Sweet Summer

Gardens, grilling, and great escapes.


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Summer is blooming in West Virginia! For proof, just head to Bluefield on August 8. This garden tour is one of the finest in the state. A couple of years ago, we visited during our WV Living Road Trip and all of the participants were blown away by the collection of diverse gardens. Mark your calendars. I promise you won’t regret it. In fact, one of the first things you’ll notice when you drive into Bluefield in the summer is the vibrant display of flowers lining downtown. You’ll quickly realize that the devotion to gardening extends into the private homes of the town’s residents. 

When I first met Betsey Sorrell, a woman who has lived her entire life in Bluefield and is heavily involved in the Bluefield Beautification Commission, we talked about the hours she dedicates to helping beautify the town, I asked Betsey, “Why do you do it?” Her reply resonated with me. She said, “I do it because I believe we have all been given a small corner of the world to tend. When I drive down the streets of our city, emblazoned with flowers, I see love. A love for beauty, a love for a community, and a love for its people. Some days I feel like my heart might explode with joy.” All I can say is, “God bless the Betseys of the world.” 

Another amazing location for beautiful gardens and grounds is Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling. Many of the gardens are re-created to represent what one would find in the 1900s when Earl W. Oglebay made his summer retreat—the home that is now known as the Museum Mansion. This 1,700-acre park is a perfect spot to spend your summer. Make sure you take a tour of the historic Mansion Museum and visit the nearby Carriage Glass museum and shop. The museum contains the largest collection of Wheeling glass and china, and the shop has a dizzying array of glass, lamps, and collectibles. 

Another place worth visiting is Logan. Put aside your stereotypes and check out this town. With fabulous bakeries and an uber cool coffee shop, you won’t leave unsatisfied after you spend the day kicking up dust on a UTV on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail. While you are in the southern part of the state, you’ll also want to visit Williamson. This is another city reinventing itself. Sugie Bumps Kidz Bowtique is one of the most charming stores that caters to children in the state. You will have a hard time getting your kids to leave. Right around the corner is another darling spot—34:Ate—a great spot to grab lunch or dinner.

This issue is packed with places to go, foods to eat, things to do, and ways to savor the summer! Enjoy!  

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