->Overview: The 9 Regions of WEST VIRGINIA
Hugging the Ohio River, this area of the Northern Panhandle remembers its history: The ancient Adena people who built a conical mound more than 2,000 years ago; the pioneer families and adventures making their way west along the National Road; the boom that spawned extravagant Victorian homes in Wheeling and Sistersville. Today, that history melds with the new Northern Panhandle, as exciting as those days long past, but now filled with the pleasures of today; great country music, wonderful family resorts and parks, outdoor adventure on the rivers, arts and culture, gracious dining and accommodations.
West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle is a slender yet lively section of the state that splits Pennsylvania from Ohio. And while much of the region boasts the hardy, steel-like character of the metals industry that made the area famous, the range of beauty, activities and diversions you can find there might surprise you.
From horse racing to toy museums and haunted prisons to professional hockey, the Northern Panhandle has a vacation to suit any taste.
The Wheeling Symphony entertains panhandle visitors with 10 concerts each year. At West Virginia Independence Hall (www.wvculture.com), you can stand in the courtroom where the state’s founders laid the framework for the future West Virginia.
Two gaming centers – one in Chester and one on Wheeling Island – provide entertainment late into the night with slots and dog- and horse-racing action for adults (http://www.wvNights.com), while the Challenger Learning Center and Oglebay Resort’s Good Zoo are great for the kids.
Shoppers love visiting the country’s largest pottery at Homer Laughlin China Co. (www.homerlaughlin.com) in Newell.
Tour the factory, then shop the on-site outlet center for great bargains on world-famous Fiestaware china.
At Tomlinson Run State Park (www.tomlinsonrunsp.com), guests can rent yurts to see if camping is the way they want to explore the outdoors.
For a quiet overnight, stay at Sistersville’s historic Wells Inn or the lovely Bonnie Dwaine B&B in Glen Dale.
Learn how bees make honey and rediscover classic folk toys at Thistle Dew Farm in Proctor, or find a huge selection of antiques and local crafts at Christy’s Antiques in New Martinsville.
If you dare, take the famous (perhaps infamous!) tour of the former state penitentiary at Moundsville (www.wvpentours.com). It’s become a haven for parapsychologists from across the globe and even hosts monthly ghost hunts.
Just across the street, find out more about West Virginia’s first inhabitants, the Adena mound builders, at the Delf Norona Museum.