10 Best Things to do in Hampshire County, WV

10 Best Things to do in Hampshire County, WV

Hampshire County is known for being the oldest county in West Virginia. Just two hours outside of Washington DC, Hampshire County WV is a beautiful place to spend a weekend away. The region is comprised of many small communities surrounded by mountains, rich farmland, and flowing rivers. Follow the winding road from Capon Bridge to Romney, and you’ll discover endless adventures from roadside diners and fruit stalls to the Cacapon River and Potomac Eagle train. This guide outlines some of the top things to do, see, and eat in Hampshire County, including where to stay.

Best Thing to do in Hampshire County

  1. Enjoy coffee and community at the River House

The River House is so much more than a cafe serving up expresso and freshly baked pastries. This non-profit organization is a participatory, community-based, arts and music venue housed within a historic building. Its mission is “to create a welcoming space where participation in the Arts inspires deep community connections and nourishes the lives of individuals and families.”

The venue hosts live musical performances, arts education classes, exhibits from local artists, and a full calendar of community gatherings including Dungeons & Dragons Meetups, Yoga in the Gallery, and Trivia Nights. Stop by the River House for a coffee and snack, or simply sit back and enjoy good company. If you are traveling with young kids, do not miss the outdoor area by the river. There is a play house, fairy garden, and all sorts of whimsical features to evoke curiosity and stimulate the imagination.

The River House has been the recipient of a number of awards and recognitions including Best Live Music Venue by WV Living Magazine.

Website: The River House
Tele: 304 – 856-2440
Address: 24 Rickie Davy Lane, PO Box 240
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

  1. Shop West Virginia-made products at Bent River Trading Company

Over 160 West Virginia vendors are represented at the Bent River Trading Company. Peruse shelves of scented candles, wood-carved collectibles, artisanal jams, and other hand-made goods. The Bent River Trading Company also hosts workshops and demonstrations for those interested in picking up a new skill. This is your ideal stop for picking up a souvenir to commemorate your visit to Hampshire County WV!

Website: Bent River Trading Company
Tele: 304-856-1202
Address: 3464 Northwestern Turnpike
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

  1. Thrift shop at French’s Mill – a Historic Landmark

French’s Mill was built in 1911 for the Augusta Milling Company, and is now a regional landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The three-story grain mill was in full operation until the early 2000s. During our visit to Hampshire County, we had the pleasure of meeting the new owners Carole and Shaun Croucher, who eagerly shared their family’s big plans for the venue. 

They envision renovating the historical mill to showcase an art gallery on the first floor, a model train exhibit on the second floor, and a wildlife collection of furs and pelts on the third floor. They also gave credit to their two children whom they noted are the real “masterminds” behind this entrepreneurial effort. Their son and daughter not only drafted the business plan, but they also operate the on-site thrift store. All proceeds from the second-hand shop will be invested in the restoration and renovation of French’s mill.

By shopping their collection of second-hand goods not only are you supporting the preservation of a significant historical landmark, but you are also helping to make this family’s vision for French’s Mill a reality.

Website: https://frenchsmill.com/
Tele: 540-514-2424
Address: 54 Fairground Road
Augusta, WV 26704

  1. Explore Ice Mountain – one of WV’s natural wonders

West Virginia claims seven natural wonders, all of which are spectacular geographical features that evoke a sense of awe and wonder. Among those included on this list is Ice Mountain, a Nature Conservancy, and National Natural Landmark. Hike along the trails of Ice Mountain on a hot summer day and you might notice an unexpectedly cold draft of air. This is due to a natural phenomenon called the “refrigeration effect”. During the winter, cold air seeps into the boulders at the base of the mountain. This cold air can be felt year-round, and ice has been found on the mountain as late as June. According to docent Steve Bailes, children used to hike out to Ice Mountain in the summer months to scoop out ice and make their own ice cream.

Ice Mountain contains a fragile ecosystem that includes boreal plants usually found only in much cooler northern regions. For this reason, Ice Mountain can only be accessed with a registered docent or guide.

