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West Virginia Tourism and Travel

Updated on September 11, 2016

West Virginia is Home to Many Beautiful Waterfalls

One of the things I have loved most as a child and now as an adult - are the beautiful waterfalls that can be found all over West Virginia! As a young'un if someone asked you to go swimming, they did not mean in a pool!
One of the things I have loved most as a child and now as an adult - are the beautiful waterfalls that can be found all over West Virginia! As a young'un if someone asked you to go swimming, they did not mean in a pool! | Source

West Virginia

Have you ever been to West Virginia?

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Since there are so many places to see and so many things to do in West Virginia, this will be an ongoing travel series.

As I began writing this, I realized there was much more to share, and so many more things to explore, than what I had personally experienced in West Virginia. I had only written about two different historical places and quickly realized that it was becoming very lengthy. I want my readers to stay engaged and not become bored - so I feel the need for a series!

I am truly excited to share all the wonders that West Virginia has to offer with everyone.

West Virginia tends to get a bit of a bad rap in movies and television shows, that mostly depict unsavory elements and imply that lots of outcasts reside within its borders

There are many different types of people in West Virginia; just as there are in other states. You have "city folk", farmers, businessmen and businesswomen, country folk and many more

Still, we are something else entirely, too. We are a friendly folk, that go out of our way to help others when we can. Most of us have never met a stranger, and we don't mind getting our hands dirty if we need to. A hard day's work never hurt anyone.

Our kids play in the dirt, and run in the creeks. We also like drinking our sweet tea on a porch swing, and waving at passersby - I remember doing this daily with my great-grandmother when I was a child.

Yet, things are still very quaint and quiet in many areas of the state, even though we do have some major cities with plenty of hustle and bustle. West Virginia is also home to a completely tech free town - Green Bank. Green Bank, WV is where you leave all tech behind, and it is enforced, though I will save the details for later in the series.

I hope that y'all will come back later to check on further entries in this West Virginia travel series.

A View like no other, no matter what the season. West Virginia is home to majestic mountains, colorful flora, and spectacular wildlife.
A View like no other, no matter what the season. West Virginia is home to majestic mountains, colorful flora, and spectacular wildlife.

A Brief History and Introduction

West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian Mountains in the southern part of the United States Of America.

During the American Civil War, West Virginia decided to break away from Virginia. Following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, West Virginia became a state.

On June 20th 1863, it was admitted to the Union; making West Virginia the only state that was created by seceding from a Confederate state. West Virginia is one of only two states that were formed during the American Civil War. The other on was Nevada.

West Virginia was known as a key border state during the Civil War.

West Virginia with its unique round bottom and panhandles marking the borders, is often considered to be farther north. Its placement causes it to be included in many northern demographics - not just the commonly known southern state demographics.

The West Virginia state motto is - "Montani semper liberi", which is Latin for "Mountaineers are always free".

Did you know that West Virginia is one of the most densely formed karstic areas in the world? This means West Virginia has a unique landscape made up of the dissolution of many soluble rock types. Quartz, limestone, dolomite and gypsum are just a few types of rock that make up the state's beautiful mountain ranges, caves, and underground drainage systems.

Perhaps you are a little more familiar with the Hatfield-McCoy feud? After all, it was made into a mini-series staring Kevin Costner! There have been many motion pictures related to the infamous feud, dating all of the way back to a 1923 comedy by Buster Keaton.

This feud involved the West Virginia and Kentucky borders. William Anderson led the Hatfield Clan of West Virginia, while the clan from Kentucky was led by Randolph McCoy. This feud is most likely the only thing people really know about West Virginia. That is, unless they take the time to do some research on the state.

West Virginia ranks second among all other states for its coal production, adding 12.5% to the entire Unites States total output for production of coal. It is also one of the leading states for production of glass, aluminum, chemical manufactures and steel.

The state is home to many agricultural commodities such as; chicken eggs, dairy products, turkeys, and cattle. Small personal farms with livestock ranging from meat rabbits, sheep, and goats pop up more and more every year in West Virginia.

Our beautiful state boasts over one million acres of state forests, national forests, and state parks. There are thirty seven state parks alone in West Virginia. There are recreational areas in at least nine state forests and two of the national forests reside within West Virginia's borders.

West Virginia was listed as one of the top 25 retirement destinations by Forbes in 2014.

