A Guide to North Central West Virginia Communities
Whether you have called West Virginia home for many years or you are visiting for the very first time, the state has plenty to offer. Our tight-knit communities are full of history and culture and there is something here for everyone.
If you have yet to explore North Central West Virginia, we are here to guide you through the towns and cities of this region as you tour the area and possibly even look for your next dream home.
Monongalia County WV
Major Towns and Cities – Morgantown, Westover, Star City
For most people heading to this part of the US, Morgantown, WV is a must-see. There’s plenty to keep you busy, from city dining and entertainment to outdoor recreation.
The city is also home to West Virginia University, bringing with it students from around the world to create a bustling environment for both young adults and families.
If you’d like to indulge in some shopping during your time in Morgantown you can head Downtown and then to the Historic Wharf District for some great dinning. Meanwhile, outdoor enthusiasts will love nearby Cheat Lake and Coopers Rock for canyon overlooks, fishing, hiking, and climbing.
Morgantown is a great sports town. West Virginia University is part of the NCAA and BIG 12 Conference. The university sponsors 16 varsity sports including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, baseball and more! Also, do not forget to check out Monongalia County Ball Park for a West Virginia Black Bears game, North Central West Virginia's minor league baseball team.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Monongalia County
Morgantown is one of the best places to relocate to in West Virginia because there really is something for everyone! The cost of living is, on average, 10% lower than elsewhere in the US and home values continue to grow each year. The typical median cost of a home in the Morgantown area is around $189,000.
With West Virginia University, new industries continue to grow alongside traditional ones, like coal mining, thanks to high levels of education and investment in the area. The university is also one of the area’s biggest employers, making finding work much easier in this part of the state.
Marion County WV
Major Towns and Cities - Mannington, Fairmont and White Hall
Fairmont, WV is the county seat of Marion County, although foodie fans may know it as the pepperoni roll capital of the world! The Country Club Bakery, home of the pepperoni roll, is located on the outskirts of town.
Originally named Middletown, thanks to being situated between Morgantown and Clarksburg, Fairmont has a few notable landmarks, including Fairmont State University. The school offers over 80 degree programs to around 4,000 undergraduate students.
The NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility has its base here, an important branch of the organization that ensures the safety of mission-critical software. Also calling Marion County home is the National White Collar Crime Center, a nonprofit that trains state and local law enforcement on cybersecurity and digital crime. These high-tech facilities are just up the road from First Exchange Bank’s headquarters and White Hall office.
Nearby Mannington, WV is a great place to stop if you’re looking for quaint West Virginia charm. The town was named after Charles Manning, a civil engineer on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and continues to pay tribute to the gas and oil industries that helped the town grow in the late 1800s. Mannington also is where First Exchange Bank was founded in 1932.
The Barrackville Covered Bridge is a charming place to explore, along with the many historic chapels and churches around the area.
To find out more about the county, take a visit to the Marion County Visitor Center in Pleasant Valley. Here, you can learn all about the history of the area and find out more about places to stay, shop, and eat while you’re in North Central West Virginia.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Marion County
The overall cost of living in Marion County is roughly 2% lower than the rest of West Virginia. Many inhabitants work in industries like agriculture, mining and construction, while the typical household income is around $48,000 per year.
Wetzel County WV
Major Towns and Cities – Hundred, New Martinsville, Paden City
Founded in 1846, Wetzel County has a long history of oil and gas production, much like other parts of North Central West Virginia.
The county seat of New Martinsville is the largest city in the county and is home to both the Wetzel County Museum and the annual Appalachian Arts and Music Festival. Visit historic Hundred, named after past resident Henry Lee Church who lived to the age of 109 in 1860s. Neighboring Paden City is a must-stop destination for exploring the great outdoors.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Wetzel County
Residents of Wetzel County make, on average, $38,000 per year in household income, while the median home price is $76,000. Thanks to the county’s plentiful natural resources, many locals are employed in construction, mining, and oil and gas extraction.
Harrison County WV
Major Towns and Cities - Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Salem and Shinnston
Harrison County is home to a number of larger towns and cities. Clarksburg, the county seat, is home to several large companies like the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co and Merrick Engineering. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Department, the archive of all their law enforcement records, is also based here.
Close to Clarksburg is Bridgeport, a small city with plenty to explore. From the Meadowbrook Mall and the Pete Dye Golf Club, to the Simpson Creek Covered Bridge, you’ll want to spend at least a day here. The North Central West Virginia Airport is located a mile outside of the city for easy transportation.
The town of Salem, while small, is also a great place to stop by. Home to Salem University, the college’s administration building, and the town’s historic district are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For history buffs, be sure to check out the oldest standing structure in North Central WV, the 1778 Levi Shinn Log House in Shinnston. Like Salem, the Shinnston Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the 1970s.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Harrison County
Economic growth in Harrison County is on the rise, with job growth predicted to be 4% higher here than the national average. The median household income is currently around $48,000, with many residents employed in healthcare, retail, and public administration. House prices continue to rise throughout West Virginia as a whole, with Harrison County property seeing median costs around $110,000.
Taylor County WV
Major Towns and Cities - Grafton
As the county seat of Taylor County, Grafton is the biggest city in this area. The nature trails at Tygart State Park and Dam are some of the best in West Virginia but for those who prefer to stay in town, there’s plenty to see and do.
Walking tours of the historic local sites can keep you busy for the day, including stops at the Anna Jarvis Museum or the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Grafton is also home to both of West Virginia’s national cemeteries and was one of the first cities in the United States to observe Memorial Day.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Taylor County
As a smaller county in the area, Taylor County’s cost of living is generally lower than other parts of the state. The median household income is roughly $39,000 per year and home prices are around $112,000 on average.
Preston County WV
Major Towns and Cities - Kingwood
On the outskirts of Morgantown, you’ll find Kingwood in Preston County. While only a small town, Kingwood is home to the Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, a great day out with children and the whole family.
The James Clark McGrew House, or Gibson House, is also another spot worth stopping at. Built in 1840, the property is the former home of West Virginia’s founding father, James McGrew. The cozy B&Bs in Kingwood offer another look at the town’s past, while artisan markets, restaurants, and shops bring together the flavors of Appalachian heritage and modern cuisine.
Opportunities and Cost of Living in Preston County
Overall cost of living in Preston County is higher than other parts of the state, with median home costs of around $118,000. The typical median income for a household in the county is $47,000, with a large number of people employed in healthcare and manufacturing.
Make North Central West Virginia Your Next Stop!
Whether the great outdoors is calling your name or you’re hoping to pick up a piece of Appalachia from a quaint artisan shop, North Central West Virginia is a great place to visit and live.
As one of the premier community banks in West Virginia, First Exchange Bank is here to help when you decide to call one of these small towns or larger cities your new home. Visit us in-branch in Morgantown, Whitehall, Mannington, Fairmont, Fairview, or Hundred, or contact us today.