While Buckhannon, West Virginia, may be a small town, its historic downtown area, which includes unique boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants and even a century-old college, provides a wealth of big-time charm.
“People who come to Buckhannon get to experience what Norman Rockwell, small-town America is like,” explained CJ Rylands, who along with his wife, Jeannie, owns C.J. Maggie’s Restaurant on Main Street. “This is a safe, affordable, welcoming community where a point is made to include everyone who wants to participate.”
Chartered in 1816, this city located in the heart of Upshur County still retains much of its historic architecture, and time spent here is both relaxing and rewarding, especially for those who appreciate fresh, made-to-order meals as well as traditional comfort foods.
“We strive to be authentic in everything we do, from the décor of our restaurant to our ‘polished Americana’ food, which includes everything made from scratch. We cut our own steaks, grind our own sausage and beef and create our more than 25 different pastas right in the pan when customers order them,” said Rylands, adding that the restaurant’s wood-fired pizzas are also a huge draw.
Stone Tower Brews, located on Main Street, is a space that likes to concentrate on coffee and community, according to Manager Courtney Page.
“We love being a part of Buckhannon, and we’re happy to see our regulars in the shop every single day as well as meet visitors who come to experience the beautiful state of West Virginia,” she said. “Our goal is to provide a nice space with a nice vibe that’s something special — just like the town of Buckhannon.”
Stone Tower Brews is known for its chicken tacos, as well as its all-day breakfasts, salads and sandwiches and daily specials.
“It’s kind of crazy; we didn’t originally expect to make as much food as we do, but the town become addicted to our chicken tacos,” laughed Page. “Our waffles every weekend special is also really popular.”
Everything on Stone Tower Brews’ menu can be made gluten-free. “While we have a smaller menu, we keep it that way so that we can provide quality all the time,” said Page. “Our flavors and flexibility keep people coming back.”
Longtime friends Dale Hawkins and Teresa Lipps established Fish Hawk Acres in 2015, which includes a market, café, custom catering service and even seasonal farm-to-table dinners, some of which are held on Hawkins’ parents’ 40-acre farm.
“Dale and Teresa have been in the business for over 30 years, and have always focused on Appalachian cuisine, especially comfort foods,” said Catering Manager Sara Bednarski. “They were on the forefront of the farm-to-table movement in this area; Dale grew up on a farm and utilizes that upbringing in his culinary creations.”
Fish Hawk Acres’ market is filled with gourmet treats, many of which can’t be found elsewhere in the area. “We carry imported olive oils and fresh pastas, and obscure ingredients from artisans in West Virginia and all over,” said Bednarski.
While the dine-in area has been removed as a COVID-19 precaution, Fish Hawk Acres still offers a wide variety of delicious, freshly prepared take-out as well as grab-and-go cooler offerings.
“We have a full grill menu, deli or hot sandwiches and salads, as well as a huge cooler filled with different types of homemade meals, including soups, salads and sides,” said Bednarski. “People come in for lunch and also grab dinner.”
For folks looking for a restful getaway, Upshur County easily fits the bill.
“There are a lot of cool things to see and do, from visiting little boutique shops, to art galleries, to enjoying our hiking and biking trails, to visiting Audra State Park,” said Bednarski. “Buckhannon is also a really good walking town, and the college campus is just gorgeous and blends right in. People come looking for a little getaway, and just keep coming back.”