For the second installment of Zip Trip, the zip code we pulled out of a hat was 26306, which is Clarksburg, W.Va.
We wanted to start our zip trip with a little bit of exercise, so we went to Veterans Memorial Park for a couple games of pickleball. Pickleball uses a fourth of the size of a tennis court, and it’s a sport that is a mix between tennis, badminton and ping pong.
The paddle sport is meant for all ages, skill levels and anyone can sign up for the Morgantown Pickleball Club. The rules of the game are fairly easy for beginners to learn, but it can be a quick, competitive game for experienced players.
“You can get out, you can move around, it’s not real taxing on your knees, and back, and hips and stuff, but you can get a very competitive game, and it’s social. It’s a very social game,” said Linda Shaw, Clarksburg pickleball player.
Since the sport has picked up in popularity, the Clarksburg Board of Park Commissioners has discussed a plan to add more pickleball courts.
Before leaving Veterans Memorial Park, we stopped to play a round of mini golf for only $3. The 18-hole course is right next to the Splash Zone at the park, and it can be a fun, relaxing time for the whole family.
Our next stop sparked some curiosity at the Historic Waldomore House next to the Clarksburg Library, where we checked out the Gray Barker collection.
Gray Barker was known for being a UFO writer and a hoaxer since the early 1950s. He was from Clarksburg, and the library purchased some of his estate after he died, including a 29-drawer collection of personal letters, reports, books, magazines and newspaper clippings.
“If you’re a tourist and you’re in Clarksburg, you might want to see the Barker materials because they’re interesting and curious,” said David Houchin, Clarksburg librarian. “There’s nothing like them anywhere else because it’s not like everybody that was involved in ufology left an archive in a library that you can go in and work with. It’s very unusual.”
We decided to get some lunch at Julio’s Café after we heard about Clarksburg’s rich Italian culture.
Julio’s Café is a family-owned and operated restaurant that has been in business for more than 50 years. The atmosphere and homemade food are what have kept the residents of Clarksburg coming back for generations.
We asked for the most popular dish on the menu, which was Giuseppe’s Filetto alla Diavola. It’s filet mignon on top of pasta, in a spicy marinara sauce.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Clarksburg if we didn’t stop at the newly-renovated Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center. The theater originally opened in 1913, but it was significantly enlarged and remodeled in 1927.
It was the 13th movie theater in the United States to install sound equipment and start showing “talkies.” The Robinson Grand continued to show movies, and it held plays, concerts and dance recitals throughout the 1980s.
In 2014, the building was acquired by the city, which involved a $15 million restoration project designed by WYK Associates.
Our final stop was Toni’s Ice Cream. Toni’s outdoor stand and drive thru sells soft serve ice cream and food. This community favorite has lasted for a couple of generations.