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Inaugural ‘Best of Pendleton’ Poll Spotlights Local Businesses and Attractions

By The Pendleton Times

“This was our first year for Best of Pendleton County and we had over 600 responses!” exclaimed Amber Nesselrodt, executive director of the Pendleton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

The poll covered 17 fun and welcoming aspects of Pendleton County to determine the favorite hot spots for locals and tourists alike. Twelve of the categories focused on sites around the area, for example, Smoke Hole won Best Swimming Hole, Best Fishing Hole, and Best Place to Camp.

For best fishing hole, Smoke Hole even defeated “I’ll never tell.”

Seneca Rocks also ranked high in terms of being selected for more than one category, winning Best Hiking Trail, Favorite Climbing Spot, and Favorite One Day Destination.

Not all of the sites were natural wonders, however. Fort Seybert, famed for the 1700s incident in which Indian raiders burned the structure, killed many of the settlers, kidnapped many more, and (allegedly) made off with a hoard of treasure, rated as the Favorite Historical Site.

Voters also got the opportunity to choose from businesses as “local spots that make Pendleton County special.” Every selection had one theme in common, caring about customers and offering great service. 

Franklin’s Korner Shop won the category of Best Place to Grab Lunch or Dinner. The diner, located in the heart of Franklin, serves breakfast as well. They specialize in traditional diner-style food, but often offer their guests fun twists on the specials options.

The Korner Shop’s Tammy Linaburg shared that “we are blessed with our customers. We just try to serve people good food.”

One of the biggest appeals of the Korner Shop lies in its family-style atmosphere. Katie Hott, who also works at the establishment, said, “It feels like coming to grandma’s house with home cooked food.”

Hott added that “I never worked at a place where everyone gets along so well.”

Alan Thomas started Pendleton Outdoors in 1991, sold it in 2002, but couldn’t stay away. He bought it back in 2015. His business won Best Shop For Outdoor Gear.

“We have a following and people come here from all over,” Thomas shared, adding that “we were blown away and humbled that they voted us as one of the best.”

He also stated, “We got to work every day and work hard to take care of people.”

Warner’s Drive-In won Best Family Friendly Destination. The historic theater, now run by a non-profit board, draws families every Friday and Saturday night during the summer. 

There are very few drive-ins that also offer an excellent caliber of food from their concession stand. Many will come only for the food and not the show. Also, where else are two-hand touch football games in front of the screen prior to the movie an essential part of a drive-in theater’s tradition?

Warner’s Drive-In opens this weekend with the recently released movie version of “The Fall Guy.” Even before the votes were cast, the theater had chosen to select more family and children’s movies this season.

Shreve’s Country Store was selected as the Best Place to Find a Unique Souvenir. The Smoke Hole store has been family owned for generations and serves as a center for both locals and tourists who find their outdoor fun in the canyon. 

Over and above the traditional offerings of a country general store, Shreve’s Country Store also offers fresh made food and hosts live music concerts during the summer season. This coming weekend, they will host Wheeling-based Blazing Rose. 

Sam Wood is the latest member of his family to run the establishment. He says, “Everyone has a story about Shreve’s.”

He had not heard of the store’s selection, but said, “It’s great, but I’ve always felt like this store has a lot of community support, even when my grandfather owned it.”

In a region also voted as the best scenic view, Germany Valley Cabins won Best Place to Stay. Run by Bill and Luci Raines, they bill themselves as “privacy surrounded by God’s great natural beauty.”

The poll results also voted North Fork Mountain Trail the Best Biking Trail, Nelson Rocks via Ferrata as the Best Adventure for Thrill Seekers, and Spruce Knob as both the Best Spot for Stargazing and the Favorite Spot for Fall Foliage.

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