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Most Viewed Favorites in West Virginia

  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    Wheeling

    by traveldave Updated Jun 28, 2012

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    Favorite thing: Wheeling was first settled by Colonel Ebenezer Zane and his brothers in 1769, when they came from the Potomac River Valley in eastern Virginia to establish a land claim. The area they settled is on a flat plain along the Ohio River, with steep hills rising up from the river valley. Other settlers soon followed. The early inhabitants built Fort Fincastle to protect the settlement. In 1776, the name was changed to Fort Henry, in honor of Patrick Henry.

    During the American Civil War, Wheeling was the headquarters of Virginians opposed to secession from the Union. At the time, the area that is now West Virginia was part of Virginia. The Union supporters in the city organized the State of West Virginia on June 20, 1863. Wheeling served as the state capital from 1863 to 1870, and from 1875 to 1877.

    Wheeling lies near West Virginia's coal- and natural-gas-producing region, and many of the city's industries are fueled by coal or natural gas. The city is also an important coal shipping center. The most important aspect of Wheeling's economy, however, is tourism. Visitors are attracted by the city's parks, historic sites, and local events.

    Nowadays, Wheeling is the seat of Ohio County, and is the center of a metropolitan area of around 160,000 inhabitants which includes Belmont County, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Wheeling.

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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    Meet The Potomac & The Shenandoah!

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 29, 2011

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    Favorite thing: This is the second time I've seen the current of two bodies of water conjoining.

    The first was in Danmark where I saw the meeting currents of the North Sea and Skataget See. This time, it's the confluence of The Potomac River and The Shenandoah River.

    This is an awesome place! ...and I'm not even a nature lover! I don't know if it's just me or if others are impressed with the concept of seeing two huge bodies of water meeting, but it's a unique sight and fascinating to see the exact border of each river. Of course a backdrop such as the Blue Ridge Mountains does add a bit more drama in this natural setting.

    The Confluence
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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    No Wonder People Settled Here!

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 29, 2011

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    Favorite thing: Rail Bridge over the Shenandoah River. The countryside is wild and beautiful!

    Okay, to be perfectly honest, the area from Washington D.C. to Harpers Ferry West Virginia is the only part of W.V. that I've seen, as an adult. When I was a child I lived about four and a half hours south, In Norfolk VA. so I may have seen more of West Virginia then, but don't remember a thing.

    The point being that as an adult, I was entralled with almost every scene along the way. The style of homes and farms was different to me, the landscape was lush and oh, so beautiful, that I can't imagine anyone would not like it here.

    Fondest memory: Driving through the countryside was intoxicating! Nature in this part of the USA is so different from the West Coast and few could deny it's power and beauty. I am a person who avoids hiking or rugged outdoor living, but in this part of West Virginia I wouldn't have minded if we stayed a few days and explored everything. I would have even consented to hikiing around a bit!

    So, if out in the back country is not your style, I think you would still enjoy coming out this way.

    Bridge over the Shenandoah!
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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    More History in Shepherstown

    by lmkluque Updated Oct 29, 2011

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    Favorite thing: Shepheredstown is along the route to Harpers Ferry.

    It is also a smallish town with a population of less than a thousand. It is old, actually the oldest town in West Virginia, it is full of history and because it has been protected and well preserved, it too is lovely and interesting.

    We stopped here to have lunch at the Yellow Brick Bank, a favored place of Nancy Reagan and saw a few of the sites along the way.

    The Patomac River runs through the lower Shenandoah Valley and this is where you'll find Shepheredstown.

    Fondest memory: Exploring a bit around the town after lunch we came upon a lovely bridge that crossed over the Potomac River in to Maryland. We also saw the James Rumsey Monument, which was built by the Rumseian Society to honor the career of James Rumsey. He was among other things, an inventor and creater of the 1787 steamboat.

    Click on this link if you'd like to see what else is offered in Shepheredstown.

    James Rumsey Monument
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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    Morgantown

    by traveldave Updated Nov 30, 2010

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    Favorite thing: With a population of about 114,500 in its metropolitan area, Morgantown is the largest city in north-central West Virginia. Morgantown is most famous for its Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system, which was built by the United States Department of Transportation in the 1970s as an experimental form of rapid transit. Nowadays, the system has five stations and extends for almost nine miles (14 kilometers).

