This is my eighth post about our adventure traveling through Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. You can find the first post from this trip here and links to all the other educational US travel our family has done here.
Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and other benefits for some of the hotels and attractions we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone. I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I whole-heartedly recommend. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it is because I didn't love a particular hotel, attraction, or restaurant enough to recommend it to you, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.
Charleston, West Virginia
We left Columbus and drove south toward West Virginia. As expected, the drive was beautiful. Just over the border, we stopped for dinner and Tudor's Biscuit World. In my research, I'd learned about this West Virginia fast food chain and was looking forward to trying it. They're all over West Virginia, so I didn't have a particular one in mind.
Tudor's Biscuit World did not disappoint. We had biscuit sandwiches and a side of tater tots and everything was delicious.
We checked into our hotel (Hotel #5 in 8 days) and went to bed early. Our busy days were definitely catching up with us. The next morning, we started out bright and early at the Capitol. The grounds are beautiful and the building so majestic.
I love that West Virginia's Liberty Bell replica has the state name. It usually doesn't.
We took a guided tour of the inside of the Capitol and got a stamp for Trevor's Capitol Collection book.
We've found that quite a few states have a state history museum in, adjacent to, or near the Capitol building. And frequently these state museums are free to enter. Such was the case with West Virginia. From the outside, you can't tell much about the West Virginia State Museum other than that it is huge.
You enter into a large lobby filled with quilts and other crafts made by West Virginians.
The main museum is downstairs. And it is spectacular. It is divided into 26 Discovery Rooms that take you chronologically through the history of West Virginia.
It is completely immersive. The floor, the walls, the exhibits, animatronics, sound effects... everything is coordinated to make you feel as if you're actually living that time in history.
As you enter each room, there is a small plaque on the floor that tells you the year. Here we're just about to enter 1873.
There are quite a few hands-on activities. Here Trevor and Steve are trying out life as a telephone operator.
The West Virginia History Museum is incredible - one of the best museums I’ve ever seen, and I've seen a LOT of museums. We’d put 2 hours in the parking meter (75 cents/hour) and when the time was up we’d seen 7 of the 24 sections of the museum. We put in more money and picked up the pace a bit. We loved it.
We had a late lunch at the Capitol Market.
It is more of a farmer’s market/grocery than the food stall-style market we'd enjoyed the previous day in Columbus, but there were a handful of food vendors and we had a nice lunch.
Our final stop in Charleston was Shoney's Big Boy Museum, a large kiosk with displays about the Big Boy restaurant chain. I remember the Bob's Big Boy chain here in California when I was a kid; I hadn't realized that in other states it was Shoney's Big Boy, or Frisch's Big Boy, or somebody else's Big Boy. Anyway, the 'museum' was a fun little 10 minute stop.
We left Charleston, headed west toward Kentucky. Soon we hit the heaviest downpour I have ever experienced. It went from nothing to Niagara Falls in a split second. Thank goodness Steve was driving and not me. It didn’t faze him one bit. It ended five minutes after it started and we had blue skies the rest of the drive. Crazy! I'll take my predictable California weather any day!
Tomorrow, all about Frankfort.