Wintertime Coffee Houses and Hot Chocolate Hangouts in Nature’s Mountain Playground

Mike Moore

If you were to take a survey of what the number one, most consumed beverage world-wide is, it’s a safe bet the results of that survey would point to coffee.  Some reports place coffee as the second most sought commodity in the world; second only to crude oil; but I wouldn’t recommend drinking it.  In an age when it seems ordering a cup of coffee requires a rudimentary understanding of at least two languages and a working knowledge of chemistry or at the very least the guiding hand of a well-trained barista, all I can say is mankind’s desire for coffee shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  Now, at the risk of worldwide scorn, I must confess I’m not a coffee drinker.  Mind you, I have nothing against coffee and certainly would not wish to be labeled “anti-coffee” in any way.  I actually love the smell of coffee and have made a few attempts to start a coffee habit of my own but, to mix my metaphors, it’s just not my cup of tea.  This time of year, I’m more of a Polar Express hot chocolate fan; favoring cocoa beans over coffee beans.        

The one time of year, however, that I’m more inclined to give coffee another try is winter.  There’s something about having been out on a chilly winter’s day and then coming in from the cold to sit down for a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Either drink is a delicious way to warm up from the inside.  So, weather you’re looking for a hot chocolate bar or great coffee shops in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, we thought why not share a quick rundown of a short list of our favorite places to grab some of the best coffee or best hot chocolate while spending time in Nature’s Mountain Playground.

The Dirtbean Café, Marlinton

Located about a block from my office, the Dirtbean is usually my first suggestion when asked by visitors if there are any coffee shops nearby.  About two years ago the Dirtbean relocated from a large, open space to a smaller, more intimate setting.  The new location gives the Dirtbean a relaxed, “dining with friends” kind of atmosphere.  It’s the perfect setting for a nice warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate while taking a break from your winter adventures in Pocahontas County.  But a quick glance at the menu will reveal a few more delicious options.  Lattes, cappuccinos, house drip coffee, and flavored milk steamers are among your choices at the Dirtbean.  And what warm drink isn’t made a little better with the addition of a sweet treat?  The Dirtbean also offers cinnamon buns, scones, and cookies to sweeten the deal.  The Dirtbean is located at 818 2nd Ave, in Marlinton.

Simply Sweet Café, Durbin

Tucked away in the town of Durbin within easy walking distance of the train depot, is Simply Sweet Café.  For those visiting Durbin and looking for cafes near the train, Simply Sweet Café will fit the bill nicely.  Warm up with your choice of a latte, mocha, cappuccino, macchiato, hot chocolate, or coffee.  You can even go exotic with chai tea and steamed milk.  And as the name implies, the Simply Sweet café has an assortment of sweet additions to go along with that hot drink.  Cinnamon rolls, muffins, and Danish round out their pastries list.  The Simply Sweet Café is located at 4781 Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in Durbin just up the road from the train depot.  You can check out their Facebook page here for specials and any other tasty treats they dream up.

Depot Café, Hillsboro

If you find yourself on Route 219 in the Hillsboro area when that caffeine craving hits, you won’t want to pass up the chance to visit the Depot Café.  Located within The Levels Depot, the Depot Café has a warm, friendly atmosphere that is welcoming to locals and visitors alike.  Owner and cook Deslie Swearingen puts a high priority on healthy ingredients in all her menu items.  Along with the favorites of coffee, latte, and hot chocolate, the Depot Café also serves mud water – a coffee alternative derived from mushrooms.  It’s reported that mud water has many of the benefits of coffee without all the caffeine.  It’s definitely made it on my bucket list of new things to try in 2023.  As well as hot beverages, The Depot Café serves breakfast and lunch.  Check out their menu on their Facebook page here

Starbucks, Snowshoe Mountain Resort

If you find yourself a long way from home, enjoying a little skiing at Snowshoe this winter and looking for a familiar coffee house to warm you up, Starbucks in the Village at Snowshoe is just what you need.  Whether it’s one of their delicious coffees, lattes, macchiatos, or hot chocolates, Starbucks is the perfect stop for a quick warm up before getting back out on the slopes.  And if a little longer break from the cold is more to your liking, grab a biscotti or cookie to go with that warm drink and hang out a while – the mountain isn’t going anywhere.  Hours and contact information for Starbucks at Snowshoe can be found by clicking here

Snowshoe Hare, Slatyfork  

Located at the base of Snowshoe Mountain in the former Why Not Shop, the Snowshoe Hare is the new kid on the block in Slatyfork.  Just opened this month (December 2022), the Snowshoe Hare will offer an array of souvenirs and other items of interest for visitors.  But there will be another offering from the Snowshoe Hare that must be mentioned here.  Brace yourself.  For those of you in the Slatyfork area, either visitor or resident, posing the age-old question, “Are there any coffee shops near me?”  Have we got good news for you.  The Snowshoe Hare will feature (wait for it) a coffee bar (insert angelic music here)!  As of this writing, details are still coming in.  So, for now, this local coffee spot may require a little internet digging on your part in the very near future.  But there’s no doubt the Snowshoe Hare coffee bar is going to make a big splash very soon.

Well, there you have it.  A few of our favorite coffee places and hot chocolate hang outs in Pocahontas County.  Whether you favor the coffee bean or the cocoa bean, now that cold weather has settled in and we’re all looking for a chance to get out and enjoy it, be sure to take some time to warm up with a hot cup of coffee or warm mug of hot chocolate.  What better way to enjoy your wintertime visit to Nature’s Mountain Playground?