Boost your West Virginia cred this West Virginia Day—Thursday, June 20—with a trip to one of these historic and fun destinations.
If you’ve never ridden the sternwheeler to the Ohio River’s most infamous island, make it a priority. The mansion on the grounds of Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park glittered in the 1790s as West Virginia’s most beautiful home—but soon gained ill repute for its owners’ connections with Aaron Burr’s treasonous plan to create a new country. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride and tour the reconstructed home to learn what your 8th grade history teacher left out (Parkersburg, 2h).
If a laid back and quaint West Virginia Day experience is what you’re after, head to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (Harpers Ferry, 2h45m). Wander the picturesque streets and stop by the community’s many exhibits and museums. If John Brown and the night sky of 1859 interest you, visit Bolivar–Harpers Ferry Public Library at 6 p.m. on June 20 for a free evening program.
A couple thousand years before trans-Allegheny Virginians thought about seceding from “East Virginia” and creating their own state, the native Adena people moved more than 60,000 tons of earth to create the Grave Creek Mound, today the center of the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex (Moundsville, 1h30m). It’s one of the largest conical burial mounds in the U.S. Visit to learn more about the people who lived here before us.
For state history of a darker kind, tour the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, 1h). This historic landmark holds thrilling stories—Civil War raids and a gold robbery, to name a couple. Don’t be surprised if you hear an occasional unexplained voice or sound, as this hulking institution has more than 160 years of history to tell.
Of course, the premier West Virginia Day destination is the state’s birthplace, West Virginia Independence Hall (Wheeling, 1h15m). The former Wheeling Custom House looks just as it did during the Civil War. Visit to celebrate the events that led to West Virginia statehood 156 years ago.
Staff at Morgantown magazine and its sister New South Media publications will celebrate West Virginia Day 2019 at locations in Morgantown and across the state—follow us at @morgantownmag and @wvliving on Instagram, and Morgantown Magazine and WV Living Magazine on Facebook.