Huntington, West Virginia is in the Southwestern corner of the state and borders both Kentucky and Ohio. Home of Marshall University and the Thundering Herd, Huntington also has tasty restaurants and a performance venue with everything from rodeos to current music artists.
On a recent visit to my home state of West Virginia, I took my aunt and cousin on a trip to do some sightseeing. Here are four awesome things to do in Huntington, West Virginia, that may surprise you.
1. Tour the Huntington Museum of Art
Imagine my surprise when we pulled in the parking lot of the Huntington Museum of Art and saw a huge Dale Chihuly art installment through through a section of the building. I couldn’t wait to go in!
The Huntington Museum of Art is not only an art gallery but also an educational facility and plant conservatory. The C. Fred Edwards Conservatory has both tropical and subtropical plants, palms, and flowers, which made me feel right at home since I now live in South Florida. Nearly 100 varieties of orchids delicately scented the air as we walked around admiring the fruit and nut-bearing trees (sugarcane, banana, cacao, and coffee) and unique flowers. If you’ve never smelled the extremely fragrant frangipanis, the flowers that Hawaiian leis are made from, this is your chance.
Back to the Chihuly piece, the glass statue (which was probably close to 10 feet tall) was made from 352 hand-blown pieces. Nearby, was a large aquarium with a plethora of different colorful specimens. The Huntington Museum of Art provided a label/guide to identify the exotic fish, which I enjoyed looking at.
Inside the Huntington Museum of Art gallery were works from Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. The Wilbur Myers Glass Collection contains 1,000 glass objects that I found to be an exceptional offering and display. There are European, Asian, American, and Caribbean art pieces throughout the museum. One gallery held antique or vintage firearms, which were excellently displayed and explained.
2. Enjoy Delicious Burgers
Fat Patty’s is a West Virginia restaurant known for seriously good burgers and an excellent American-fare menu. Fat Patty’s in Huntington is in a spot that was popular with the Marshall kids my age when it was known as Mycrofts.
We started our lunch with the Mac & Cheese bites and then moved on to a Philly Quesadilla, Pulled Pork Nachos, and the Raspberry Popper Burger.
Being a travel blogger, I eat around the world during the 300+ days a year that I’m on the road. I would put Fat Patty’s Raspberry Popper burger up against any others that I’ve tried and it would be one of the best. It is that good! Topped with cream cheese, sautéed jalapeños, and a signature raspberry melba sauce, this is one great burger. Fat Patty’s also has vegetarian burgers and uses pretzel buns with many of their dishes.
Unique burger options include the Lava Patty (red hot patty, cayenne, jalapeños, and seasoning), Vampire Killer (enough garlic to kill Dracula is how they describe it), and the Luau Cow (with ham, provolone, and grilled pineapple). A local favorite is the Nitty Gritty Grinder, a shaved roast beef and cheese sandwich that was famous at Mycroft’s for over 25 years.
3. Step Back in Time Through Living History
I never thought of West Virginia as a place for living history, but my visit to the open-air living history museum, Heritage Farm Museum & Village, took me by surprise. It is an excellent learning experience and everyone in the state of West Virginia should make it a point to go there. Age is not a factor!
Heritage Farm Museum & Village celebrates Appalachia through learning and educational exhibits, displays, special events, and costumed interpreters. There are 15 historic log structures to see and seven award-winning museum spaces, with displays ranging from crafts and hobbies of pioneer days to West Virginia trades and career memorabilia. I thoroughly enjoyed the coal mining stories and artifacts, as well as the glass and railroad offerings.
Kids will enjoy the outdoor playground area, wagon rides, train, and petting zoo. Animals ranged from chickens, opossum, pigs, goats, turtles, llamas, and much more. We were free to touch them all which I especially loved! There are also artisans around the property showing off their trades, and many opportunities to learn new things about jobs, industry, and families of the pioneer days.
Special events at Heritage Farm are family-fun nights, cast-iron cookout, a Christmas village, and much more. There is a restaurant on site, gift shop, and several places to enjoy picnic lunches on the Heritage Farms Museum property.
4. Eat a Stewart’s Hotdog
West Virginia is a hotdog lover’s kind of place. I’ve been enjoying delicious hotdogs my entire life all around the state, but Huntington has one of the best—Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs. Stewart’s opened its first drive-in restaurant in 1932 at the Huntington location, selling popcorn and root beer. Nearly 90 years later, they are still selling to the Mountain State, only with an expanded menu. Hotdogs were added to the list one year after opening, made with the owner’s wife’s hot dog chili sauce and classic Heiner’s (a local bread bakery) buns.
Enjoy the walk-up restaurant service or have Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs delivered anywhere in the world via UPS. Stewart’s strikes a note of nostalgia for those of us from West Virginia but will please the palate of even the most discriminating foodies. Other Stewart’s menu items include burgers, chicken, shakes, ice cream, and floats. Veggie and light hot dogs are available, too.
Huntington: Have You Explored?
Huntington, West Virginia, is an awesome choice to put on your weekend travels or day-trip getaway. I hope you will enjoy these four awesome things to do in Huntington just as much as we did.
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