Saturday, September 21, 2013

Charleston, West Virginia

Well, we made the turn and now it's time to meander south towards warm climates for the fall and winter seasons. Our next stop was West Virginia. As part of our quest to see all the State Capitol buildings, we decided on a campground near Charleston.  We headed south on Us 33. Our destination was Rippling Waters Church of God Campground. Reviews of this campground were good but all complained about the road into the park. We found it to be no worse than a lot of the regular roads we use.

Here's a portion of Hwy 33 in southern Ohio. Two lanes, no traffic and a excellent road surface.

Coal mining is one of the main sources of income in West Virginia. As a result, many power plants, such as this one, are coal fueled plants.

We took Interstate 77 into Charleston. It is West Virginia's largest city and is split by the Kanawha River, with the Capitol square on the east bank and the University of Charleston on the west bank.

Notables who called Charleston home were Daniel Boone, NFL's Randy Moss, NBA's Jason Williams and Actor Nick Nolte.

Our first stop was the open air produce market downtown. Fresh Tomatoes and "just picked" West Virginia Peaches were on our list.

On the west bank of the Kanawha River is the University of Charleston, a private university which specializes in Business Administration, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical degrees. In 2012 programs leading to Physician's Assistant were added. 

It was originally founded in 1888.

Charleston was selected to become the State Capital by a vote in 1877. It's original Capitol building burned to the ground in 1927. This building was completed in three stages and was dedicated in 1932.

This magnificent 293- foot gold dome which tops the structure is five feet higher than the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The entire dome is gilded in 23 ½ karat gold leaf applied to the copper and lead roof in tiny 3 3/8 inch squares.

Inside the Capitol, two thirds of the interior is White Imperial Danby Vermont, Italian Travertine, and Tennessee Marble. It has 535,000 square feet of floor space with 333 rooms in its main unit and two wings.

Looking up at the dome from the middle foyer of the Capitol building.

The Capitol grounds were immaculate and the Capitol building was surrounded by municipal buildings and an interesting museum.

The exterior of the classical-styled Capitol building is buff Indiana limestone. More than 700 train carloads of limestone and 4,640 tons of steel were used in its construction. 

Located on the Capitol grounds, this museum tells the story of the early history of West Virginia all the way to the modern day world. It depicts different facets of history through visual displays and dioramas. A fun museum, you're given a "treasure map" when you enter to find many items inside the museum. It's free and shouldn't be missed on a visit to Charleston.

Folks from the Southeast will recognize the Shoney's restaurants. Shoney's was established in 1947 in Charleston WV. In 1952 Shoney's franchised with Bob's Big Boy from Glendale California. Doubling in size every four years, Shoney's became the largest Big Boy franchisee, operating over a third of the Big Boy restaurants nationwide.

The "Big Boy" was modeled after a young man who worked in the Glendale California restaurant, whose image was drawn on a napkin by a customer. 

Those of you who read RV Parks Reviews, this is the road to the Rippling Waters Church of God campground. As you can see, the road is narrow but paved and maneuvering our 45' coach along this road was pretty easy. That said, slow is the operative word, but the campground is only 2.5 miles down the road.

No train noise, no traffic noise, no airplane noise. Only the quiet solitude of a small quaint lake, a path leading around the lake and a chapel on the other side that's lit up at nighttime. We enjoyed our stay at Rippling Waters Church of God campground.

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