Looking for a hidden gem to visit in West Virginia? Look no further than St Albans, the flat-water capital of WV. This charming town in the Kanawha Valley is an excellent place to experience small-town charm, local culture, and great food. River trails and water attractions entice the outdoor enthusiast while allowing you to take in the scenic beauty of this lovely area.
From Yakfest to Olde Main Plaza, here are 13 fun things to do in St. Albans.
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1. Have Date Night at Angela’s
The historic Chilton House has been several high-end restaurants over the years, but since 2010, it has been Angela’s on the River, sitting along the Coal River.
Angela’s has multiple dining rooms; I prefer the lower level for the best views of the river. For starters, consider Linda’s Hot Crap Dip or Chicken Wings. For the main course, the Cajun Chicken Pasta is off-the-hook delicious and big enough to take some home for another meal. The pasta dish comes with a side item and a roll.
Sides include coleslaw, sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, sugar snap peas, and more. Other noteworthy menu items include spinach-stuffed chicken, baked steak, rib eyes, and crab-stuffed whitefish. Save room for some of Angela’s homemade cobbler (peach, apple, cherry, or blackberry) with ice cream.
2. Take a Sewing Class at Village Sampler
The Village Sampler is a local cross-stitch store that is much more. The highly visited space is chock full of sewing projects, threads, fabric, embroidery/needlepoint kits, and accessories. Locals gather around the work table in a separate room to enjoy camaraderie and fellowship as they work on personal or group projects. If you are an outsider, you won’t be long — they are friendly and welcoming as can be.
Village Sampler is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
3. Find the Gems at Olde Main Plaza
Discover the beauty and heritage of St Albans while indulging in a shopping spree, savoring a delightful meal, or sipping cocktails after a long day at work. Choose from many local businesses, including:
- Coal River Coffee Co.
- Brandi’s Emporium (you can’t miss this one!)
- Colonial Interiors
- Missy’s Tans and Trims Salon
- Shucker’s Restaurant
- Village Sampler
- The Tap
- Drummy’s Bar & Grill
- Pickin Preacher Antiques
- Chandler’s Floor & Wall Coverings
- Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes
Relax and soak in the community vibe while being part of the up-and-coming new exciting growth St. Albans is experiencing. Take the chance to stroll up and down the street, reading the storyboards about the town’s history and snapping pictures of the beautification projects at Olde Main Plaza.
4. Share a Pizza at The Tap
Start your dining experience at The Tap with the luscious buffalo chicken or crack corn dip. Enjoy both, plus a bonus dish of salsa in the Dip Trio appetizer, served with tortilla chips. The Elknap pepperoni roll is trendy, or you can have an entire 10″ wood-fired pizza made from scratch and garnished with local ingredients.
Scan the menu’s QR code for the list of beers on tap.
The Tap (75 Olde Main Plaza) is an excellent place to eat and drink, with all ages visiting. Chicken sandwiches, burgers, and salads are also on the menu. Come for Sunday brunch and enjoy French toast, breakfast burritos, avocado toast, Monkey bread, and chicken & waffles.
5. Picnic at Roadside Park
The Roadside Park at the Port of St. Albans is a lovely space to let the kids play, watch the barges and boats run up and down the river, and take in a picnic. Grab food at a nearby fast food eatery or pack a basket from home.
Let the community picnic tables and seating areas host your family’s memorable meal.
6. Paddle the River at Yakfest
If you’re visiting St. Albans in June, take advantage of Yakfest – the ultimate celebration of the Kanawha River and the art and culture it inspires. This annual two-day festival (Tour de Coal, mentioned in our 100 Things to Do in West Virginia Before You Die book) showcases the best of the region’s musical talent, artisans, and craftspeople, with plenty of activities and entertainment for all.
One of the highlights of Yakfest is the Artist’s Village, featuring unique handmade products from local artists. But that’s not all – attendees can also experience exciting kayak races and a 5k run. And, of course, delicious food from local vendors will be available too!
