Retirement in the state of West Virginia offers a moderate climate and a rural feel in most of the state. West Virginia is known as “The Mountain State” for the famous and historic Appalachian Mountains that cover much of the West Virginia landscape.
Here coal was the king of the economy for most of the 20th century. Tourism is a fairly new economic powerhouse as travelers in the state enjoy river rafting, hiking, music festivals, and much more. West Virginia was part of Virginia but the two split near the start of the civil war as decisions were made by political forces on both sides of the secession issue. Secession was opposed by the northwestern counties of Virginia and when the state legislature voted to secede from the Union, these counties split to create a new state, aligned with the North.
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is only one of many parks in West Virginia. Here were important events from the Civil War era: The doomed 1859 assault by abolitionist John Brown’s band upon the town, and the 1862 surrender of 12,000 Union troops, the largest American capitulation prior to World War II.
The 900,000 acre Monongahela National Forest features a wide variety of attractions, including the climber’s fantasyland of Seneca Rocks, and a dozen rivers with great whitewater rafting. However, it’s the New River Gorge National River that provides the best whitewater in West Virginia, or the eastern United States for that matter.
The West Virginia economy was once dominated by mining and manufacturing, but both are in decline while tourism and government services are growing. With the relative proximity of Washington DC, and with West Virginia’s spectacular mountains, forests, and rivers, it’s easy to understand the trends.
Some material courtesy www.U-S-History.com