Short Stay in Charleston, WV
October 31, 2017 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I will be staying in Charleston from this Friday night to Sunday Evening, and I would like to see some nice things.

Things I like: street photography, interacting with strangers, eating food, watching ppl shop, eating, watching ppl eat, etc.

So far planned, I would be visiting the mac and cheese cookoff and the Y'all festival because I like these kinds of things to take take pictures of. Also ellies ice cream shop.

I'll probably start my day by walking around down/town taking sunrise pictures to get familiar with the place. I was planning to drive into town, stay in a super cheap motel and then bike around town. Is Charleston bike friendly? Is there a thrift store where i can likely find a t-shirt with a WV t-shirt on it?

Help me make my short stay in Charleston as interesting as possible!
posted by tedious to Travel & Transportation around Charleston, WV (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There is a riverfront park (Haddad Riverfront Park) that might have some cool views and sometimes has outdoor activities, music, etc. There are also several bridges across the Kanawha River. Don't know if they are bikeable or if you could photograph from them, though. The state capitol and its grounds may also be nice for walking and photography.

I like Bluegrass Kitchen, not too far from the capitol. They have local art, not sure if they would have local t-shirts.

Definitely eat breakfast at Tudor's Biscuit World.
posted by bbq_ribs at 12:05 PM on October 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Taylor's Books, across from Ellie's Ice Cream. If you walk/bike around the block to Hale Street you can visit Stray Dog Antiques for a weird mish mash of stuff. Downtown Charleston is pretty bikeable.

Here's a pretty good WaPo article about visiting.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 1:43 PM on October 31, 2017

Best answer: hi, this is where i grew up, so i got you. first things first, get a biscuit sandwich at tudor's. they're all over the kanawha valley. i prefer a dottie, but you do you. only get one. i know you're tempted to get two. but do not. you will regret it. feel free to grab one on your way out of town but also know that the lines on sunday and saturday mornings are long.

taylor books is great - they have a little gallery of wv artists attached to it, plus local writers. the capitol complex is beautiful for photos, and you should definitely go inside, too - the architecture in the capitol is gorgeous. the cultural center is right in the complex too, and they have a lovely quilt display worth photographing, i feel. i think you would also like the sunrise carriage trail, but it's a pretty vertical hike.

for wv shirts, check out kinship goods on the west side. they're not vintage, but they make their own stuff and their tshirts are soffffft. i own an embarrassing amount of their things. stray dog is great, too, for fun and unique sundries. stop by capitol market to buy local things (yes on the jq dickinson salt. i would skip the chow chow - you'll be there for the mac and cheese cookoff anyway, so).

if ellen's (not ellie's!) ice cream still has pumpkin ice cream, do not dawdle, definitely get that. other food faves: pies and pints (get the grape pizza!), black sheep burritos, rock city cake company. bluegrass kitchen is nice if you want to splurge on a meal. mi cocina de amor is solid mexican. best bars: empty glass, red carpet. other store faves: sullivan's records.

real talk, charleston is not exactly a bustling metropolis. but the architecture downtown is interesting - lots of unique decorative accents. definitely walk around summers and capitol streets, and don't skip the riverwalk area.

NOTE: the fall, y'all festival is actually in st. albans, which is about a 25 min drive from downtown charleston. st albans is fiiiiine (it's actually where my grandma lives, say hi to her for me) but it's kind of boring and not very interesting.

ALSO: you're in DC? are you driving? have you figured out which way you're going yet? because if you take the route that goes through seneca rocks, it's the same amount of time AND you get to drive past AMAZING west virginia scenery (including seneca rocks!).
posted by kerning at 3:03 PM on October 31, 2017 [4 favorites]

My favorite pizza is pies and pints, black bean pizza. There's a location in downtown Charleston, and I get it maybe once/year when I drive through WV on 64. It's fantastic. I took my debate team to the location in Birmingham last summer; it was unanimously delicious pizza to them, too.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:06 PM on October 31, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks y'all!

The weather forecast cast for this weekend is unfortunately completely rained out :(

Should I still go?

Kerning: I'll be driving from Central VA.
posted by tedious at 5:16 AM on November 1, 2017

The Capitol Market is covered, so you should be dry during the cook off. It's also supposed to be fairly warm, upper 60's - 70. Unlike last weekend, it isn't supposed to rain ALL day. I think it just depends on your tolerance for being dampish.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 9:32 AM on November 1, 2017

Response by poster: Trip report ahead~~

We got to the Mac and cheese festival during the last 15mn during judging and we got to taste about some of the winners. Personal best: Mac and cheese balls wrapped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Like bitting through a mountain of crunch. The event is free to visit and samples are also free. Local gossip: the sponsors tend to win; coincidence?

We got to the Y'all festival about one hour before scheduled end. Everyone was gone and all the tables were being packed. Turns out it was game day, and everyone left around 3pm to prepare. So we missed everything. Let this be a warning to those visiting WV during game season; if the mountaineers are playing, take that into consideration.


Tudors was as expected, but no one told me about the pepperoni rolls being a WV specialty until I got home. Also, combination Biscuit-pizza shop!

Kinship was fun and a nice place to work for a bit, but their fabric goods are about $20+. I got the shirt I wanted at good will. Base Camp which is connected to kinship is a letterpress studio and the ladies who run it (sisters!) were very fun to talk to. They sell very fun posters (smash the patriarchy!) and some nice stickers. Would recommend.
posted by tedious at 12:09 PM on November 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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