Charleston, West Virginia's state capital and largest city, holds few major attractions, but does have a nice selection of Victorian-era buildings, which you can see on a walking tour provided by the visitor center, 200 Civic Center Drive (Mon– Fri 9am–5pm; Tel:304/344-5075, Web: www.charlestonwv.com ). The riverfront state capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd (Mon– Sat 9am–7pm, Sun noon–7pm; tours Mon– Fri 9am–3.30pm; Tel:304/558-4839), designed by Lincoln Memorial and US Supreme Court architect Cass Gilbert, is a stately Renaissance Revival structure from 1932 that has an impressively large, gold-leafed dome. The West Virginia Cultural Center (Mon– Thurs 9am–8pm, Fri & Sat 9am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm; free; Tel:304/558-0220, Web: www.wvculture.org ), in the same compound, has extensive displays on coal mining, geology, forestry, war, and state history. The main showcase of traditional West Virginian culture takes place here during the Vandalia Festival, Appalachia's largest celebration of arts and crafts, held on Memorial Day weekend and featuring lively bluegrass and folk music as well as tall-tale contests.
If you want distinctive accommodation in Charleston, try the Brass Pineapple, 1611 Virginia St E (Tel:304/344-0748, Web: brasspineapple.com ; Price: $101-130), a Victorian-styled B&B with plenty of antique, flowery decor, or Tikvah's Kosher Bed-and-Breakfast, 1564 Virginia St E (Tel:304/345-8511, Web: www.tikvahskosherbandb.com ; Price: $76-100), with comfortable rooms and food that's certified kosher by an area rabbi. For dining choices, A the Southern Kitchen, 5240 MacCorkle Ave SE (Tel:304/925-3154), dishes up regional favourites like ham-and-gravy and fried chicken at affordable prices, while the Art-Deco Blossom Dairy and Soda Fountain Cafe, 904 Quarrier St (Tel:304/345-2233), has tasty sandwiches, burgers, and sundaes for lunch, and expensive steak, seafood, and regional fare for dinner.