room is uniquely designed with plush throws and original artwork. Plus the rooftop features a cabana bar and hot tubs. You look forward to soaking in the jets later.

There’s a lot you want to do outside before that though. Right near the hotel, you find Hazel Ruby McQuain Park and its amphitheater that hosts concerts during the summer. The Caperton Trail, named after a former West Virginia governor, runs alongside the park and the river. Follow the path north toward Star City, running through the university’s 91-acre Core Arboretum and around the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Edith Barill Riverfront Park. Check the historic warehouses that have been converted into restaurants and bars as you return to the hotel for a quick shower.

Then head to the Blue Moose Café to sip Tanzanian Peaberry coffee as you decide how to spend the rest of the day. Compare the beers at Morgantown Brewing Company and Mountain State Brewing Company? Take in the views of the Appalachian Mountains from Fork of Cheat Winery’s deck? Or try moonshine at Pinchgut Hollow Distillery, a 220-acre farm along the Tygart River outside of the city? There’s no need to go inside now that basketball season is over for the Mountaineers.

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