Take time to explore West Virginia

The other day, our newsroom received a press release on a new social media/tourism campaign encouraging people to explore the Mountain State. The same day, I received one of the stickers included in the campaign.

The next day, the new West Virginia Vacation Guide arrived in the mail.

The Vacation Guide, in the form of a 152-page magazine, includes sections focusing on each region of the state, with features on tourist destinations, state parks, outdoor activities, arts and culture and a few festivals.

There are even a few pages listing a variety of community events for the next year, in the event residents and visitors would be interested in a couple of day trips.

For the section about the Northern Panhandle, the magazine focuses a lot on the Wheeling area, but does mention Hancock and Brooke counties, with the Alexander Campbell Mansion in Bethany, Homer Laughlin and the World’s Largest Teapot. It also dedicates a few sentences to Mountaineer Casino, although it mistakenly says Mountaineer is located in Weirton.

There also was an advertisement from our local CVB promoting Homer Laughlin, the Barn With Inn and the World’s Largest Teapot.

There are mentions of various eateries across West Virginia, as well as sites dedicated to some of the state’s crafts and artwork.

There’s a note on Camden Park, the state’s only amusement park, and Mountain Stage.

There’s even a three-page feature called “A Foodie’s Long-Weekend Road Trip,” suggesting numerous unique restaurants. Guy Fieri could probably do an entire season of his show in West Virginia.

As I’ve said before, there’s a lot to do in West Virginia, and even residents probably haven’t heard of a lot of it.

The Mountain State has ATV trails, paddleboarding, bicycle trails and railroad tours.

There are more than 50 state parks and many campgrounds.

The Visitors Guide dedicates a few pages to what it calls a “Time-traveler’s road trip,” starting in Madison and tracing a route to Williamson to learn about the history of the West Virginia coal industry.

For science fans, there is the Green Bank Observatory, home of the world’s largest steerable telescope.

There also are various distilleries and breweries which offer tours and items for purchase. West Virginia even has its own “wine country.”

I’ve heard West Virginia has quite a few quality golf courses, also, for those who enjoy hitting the links.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)