West Virginia — Attractions
The West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston is a stunning building, covered in 23-karat gold leaf and with the largest dome of all state capitals in the USA. Historians will adore Victorian Wheeling, a place that houses the most Victorian architecture in the country, and is also home to the gorgeous Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, known as America’s version of the Taj Mahal. Morgantown is the center of the state’s glass blowing production, where the Morgantown Glass Museum displays a fantastic collection. Point Pleasant, on the other hand, contains the Mothman Museum and Research Center and the 12-foot Mothman statue.
West Virginia State Capitol
This stunning gold leaf domed building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The limestone structure, completed in 1932, cost around US$10m to build. The dome is the largest on any state capitol building in the country and is covered in 23-karat gold leaf. Also found in the complex is the Governor’s Mansion, the Culture Center, and the Holy Grove Museum. The capital plaza surrounding the complex contains statues of Abraham Lincoln and Stonewall Jackson, as well as fountains and flagpoles flying US and West Virginia colors.
Address: 1900 Kanawha Boulevard E, Charleston, WV 25317
Blackwater Falls State Park
This is one of West Virginia’s most photographed sites, with its amber-colored water that plummets five stories before winding through an eight-mile gorge. The falls are named after the Blackwater River, whose water turns black due to tannic acid from red spruce needles and hemlock. The falls are open year-round, and there are cabins available for those wishing to stay the night. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant onsite. As well as taking in the stunning scenery, visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, sledding, and cross-country skiing here.
Address:__ Black Water Falls Road, Davis, WV 26260
Step back in time and tour around this lovely West Virginia city, which houses more Victorian architecture than any other place in the US. Some buildings still have some original features, such as Eckhart House, known as the city’s ‘Crown Jewel’. Tours are available from May to December, between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and high tea can be enjoyed in a Victorian dining room. In October, many private homes open their doors and become part of the tour.
Address: 823-R Main Street, Wheeling, WV 26003
Mothman Museum and Research Center
In 1966, a number of unexplained paranormal occurrences started in the town of Point Pleasant, and the locals started to catch sight of an odd flying creature. The new resident - described by many as a large, gray, human-like form with giant wings and big red eyes - killed pets, followed people, and made its home in an abandoned TNT plant close to the town. There were more than 100 sightings of the creature, named the Mothman by the local media. The sightings stopped after the 700-foot bridge across the Ohio River collapsed and killed 46 people. Some say the phenomenon was linked to an old Native American curse that was put on the area. The museum describes the history of the Mothman through newspaper clippings, drawings, and other mementos.
Address: 412 Main Street, Point Pleasant, WV
This award-winning historic estate in West Virginia was built on 6,500 acres of land in 1778. Today, it is home to one of the most popular spa resorts in the state, featuring a golf course, shops, and a wealth of outdoor recreational activities. It is also home to a once-secret underground bunker that was built for the President in case of an international crisis. The 112,000 square-foot facility is equipped with decontamination chambers, a clinic, dormitories, a laboratory, a cafeteria, and a power plant, and was often used as a meeting place in order to hide what it was actually built for.
Address: 300 W Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
New River Gorge Bridge
When built in 1977, this was the world’s longest steel-arch bridge, although that title is owned by Shanghai’s Lupu Bridge. The New River Gorge Bridge passes over the New River in the New River Gorge National Park and is part of Highway 19, connecting Fayetteville to Summersville. It offers a phenomenal drive with fantastic views, although the best time to come is on Bridge Day, held the third Saturday in October. On Bridge Day, the bridge is open only to pedestrians, who can enjoy the views or even go parachuting into the water below.
Address: route 19 north of Fayetteville, Fayette County, WV
Morgantown Glass Museum
Morgantown is the center of West Virginia’s glass industry, and this museum displays pieces that were made in the town’s factories between 1892 and 1980. There are more than 5,000 Gentile Glass and Seneca Glass items in the collection. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 1628 Mileground Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
Lost World Caverns
The Lost World Caverns, the country’s largest stalactite compound, descends 120 feet below the ground. It takes around 45 minutes to walk through. Along the way, some fantastic formations can be seen, including the 30-ton stalactite Snowy Chandelier and the 28-foot stalagmite War Club. The caverns are open every day, and ‘wild cave tours’ are available. There is also a gift shop and a museum onsite.
Address: Fairview Road, Lewisburg, WV