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With the largest lake and only lighthouse in the state, Summersville is a town you cannot afford to miss in West Virginia. We catch up with Marianne Taylor, Executive Director of Summersville Convention & Visitors Bureau, to discuss what brings tourists to Summersville and the awe-inspiring beauty of one of the happiest towns in West Virginia.
What brings tourists to Summersville?
Summersville offers beauty, history, adventure and relaxation in ‘every fun-filled direction.’ Summersville Lake, which is the largest clear water lake in the state of WV, is a smorgasbord of water activities. After spending a day on the lake, take another day to enjoy a wine tour and tasting or hike or bike on one of the many trails. And be sure to stay another day and enjoy Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, the site of a Civil War Battle. Don’t forget to spend an afternoon at the Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse–climb 122 steps tot the top for the most breathtaking view of the lake. There is also a museum on the site, hiking trails and a beautiful overlook of the Gauley River. Speaking of overlooks – stop by the Summersville Dam and see a beautiful overlook of the lake.
What are the must-see places when visiting Summersville?
Summersville Lake, Summersville Lake Retreat Lighthouse, Kirkwood Winery, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park and Summersville Dam can’t be missed.
Do you have any upcoming events we should know about?
Coming August 19-20 is the 50th Celebration of Summersville Dam. There will be a re-dedication ceremony, time capsule, entertainment, vendors and informational booths, demonstrations on the lake, concessions, more entertainment, a boat parade and fireworks.
Then, Sept. 9-10 is the 48th Nicholas County Potato Festival in downtown Summersville where we celebrate friends, neighbors and potatoes. There will be food, craft vendors, a potato display and auction, pet pageant, tractor and car shows, mashed potato, tater tot and hot wing eating contests, a corn hole tournament, spud hunt, sack race, grand parade and firemen’s parade, Potato Idol contest and fireworks.
What’s Summersville’s best kept secret?
The Summersville Arena & Conference Center, a multi use state-of-the-art facility which is the perfect venue for meetings, conferences, training, trade show, sporting events, weddings and banquets – WiFi and audio visual equipment as well as an award winning in-house caterer. The facility has been open for 10 years, is centrally located in the town and has the friendliest, most professional and accommodating staff anywhere.
Tell us about the typical local cuisine of Summersville and where we can head to try it?
Greek food. Check out Cafe Acropolis, which is a Greek/Italian restaurant situated on a hill overlooking Summersville. The owner is the chef and makes an effort to come out and speak with every guest. Try the hummus – the best.
What should I spend my last $5 on in Summersville?
Spend your last $5 on a hot dog and ice cream at Fat Eddies. Located on Rt. 129 heading to Battle Run at Summersville Lake, this little ice cream shop is a must stop.
What makes Summersville so unique?
Summersville is the home of the WV Quilt Festival. Ever June, hundreds of quilts are on display at the Summersville Arena & Conference Center. Classes are held, reception, vendors are on hand with quilting supplies. This festival keeps heritage alive and Summersville is proud to be its home.
Summersville is also the home of the state’s only lighthouse, located at Summersville Lake Retreat and overlooking beautiful Summersville Lake. With West Virginia being land locked, it is quite unique to have this lighthouse, which has a quite a story! It was constructed with the help of kids from the technical schools in the area and made from a recycled wind turbine.
There’s also Clifford the goat, who can be found on Rt. 19. He has been around for a long time and can be seen in the cliffs and sometimes along the rode.
Why do you think Summersville has made our list of the top 10 towns in West Virginia?
Summersville is centrally located in the beautiful state of West Virginia. It is the home of the state’s largest lake, Summersville Lake, which is 60 miles of shoreline and 2800 acres of clear water. The water is warm and visibility is 20-45 feet, perfect for scuba divers. The lake offers an abundance of water activities .
Summersville is also proud of its history and offers tours of the one room schoolhouse located at the Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Park, and visitors can enjoy Civil War reenactments at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. There is also a museum at the park, picnic areas, and many hiking and biking trails. Wine tasting and tours are offered at Kirkwood Winery and Distillery. There is ample opportunity for unique shopping for primitives, antiques and souvenirs.
Don’t forget the friendly people of Summersville as it is the gateway to the south, our northern friends pass through heading south for the winter. And, just 30 miles south down the road, visitors can enjoy zip lining, white water rafting and the New River Gorge Bridge. Beauty, adventure, history, and relaxation await visitors to Summersville, where one can enjoy a ‘a day in every fun-filled direction.’
Summersville is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s West Virginia Local Favorite 2015 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.