A Vacationer Guide to West Virginia


West Virginia, endlessly covered with forests and acknowledged as the “Mountain Condition,” features breathtaking surroundings, natural resource-relevant sights, and yr-round, outside actions.

As soon as loaded in coal and timber, it was formed by the mines and logging railroads which extracted them, but when a long time of elimination began to deplete these commodities, their rolling, inexperienced-carpeted mountains yielded secondary byproducts-namely, climbing, biking, fishing, rafting, climbing, and searching to holidaymakers and sports fanatics alike. Its New River Gorge, which features several related things to do, is equally beautiful with its rugged banks and azure surfaces, while the theory city of Charleston, revitalized all through the 1970s and eighties, now functions museums, artwork, purchasing malls, places to eat, and earth-course overall performance venues.


Situated on the Kanawha River, and sporting an effortlessly negotiable avenue grid procedure, it is subdivided into the Capitol Elaborate and the downtown space with the East Finish Historic District linking the two.

From the former, which is the heart of condition federal government, juts the ubiquitously obvious, gold-domed Capitol Developing alone. Built of buff Indiana limestone and four,640 tons of steel, which themselves expected the short-term laying of a spur rail line to transportation them, the setting up experienced been laid in three levels for the duration of an 8-12 months time period: 1924 to 1925 for the west wing, 1926 to 1927 for the east wing, and 1930 to 1932 for the connecting rotunda. It was formally committed by Governor William G. Conley on June twenty, 1932, on the event of West Virginia’s 69th birthday as a state.

Its gold dome, which extends five feet increased than that of the Capitol in Washington, is gilded in 23 ½-karat gold leaf, applied between 1988 and 1991 as very small squares to address the normally copper and lead surface area.

Two-thirds of its interior, which encompasses 535,000 sq. feet subdivided into 333 rooms, is comprised of Italian travertine, imperial derby, and Tennessee marble, and the chandelier in the rotunda, its heart piece, is produced of 10,a hundred and eighty items of Czechoslovakian crystal illuminated by 96 gentle bulbs. Weighing four,000 lbs, it hangs from a fifty four-foot brass and bronze chain.

Throughout from the Point out Capitol, but continue to within just the advanced, is the West Virginia Cultural Center. Opened in 1976 and operated by the West Virginia Division of Society and Background, it was produced to showcase the state’s creative, cultural, and historic heritage, and homes the West Virginia Point out Museum, the archives and heritage library, a gift shop, and a location for cultural situations, performances, and associated programs.

The previous, a assortment of things which signifies the state’s land, individuals, and society, is subdivided into 24 considerable scenes masking five durations: Prehistory (three million many years BC to 1650 Advert), Frontier (1754-1860), the Civil War and the 35th Point out (1861 to 1899), Industrialization (1900 to 1945), and Change and Tradition (1954 to the twenty first century). The 24 representations themselves trace the state’s evolution and incorporate these periods as “Coal Forest,” “River Plains,” “Wilderness,” “The Fort,” “Harper’s Ferry,” “Building the Rails,” “Coal Mine,” “Main Street, West Virginia,” and “New River Gorge.”

Thirteen monuments, memorials, and statues honoring West Virginians for their contributions to the condition and the country grace the Capitol Complex’s landscaped grounds.

Society can also be expert at the Clay Heart for the Arts and Sciences, a fashionable, 240,000-sq.-foot, a few-stage complicated which opened on July 12, 2003 and signifies just one of the most bold financial, cultural, and academic assignments in West Virginia’s heritage. Featuring sciences, visible arts, and accomplishing arts beneath a solitary roof, the heart residences the twin-level Avampato Discovery Museum, an interactive, youth-oriented encounter with sections these as Health Royale, KidSpace, Earth Metropolis, and Gizmo Factory. A nine,000-square-foot Artwork Gallery, located on the 2nd floor, functions equally temporary and long lasting exhibits, the latter emphasizing 19th and 20th century art by names these types of as Andy Warhol, Stuart Davis, Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Vida Frey, and Albert Paley. The ElectricSky Theater, a 61-foot domed planetarium, features day-to-day astronomy reveals and large monitor displays. Dwell performances are staged in two places: the 1,883-seat Maier Foundation Overall performance Corridor, which is residence to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but otherwise presents a wide range of performance types, from comedy to well known singers, bands, repertory, and Broadway performs, and the two hundred-seat Walker Theater, which functions performs and dances with cabaret-fashion seating for the Woody Hawley singer-songwriter system. The Douglas V. Reynolds Intermezzo Café and 3 school rooms are located on the reduce degree.

