If you’re looking to start a bucket list of things to see before you die, here are some things in the Mountain State to consider. These are 20 things you really should see in West Virginia before you die.
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Also known at Weston State Hospital, it operated from 1864 until 1994 and now is considered a very haunted place. So much so that ghost tours are available of the facility year round.
2. The Greenbrier resort
Known as America’s resort, The Greenbrier is a little bit of luxury in the heart of Appalachia. It’s worth a visit, especially to see the famous secret congressional bunker.
3. Palace of Gold in Moundsville
Named one of the 8 religious wonders in the United States by CNN, Prabhupada's Palace of Gold was intended to be the residence of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada , the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness, but he died before he could move in. When the palace opened in 1979, Life magazine called it, "a place where tourists can come and be amazed."
4. Historic Harpers Ferry
located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah , Harpers Ferry National Historical Park includes historic Harpers Ferry, which was the site of John Brown’s abolitionist uprising.
5. Blair Mountain
Blair Mountain in Logan County is the site of one of the largest civil uprisings in the United States and the largest rebellion since the Civil War. During an attempt to unionize the the coalfields of southern West Virginia, around 10,000 armed coal miners confronted 3,000 police officers and strikebreakers. Between 50 and 100 striking coal miners died and 10-30 lawmen died. The battle ended when the U.S. Army intervened by a presidential order. Today a near battle exists at Blair Mountain — one to preserve it from being destroyed by coal mining. See more at http://friendsofblairmountain.org.
6. Seneca Rocks
The only “true peak” ( a peak inaccessible except by technical rock climbing techniques) on the East Coast. I recommend seeing this spot, but also hiking to the top to see the valley below from the height of about 900 feet above stream level. It’s a great view.
The view from Seneca Rocks.
7. The West Virginia Penitentiary
West Virginia Penitentary, a retired prison in Moundsville. It operated from 1876 to 1995 but it now a tourist attraction. It's another one of those spooky places.
8. The inside of the state Capitol
The capitol is beautiful from the outside, don’t get me wrong, but you should see this gorgeous building from the inside, too. Here’s a view of the inside of the capitol dome.
9. The resting place of Devil Anse Hatfield
And interesting thing to see if for nothing else than because it's connected to a piece of iconic West Virginia history, the Hatfield and McCoy feud. Devil Anse was the patriarch of the Hatfield clan and is buried in Logan County along with the rest of his family. His grave is adorned with a statue of himself.
10. Dolly Sods
This portion of the Monongahela National Forest in Grant, Randolph and Tucker counties is especially beautiful.
11. Blackwater Falls
Named for its tannic acid-darkened water, Blackwater Falls in Davis is among the most photographed places in West Virginia and a spectacular sight.
12. The Chester Teapot
The world’s largest teapot right here in Chester.
13. The Greenbank Telescope
The world's largest fully steerable radio telescope, and the world's largest moveable land object, is located in Greenbank, W.Va.
The John Henry statue near Talcott
This statute honors John Henry, an African American folk lore hero said to have beaten a steam power hammer at driving steel. Several places, including Big Bend Tunnel near where the statute stands, have been thought to be the site of the legendary contest.
15. The New River Gorge Bridge
This view is worth taking all those stairs to the overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge. The bridge is one of the most iconic sights associated with West Virginia. You should definitely see it. It spans the gorge and the New River, which is one of the five oldest rivers in the world. Bonus points if you see it on Bridge Day, when people are actually jumping off it.
16. Babcock State Park
Another one of the iconic sights in West Virginia. See this one in the autumn when the leaves have changed their colors, if you can.
17. The Greenbrier River Trail
A former railroad that's now used as a 77-mile trail for hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc. Offers some beautiful views, like this one of the Greenbrier River.
18. Cass Scenic Railroad
This historic train, now a scenic railroad is a great way to get a good look at beautiful Pocahontas County.
19. The Keith Albee Theatre
An icon in downtown Huntington, the Keith Albee cost $2 million to construct in 1928, and was dubbed a “temple of amusement” by the Herald Dispatch newspaper. Even after all that time, the inside of the theatre is still a sight to behold.
A little Swiss village, right here in West Virginia. Helvetia in Randolph County was settled by the Swiss in 1869. Because its so isolated, it has retained many of its Swiss traditions.
Did I miss anything? Where else should everyone see in West Virginia before they die?