Website: http://stevebailes.org

  1. Explore the oldest town in West Virginia – Romney

Chartered in 1762, Romney is the oldest incorporated town in the oldest county in West Virginia! This small mountain town is of considerable historic significance as it changed hands between the Confederate and Union armies 56 times during the Civil War. Historic landmarks include the Fort Mill Ridge Civil War Trenches and the nation’s first Confederate Memorial, Indian Mound Cemetery.

Beyond Romney’s historical attractions, there are many boutiques and shops to explore. The Hampshire County Cooperative sells a variety of handmade crafts and locally grown produce. Dillon’s Country Treasures sells country furniture, seasonal decor, and other charming home accents. The White House on Main is a fashion boutique offering the latest trends and styles from popular brands. Learn more about the history and things to do on WV Tourism’s Town Guide for Romney.

  1. Pick up farm fresh produce and flowers – Smith’s Fruit Market, Spring Valley Farm Market, Valley View Greenhouse

Drive along Route 50 through Hampshire County, and you will pass by a number of farmer’s markets and nurseries. Stands like Spring Valley Orchard and Smith’s Fruit Market carry produce “fresh from the ground all year round”. Ruggles Orchard and Shanholtz Orchard allow you to pick your own fruit including cherries, peaches, apples, and plums. Valley View Greenhouse offers annual and perennial flowers, vegetable plants, and herbs. The Hampshire County website has a full listing of these roadside farmer’s markets and produce stands.

  1. Take a swim or canoe ride along the Cacapon River

The 81-mile-long Cacapon River is part of the Potomac River watershed and is considered one of the cleanest rivers in West Virginia. It is a popular destination for canoeing and fishing where you are likely to find Smallmouth bass, Channel catfish, and Bluegill. The Cacapon River also includes about 12 miles of class I – III whitewater. There are several public access points however one of the most convenient places to enter the river is in Capon Bridge behind the River House.

  1. Pick up some West Virginia Moonshine at Bigg Riggs Farm and Flying Buck Distillery

Moonshine is a West Virginia staple, and the Flying Buck Distillery in Augusta, WV serves up some of the best shine around. With flavors like Apple Pie, Peach, and Naughty Oak you are guaranteed to find something sweet and satisfying. This West Virginia distillery is located on Bigg Riggs Farm, a veteran-owned business where you can find fresh produce in-season and jarred products year-round.

Website: Big Riggs Farm
Tele: 540-514-2424
Address: 54 Fairground Road
Augusta, WV 26704

  1. Take a scenic train ride on board the Potomac Eagle

Perhaps one of the most notable things to do in Hampshire County, WV is to experience a scenic train ride on board the Potomac Eagle. There are seven different journeys to select from including the three-hour “Trough Trip” which takes passengers through a 6-mile gorge carved by the South Branch Potomac River. This area is also the nesting ground of several American Bald Eagles which you are likely to see during the ride. Every winter, the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad brings families the opportunity to hop on board the North Pole Express, a magical experience filled with caroling, hot cocoa, cookies, and of course Santa.

The Potomac Eagle offers four different types of classes to choose from. From Standard Coach to Superior dining, there is an option to fit every style and budget. West Virginia offers numerous train excursions throughout the state. If you have the opportunity, also check out the Cass Scenic Railroad near Green Bank, home of the largest steerable telescope in the world.

Website: Potomac Eagle
Tele: 304-424-0736
Address: 149 Eagle Dr.
Romney, WV 26757

  1. Participate in an annual Hampshire County event

Hampshire County features an exciting series of community events every year from June – September. The South Branch Valley Bluegrass Festival features an impressive lineup of Bluegrass music followed by an evening display of fireworks. The West Virginia Peach Festival is self-described as a “down home family-friendly festival”. In addition to the sampling of peach-themed desserts and wines, there are endless activities that appeal to all ages. Visitors can expect to see craft vendors, games, live entertainment, a pet parade, a car show, and much more.