7. Sip a Perfect Cup of Coffee at Coal River Coffee Co.
I was so glad to have found the Coal River Coffee Co. at Olde Main Plaza. This lively and well-loved shop sees many locals daily and has a welcoming vibe that makes you want to linger longer.
I had a creative iced matcha drink, while my friend tried a bagel with cream cheese and a flavored latte. The staff at Coal River Coffee Co. was so friendly and helpful. They are the real deal and priced just right. Street-front parking is a big plus.
Want to try something different? The Appalachian Fog tea and Red Dragon Frappé are both hits with the locals. Take advantage of the book selection if you are looking to stay awhile. The shop is closed on Sundays.
8. Get Your Mexican Fix at Cozumel
Cozumel, at Olde Main Plaza, serves up impeccable Mexican eats, including fajitas, burritos, tacos, nachos, and much more. Try the Pollo Con Arroz for a beautiful platter of Spanish rice, a chicken breast pounded thin, grilled onions and peppers, then topped with luscious queso.
Cozumel has thirst-quenching margaritas, too.
9. Reminisce the Good Ole Days at DQ
Sometimes nothing cures a sweet tooth craving like a tasty frozen custard cone or Blizzard from Dairy Queen. St. Albans’s DQ menu offers a wide variety of food and sweets. Try the churro cone for something unique, though a hot fudge sundae or Mr. Misty float is always a safe choice.
10. Enjoy a Night Out at Drummy’s Bar & Grill
Locals love the venue and bartenders at Drummy’s, a fun and relatively inexpensive neighborhood hangout. Don’t be surprised to find the mayor of St. Albans hanging with the locals and hearing the community’s needs.
Enjoy sipping a cold beer or feasting on the yums (sandwiches, pizza, and hot dogs), though slamming back jello shots is another choice. My bet is on the loaded nachos. Yum!
11. Brunch at Shuckers
Shuckers might be the most popular St. Albans eatery, known for seafood, Italian food, and a Saturday brunch. Expect shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and scallops for the seafood dishes. The Italian offerings feature spaghetti, Alfredo, stuffed shells, and shrimp scampi.
Please note: Shuckers is only open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and lunch Saturday and Sunday.
12. Drive through the Seasonal Holiday Lights
St. Alban’s City Park comes alive with thousands of dancing lights and the explosive excitement of the holiday season as cars drive through the Festival of Lights spectacular and holiday tradition. The seasonal event runs around November 25th through December 26th, 6 to 9 PM, though closed on Christmas Eve and Day.
Cars dim their lights and drive through 931 Observatory Drive, admiring the light displays for free, though donations are kindly accepted. Get in line early; there will be crowds. Pets are welcome.
Fun Fact: One night only, they open the park to foot traffic, and you can walk through the lights display around sunset.
13. Feast on a Luscious Cupcake From Lil’ Bit of Heaven
As the name suggests, you are in for a little bit of heaven when you sink your teeth into the baked goods at this cheery and colorful shop. Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes has a display case that will leave you drooling, with the likes of about a dozen different flavors of cupcakes, dessert bars, brownies, and even gourmet celebration cakes.
Need sugar-free or gluten-free? Lil’ Bit of Heaven makes a batch of keto cupcakes (naturally gluten and sugar-free) daily. Another cool service they offer is transferring a photo into an edible image onto a custom-made cake.
How to Get to St. Albans
St Albans, located in Kanawha County, is 15 minutes west of Charleston, WV’s capital city. The great news is that there are a few ways to get there, depending on your starting point.
From Charleston, you can take I-64 West, Exit 44 (East Nitro) for Route 25, turn left at the traffic light, and continue for about 4 miles to St Albans.
Alternatively, if you’re from Ohio, you can take I-64 East to Exit 39 and follow Route 60 East for nine miles. St Albans is known for its small-town charm, so take the scenic routes that the town provides, and you’ll have a unique experience.
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