Take Your Pick
Beckley, WV
Working in a Coal Mine Going Down Down
Exhibition Coal Mine - Nearly every county in West Virginia has some coal deposits and the state leads the nation in underground coal production. So a tour of the dark-damp-cold-cruel world of coal mining is in order. The Exhibition Coal Mine was a working coal mine until its closure in 1910 and now operates as an underground tourist attraction. Begin the journey by boarding a bright yellow coal train operated by an entertaining retired coal miner. Circle 1,500 feet into the hillside beneath a very low ceiling and stop to see the coal seam and an assortment of mining equipment. The mine is a fantastic place to visit, but it will certainly make you happy you work above ground.
Beckley, WV
West Virginia Crafts
Tamarack - If you are interested in finding some authentic West Virginia crafts, Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia is where to find them. The circular building with its distinctive pointed roof is filled with handicrafts made by local artisans. Inside you will also find an art gallery, theater, conference center, and food court. It is a great place to pick up a sculpture or decorative stained glass piece for your home.
Cass, WV
Hop Aboard the Cas Scenic Railroad
Cass Scenic Railroad - Starting in 1901, Shay locomotives hauled lumber from the surrounding hills to the town of Cass lumber mill. The logging operation continued until its closure in 1960. Then in 1963 the state breathed new life into the area by offering the first public rail tour, and this kicked off a whole new industry. Old logging flat-cars were converted into passenger cars and tourist can now enjoy a wonderful trip back in time aboard a steam powered locomotive. At the station is the Cass Historical Museum featuring logging tools, artwork, photos, and an assortment of railroad memorabilia.
Charleston, WV
Lincoln and Socko at the Capitol
State Capitol Building - Construction began on the West Virginia State Capitol Building in 1924 and was officially dedicated eight years later on June 20, 1932 coinciding with its 69th anniversary of statehood. The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert (Ohio native and designer of the US Supreme Court Building in DC) and was constructed in three stages - the west wing, east wing and rotunda. The glimmering 14 karat gold dome stands 292 feet high and over-looks the Kanawha River. The grounds contain statues of Abraham Lincoln and Stonewall Jackson, a fountain and a replica of the Liberty Bell.
Charleston, WV
Arts Center of Charleston
Clay Center - The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences is an art gallery, performing arts facility, science center, theater and planetarium all in one. This multi-story, 240,000 square foot facility opened in 2003 and has attracted some big name performers and has put on several Broadway plays. In addition to performances you will enjoy the Avampto Discovery Museum which spans two floors and features an art museum that displays a collection of permanent and traveling works, as well as an interactive science center. The Clay Center is also home to the West Virginia Symphony.
Chester, Hancock,, WV
Brrrr - I Could Use Some Hot Tea
World's Largest Teapot - Created in 1938 by owner William "Babe" Devon, the World's Largest Teapot was originally a gigantic root beer barrel. Babe wrapped the plus-sized barrel in tin, added a lid, spout and handle that converted it into the shape we see today. For years the unique structure drew in passer-bys off the highway and served as a concession stand and souvenir shop. The brightly painted teapot now stands as a symbol of the town of Chester.
Davis, WV
The Whitewater of Blackwater Falls
Blackwater Falls State Park - Considered one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia, Blackwater Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park, is certainly worthy of that title. The dark amber-colored waters of the Blackwater River tumble 57 feet over rugged sandstone producing a white veil covering the rocks. To get to the falls from the park headquarters requires a short hike on a boardwalk that includes over 200 stairs. This will bring you to the closest viewing point of the falls. The state host many other beautiful waterfalls, including nearby Elakala Falls, and in the southern part of the state, Cathedral Falls and Mill Creek Falls to name a few.
Green Bank, WV
Robert C Byrd's NRAO
National Radio Astronomy Observatory - The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a research facility that lets visitors tour the facility. Here you will find the very educational Green Bank Science Center with hands-on exhibits that make dabbling in radio astronomy fun. On site you will also find the enormous Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope which is used to view objects over billions of light years away. The gleaming white dish is the world's largest steerable radio telescope weighing over 17 million lbs and has nearly 2.3 acres of surface area.
Harpers Ferry, WV
Changing of the Guards
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park - Including portions of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland and tucked away at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers is Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The park has a magnificent balance of history, 19th century charm, and natural beauty. This is the site of abolitionist John Brown's ill-fated uprising which foreshadowed the Civil War. And during the Civil War was occupied by both Union and Confederate Armies. Today the picturesque streets are lined with clapboard storefronts that climb the historic hills. Enjoy perusing through the towns shops and museums as well as visiting John Brown's Historic Fort.
Hillsboro, WV
Pearl Buck's Birthplace
Pearl Buck's Birthplace - Pearl Buck (1892-1973) is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Three months after being born, she and her missionary parents travelled to China where she would spend the next forty years. Her more than 200 works, novels, short stories and poetry reflect her strong Asian influence and include "East Wind, West Wind", "The Good Earth" and "A House Divided". Pearl Buck's Birthplace was built in 1847 and displays some original furniture and personal memorabilia.
Hillsboro, WV
Wesr Virginia's First State Park
Droop Mountain Battlefield - Droop Mountain Battlefield is the site of the last significant Civil War battle in West Virginia. A few short months after being admitted to the Union, the state found itself occupied by a Confederate Army. This army led by Gen John Echols held the high ground at Droop Mountain until Nov 6th 1863. The Federal Army led by Gen William Averell pushed the Confederate troops off the mountain and in early 1864, completely out of the state. The area became the West Virginia's first state park on July 4, 1928.
