With summer well underway, I hope you have the time to get out and enjoy all of the unique outdoor activities our wild and wonderful state has to offer. I know many of you are working hard to tighten your belts during these tough economic times, but in West Virginia, you don't have to go far from home for an affordable, exciting getaway that the whole family will enjoy. Indeed, the Mountain State has it all. So this summer, think about getting in the car for a vacation in West Virginia.
Our great state offers your whole family many opportunities to learn about our history, such as West Virginia Independence Hall, Harpers Ferry or Blennerhassett Island. In addition, the recently renovated West Virginia State Museum, located at Cultural Center in Charleston, displays our state's history with great pride, though it is still just a sampling of our beautiful landscapes and the individuality of our people. For a lesson in Appalachian culture, you can visit the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, the International Mother's Day Shrine, in Grafton, or one of our state's more than 130 fairs and festivals.
Of course, West Virginia is renowned for its vast outdoor recreation, especially the fishing and hunting that I enjoy so much. For thrill seekers, enjoy a long hike or test your agility by whitewater rafting or zip-lining through the wilderness. One of my favorite summertime activities is fly fishing for an elusive trout in one of the hundreds of tumbling mountain streams. Exploring the outdoors truly gives your family an exciting opportunity to experience the best of West Virginia.
The Mountain State offers unique shopping experiences as well, and shopping is continually ranked as one of vacationers' favorite activities. Whether it's products from West Virginia artisans or small business owners in quaint downtown areas, our distinctive, locally-owned businesses have the perfect gift.
Our tourism industry is made up mostly of small business owners who are committed to making West Virginia an unforgettable vacation destination. The state is truly fortunate to have so many dedicated people in the travel industry, who work hard to showcase our many unique destinations, while also offering our guests the best in hospitality.
As difficult as these times are, I hope you and your family get a chance to explore what West Virginia has to offer this summer.
For more vacation ideas, call 1-800-CALL WVA or visit www.wvtourism.com. And if you have other ideas for great destinations, or if you have any other priorities or concerns, don't hesitate to contact my office at (304) 342-5855.