->Overview: The 9 Regions of WEST VIRGINIA
Metro Valley, West Virginia
Steeped in a rich river and railroad heritage, the sister cities of Charleston and Huntington have burgeoned into metropolitan cultural centers highlighting the arts, sophisticated nightlife, historic charm and fine shopping and dining.
It’s the excitement of the city, but just minutes away, history, nature, sports, recreation and culture of coal await. Major festivals, cultural opportunities, spectator sports, fine glassmaking and peaceful countrysides contribute to the popularity of the Metro Valley.
You’ve seen the movie – now visit the set. A number of scenes from “We Are Marshall,” the 2006 Warner Bros. movie about the rebuilding of Marshall University’s football team after a devastating 1970 plane crash, were filmed right in Huntington. The local visitors’ bureau (www.wvvisit.org) has put together a map highlighting the locations seen in the movie.
But even if you’re not a movie hound, there’s plenty to do in Huntington, including top-notch museums that showcase everything from fine art and historical collections to tough Harley road bikes and classic radios.
The historic Old Central City section of town boasts the nickname of “Antique Capital of West Virginia,” while the new Pullman Square retail development downtown is the hopping spot to check out for live comedy and a multiplex movie theater.
Experience the past and appreciate the present at the Heritage Farm Museum and Village (www.heritagefarmmuseum.com ), featuring guided tours that highlight Appalachian innovation of the last few generations.
Don’t miss Camden Park (www.camdenpark.com), West Virginia’s historic family amusement park with roller coasters, a carousel and a classic midway.
Heading east toward Charleston, stop in Milton, home of the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival and Blenko Glass (www.blenkoglass.com).
Spend a day on a tour the factory, the on-site shop, and the Milton Flea Market, just down the road – the state’s largest flea market, open weekends throughout the year.
Hurricane is home to an annual Civil War re-enactment, a huge wave pool and water park, as well as one of the finest tea rooms in the state.
In Cross Lanes, try your luck at slot machines and dog racing at Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center (www.tristateracetrack.com).
Or head north to Point Pleasant (www.pointpleasantwv.org) and enjoy lunch along the river.
Get your photograph with the Mothman statue or relive the region’s American Revolution history at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park.
Charleston (www.charlestonwv.com) is not just the state’s hub of government – it’s also a vibrant cultural and entertainment hotspot.
It has small-town feel with big-city amenities, from live entertainment to professional baseball. Tour the massive State Capitol and the Cultural Center, home to live recordings of the nationally syndicated Mountain Stage radio program.
The nearby Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences (www.theclaycenter.org) hosts the West Virginia Symphony and an impressive performance series.
The Avampato Discovery Museum houses a hands-on science museum, planetarium, large-format film theater and an art museum. The West Virginia Power minor league baseball team calls Charleston home. Its games are great not just for the baseball action, but for the family atmosphere, fun activities for kids and great food at its locally owned restaurant.
When it comes to fine restaurants, Charleston has a variety of choices from sushi to Indian, classic American steaks to specialty Italian. Don’t miss a tour of the historic Craik-Patton House, just east of Charleston, and the entire historic town of Malden, which was the boyhood home for Booker T. Washington.