20 Things West Virginia Is Known And Famous For

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West Virginia is a U.S. eastern state tucked in the Appalachian mountains. Abundant rugged lands and scenic mountains are some features West Virginia is known for alongside a fair share of rich history, fun outdoor activities, and unique cultural heritage.  

What Is West Virginia Known For?

West Virginia is famous for its great outdoors, beautiful mountainscape, and Appalachian folk music. Plus, its rich cultural heritage makes it a hot spot for fun events and entertainment. That said, West Virginia is also known for its many outdoor activities, including hiking, whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, and skiing. It is no surprise that the region has the nickname of The Mountain State.

History, Culture, And Traditions West Virginia Is Known For

Appalachian Folk Music

West Virginia is famous for its Appalachian folk music, which is an essential part of its East American heritage.

Multiple festivals are held every year for the rendition of Appalachian folk songs. There are also contests where traditional Appalachian musicians compete with their flute, violin, and sweet voices.

West Virginians are particularly proud of this heritage and do not fail to seize the opportunity of including Appalachian folk music jam sessions in their festivals.

Deer Hunting

Don’t be shocked if every adult West Virginian you meet has hunted a deer before because Deer hunting is a major outdoor activity in the state.

Visitors throng the Mountain State during the Deer season in the fall and early winter to hunt some bucks. There are numerous sites established for the primary purpose of hunting deer and other animals.

The West Virginia State Flag

An interesting symbol West Virginia is famous for is the state flag. The West Virginia state flag design incorporates the core identity of the state.

The current state flag features the wreathed Seal of the state which is emblazoned on a pure white field bordered by a blue strip.

The most significant features of the flag include the crossed rifles and cap symbolizing the fight for liberty and two men standing on either side of the marked boulder representing Agriculture and Industry in the state.

West Virginia Day

West Virginia Day is a state holiday that commemorates one of the most important days in the state.

The holiday, which is observed every June 20, celebrates West Virginia as the last state formed from one of the thirteen colonies under the British Empire.

Residents usually spend the day attending festivals and taking trips to some beautiful natural sites in the Mountain State. Visitors can enjoy their time attending Appalachian folk music shows, exploring West Virginia’s signature meals, or immersing themselves in the spectacular landscapes.

Country Roads State Anthem

One of the most famous country songs in US history, ”Take Me Home, Country Roads” is also one of the four official state anthems of West Virginia.

The song was written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver, who also performed the song. It was released on April 12, 1971,  peaking at number two on Billboard’s US Hot singles in August 1971.

The song is a nostalgic expression of the beauty and attractions of the Mountain State. It didn’t take long before it endeared West Virginians and became a state anthem. The song was declared an official state song in 2014.

The hit song has sold the Mountain State to millions of people around the world because West Virginia is known for being the subject of the song.

Meaningful Festivals

West Virginia is known for its popular festivals held throughout the year, drawing people of diverse interests, from art to music, history, and food.

Some of the most prominent festivals include The Vandalia Gathering, Bridge Day, Wheeling Winter Festival of Lights, and Italian Heritage Festival, among others. For every season, there is a festival in West Virginia waiting to happen.

Cities And Travel Destinations West Virginia Is Known For

Charleston

Charleston is the capital city of West Virginia. The city is situated between the Elk and the Kanawha rivers and serves as the center of government, commerce, and industry of Kanawha County.

Despite its relatively small population, Charleston boasts attractions that draw people from around the world to the mountain-enveloped region. The city is home to some historic buildings, popular events, and places that West Virginia is famous for.

Clay Center For The Arts And Sciences

One of the most famous places West Virginia is known for harboring is the Clay Center.

Clay Center is a 240,000-square-foot building that hosts performances concerning arts, visual arts, and sciences. It is home to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; the Broadway in Charleston series is also presented.

Musical genres performed in Clay Center include pop, classics, and regional folk styles, among others. The Charleston Ballet and the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble also perform here, adding to your option of things to do in West Virginia.

New River Gorge National Park

One of the most famous parks in West Virginia, New River Gorge National Park sits in the Appalachian mountains, spanning 72,808 acres(294.64 km sq.).

The park is a scenic delight with an abundance of recreational opportunities waiting for visitors to explore. It is famous for hosting whitewater rafting events along The Lower Gorge of New River.

The cliffs are popular destinations for climbers, plus over 50 miles of hiking trails in the park range. You can feel closer to nature by camping in one of the four primitive campgrounds within the park. New River is a delightful destination that West Virginia is famous for.

Huntington

Another destination that boasts some of the famous attractions in West Virginia is Huntington.

This small city has a population of just 46,000, yet its inland port is the second-largest in the US, a feat huge enough to put it on the map.

Huntington gives tourists a variety of fun things to do within the mountain-engulfed area. It is home to Pullman Square, lined with shops and restaurants that attract shoppers from all over the country.

There are also impressive museums and fascinating parks that are always open for exploration.

