Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is a town that many visitors love so much that they decide to stay and call it home. With 17,000 residents living in the City of Martinsburg, this haven of West Virginia continues to attract family-focused residents, retirees desiring a slower pace and working commuters who want the solitude and fresh air found outside of the beltway after a long day in the city.
The seat of Berkeley County was incorporated in 1778 in the colonial village of Martinsburg, which was named for Thomas Bryan Martin, Lord Fairfax's nephew. Originally part of Frederick County, Virginia, Martinsburg is home to more than 1,000 properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the historic buildings are the Martinsburg Roundhouse, Belle Boyd House, General Adam Stephen House and the Berkeley County Courthouse. Visit the Berkeley County Historical Society for more information on the city's historic architecture and history of the area.
Reporting on local, regional and national news is the newspaper of the Eastern Panhandle, The Journal, whose office is located in downtown Martinsburg. Other Main Street Martinsburg businesses and restaurants line the streets of Queen and King. Stop by the Apollo Civic Theater for main-stage shows or see the summer youth production. After an afternoon of entertainment, get a JoJo sundae at Patterson's Drug Store or a PuPu platter at Peking Restaurant. Both are local favorites.
If more mainstream retail is what you're looking for, visit Martinsburg's newest shopping center, The Commons, to purchase designer items from TJMaxx, home furnishings from Target or shop at other stores like Best Buy, PetSmart, and Dick's Sporting Goods.
Another favorite with hunters, fishermen and hikers is the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area. This 22,928 acre preserve offers campsites, trails and boat launches into the 205 acre lake.
If you prefer outdoor exercise at a slower pace, Martinsburg hosts two golf courses. The Stonebridge Golf Club is an 18-hole course just minutes from downtown, and the Woodbrier Golf Course features a 9-hole course. This community appreciates and embraces the outdoors. Martinsburg is home to over fifteen public parks and two public swimming pools. Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation also hosts special events throughout the year, including free summer concerts, tough-man contests and team tournaments.
Martinsburg has many year-round events, from fairs and festivals to holiday celebrations. The WV Wine and Arts Festival takes place downtown over Memorial Day weekend. Also in the summer are the Martinsburg Air Show and Pickin' in the Panhandle, also known as the WV State BBQ and Bluegrass Festival that is held the weekend after Labor Day. The Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival is another longstanding Martinsburg tradition featuring a parade, gala dance and a showcase of arts and crafts; it occurs in October.
The Eastern Panhandle is known for attracting many commuters because of significant difference in cost of living compared to the surrounding tri-state region, as well as ease of access to commuter routes via train or car.
From Martinsburg minutes/miles by car:
25 minutes to Hagerstown, MD
30 minutes to Winchester, VA
50 minutes to Frederick, MD
60 minutes to Leesburg, VA
90 miles to Baltimore, MD
85 miles to Washington, DC
Berkeley County, WV is served by Amtrak Train Service and MARC Commuter Train Service at the Martinsburg Station (MRB), which offers direct connections to Union Station, Washington DC and Rockville, MD. Amtrak and MARC also offer connections via Union Station to Penn Station, Baltimore MD and BWI Airport, as well as many others.
The MARC Train, whose service areas include Harford County, Maryland; Baltimore City; Washington D.C.; Brunswick, Maryland; Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia, can be accessed at three park & ride locations in the Eastern Panhandle: Martinsburg Station, Harpers Ferry Station, and Duffields Station in Shenandoah Junction, WV. For a schedule and fare information, visit www.amtrak.com and http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/.