"A state of its very own" Top 5 Page for this destination West Virginia by kevanrijn

West Virginia Travel Guide: 1,053 reviews and 2,726 photos

You might be surprised

how many people do not realize that West Virginia is actually a separate state of its own.

Please excuse me while I go on a small rant here. I can not count the number of times I've told people I'm from West Virginia and they respond by saying things like "oh, yes, I have an aunt there--she lives in Richmond!" ARRGGHH! Wrong state. Richmond is the capital of Virginia, not West Virginia--as any West Virginian will tell you in a hurry. I have even found VT members who have posted tips on things to do in West Virginia that were actually located in Virginia. Sorry folks, but we split from Virginia in 1861 when they seceded from the United States (our Civil War, remember?), so you are just a little behind the times--nearly 150 years behind the times, in fact! West Virginia was recognized as a separate state and admitted to the US on June 20, 1863.

I'm a proud West Virginian, descended (on both the paternal and maternal sides) from the people who settled this part of the country very shortly after the end of the Revolutionary War. The maps of West Virginia are littered with the names of my ancestors-- towns and villages like Charleston the capital of the state (named after George Clendenin's father), Clendenin, and Stumptown; counties like Doddridge; geographical features like Slavin Hollow and Strange Creek. My forebears left their imprint all over the map of this state.

This is my home, in a way no other place on earth will ever be my home, no matter how long I might live there. The bones of my fathers are a part of the soil of this place. Here are my roots.

West Virginia is not the

unsophisicated hicksville that the popular culture stereotypes portray. Most people, if they know West Virginia actually is a separate state, know little more about it than perhaps that there are mountains here, and some fanastic whitewater rafting and outdoor adventure type things to do. But there is lots more to West Virginia than that!

Our state capitol building, shown in the top picture, was designed by famous New York architect Cass Gilbert (he was also the designer of the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC) and is the largest state capitol dome in the country. In fact. the dome on the West Virginia Capitol is 292 feet high--which is actually higher than the dome on the Nation's Capitol building in Washington, D.C. That gold you see decorating the dome? It's not paint, it's 23 karat gold leaf. Touring the capitol building is one of the top-rated things to do when visiting Charleston, WV.

In Wheeling, one of the top rated things to do is visit Oglebay Park and Mansion. Oglebay Park is the one of largest self-sustaining municipal public parks in the United States--developers and city planners worldwide study it to understand how Wheeling has made it work. It (the park, not the city) has an annual budget of $20 million--and has 4 championship golf courses, a driving range, 11 tennis courts, a children's zoo, a large outdoor pool, extensive hiking trails, the Mansion Museum (operated by the Oglebay Institute), the Bissonett gardens, a greenhouse, an amphitheater, the Wilson Lodge (containing over 200 rooms), 49 rental cottages, a nature center (operated by the Oglebay Institute), a planetarium (located within the zoo), a ski slope, a camp--Camp Russel, and Schenk Lake, which is used for fishing, pedal boating, and several nightly fountain shows in the warmer months. Oglebay Park is also well known for its winter Festival of Lights. Whew! I think that about covers it....

But just to show you I have a sense of humor

about all the stereotypes--and to show you most West Virginians do have a sense of humor about themselves, I'll share one of my husband's favorite West Virginia spots with you--Hillbilly Hot Dog in Lesage, WV. You can sing for your supper there--literally! If you sing their "Weenie song" you can have a Hillbilly Dog for free--but you must sing the song from memory, no cheating and reading the lyrics off the menu. Check out their website to hear it: http://www.hillbillyhotdogs.com/

If you are in Lesage for a hot dog, you might want to check out another cultural landmark there--the Jenkins Plantation Musuem. Check out their webpage: http://www.wvculture.org/sites/jenkins.html

West Virginia is a lot more than hicks and hillbillys though. Hope you will come to West Virginia and really get to know us and explore ALL the things this state has to offer.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful scenery, friendly people, low cost of living, low crime rate
  • Last visit to West Virginia: Mar 2007
  • Intro Updated Mar 5, 2007
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Reviews (8)

Comments (8)

  • IMthat1girl000's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2007 at 10:01 AM

    so crazy how many people that live here dont know a little geography! well i have been there a few times, once to see the festival of lights you mentioned. its a very scenic state and a lot of challenging roadways! i also had no idea about the pep rolls.

  • mim95's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2007 at 8:23 PM

    Ramps, chiggers and peperoni rolls...very interesting facts about West Virginia! And thanks for dropping by my pages!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2007 at 12:46 PM

    Hans and I have been to Wheeling West Virginia. It was a few years ago. Next time we'll have to check out the ramps, pawpaws & fried hot dogs. Fun page Kim!

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2007 at 4:41 AM

    very nice page with some good insider knowledge.

  • ZiOOlek's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2007 at 3:21 AM

    Hehe. I relized that West Virginia exists.:D But I didn't know about pepperoni rolls.:) Best regards!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2007 at 3:56 PM

    An excellent account of West Virginia's history and woes! Coming from New Brunswick in Canada, I know what it is like to get 'no respect'!! Those Pepperoni Rolls sound like the Cornish Pasties that were originally used in the old tin mines!

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    I enjoyed my very short visit to a small corner of your state. I wanted to see more, but I just didn't have the time.

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2007 at 4:50 AM

    Excellent start on your West Virginia pages. I've visited all 55 counties in your great state and it is one of my favorites. Will check back for more.

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