Fairmont West Virginia can be a fine travel base if you are thinking of visiting the northern part of the state. Known as the "Friendly City," this community of around 19,000 people sits on the banks of the Monongahela River and calls Marion County home. The county in general offers historic sites, some interesting shopping options, and a several tempting parks.
Fairmont is actually the county seat of Marion County in West Virginia, and it's where you will find Fairmont State University. This isn't the only school worth mentioning, however. Fairmont is also where you will find the Fairmont Senior High School. This secondary institution was designed in the late 1920s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Among its most notable alumni is the Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.
Architecture enthusiasts can admire many historic buildings in and around Fairmont West Virginia, with the Marion County Courthouse and the adjacent Sherrif's House being just two more edifices of great interest. The courthouse especially is a dazzling structure. Built between the years of 1897 and 1900, it was designed by members of the renowned Yost & Packard firm of Columbus Ohio. The style is Beaux-Arts, and as is true of the adjacent Sheriff's House, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
No discussion about Fairmont WV and its historic structures would be complete without mentioning the Fathers' Day Church at 301 Fairmont Avenue. This church was the site of the first observance of Father's Day. The holiday, if you will, was held on July 5, 1908, and intended to honor those fathers who lost their lives in the 1907 Monongah Mining disaster. Also worthy of highlighting when it comes to the history of Fairmont West Virginia is the Country Club Bakery. This local bakery invented the Pepperoni Roll in order to supply area miners with something filling that they could eat for lunch. These rolls, which are akin to calzones, are quite popular throughout West Virginia, and their popularity has extended to other Appalachian Mountain regions.
Among the parks that can be found in and around Fairmont WV is Prickett's Fort State Park. Found along Route 3, this 22-acre park was once home to a fort that was meant to protect European settlers from Native American attacks. A re-creation of the original eighteenth-century fort is the park's main highlight, and costumed interpreters help to tell the story of the site's past. Another structure not to be missed at Pricketts Fort State Park is the Job Prickett House. Built in 1859, it is a wonderful example of a farmhouse from the 1800s, and visitors can check out its original furnishings and such.
As is true of Prickett's Fort State Park, Valley Hills State Park offers some excellent recreational opportunities. Hiking is among the top things to do, but that's just the start. Kayaking, fishing, and mountain biking are other options for things to do, and thanks to the scenic splendor, Valley Hills State Park can make for a fine place to picnic. You can certainly get your fill of outdoor fun at the Fairmont area state parks, and since they are close to town, and the fact that they are close to town means that you won't have to waste a lot of time in transit when staying at one of the Fairmont West Virginia hotels.
Should you be interested in some all around travel tips while visiting Fairmont WV, the Marion County Convention & Visitors Bureau can surely come in handy. You can find it at 110 Adams Street. The staff at this tourist-friendly center can certainly provide info on the local lodging options. Travelers will find that the Fairmont West Virginia hotels include a healthy amount of budget-friendly establishments as well as some nicer places as well. If you want something cozy, there are bed and breakfasts in town too.
Image: respres (flickr)