The Hampshire County Fair has been serving the community since 1956. Beyond the colorful carousels and corn dogs, attendees are able to enjoy the thrill of watching a chainsaw competition, mud bogging contest, and the truck & tractor pull. A complete list of fairs and festivals can be found on the Come to Hampshire website.

Where to eat in Hampshire County

River House – Capon Bridge

You cannot leave Capon Bridge without trying the Dandelion Chai at the River House. This community hub and cafe serves up an extensive menu of beverages including expresso drinks, teas, kombucha, beer, and wine. The River House has a light selection of freshly baked goods, sandwiches, and quiches, and they also frequently host pop-ups from other restaurants to coincide with community events on the property.

Website: The River House
Tele: 304 – 856-2440
Address: 24 Rickie Davy Lane, PO Box 240
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

Farmer’s Daughter – Capon Bridge

Farmer’s Daughter is a whole animal butchery and full-service grocery located in Capon Bridge. This small business is run by a husband and wife duo dedicated to respectful and sustainable sourcing. They have received significant media attention and have been featured in the Washington Post and Taste of the South Magazine. Their burger, in particular, featuring dry-aged beef and pickled red onion, has received numerous awards from WV Living’s Best of WV and the Good Food Awards.

Website: Farmer’s Daughter
Tele: 304-856-2550
Address: 2908 Northwestern Pike,
Capon Bridge WV 26711

Dot’s Donuts and Kettle Stop – Capon Bridge

Don’t miss Dot’s Donuts and Kettle Stop for your fill of sweets treats. Here you can enjoy a selection of soft serve ice cream, sweet and savory kettle corn, and tasty donuts. After satisfying your sweet tooth, head on back to the red barn where you can shop for antiques, home decor, and other hand-made treasures.

Website: The Kettle Stop
Tele: 304-257-0313
Address: 768 Northwestern Pike
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

Rt 50 Biscuits & Burgers – Shanks

Rt. 50 Biscuits and Burgers is truly the local gem where residents of Hampshire County come out to dine. It is not unlikely to see a line out the door on Sunday morning. This small roadside stop is the place to go for a piping hot plate of southern biscuits and gravy. With friendly staff and friendly prices, the folks at Rt. 50 Biscuits and Burgers take care of their customers and will leave you wanting to come back.

Website: Rt. 50 Biscuits & Burgers
Tele: 304-496-1222
Address: 19340 Northwestern Pike
Shanks, WV 26761

Romney Diner – Romney

Romney Diner prides itself in being a family-owned restaurant providing customers with a good home-cooked meal. Indeed their menu includes quick and classic comfort foods like breaded mushrooms, BLTs, and warm apple pie. Like the town of Romney itself, the diner is rich in history and was once a creamery, a Saddle and Tack Shop, and a Taxi Stand.

Website: Romney Diner
Tele: 304-822-3904
Address: 44 North Marsham Street
Romney, WV 26757

Where to stay

Basswood – Capon Bridge

The newly opened Basswood is conveniently located in downtown Capon Bridge and is just a few steps away from the Farmer’s Daughter and River House. The renovated home consists of five unique bed and bath suites each featuring works by local artists. Guests can relax outdoors in the Adirondack chairs and enjoy the gentle sounds of the Cacapon River as it winds behind the property.

Website: Basswood
Address: 2925 Northwestern Turnpike
Capon Bridge, WV 26711

Capon Springs and Farms – High View

Capon Springs and Farms is an all-inclusive resort where you can relax and enjoy over 4,700 acres of West Virginia scenery. Activities include a spa with a Roman-style soaking bath, golf course, pool, and hiking trails. Although the resort is a bit removed from other attractions in the area, a 30-minute drive will take you to Rt. 50 where you can easily access and explore the rest of Hampshire County.

Website: Capon Springs and Farms
Tele: 304-874-3695
Address: 3818 Capon Springs Rd
High View, WV 26808

This trip and article have been sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Tourism in collaboration with Hampshire County CVB. All opinions are my own.


Like what you see? Share it with your friends!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu