Be Led by Locals: Spend a Day in the Northern Panhandle

October 2, 2023

A melting pot of cultures and an integral representation of West Virginia’s history, the Northern Panhandle makes for an exciting place to fill your day.

Many of this region’s small towns are within a one-hour drive from the metropolis of Pittsburgh – making this the perfect escape from the fast-paced city life.

Plan your one-day getaway to the Northern Panhandle with these Mountain State destinations in mind.

Energy Boost

There are plenty of breakfast options in the Northern Panhandle to help jumpstart your day. Sarah’s On Main in Wheeling is the perfect spot to grab some coffee, tea, croissants, yogurt, cinnamon buns, quiche and breakfast sandwiches. Visitors love to order the Salty Bread Breakfast Sandwich as it’s topped with scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, bacon and cheddar cheese.

Hit the Trail

Now that your caffeine and protein levels are replenished, explore the beautiful outdoor adventures that await for you to claim as your own. The Falls Vista Trail, which criss-crosses Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, is an adventurous way to explore more hidden gems in the area. This one-mile out-and-back trail is a mixture of gravel as well as paved stretches, making this an easy and rewarding hike to the end. You will be greeted by the soothing sounds of Oglebay Falls, a stunning two-tiered waterfall that is part of the West Virginia Waterfall Trail. Park your car along Falls Drive, slip on you water shoes and cool off in the flowing waters of this natural beauty.

Just a 20-minute drive south of Wheeling in Moundsville, Grand Vue Park is another adventurer’s paradise. You can trek over 15 miles of hiking trails, play disc golf, miniature golf, geocache and much more. You can even soar the skies on a three-hour zip line canopy tour. Plant your feet at the scenic overlook, which boats a breathtaking view of the rolling hills and horizon. No matter how you choose to spend your time here, you will leave with many memories to share.

Shop like a Local

With small businesses on just about every corner in Almost Heaven, finding the perfect gift or household goods is easy. Centre Market in Wheeling is home to several antique shops, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants and much more. For antiques and decorative items, Antiques on the Market and Shuggy’s Antiques are nearby stores that are worth a look. Valley Cheese is popular for its variety of locally sourced foods, and American Pies & Pastries is always serving up delicious fried hand pies. If you’re in the area during lunch hour, Later Alligator will blow you away with its homemade crepes, sandwiches and soups. The breadth of local businesses and stores to explore will make you want to plan another trip to Centre Market!

Scenic Spots

Some of the most scenic parts of the Mountain State can be found in Wheeling. To get a killer view of the city and the iconic Fort Henry Bridge crossing the Ohio River, make your way toward the Mount Wood Overlook. You will climb up a few steps an eventually make your way to a wide viewing platform. During the summer and fall months, the surrounding trees are full and add more color to your already beautiful view.

For another spectacular view, Wheeling Heritage Port is just a five-minute drive from the Mount Wood Overlook. Here, you will find the city’s Almost Heaven Swing, which overlooks the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the Ohio River. The swing can be found on the grassy patch beside the walkway to the river, creating the perfect backdrop for that #AlmostHeaven Instagram post.

Treat Yourself

As the day starts to conclude, open the doors to some of best breweries in the Northern Panhandle. Brew Keepers is a local favorite in Wheeling with a wide variety of beer on tap, and you can even bring your own food from other nearby restaurants there to have with your drinks. You can also bring your friends and play some card games to pass the time. To order both a frothy glass and and full plate, head to Vagabond Kitchen. Try out some of their signature dishes, such as the Dew It Chicken, Smoked Salmon Salad and their seasonal menu items. You can also choose from a wide selection of craft beer – and you may have trouble deciding which is your favorite.

Not Just Any Resort

The 2,000 acres of beautiful scenery at the one-of-a-kind Oglebay Resort in Wheeling will certainly deliver. There are several lodging and cabin options available – all designed to be the proper backdrop to the start and conclude your day in the Northern Panhandle. In addition to your stay, enjoy the Good Zoo, The West Spa, Bissonnette Gardens, three different golfing facilities, several restaurants and local activities. No matter how you configure your stay at Oglebay, you will be impressed by the variety of ways to spend your time in Almost Heaven.

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