Festivities

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Feel like a game of commode lid horseshoes? Come on down, everyone is welcome!Elk River Challenge triathlon 2014Everything that floats, but a boat race!
Feel like a game of commode lid horseshoes? Come on down, everyone is welcome!
Feel like a game of commode lid horseshoes? Come on down, everyone is welcome! | Source
Elk River Challenge triathlon 2014
Elk River Challenge triathlon 2014 | Source
Everything that floats, but a boat race!
Everything that floats, but a boat race! | Source
Source

Elk River Fest

Clay County, West Virginia, is the home to several annual festivals The Elk River Fest is a must for anyone looking for entertainment on a budget. This fest is fun for the entire family, couples or even singles!

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Roberta Faile, of the Clay County Business Development Authority, to learn what this year's fest has to offer. The Clay County Business Development Authority was responsible for creating this annual event in 2013, to celebrate West Virginia's Elk River. 2015 will mark the 3rd annual Elk River Fest and will be held on June 5th and 6th.

What I love the most about the Elk River Fest, is that they offer many free activities! One of the funnest is "The anything that floats, but a boat race". What can you make float that isn't a boat?

They also have "Catapult Catfish". Don't be alarmed; we prefer to fry our fish in the south! These catapult missiles are of the beanbag variety!

The Elk River Fest even has a Cherokee Indian Exhibition, complete a with life sized teepee!

This year's fest will mark the grand opening of of the new 22 mile Buffalo Creek Recreational Trail. The trail will run from Pisgah to Widen West Virginia, and boasts biking,hiking and a horseback riding trail. Many activities on the trail will include prizes for participants!

There are many activities for children at the fest. Children will be able to play a Cherokee drum, make Indian crafts, explore the teepee, and participate in a casting contest on the river.

Feel like testing your horseshoe game? The Elk River Fest offers commode seat horseshoe games! If you think you can play a mean game of horseshoes - wait till you try it with a commode seat!

The fest has many free activities like wheelbarrow races, hammering contests, scavenger hunts, canoe and kayak races, and corn hole contests.

This is one festival that has something to offer everyone. With so many free activities, and me being a frugal mom this is a "must visit" festival for my son and me.

The festival is located centrally around the Clay County Courthouse at 246 Main Street. You won't miss it - Main Street runs straight through town! The little town of Clay with a population of about 500, is the best kept secret in West Virginia. Take time to enjoy the buildings while you are there, as they are truly a beautiful mix of old and new architecture.

Local artisans will be giving arts and crafts demonstrations and setting up booths throughout the festival. What festival would be complete without live music? The Elk River Fest offers a wide range of music for everyone; featuring an array of Gospel, Bluegrass, Country and Old Rock Classics.

This year, Mack Samples and the Samples Brothers Band will be playing Saturday afternoon; June 6th. Mack will even call square dancing! If you have never square danced, you should! It really is a great activity, and a good workout! There will be lots of food to taste and sample at the Elk River Fest, as well. Come on down and treat yourself to some Southern comfort foods!

The fun does not stop there! If you are athletic or just like a good challenge, the Elk River Fest holds a triathlon called "The Elk River Challenge", including running, biking and kayaking. For the triathlon there is a fee, and registration is required. The triathlon features a solo division, team division and a coed division. The triathlon will be held on Saturday June 6th, registration to be held at the Clay County High School from 8:30 am - 9:30 am with a "mandatory" race meeting to be held at 9:30 am.

There is so much that this fest has to offer everyone! If you would like to volunteer to help with any of the activities or clean up you can do so by contacting 304-587-4166 for more information.

The Elk River Challenge

I figured some of my more athletic readers would enjoy a little more information on The Elk River Challenge.

Events include - Men's solo, Woman's solo, Men's team, Woman's team and a Co-ed tea, (Must have one member of the opposite sex to qualify for co-ed team events)

There will be prizes for 1ST, 2ND, 3RD place in the event.