Purchasing can be accomplished at two key venues. The Charleston Town Heart Shopping mall, situated adjacent to the City Heart Marriott and Embassy Suites Lodge, and around the Civic Middle, is a just one million sq. foot, tri-amount intricate with additional than a hundred thirty suppliers, 3 anchor section suppliers, six entire-provider dining places, and a food courtroom with 10 added speedy food venues, and is accessed by way of 3 handy parking garages. Sporting a three-story atrium and fountain, the upscale, Kanawha Valley advanced was the major city purchasing center east of the Mississippi River when it opened in 1983.

The Capitol Current market, located on Capitol and Sixth Streets in the restored and converted, 1800s Kanawha and Michigan Railroad depot, is subdivided into equally in- and out of doors marketplaces, the latter of which can only be employed by bona fide farmers and gets everyday, refreshing, seasonal deliveries, ordinarily consisting of flowers, shrubs, and trees in the spring fruits and veggies in the summer months pumpkins, gourds, and cornstalks in the drop and Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands in the winter. The indoor current market sells seafood, cheeses, and wines, and gives various tiny foods stands and a total-company Italian restaurant.

An evening can be put in at the TriState Racetrack and Gaming Middle. Situated a fifteen-moment travel from Charleston in Cross Lanes, the venue offers ninety,000 square toes of gaming amusement, inclusive of more than 1,300 slot equipment, are living racing, a poker place, blackjack, roulette, and craps, and 4 dining places: the French Quarter Cafe and Bar, the First Switch Restaurant, the Café Orleans, and Crescent City.


The Potomac Highlands, located in the eastern portion of the state on the Allegheny Plateau, is a tapestry of numerous geographic areas and addresses eight counties. Alternatively selected “Mountain Highlands,” it experienced been fashioned some 250 million yrs back when the North American and African continental collision had developed a single, uplifted mass. Subjected to millennia of wind- and water-brought about erosion, it resulted in successive valleys and parallel ridges, and these days the area encompasses two national forests: Canaan Valley, the greatest east of the Mississippi River, and Spruce Knob, at four,861 ft, West Virginia’s greatest place. Its environmentally friendly-included mountains yielded ample timber, the logging railroads essential to harness it, two premier ski resorts, and a myriad of outdoor sports and actions.

The Potomac Highlands can be subdivided into the Tygart Valley, Seneca Rocks, Canaan Valley, and Large Mountain State.

A. Tygart Valley

The town of Elkins, located in the Tygart Valley, is the transportation, purchasing, and social center of the east central Appalachian Mountains and serves as a foundation for Potomac Highland excursions.

Recognized in 1890 by Senators Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen. B. Elkins, his son-in-law and business enterprise companion, it originated as a shipping hub for their coal, timber, and railroad empire, the latter the final result of their self-financed development of the West Virginia Central Railroad, whose observe stretched amongst Cumberland, Maryland, and Elkins, and served as the threshold to some of the world’s richest timber and mineral means.

The town, serving the desires of the coal miners, loggers, and railroad employees, sprouted central routine maintenance outlets and steadily expanded, peaking in 1920, before commencing a useful resource depletion-triggered decrease, right until the last coach, carrying coal and timber products and solutions to the relaxation of the place, departed the depot in 1959.

The tracks lay barren and unused for virtually half a century right until 2007, when the newly-proven Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad once more resurrected them-and the city-transporting the initially visitors for scenic-experience uses and resparking a sluggish expansion cycle with a subsequently developed restaurant and dwell theater in its historic Elkins Railyard and further resorts nearby. Persistently rated as 1 of the country’s finest modest artwork towns, it is at the time once more the assistance hub of the Mountain Highlands, reverting to its original objective of giving hotel, cafe, shop, and entertainment products and services, but now to a new group-holidaymakers.

The railroad stays its target.
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The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad offers three departures from the Elkins depot. The initially of these, the “New Tygart Flyer,” is a 4-hour, forty six-mile round-trip run which plunges by way of the Cheat Mountain Tunnel, passes the cities of Bowdon and Bemis, parallels the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River, and stops at the horseshoe-shaped High Falls of Cheat, for the duration of which time it serves an en route, buffet luncheon. Upgraded desk service is offered in 1922-ear deluxe Pullman Palace autos for a somewhat bigger price tag.

The “Cheat Mountain Salamander” is a nine-hour, 128-mile spherical-trip to Spruce, and involves a buffet lunch and supper, even though the “Mountain Express Evening meal Train” mimics the New Tygart Flyer’s route, but options a four-course food in a formally established eating car.

The Railyard Restaurant, sandwiched involving the Elkins depot and the American Mountain Theater, supplies all on board meals. Emulating the depot by itself with its exterior brick construction, the $2.5 million, 220-seat cafe, leased to the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, serves household-design cuisine on its major stage and upscale dinners in its 2nd-flooring Vista Dome Dining Room, its menus influenced by railroad motor vehicle fare from the twenties to the nineteen forties. It toted the opening slogan of, “Get the monitor to the put with fantastic taste.”