Lewisburg, WV
Underground West Virginia
Lost World Caverns - Lost World Caverns is a wonderful underground adventure featuring a 45 minute self-guided tour that descends 120 feet along a half mile trail. Cave formations include; the Snowy Chandelier, a 30 ton compound stalactite; the glistening white calcite Bridal Veil; and the War Club which is a 28 foot tall stalagmite that was sat on for 16 days by Guinness Book of World Records holder Bob Addis. If you are looking for another cave to explore, head south about 10 miles to Organ Cave. This cave was first discovered by pioneers in 1704 but shows evidence of human activity for thousands of years.
Milton, WV
Glass Factory Tour
Blenko Glass Company - At one time West Virginia was home to over 60 glass factories each creating anything from window glass to bottles and marbles. Only a few glass factories remain in operation today and the Blenko Glass Company is one of them. Founded by William J Blenko (1854-1933) Blenko Glass opened its doors in 1921creating sheet glass for stained glass windows (Blenko stained glass is in St Patrick's Cathedral in NYC). Today visitors can take a tour of the factory and watch skilled glass-blowers create their works of art. Be sure to pick up a piece at their on-site store.
Moundsville, WV
The State Pen in Penn State
Grave Creek Mound and West Virginia State Penitentiary - Located across the street from each other in Moundsville are two very interesting attractions. The first is Grave Creek Mound, a conical shaped burial mound measuring 62 feet tall and 240 feet in circumference at its base. This impressive mound was built by the Adena People over 2000 years ago and is the namesake of the town. On site is a museum which details the history of the mound and the town. The second attraction is the West Virginia State Penitentiary. This massive castle-like structure housed some of the most violent prisoners in its 119 year run. Tours are available daily and for the brave ones - you can stay all night.
Mount Hope, WV
New River Gorge
New River Gorge National River - Stretching roughly 50 miles from Hinton to Fayetteville and encompassing over 70,000 acres of land is the New River Gorge National River. This rough-and-tumble river is one of the best white-water rafting locations in the USA and features some Class V Rapids. The New River carves a deep slice through the sandstone foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, offering tremendous views when you're not paddling for your life. For the hikers, bikers and fisher-monkeys there are miles of trails and a diversity of fish.
Point Pleasant, WV
One Scary Dude
Mothman - From November 1966 to December 1967 a 7 foot flying man with enormous red eyes terrified the people of Point Pleasant. Over 100 residents claimed to have seen or been chased by the Mothman, with chases exceeding 100 mph. The last sighting of the creature coincided with the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967 when 46 people were killed. The verdict is still out on whether the Mothman caused the bridge to collapse or was simply trying to warn residents of its impending destruction. The monster went Hollywood in 2001 with the Richard Gere film, "The Mothman Prophecies".
Roanoke, WV
Great Outdoors (and Indoors)
Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park - Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park features one of the most scenic and unspoiled lakes in the entire state. This 2,650 acre man-made lake is also home to some mighty fine largemouth bass. Of course that's not all there is, outdoor activities include boating, hiking, swimming, hunting and camping. If you prefer the great indoors, head over to the Stonewall Resort for a spa treatment and some whirlpool time. As long as you're in the area, might as well see the West Virginia Museum of American Glass, with its enormous collection of glass products.
Sarah Ann, WV
Resting Place of Devil Anse
Hatfields and McCoys - One of the most infamous family feuds in US history occurred in southern West Virginia along the Tug River, the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. The McCoy clan on the Kentucky side was led by Randolph "Randall, Ole Ran'l" McCoy and the Hatfield gang on the West Virginia side was headed by Captain Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield. The fighting started over disputed ownership of a few pigs and horses, but escalated during the Civil War (the McCoys with the Union and the Hatfields with the Confederates). First blood was drawn with the killing of Asa McCoy by the "Logan Wildcats", a Hatfield led militia. Today you can visit the grave of Devil Anse and enjoy over 500 miles of Hatfield and McCoy Trails.
Seneca Rocks, WV
Climb to the Top of Seneca Rocks
Rock Climbing - For a fantastic view of the West Virginia countryside and the Monongahela National Forest, don your hiking boots and head to Seneca Rocks for a little Rock Climbing. Starting from the Discovery Center at the base of the razorback ridge, a dirt path winds its way up to an observation deck at the top. It's a pleasantly invigorating mile long hike which climbs nearly 900 feet over some rocky terrain. For the more serious rock climber, there are a couple of schools in town that will happily show you the ropes.
White Sulphur Springs, WV
One of the Best Places I've Stayed
The Greenbrier - Two words best describe The Greenbrier Resort, opulence and intrigue. The property began its storied history with the first recorded use of the White Sulphur Spring that flows beneath the Springhouse in 1778. After that cottages were built around the Springhouse and in the 1850s The Grand Central Hotel opened. We now find a gorgeous 4 star hotel, with a spa, professional golf course, horseback riding, its own bowling alley and casino. That would be enough to attract any visitor, but there is something hidden beneath the hotel. In the late 1950s an underground bunker was built by the federal government that served as an emergency relocation center for members of Congress. The shelter was discovered in 1992 and now any monkey can tour it. Come see the shelter and definitely stay the night.