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  • Writer's picturetylercates

Almost Heaven

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

You've seen those click bait articles, "12 Best Beach Towns for Retirees", "The Best Small Towns in the US", etc. During the pandemic, I clicked through one that was titled something along the lines of "The Restaurant You Need to Try in Each State.". I didn't retain many of the selections, but one that stood out was West Virginia's designee, The Wonder Bar in Clarksburg. I looked it up, was intrigued, and added dining there to my ever-growing bucket list. It stayed there until yesterday.

Clarksburg is about a 3-hour drive from where I live., a bit far to drive just for dinner. I asked an old friend, who lives in Clarksburg, what there is to see and do in Clarksburg and was eventually alerted to the Robinson Theatre (aka the Robinson Performing Arts Center). When it was announced that The Marshall Tucker Band would be performing there on October 20, it seemed like a winning combination.

On the way to Clarksburg, we (Mrs. B and I) decided to stop in Morgantown, the birthplace of Don Knotts, also known as Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show), Ralph Furley (Three's Company) and Les Calhoun (Matlock), among other tremendous roles. In our upside-down world, there is a movement to remove the statue of Knotts from High Street in Morgantown, since he is holding his trademark Mayberry Police Department cap. I decided this would be a great opportunity to see the statue, just in case the insane are placated by its removal.

From there, we headed for The Wonder Bar Steakhouse, barely making our 6 o'clock reservation due to road work on 79. Boy, am I glad we did!

The Wonder Bar opened in 1946 and in many ways, is a throwback to that era. The red walls are adorned with numerous photos and various memorabilia of true stars like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall. In the middle of West Virginia, it reminded me of the type of place you saw in old movies set in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the late 1940's through the early 60's. The one word that kept coming to mind as I took it all in was 'class', with the exception of the one uncouth individual who wore his ball cap in such a nice establishment. Sorry (not sorry), but that' s a personal peeve with me.

I could not string words together eloquently enough to do the steaks at The Wonder Bar justice., so I will use only one: Perfection. If you find yourself in central West Virginia, eat at The Wonder Bar Steakhouse. You will be glad you did.

During my wrestling days I went to Clarksburg and the surounding area many times, but I never had the time to just take a look around. On our way to the theatre, I noticed that Clarksburg has some very beautiful old buildings, in what I believe is called Neoclassical inspired architecture. Several appeared to be in various stages of restoration. I hope to return in a couple of years and take a slow walk around to see how the city has progressed (or regressed to its former glory).

The Robison Performing Arts Center is a great venue for a city the size of Clarksburg and a very interesting place in its own right. Lots of great historical exhibits can be found around the theatre, including a promotional poster of Harry Houdini's appearance at the theatre.

The Marshall Tucker Band is currently on their 50th Anniversary Tour, meaning they came out before I was born. "Heard It In A Love Song", "Fire on the Mountain", and "Can't You See" are iconic tunes that I literally grew up listening to. At this point, they are almost the musical equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, with only one original member remaining. That said, the band is absolutely phenomenal and that's all I will say about that. If you are music fan and have seen MTB lately, you will likely know what it is I am NOT saying.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day trip and a lesson that there are treasures hidden right in own backyards.

Thank you for reading and I'll talk to you soon.

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