Pros: Coal offers a high paying job. Beautiful landscape. Plenty to do. Low energy cost.
Cons: Prone to flooding. Very little jobs. High gas prices. Mostly low paying jobs.
West Virginia may be one of the United States top misunderstood destinations. Most people that do not live in the area or have not yet visit, they refer to West Virginians as "hillbillies". I was orginally born here in Logan and I moved to Arizona for a few years. On my third day out, I saw a shirt with the West Virginia State Logo on it. I thought to myself, "how cool is that". When I approached the shirt, I couldn't believe my eyes. It stated, "West Virginia, where we are all family, really". I was speechless. This stereotype has gave West Virginia a bad name for many years. But if you ever visit, I am sure you will meet some of the finest people you have ever met and you will be treated like family.
The entire state of West Virginia is covered with mountains. I enjoy hunting and fishing myself. If you are a hunter, I would suggest going to Boone County or Pendelton County. In 2009, I grabbed my biggest buck ever, a beautiful 13 point rack. I hunted two miles outside of Madison. I have did most of my hunting in Logan up on 22 Mountain. The strip offers some great hunting, whether for deer or turkey. As for fishing, you could go about anywhere in the state to catch some fish, such as bass or catfish. As for the lakes, I really enjoy Beechfork Lake and R.D. Bailey Lake. Every trip that I have made there has never disappointed. The fish bite pretty often and it really is two great places to take the family camping or fishing.
During the summer, there is always something to do in West Virginia. No matter your location, north or south, the state holds festivals of all sorts for residents and visitors. Personally, I enjoy going to watch the Power play baseball in Charleston. The stadium is well maintained and the atmosphere is great for the kids. The concessions are average, same as any other sporting park. There are plenty to do in the capital of West Virginia. The Charleston Civic Center host a variety of events, from WWE wrestling to concerts. If you enjoy the night life, Charleston has many night club spots. But to be honest, they are low quality. Downtown Charleston is really a beautiful place. It is well worth the walk if you choose that. But if you are shopping, beware. While I was there with the kids, three ice cream cones cost me nearly ten dollars. If you are wanting to shop, try the Town Center. The Town Center offers plenty of parking, shade, and shelter for your shopping experience.
The South Charleston Mall has a lot to offer for shoppers. They have a wide variety of stores and some of the best restraunts within Charleston. I would Suggest Longhorn or Ryan's to anyone. Longhorn has the best steaks I have ever ate and if you want to get your money's worth, try Ryan's. If you get there at lunch, you get the all you can eat buffet and a drink for around eight dollars.
If you are visiting the state during Fall, you have to check out a West Virginia Mountaineer game. Even if you are not a fan, the atmosphere here is like no other I have seen. From pregame to the final second ticks, you get bang for your buck. The best part about it all is the tailgating. If you want some real southern cooking, don't miss it. WVU is located up north in Morgantown. Perhaps, you would rather go see Marshall play in Huntington. I enjoyed watching Marshall play, even though they were smacked around. No matter your seat number, you get a really good view and it is also a great atmosphere.
If you are seeking excitement or an adventure, there is nothing like whitewater rafting. The best place to go in the state is New River Gorge. If rafting is not your thing, you can go bungee jumping off the New River Bridge, which is nearly 1,000 feet top to bottom. I will be honest with you, I went once and I will not go again. It was fun, but I don't seek danger.
I believe the best time to visit West Virginia is in the middle of October. By this time, the fall leaves are all out and the landscape is like no other. I enjoy walking in the woods and anyone that is stressed out or just needing a little time away, it is worth every second. You would be surprised how you can find peace within these mountains. With all the mountains, cliffs, lakes, rivers, and streams, it is a haven for those who are in tune with mother nature.
If you decide to come during winter, you can always go up north to the ski resorts. I am planning a trip this winter to Snowshoe, so I will keep you posted. I have heard nothing but good things about it so far, but I will make my own opinion in time. The eastern mountains get a lot of snow during the winter, more then the Charleston area and the southern coalfields. The eastern mountains offer a vast range of wilderness that supports big game hunting, such as elk. The new Greenbrier Casino offers excitement in the winter months, as well as the Mardi Gras near Charleston. So no matter when you visit, you should always be able to find something to get into.
West Virginia is prone to flooding, especially during the spring months of April and May. Due to the fact that most roads run between the mountains, a community that is only two miles away can take twenty minutes to get to. West Virginia's gas prices are usually higher then any other state in the nation. As for utilities, they are much cheaper then the national average. This is due to the fact the coal comes from West Virginia. Coal is West Virginia's main influence on the economy. Even though it does damage the environment, coal offers some of the highest paid jobs in the state. In their defense, they do replace the landscape when they are finished.
In my experience, jobs are hard to find in West Virginia. When my vehicle broke down, I was forced to walk. It took me three months to find a job. Even if you do, you will be lucky if you can manage anything over minimum wage. The coal industry and medical industry seems to hire the most in West Virginia. For both, special training is required.