    The area was first explored by Zackquill Morgan and his brother David in about 1767. In 1772, Zackquill Morgan established a homestead on the Monongahela River, near what is now the city's downtown. At the same time, Fort Morgan was established to protect the area from American Indian attacks. Over time, another six forts were established in the area. In 1783, after returning from the American Civil War, Morgan commissioned Major William Haymond to survey his land and divide it into streets and lots. About 50 acres (20 hectares) were set aside for Morgan's Town by the Virginia General Assembly in 1785. (Up until 1863, what is now West Virginia was part of the State of Virginia). In 1838, Morgan's Town, which was eventually shortened to Morgantown, was incorporated as a city. At that time, its population was 700.

    In 1867, West Virginia University was founded in Morgantown. It is the largest and most imporant university in the state, with a student body of about 27,500.

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    Charleston

    by traveldave Updated Apr 9, 2010

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    Favorite thing: The city that would one day become Charleston began in 1787 by the establishment of Fort Lee at the strategic confluence of the Kanahwa and Elk rivers. The fort was built by Colonel George Clendenin and his company of Virginia Rangers. The small settlement that grew up around the fort was named Charles Town after Clendenin's father Charles. The name was later shortened to Charleston to avoid confusion with another Charles Town in what is now West Virginia.

    Charleston was incorporated as a city by the Virginia General Assembly in 1794. At that time, the population was 35. The city soon began to grow after the discovery of salt deposits in the area. Charleston was the world's largest producer of salt by the early 1880s. While drilling for salt in 1815, natural gas was discovered, and in 1817 coal was discovered in the area.

    During the American Civil War, the Battle of Charleston was fought in 1862. Although the Confederate Army won the battle, Union troops captured the city six weeks later, and it remained under the control of the North during the remainder of the war.

    The state of Virginia had seceded from the Union to join the Confederacy. However, most of the population of what is now West Virginia had Union sympathies, and in 1863, West Virginia broke away from Virginia to become a new state. For the next few years, the capital shifted between Wheeling and Charleston. In 1877, the issue was decided by a popular vote, and Charleston officially became the state capital.

    After statehood, the Charleston area continued to grow in population. Railroad expansion and the exploitation of such natural resources as coal, natural gas, chemicals, steel, and timber led to economic growth as well. Nowadays, Charleston is the largest city in the state, with about 310,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Interstate 64

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 18, 2008

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    Favorite thing: I've driven through West Virginia on I-64 twice. It is a quite reasonable highway going from Kentucky to Virginia although part of it is a toll road.

    The towns along the way have very interesting names. Kenova is just over the Kentucky line at the meeting of the Big Sandy and Ohio Rivers, and then we skirt around Huntington on the Ohio River, then Pea Ridge on the Old Guyan River Road, Blue Sulphur (named for the spring with the highest sulphur content in the area), Hurricane (pronounced "her'-i-kin") and named for Hurricane Creek which was named by a party of surveyors commissioned by George Washington after a group of trees at the mouth of the river bent in one direction, and crossing the Kanawha River to Nitro, before we get to the capital Charleston.

    I found Nitro a most interesting name. It comes from nitrocellulose, a component of modern gunpowder. The Nitro area was to be the US's ammunition production facility during WWI.

    Fondest memory: Then we follow the West Virginia Turnpike (and also I-77) into more sparsely inhabited territory - Coal Fork, Chesapeake {named for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway because it is a long way from the actual Chesapeake), Westerly, and Lick Fork until we get to Beckley.

    Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley. It is a major hub in southern WV. In addition to the two interstates, there is also US 19,WV 10,WV 210,WV 3,and WV 16. You can hardly go through the south or central section of WV without going through Beckley

    In Beckley, the turnpike ends, and I-77 turns south again to go to Bluefield (named after chicory flowers) while I-64 continues east to Beaver, Sandstone on the New River which the highway crosses on a really high bridge, Dawson (a WV National Guard training camp), Smoot and Lewisburg and eventually exits into Virginia at White Sulphur Springs (photo 4) the home of The Greenbrier - the southern “Queen of the Watering Places.”

    Crossing the Kanawha River bridge to Nitro Green Sulphur Springs exit (143) Dawson exit (150) Exit at White Suphur Springs just before VA Bridge to Nitro
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  • davecallahan's Profile Photo

    counties

    by davecallahan Written Nov 30, 2007

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    Favorite thing: The beautiful state of WV is sliced up into 55 self-serving regions called counties.

