One of West Virginia’s, and for that matter, the Mid-Atlantic Region’s, best-kept secrets for business success is finding itself more and more in the spotlight. And for good reason. Mason County is no stranger to a solid business climate or a thriving industry sector, but those aspects are often eclipsed by a quality of life that is perhaps among the best in the country.
Looking Back While Looking Ahead
Nestled in the foothills of the rugged Appalachian Mountains and bordered by the iconic Ohio River, Mason County’s lush landscape, friendly people, and colorful heritage attract those who want an ideal work-life balance. Point Pleasant, with its fascinating history, is the county seat. Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, the quaint and vibrant town moves at the pace of another era. A comfortable stroll here is rewarded with unique shopping and dining, a fascinating look at pivotal historic events, and the flavor of a tenacious pioneer culture that is woven into the fabric of America to this day.
Forgotten Treasures on Main Street offers eclectic items and unique collectibles. All that glitters can be found at Siders Jewelers with an onsite gemologist. The aptly named “Mason Jar” is a sprawling antique mall with a large selection of antiques and vintage collectibles. Faithful & Free is an intimate boutique that offers fine clothing and jewelry. The Counter Point Cooperative provides unique artisan goods made locally in West Virginia.
Local restaurateurs warmly offer to calm the hunger pangs of those who explore up an appetite. Bear Wallow BBQ, a seasonal food truck, offers BBQ, ribs, chicken and more. The Coffee Grinder is a restaurant and coffee shop that serves breakfast, lunch, and fresh pastries. Rio Bravo II, a local favorite, offers authentic Mexican cuisine for lunch and dinner.
Point Pleasant’s storied history is well documented and celebrated. The city was first settled along the banks of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers in 1774. It officially became Point Pleasant in 1804. In 1966, the first sighting of the Mothman was reported by a young couple. The Silver Bridge tragedy occurred in 1967, the collapse killing 46 people. In 1969, the Silver Memorial Bridge was completed to replace the previous bridge and honor those who perished. Point Pleasant is home to spirited events that take place throughout the year. Notable among them is the much-loved Mothman Festival that takes place each September and celebrates the love and fascination with the mythical creature.
If Point Pleasant is a hidden gem, Mason County in its entirety is a crown jewel. A land of rolling hills and dense forests, Mason County is a paradise for those who love nature. Bird watching, camping, boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, and cycling are all in plentiful supply. Mason County is a game hunter’s mecca. In fact, it’s in the top three of all places to hunt in West Virginia. Deer, Coyote, Squirrel, and other game are abundant.
While the Ohio River is one of the nation’s most important economic waterways, it is also a home to outdoor recreation. Boating, kayaking, jet skiing, and river cruises take place throughout the year. Ample sportfishing opportunities are available and favorites include bass, walleye, sauger, catfish, and crappie.
Calling Mason County Home
The cost of living in Mason County is among the lowest in the nation. A low cost of living combined with high quality of life makes it a favorite for those who are relocating or retiring. Although Mason County is largely absent from the stresses and expenses of large urban centers, it is a thriving economic hub for many industries. Apple Grove Polytech, Feiman Industries, Amherst Madison, and Appalachian Rail Car all call Mason County home. As a member of Advantage Valley, a nine-county region that forms one of the nation’s most resource-rich and business-friendly corridors, Mason County is literally positioned to grow at the speed of business and technology. Advantage Valley is home to Toyota Motors, the Constellium Plant, NGK Spark Plugs, AEP Power, Dow Chemical Company and many others.
Mason County is one of the few places that has managed to fully embrace the future without abandoning its past or diluting its heritage. Although it is less of a “best-kept secret” than it was just a short time ago, it is living proof that a rewarding quality of life and a robust economic sector can coexist in perfect harmony.