Home is Where Your Story Begins

WV Living editor Nikki Bowman takes readers inside some of the state's most historic homes, contemporary cottages, and majestic mansions.


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A couple of months ago I had the privilege to spend the day at Heritage Farm Museum and Village with my dear friend Mike Perry, who passed away as we were going to press with this issue. His legacy lives on.

This is a special issue celebrating homes. We take you into Park Hill, one of Huntington’s grand homes, visit the sustainable community of Wild Rock overlooking the New River Gorge, and tour a plethora of architecturally significant houses in Greenbrier County. One of my favorite historic homes is the Greek Revival plantation right outside of Romney called Ridgedale or Washington Bottom Farm. Each of these homes has a unique story.

Although my home is not architecturally significant or historic, as I look around I’m also surrounded by stories. There’s my first globe I received from Santa when I was in the third grade. I’ve planned many a trip by spinning it on its axis. There’s the red barn my daughter painted for me a few birthdays ago. My antique wormy chestnut desk has seen countless hours of wordsmithing. As I reflect on the items within my walls, the things that matter most aren’t the lamps I purchased from HomeGoods or the wool rug from Lowes. The things that matter have their own stories. Items like the vibrant blanket woven by weavers at Ben’s Old Loom Barn, where looms date back to the Civil War, or pottery by artists like Lisa Kovatch, or artwork purchased at festivals like ArtSpring in Thomas.

Maybe your decorating tastes are more in line with the retro furnishings found in Charles Town’s BarsandBooths.com. If so, you need to visit this charming store or its website. This small business’ mission of helping others create a “back in time” vacation place has become an international success story.

Speaking of going back in time, you don’t have to travel far to experience yesteryear. Capon Springs and Farms is one of West Virginia’s special places. This family-owned getaway is the perfect place to unplug. It is a place where family and friends come together to create lasting memories. And yes, it feels a bit like the mountain resort in Dirty Dancing.

Another special place is Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington. I’ve said this numerous times, but I’ll repeat it again. This is a place that every West Virginian needs to tour. It’s our version of Williamsburg. And now there’s even more reason to visit—it recently added a doll museum. Adults and children alike will be enthralled with this bigger-than-life dollhouse filled with handcrafted dolls and baby carriages.

Another one of my favorite museums is the Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville. It contains the largest display of Marx toys in the world. What are Marx toys, you ask? Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by familiar favorites—from colorful tin wind-up toys to Rock’em Sock’em Robots to the Big Wheel. But there are even more reasons to visit Moundsville. The West Virginia Penitentiary, situated directly across from Grave Creek Mound, has become a popular tourist attraction; Grand Vue Park is an outdoor recreational haven; and nearby Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold is unlike anything else in West Virginia.

So as the snow melts and thoughts turn to spring cleaning, I hope this issue inspires you to fill your home with handcrafted memories and to search out new experiences that will enrich your own story.  

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