    Most of the county names are in reference to famous local or national individuals and families.
    A few exceptions are:
    Mineral County..... for the rich mineral resources in the area
    Greenbrier.... for the Greenbrier River
    Wyoming County.... native american for "wide country"
    Kanawha County.... for the Kanawha River
    Ohio County.... for the Ohio River

    the full list of counties is:
    Barbour | Berkeley | Boone | Braxton | Brooke | Cabell | Calhoun | Clay | Doddridge | Fayette | Gilmer | Grant | Greenbrier | Hampshire | Hancock | Hardy | Harrison | Jackson | Jefferson | Kanawha | Lewis | Lincoln | Logan | Marion | Marshall | Mason | McDowell | Mercer | Mineral | Mingo | Monongalia | Monroe | Morgan | Nicholas | Ohio | Pendleton | Pleasants | Pocahontas | Preston | Putnam | Raleigh | Randolph | Ritchie | Roane | Summers | Taylor | Tucker | Tyler | Upshur | Wayne | Webster | Wetzel | Wirt | Wood | Wyoming

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Charleston

    by grandmaR Written May 18, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Charleston West Virginia is the capitol of the state, and is quite different from the other better known Charleston in South Carolina which is in the "Low Country" an has an altitude of only about 118 feet. Charleston WV is HIGH country at over 500 feet higher

    The land on which Charleston was build sold to Col. George Clendenin in 1786 by the Bullits who were the first owners. In 1788, Col. Clendenin and his company of Virginia Rangers built FOrt Lee. Some people think that Charleston is named after Col. Clendenin's father, Charles. Charles Town was later shortened to Charleston to avoid confusion with another Charleston Town in present day West Virginia

    Fondest memory: Charleston is part of Kanawha County. The origin of the word Kanawha (pronounced KAN-A-WA) comes from a West Indian Arawak word for dugout. In fact, a two-story jail was the first county structure ever built. The first floor literally dug into the bank of the Kanawha River.

    After 1863, when West Virginia became a state, the capital alternated between Wheeling and Charleston. It wasn't until 1877 that Charleston was finally chose as the capitol.

    We spent the night in Charleston on our way home in the spring of 2006.

    Capitol building Bridge in Charleston Another view of the river Charleston from the highway Reflections in the river at night.

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    do not drive 55 on the interstates.....

    by davecallahan Updated Mar 25, 2007

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    Favorite thing: I am from New York and many of our interstate highways have 55 as the speed limit with a few recently changing to 65.

    If you try to do 55 or even 65 in West Virginia interstates, you are going to end up with a tractor trailer in your trunk (especially going downhill). I found that if I ran at about 76 I was staying even with the slow lane and not too many people gave me the horn to go faster.

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  • Fullmoonfever's Profile Photo

    Don't drink to much the night before.

    by Fullmoonfever Written Feb 18, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Don't drink much the night before your trip. If you have a hang-over being on this river is the worst place to be. You get thrown around and the trip requires a lot of paddling. I am always tired and very sore after each trip.

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  • Fullmoonfever's Profile Photo

    Wet suit

    by Fullmoonfever Written Feb 18, 2007

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    Favorite thing: If you go in September of later in the yeay, you may want to rent a wetsuit. The water is always cold and if the day is cool, it is only worst when you get wet.

    I have never reserved a wetsuit, but it's probably a good idea.

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  • kevanrijn's Profile Photo

    State Food of WV is ILLEGAL in some states

    by kevanrijn Updated Feb 9, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Admittedly, most folks think of beans and cornbread or grits and gravy and biscuits when they think of food and West Virginia. And we do have some pretty unique food items that are part of the state culture--ramps and pawpaws come to mind--that most folks don't know even know exist.

    But pepperoni rolls were actually born in this state. You probably won't find them on a restaurant menu, unless you are in the Fairmont area (birthplace of the pepperoni roll). Where you will find them is in convenience stores and grocery stores and bakeries.

    What they are is pepperoni (sometimes pepperoni slices, sometimes pepperoni sticks) which has been baked inside a yeast roll. Sometimes cheese has also been baked in the roll along with the pepperoni, sometimes not. It will usually say on the wrapper of the package if it's pepperoni or pepperoni and cheese. The cheese could be mozzarella, provolone or hot pepper cheese. But that's it--plain and simple...yeast roll, pepperoni, and maybe cheese.

