Charleston is the Capital City of West Virginia. Its name is derived from Charles Town, which was founded in 1670, and later relocated to Oyster Point on the banks of the Ashley River in 1680, where it was officially renamed Charleston in 1783. One of the ten largest cities in the United States prior to the 1840 census, Charleston is also known as The Holy City because of the large number of church steeples that lift above the low-rise cityscape. It was also one of the earliest centers in the original thirteen colonies to allow a degree of religious freedom – although this was originally restricted to non-Catholics.
There is a great deal to see and do in this historic seat of government on the crossroads of the Mountain State.
State Capitol Building
The Capital Legislative and Administrative Buildings are located along the banks of the scenic Kanawha River, which provides opportunities for leisurely walks along the riverbanks in warm summer months. Many tourists enjoy taking a guided tour through the historic, golden domed Capitol Building.
End Historic District
The East End Historic District is another Charleston destination you should not miss. There is a good reason why this site of well-maintained historic buildings is on the National Register of Historic Places. Most structures date from 1890 through to 1920 and reflect building styles as diverse as Georgian, Queen Anne, Greek Revival, and Italianate. Impressive architecture elsewhere in Charleston includes the Craik-Patton House, and the Governor’s Mansion on Kanawha Boulevard.
Cato Park is a great place to kick off your shoes and chill out. The park offers a lot, including outdoor tennis, an Olympic-size swimming pool, golfing, and well-maintained hiking trails.
The 124 miles long Midland Trail should not be missed either. It is a National Scenic Byway and leads through breathtaking scenery. There are also great hiking and biking paths along the smaller Greenbrier River Trail.
New River Gorge Bridge
If you have the time, plan a trip to the spectacular New River Gorge Bridge area about an hour outside of Charleston, where kayaking, canoeing, cycling, hiking, rock climbing, and more await.
Take the time to explore Charleston and you will not be disappointed. This historic city has much to offer and is also the perfect place to just chill-out.
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