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Where to Go, What to Know

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, the Travel section's Scott Vogel traveled to Shepherdstown for a look at small-town life. His reporter's guide:

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DRIVE TIME: About 1 hour from the Beltway

COST: $112.99 Hotel: $84.99 Entertainment: $28

GETTING THERE: Shepherdstown is about 62 miles from the Beltway. Take Interstate 495 to I-270 north. At Exit 32, merge onto I-70 west. At Exit 52, take U.S. 340 west toward Charles Town. Turn right on WV 230 (also known as Shepherdstown Pike) and follow until you reach the town.

WHERE TO STAY

* The Thomas Shepherd Inn (German and Duke streets, 888-889-8952, http://www.thomasshepherdinn.com; from $110 per night double, with breakfast) has the best location in town. It's also the only hotel within walking distance of the German Street main drag. Each of the inn's six rooms is decorated uniquely, and all have private baths.

* The Bavarian Inn (164 Shepherd Grade Rd., 304-876-2551, http://www.bavarianinnwv.com; from $105 per night double) is a bit farther away but is set amid spectacular scenery. The 72-room inn sits high on a promontory overlooking the Potomac River.

* Other options include chain hotels such as the Comfort Inn (2001 Maddex Square Dr., 800-228-5150, http://www.comfortinnshepherdstown.com; from $99, although I paid $84.99 by using Priceline).

WHERE TO EAT

* The undisputed queen of the breakfast trade is Betty's (112 E. German St.), which serves delicious, if ridiculously large, pancakes at reasonable prices ($1.79 apiece), along with other morning and lunch fare. It's a small place that fills up quickly on weekend mornings.

* Shaharazade's Exotic Tea Room (141 W. German St.) must be one of the few places where you can get belly-dancing with your chamomile. Check the Web site http://(www.shaharazades.com) for performance dates. Two large, warm scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and raspberry preserves go for $4.50.

* Three restaurants were consistently rated outstanding by a random sampling of locals. First on everyone's list is the relatively new Press Room (129 W. German St.), which specializes in pasta dishes served in a chic setting. Try the spaghetti carbonara ($14). The Yellow Brick Bank (201 E. German St.) is also a favorite, thanks to such dishes as the grilled hanger steak with caramelized onions ($21). Three Onions (117 E. German St.) also rates high with residents, especially for its pan-seared sea scallops ($24).

WHAT TO DO

* The Shepherdstown Film Society ( http://www.shepherdstownfilmsociety.org) offers an eclectic selection of movies most Fridays. Screenings are usually free and held at Shepherd University's Reynolds Hall. The campus's Friends of Music program ( http://www.sufom.org) regularly features classical artists, and tickets are reasonably priced. (I paid $20 to see the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra.) The Shepherdstown Opera House (131 W. German St.) makes for an intimate movie experience ($8). It's also a great live-music venue, regularly featuring bands from bluegrass to rock ( http://www.operahouselive.com).

* Works of more than 150 American artisans are featured at Dickinson and Wait (121 E. German St). And for an authentic trip in the wayback machine, you can't beat O'Hurley's General Store (205 E. Washington St.), where you'll find antiques of every shape and size.


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