    According to several sources, an Italian baker, Guiseppe Argiro, who formerly worked in the mines noticed the Italian coal miners mostly bought bread and pepperoni in their lunch pails for their midday meal. Once Argiro quit mining, he opened a bakery and began experimenting with baking pepperoni inside bread until he came up with the perfect pepperoni roll.

    The simplicity of the pepperoni roll makes it the perfect road food. Held in one hand, nothing to drip or slip or slop; it holds together until it's gone. And, did I mention this? It's delicious. Ramps and pawpaws are acquired tastes...but pepperoni rolls are usually love at first bite.

    You can find everything you ever wanted to know about pepperoni rolls (including recipes) on the following website: http://www.fscwv.edu/users/rheffner/pepperoniroll/

    Fondest memory: By the way, pepperoni rolls are illegal in some states. No, I'm not kidding. A major difference between West Virginia and Virginia--besides the slavery thing? Pepperoni rolls are ILLEGAL in Virginia.

    Why would anyone want to live in a state that didn't want to ban slavery...and does ban pepperoni rolls? ;)

    It isn't illegal to eat pepperoni rolls in other states, or even to make them--it's just illegal to sell them! Seriously, it's something to do with regulations passed by the FDA, and Senator Rockefeller got an exemption for West Virginia so the bakeries here could continue to make and sell them.

    Pepperoni rolls --  illegal in some states
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    West Virginia State Flag

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Feb 8, 2007

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    Favorite thing: The West Virginia State Flag is a white field bordered in dark blue. In the center of the field is displayed the state coat of arms, a rock containing the date June 20, 1863, the day West Virginia became a state. Two men on either side of the rock represent farming and mining. Below them are two rifles with a "Liberty Cap" on top the rifles. A banner ribbon includes the state motto "Mountaineers Are Always Free," in Latin. Around the picture is a wreath of rhododendron and the name of the state on a red ribbon.

    West Virginia split from Virginia during the War Between the States. It is the only state ever formed by presidential proclamation. The current state flag was adapted in 1929.

    West Virginia State Flag

    West Virginia Flag beneath the American Flag West Virginia State Flag Closeup Detail of West Virginia State Flag
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    State Songs: Official and Unofficial

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Jul 24, 2006

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    Favorite thing: West Virginia Hills
    Words by Mrs. Ellen King,
    Music by H. E. Engle

    1. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,
    With their summits bathed in glory, Like our Prince Immanuel's Land!
    Is it any wonder then, That my heart with rapture thrills,
    As I stand once more with loved ones On those West Virginia hills?

    CHORUS:

    Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
    If o'er sea o'er land I roam, Still I'll think of happy home,
    And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

    2. Oh, the West Virginia hills! Where my childhood hours were passed,
    Where I often wandered lonely, And the future tried to cast;
    Many are our visions bright, Which the future ne'er fulfills;
    But how sunny were my daydreams On those West Virginia hills!

    CHORUS

    3. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How unchang'd they seem to stand,
    With their summits pointed skyward To the Great Almighty's Land!
    Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;
    But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.

    CHORUS

    4. Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.
    In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;
    In the evening time of life, If my Father only wills,
    I shall still behold the vision Of those West Virginia hills.

    CHORUS

    The above song, and also "West Virginia My Home" and "This is My West Virginia" are all three official West Virginina state songs.

    Fondest memory: However, despite the "official" songs of West Virginia, the unofficial state song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads," as recorded by John Denver, is far more popular.

    Take Me Home, Country Roads
    Words and music by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver

    Almost Heaven, West Virginia
    Blue Ridge mountains
    Shenandoah River -
    Life is old there
    Older than the trees
    Younger than the mountains
    Growin like a breeze

    Country roads, take me home
    To the place I belong
    West Virginia, mountain momma
    Take me home, country roads

    All my memories gathered round her
    Miners lady, stranger to blue water
    Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
    Misty taste of moonshine
    Teardrops in my eye

    Country roads, take me home
    To the place I belong
    West Virginia, mountain momma
    Take me home, country roads

    I hear her voice
    In the mornin hour she calls me
    The radio reminds me of my home far away
    And drivin down the road I get a feelin
    That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

    Country roads, take me home
    To the place I belong
    West Virginia, mountain momma
    Take me home, country roads

    Country roads, take me home
    To the place I belong
    West virginia, mountain momma
    Take me home, country roads
    Take me home, now country roads
    Take me home, now country roads

    A Country Road in West Virginia A Country Road in West Virginia A Country Road in West Virginia Country Road, Take Me Home
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