Pre-registering for the event guarantees a T-SHIRT

Pre-registration must be postmarked by MAY 1, 2015

Pre-registration $35.00 Registration after May 1, 2015 $45.00

1st leg of race is 3 miles running

2nd leg of race is 5 miles boating

3rd leg of race is 16 miles biking

Race starts at 10:00 a.m. at the Clay County Courthouse in Clay, WV

Registration will be at Clay County High School 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Mandatory race meeting at 9:30 a.m. (all participants must attend)

For More Info Contact Bill Dunn 304-587-4455 or email Welldunn44@suddenlink.net


Clay County Apple Festival

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The Clay County Apple Festival is an event held each year to celebrate Clay county as the birthplace of the Golden delicious apple!There are so many things to see at the Apple Festival. The entire festival is full of wonderful scents as you can witness apple butter being made the good old fashioned way!
The Clay County Apple Festival is an event held each year to celebrate Clay county as the birthplace of the Golden delicious apple!
The Clay County Apple Festival is an event held each year to celebrate Clay county as the birthplace of the Golden delicious apple!
There are so many things to see at the Apple Festival. The entire festival is full of wonderful scents as you can witness apple butter being made the good old fashioned way!
There are so many things to see at the Apple Festival. The entire festival is full of wonderful scents as you can witness apple butter being made the good old fashioned way!

Clay County Golden Delicious Festival.

West Virginia is home to many fairs, festivals and fun for all ages!

Clay County, West Virgina is the birthplace of the Golden delicious apple. As well as the annual Clay County Golden Delicious Festival. The annual festival is held in the small quaint town of Clay, with newer additions to the town, there are still some old wonders to be seen as you travel through.

The history of the first golden delicious apple that grew on Mullins family farm on Porter Creek, is common knowledge for the folks round these parts. Noted with a large plaque for passers by to see. The original tree no longer grows on the farm, yet, it has impacted apple growers and orchards all over the world.

This is not your ordinary apple, the growing season is longer, and it does not deteriorate as fast as other apple varieties. It is also very mild on the stomach, making it possible for people with stomach issues to take advantage of the sweet and zippy flavor it has to offer. In my opinion it has a much thinner skin than other varieties - making it easier to incorporate in recipes (perhaps this is why it is easy on the stomach too).

The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival is an annual event held in September from the 17th to the 20th. There are many spectacular events at this festival! Seeing people making apple butter in large copper kettles, with wooden paddles takes you back to yesteryear. Antique car shows as well as motorcycle shows are a very engaging event for those of all ages.

This festival also hosts baking contests, art auctions, many children's activities, quilt shows, and a 5k walk/run.

Pageants with an annual Queen of the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival are held. Pageants are available in many age groups.

People travel from miles around to watch the annual parade. There are many local vendors and artisans that set up booths to showcase and sell their wares. There are music events in the evenings during the festival too.

The annual festival also includes an outdoor drama "Solomon's Secret", live music - by some well known country musicians in the past!

This year the Appalachian Country Cloggers are scheduled to preform during the festival as well!


Clay County Golden Delicious Pageant.

Leanna Williams is the current Golden Delicious Queen.
Leanna Williams is the current Golden Delicious Queen. | Source

Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Pageant

This year Angie King, will be the new pageant director for the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Pageant. Angie along with the knew pageant board members Pamela Taylor, Casie Boggs and Clarissa Hanshaw are thrilled to add something knew to this years pageant!

This year the pageant will include a "Classic" division.

The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival Pageant is a preliminary pageant to the Fairs and Festivals pageant system. The pageant is open to residents statewide.

Leanna Williams, is the current Golden Delicious Queen. After winning the crown, she went on to place in the top 15 at the Fairs and Festivals pageant this past January. She has recently been named Miss World.

The current Mrs Queen Christina Tumbry-Jenkins is leaving in May and heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to compete in Miss Royalty International. Christina has already obtained the Mrs WV Royalty International title.

Keep in mind that the pageant dates run earlier than the festival itself. This years pageant dates are on Saturday, August 22 - for the thirteen and up division. While the twelve and under division will be held on Sunday, August 23.

I will update with more information on the pageant details as they become available - they are still in the planning stages.

You can contact the pageant committee in the mean time at - thedeliciouscrown@hotmail.com with any questions.

Other Annual Attractions

Can't get enough of the sweet little southern town of Clay? Well lucky for you there are some other events the town holds annually!

Summer Jam offers an outdoor concert each Saturday day night right in the heart of downtown Clay. Featuring spectacular skills, of local artists! It can also be heard on non profit community radio station WYAP-LP 101.7 FM and around the world at wyap.com.

Clay County offers an annual dinner theater, performed by Clay County High School's Drama Club - for dates and menu you can call (304) 587-4226.

