Explore West Virginia

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Follow roads less traveled into West Virginia (WV) and some of the world’s most inspiring landscapes. Ghost towns, mountain trails, and whitewater rivers await. Start now, or join the Explorer’s Club and share your experiences online.

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Festival season launches with a roar and a drone of bagpipes

May is strawberry season, West Virginia Strawberry Festival

W.Va. Strawberry Festival: May 10-18, Buckhannon, W.Va.

Festival season in West Virginia launches in earnest in May and doesn't end until the weather grows too cold to support outdoor activities again in November. May 2014 is no exception. The W.Va. Division of tourism is helping us provide a list of some of the best festivals in the Mountain State this year, to be published as a bi-monthly feature at West Virginia Explorer.  Are you in charge of a May festival you'd like to see listed here? Please use the Contact Us form to let our editorial team know more.

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Help us build town info, and enter to win a raft trip!

Rafters plow through rapid on New River, ACE Adventure Resort

Rafters with ACE Adventure Resort ride the lower New River

We need help spotting errors among our 380 Cities & Towns pages (some of the more-than-3,000 pages we publish), and we're providing a whitewater trip as incentive for folks who are ready to help. Find a town, find an error or omission there, and report it through our Contact Us page.  Whether your suggestion is used or not, your email will be added to a pool from which an address will be drawn on May 15, 2014.

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Spring 2014 park specials include cabin discounts

White Trilium, Kanawha State Forest

White Trilium blossoms at Kanawha State Forest

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Birding programs, wildflower walks, and discounted cabin rates are among the spring tonics being proffered in West Virginia state parks and forests in 2014. Fifteen state parks are offering discounts of 20-percent off of mid-week rates at cabins through May 2, according to Sissie Summers, programming coordinator for the state park system, which also manages programming for state forests.

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New River wildflower walks set for April 25-27

Wildflowers on Big Branch Trail, Raleigh County, New River Gorge National River

Wildflowers on Big Branch Trail in the New River Gorge National River near Hinton, West Virginia (Photo courtesy Ed Rehbein)

GRANDVIEW, W.Va. -- Now in its eleventh year, the New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend in southern West Virginia has become a tradition and continues to attract more participants each spring. The three-day celebration, set for April 25-27, guides guests through woodlands in four state parks and in the New River Gorge National River in its examination of flora and fauna. According to park ranger Jodi French-Burr, the weekend's "Hike Into Spring!" trek down the steep flank of the New River valley near Grandview attracts the most participants.

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The top five monsters from the West Virginia hills

By Ted Fauster for West Virginia Explorer
Author of Supernatural Survival Guide

Back in the late '90s, I was asked to pen a book of folklore about Appalachia. I opted instead to create my own tales based on local myths and legends, stories I came to learn during my time as a police reporter for The Register-Herald newspaper in Beckley. That book is pure myth, a tongue-in-cheek tombful of creepy tales and spooky superstitions.

Everyone knows it’s pure fantasy. That’s half the fun. But some other legends are much more closely grounded in the soil of West Virginia culture. Maybe you haven’t heard such tales. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to this great state. Well, folks, you have been warned. What follows is the top five mountain monsters you may encounter in West Virginia. My advice? Educate yourself. Speak kindly to the folks you meet. And stick to the road.

Mothman by Ted Fauster

Mothman, a legendary creature of the upper Ohio Valley,  descends through the West Virginia night. (Illustration by Ted Fauster)

No. 1 : Mothman

The granddaddy of all West Virginia monsters, Mothman has gained worldwide noteriety. Much of the mythology surrounding the creature is tied to the deadly 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge, which spanned the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Some claim its appearance was a harbinger of the collapse, during which 46 motorists lost their lives in the icy river. But the story goes back further. Tales of the Mothman likely began when five men digging a grave at Clendenin, near Charleston, West Virginia, claimed to have seen a man-like creature glide silently over their heads. Its eyes glowed like red coals, according to the tale.

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