Landmarks And Architecture West Virginia Is Famous For

West Virginia State Capitol Building

The state capitol building is a majestic building that sits close to the bank of the Kanawha River. The building was dedicated in 1924 and has housed the state legislature and Governor’s office since then.

The buff building features a gloriously captivating 300-foot dome covered with gold. The dome is five feet higher than the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

An outstanding feature at the entrance of the building is a large chandelier suspended from the dome. This is one of the most remarkable landmarks in West Virginia, plus the Capitol ground is a national historic district.

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

West Virginia Veterans Memorial is a destination where visitors go to pay their respects to fallen West Virginia war veterans.

The monument consists of four monoliths that each represent one of the four 20th-century military conflicts. The interior walls of the monument are marked with the names of the veterans.

Four sculptures stand on each side of the monument, each representing one of the four major service branches.

The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is one of the most prominent landmarks West Virginia is known for. The building, located in White Sulphur Springs, is reputed as a famous resort destination for presidents and royalty from around the world.

The building also has a strong historic background as it was used as detention for German and Japanese diplomats who were in the United States during the start of World War II.

Greenbrier is an intriguing place to tour as it houses lots of rooms and places worthy to explore, one of which is the now-decommissioned underground shelter built to house the U.S. Congress in case of a nuclear attack. 

Food West Virginia Is Known For

Pepperoni Rolls

A list of West Virginia signature meals isn’t complete without the inclusion of pepperoni rolls, the official state food of West Virginia.

The delicious roll was first prepared by an Italian baker around 1930. He made it as a light meal for coal miners to carry in their lunch pails. Since then it has become the most popular food West Virginia is known for.

The pepperoni roll and other native foods are one of the things celebrated during the West Virginia Heritage festival alongside the state’s rich Italian heritage.

Golden Delicious Apple

Don’t leave West Virginia without having a bite of the unique Golden Delicious Apple, the official state fruit.

Golden Delicious Apple is considered a product of unintentional breeding between Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette, which is responsible for the apple’s yellow skin. The flavor is sweet and is an enriching ingredient in the preparation of apple sauce and apple butter.

The apple variety even has its own festival called the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival.

Slaw Dog

Slaw dog is a hot dog variation that West Virginia is famous for. The dish was first discovered in the early. It became popular during the Great Depression when hot dogs were affordable to struggling families.

Slaw dog consists of a hot dog(steamed or grilled), bread, onions, chili, and slaw. The taste deserves a tongue-licking.

Famous People From West Virginia

Donald Knotts

West Virginia is famous for being the home state of five-time Emmy award-winner Jesse Donald Knotts.

Knotts was an actor and comedian known for his stellar portrayal of Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife in the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

Before Don Knotts broke out as a movie star, he attended Morgantown High School, West Virginia, after which he joined the U.S. Army and served in World War II. He later returned to West Virginia, earning a bachelor’s degree in education at West Virginia University.

Don Knotts’ role in The Andy Griffith Show earned him five Emmy awards and in 2000 he was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His career achievements make him one of the most famous people from West Virginia.

Steve Harvey

Another famous person from West Virginia is television host and comedian, Steve Harvey.

Harvey is a seven-time Emmy award winner with illustrious years of hosting numerous shows including The Steve Harvey Morning Show and the Miss Universe competition, among others.

The 65-year-old was born in Welch, West Virginia. His family would later relocate to Cleveland, where Harvey attended high school. He returned to West Virginia to complete his college education but never graduated.

He has since become a global icon and one of the most famous West Virginia people.

Jerry West

Jerry West is a basketball executive and former player who played professionally in the National Basketball Association for the Los Angeles Lakers.

During his playing career as a point guard, West was nicknamed ”Mr. Clutch” alongside other titles that attested to his impressive skill with the ball. He won the NBA Finals MVP award in 1969 and won the NBA Finals three years later.

West was born in Chelyan, West Virginia. He attended East Bank High School, where he led the basketball team to a state championship. His stellar contribution to the team’s success was honored with a tradition that saw the school renamed ”West Bank High School” every March 24.

West’s dominance in the game of basketball makes him one of the most famous West Virginia people.

Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley is a country music singer who has won three Grammy awards and two American Music alongside numerous awards and nominations.

Paisley was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, where he graduated from John Marshall High School in 1991. He went on to study at West Liberty State College for two years before heading to Nashville for a fully paid scholarship at Belmont University.

Brad has recorded 12 studio albums and sold over 11 million copies. His songs have hit twenty number-one spots across various categories. Paisley is one of the most iconic musicians and easily one of the most famous people from West Virginia.

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Discovering More Things West Virginia Is Known For

What the state lacks in human population it makes up for in its diverse attractions that can be explored by people of different tastes and interests. These are just some of the things West Virginia is known for. The Mountain State is full of hidden gems and famous people.

With its delicious food, fun festivals, and beautiful nature, there’s no surprise why many visitors flock here each year to experience all that West Virginia has to offer. Your visit to the region will expose you to more things West Virginia is famous for; even the unpopular features in the state will thrill you.


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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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