H.E White Elementary School offers an annual ramp dinner - come on down and get a taste of true Appalachian dinners and fixins'. You can contact 304 548-7101 for more information.


Lodging

If you are happier than a June bug on the fourth of July and ready to pay Clay County a visit - where will you stay?

Well there are many ways one can come on down and enjoy the splendor of good ole West Virginia.

If you are looking for a place nearby to the festivals I have mentioned, then the Elk River Inn located at 295 Main St, Clay, WV 25043 would be your best bet. The Elk River Inn is the closest to the festivities as you can get.

There are also some wonderful places to camp throughout Clay County and all over West Virginia. From those that love backpacking to RV road trip lovers there is something for everyone in West Virginia!

Some nearby towns are home to some lovely bed and breakfast inns, as well as your run of the mill hotels and motels.

I hope you have enjoyed the first in a series of West Virginia Travel hubs. Please feel free to share your West Virginia experiences, fairs and festivals! I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments! Thanks you kindly for taking the time to read my latest work! Feedback is always appreciated!

Do you think you will ever visit West Virginia?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      I have lovely childhood memories of visiting WV in the summer time. Those mountains were magical to me. Though I didn't know my grandmother well I always felt a special connection to her. Thanks for reminding me of her tonight.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      As a child, I may have been to WV with my parents, but as an adult, I have only passed through on the way somewhere else. Thanks for the beautiful tour.

    • amine-sehibi profile image

      amine sehibi 2 years ago

      that's an amazing hub , and i like the picture thanks.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for sharing the useful and informative hub. West Virginia sounds a beautiful place to visit.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I will skip the commode toss but I would love to see every waterfall in West Virginia.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I've never been to W. Virginia, but I have a dear friend who grew up there, and has told me so much about that state. Her father worked in the coal mines for years.

      Voted this UP, and shared.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you all for the wonderful comments! Mary thank you for voting my hub up! Poetryman6969 commode tossing is not for everyone ;)! The many waterfalls can often make you feel like you are in a tropical oasis, not so much during winter (brrrr it gets cold).

    • profile image

      DebMartin 2 years ago

      Stunning photos. Would love to visit. What's the general climate like? Coming from N Michigan, I prefer cool temps. When would you suggest I head your way, Cynthia?

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 2 years ago from Oregon

      I have been to WV several times. I agree Cynthia it's a real beautiful state with a lot of American Civil War history. I pleasantly got to enjoy spending time with some real nice kin folk down there. Someday I want to return and take a lot of tours of the many more historical sites. Great hub and voted it up.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I love waterfalls. We have a lot of them here to in PA in the Pocono Mountains. We don't go on trips but I would like to see W. VA.

      Enjoyed your hub and the information and pictures. Voted up and beautiful.

      Blessings to you.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      DebMartin I am partial to early and mid fall - beautiful color changes to the foliage and not too hot or cold. Late August or September are best. Spring is okay - not near as pretty though. Summer can be awful (past couple years) hot and humid. I do not mind the heat even at 100+ degrees, the humidity can be unbearable around mid June through July (reminds me of a trip to New Orleans I took during the summer). Winter is majestic when it snows! Cold though the past few years it has only been in the negatives for a week or two. There are some great ski resorts in WV too (must admit I went "tubing", not graceful enough to ski). Right now we are in our rainy season, should mellow out in the next two weeks. Since you enjoy cool temps late september or early October, would be a good time to visit. The mountains are aglow with bright reds, yellows, and orange leaves then too. Sunrises are beautiful that time of year too.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thank you Matt, how great you visited your kin folk in WV! You are correct WV is deep rooted in historical sites, a lot of Americam Civil War sites too. I hope you do get to come again one day, there are many places you will enjoy!

    • Matt Easterbrook5 profile image

      Matthew A Easterbrook 2 years ago from Oregon

      Your pictures were amazing. It's just the way I remembered it back in the day.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Rachel it is worth a trip for the waterfalls alone! I hope to get a few more photos once we are out of our rainy season. It is almost hard to believe that you are in a state that has four seasons! So many places look tropical other than the telltale pine trees in the background! We go to a swimmin' hole that my niece calls "Crocodile Creek". It is a very remote area named Dundin in Clay County - I will try to get some good photos the first chance I get! It makes me think I am on a tropical vacation, complete with sandy shores!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Just beautiful. West Virginia is a state I have regrettably not had a chance to visit yet.

      Wonderful hub!

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