7 Old-Time Gems: Stops That Really Take You Back

Miss the good old days? They aren’t gone. They’re just tucked away in the Southern WV mountains.

Our hills are littered with throwback gems that never quite left the good ol’ days behind. Unlock time’s treasures at these Southern West Virginia stops that really take you back:

Main Street in Bramwell

Main Street in Bramwell

1. The Corner Shop Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain Diner in Bramwell

Driving into Bramwell, you’ll already feel like you’ve gone back to the coal boom era. The town seems sleepy aside from the train depot and single strip of street lined with elegant mansions. Right on the corner of the neighborhood that once housed more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the country, you’ll find the Corner Shop, the pharmacy where the townsfolk used to stop in for lunch.

The preserved shop, which was one of the first in the country to carry the upscale Chanel No. 5, is now lined with general store knick knacks and old-time collectibles you can browse while you await your home-cooked meal. End with a fresh-baked dessert, classic milkshake or a stop to the brightly-colored candy counter.

2. The Cheese N More Store in Gap Mills

You’ll have to trek a while through the countryside, but you can come across this no-frills Amish goods shop along the rural Monroe County Quilt Trail.

Stop in for some pure, simple country flavor. Enjoy a made-from-scratch lunch, and stock up your own kitchen pantry with home-canned jams and jellies, fresh cheeses and even finely crafted furniture, all crafted locally. The stone-ground cornmeal and gooey homemade fudge are local favorites.

3. The Chimney Corner USA in Chimney Corner

This hillside hideaway is a one-stop nostalgia shop, with shelves bursting with mountain primitives and country crafts. The log creekside cabin seems to pop out of nowhere through the forests along the rural Route 60 Midland Trail.

One corner is a country cook’s heaven, with rustic wares like cast iron cookware and milk jars, and another is a mountain picker’s paradise, with finely crafted banjos, mandolins and harmonicas. Throughout, you can collect antiques, old wooden toys or coal figurines.

Bring back a little Southern WV flavor with garden relish, apple butter, jams and fudge. You can even tuck in for the night at the quaint cabin, rocking the evening away on the porch swing in true Appalachian fashion.

4. Delfino’s in Oak Hill

Delfino’s is a shrine to yesteryear’s small community values— and classic taste! The diner is decked out in memorabilia from local school sports teams, showcasing the family’s small-town pride. The menu features gooey pizza alongside classic Americana favorites like grilled sammies and fried green beans.

The real treat comes after the meal, though you may have trouble deciding which decadent dessert to indulge in. There are, of course, the jumbo hand-scooped sundaes, ice cream floats and dipped swirl cones. But the cakes and pies will entice you with the charms of your childhood, too: try the Ding Dong or Whopper cakes to relive your favorite nostalgic sweet treats.

thestache5. The Stache in Fayetteville

Remember those goofy glasses with a built-on nose and mustache? Rubber band shooters? Robot claws? All those toys you lost track of years ago are waiting to reunite with you here, right beside a jumbo box of Pixy Stix.

This vibrant  toy and ice cream shop looks like it was engineered by Willy Wonka himself. Dig into a colorful dream of candies, toys and ice cream flavors. Stackers, sweets, spinners and science— it’s a whirlwind world of whimsical fun.

The scoop section features all the classic flavors, and some kooky signature sundaes, topped with garnishes like bacon and local honey. You can even enjoy some hometown BBQ for lunch.

6. Hinton Dairy Queen

When you pull up to the drive-in style stand, you can see: this is no ordinary DQ.

Yes, it’s a part of the DQ franchise, but no, it’s not like the rest. This one-of-a-kind roadside ice cream stand went up in the 50s and has remained unchanged as town has grown up around it. Known as a local landmark for anyone coming to explore the Bluestone Lake, the Hinton Dairy Queen is a must-see stop for many. Inside, you can relax by the fireplace and stare out at the scenic river below.

The little stand serves up all the expected frozen fare, but instead of the DQ menu, it’s the same selection the family established in the 50s, with country picks like fried cauliflower and biscuits. The secret sauce recipe and signature grilled buns make their hot dogs the best around(and that’s saying something in West Virginia, where dogs are a delicacy). They’re also the local breakfast joint of choice.

Right down the way is Kirk’s restaurant, another local favorite established by the same family, which has also become a time capsule of bygone days.

7. King Tut Drive-In

Back in Beckley’s hoppin’ diner days, cruising in for curbside service was the hip afternoon hangout. Most of those drive-ins closed, but King Tut’s has remained a staple in the city since 1945, and is now one of the oldest in the country. The little joint was even the first in town to serve pizza… all the way back when people didn’t know what the heck it was! They had to give out free samples to convince people to give it a try.

Kids of the family who has owned the diner since the 50s remember working for a quarter an hour, making those pizzas. Some of the customers from back then, and their own kin, still frequent the place.

Many of the same smiling car hops have also been part of the friendly atmosphere for decades. Maybe it’s that reliable service that keeps everyone coming back. Or maybe it’s the family recipes, like the home-baked breads and pies, made-from-scratch soups and milkshakes with real ice cream. The award-winning pork barbecue, twice-baked potatoes and hot dogs are definitely the local go-to’s on the menu.

Where in Southern West Virginia do you go for an old-fashioned trip down memory lane?

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