Jefferson County, WV – Rich in History with a Cosmopolitan Flavor
Just an hour from Washington DC, Jefferson County is located in the historic eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Famous for the saga of abolitionist John Brown and the areas strong connection to the Washington family, this picturesque section of “Almost Heaven” is one of the most popular travel spots in the entire state. Urbanites flock to these scenic mountains and quaint towns to relax, enjoy great food, and play in the outdoors.
Shepherdstown is a foodies dream. Located along the Potomac river, it is the oldest town in West Virginia. But this town that claims Shepherd University is still very young at heart with a wealth of dining options.
Want a taste of European-inspired elegance? Look no further than the Bavarian Inn Resort & Brewing Company. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Potomac, the Bavarian has been a favorite of travelers for over 45 years for its award winning cuisine. Over the past several years, the inn has been undergoing a renaissance with the addition of the stunning Infinity 101 Pool and Bar and the brand-new Bavarian Brothers Brewery featuring a brew pub, lounge, and outdoor beer garden. Over 70 luxury rooms, many with views of the Potomac have been recently renovated and feature gas fireplaces and the finest in creature comforts.
Downtown Shepherdstown has an array of dining options, all just a short walk a part along historic side walks filled with unique shops and specialty stores. At The Press Room you’ll find an extensive offering of seafood dishes like calamari, scallops, soft shell crab, and oysters on the half shell. The steaks and lamb are equally divine. If you are looking for a new spin on burritos and tacos made with the freshest ingredients, Maria’s Taqueria is the place to eat. Try the out-of-this-world Maria’s Chimi. The fish tacos are also a local favorite. For a variety of vegetarian options, Blue Moon Café is your go-to place for sandwiches, soups, and salads made from locally sourced produce. Bistro 112 re-opened in January 2023 and has been receiving rave reviews. This neighborhood favorite offers French cuisine from locally sourced ingredients. The outside gardens eating space is magical. Just down the street, the dog-friendly Lilah Restaurant is a local gathering spot for great food, cocktails, and live music.
Situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry is home to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This town of less than 100 residents is one of the most popular destinations in West Virginia. Thousands of visitors walk the historic streets and scenic trails in Harpers Ferry each year to catch a glimpse of our nations past.
Bordering Harpers Ferry is the town of Bolivar. Stop in the Country Kitchen for good old-fashioned homemade meals and hospitality. Nothing fancy, just delicious food like your grandmother used to make. Visitors will find a range of fresh goods, including cinnamon rolls, biscuits, scones, and pepperoni rolls at Bolivar Bread Bakery, which also carries a unique pickle rye bread.
A little farther south, discover Charles Town. Home to West Virginia’s oldest horse racing venue, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, a renowned Mountain State destination that offers a Vegas-themed gaming atmosphere with 1930s art deco flair.
In addition to racing and games, Hollywood Casino has several restaurants, including the Wine Spectator Award-winning Final Cut Steakhouse.
For more information on creating your own Jefferson County getaway, visit WhereAlmostHeavenBegins.com.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.