Day 11:

Capitol Street – Charleston, WV

Charleston was the first big city that I had stayed in over night. Prior to that, my sleeping arrangements had taken place in slightly more rural areas; however, I didn’t have any issues. It definitely made my commute back into downtown so much easier. So, if you’ve ever been to West Virginia or near the state line in a surrounding state, you’ve probably seen Tudor’s Biscuit World everywhere. Like, everywhere. I had never heard of it until I visited West Virginia, and I thought the first one I saw was a one of a kind, but no, that was not the case. They’re a major franchise in the state, and they’ve begun to branch out into the surrounding states. Since I kept seeing them everywhere, my interest was piqued, so I decided I would try it for breakfast. I must say I wasn’t disappointed by the biscuits and gravy and bacon I got. It was about what you’d expect from fast food breakfast, but it was pretty good. About the equivalent of Jack’s if you’re from the south.

Capitol Market – Charleston, WV

After my incredibly nutritious breakfast, I decided to make my way back into downtown and visit the popular Capitol Market that was at the end of Capitol street. Who would have guessed? On the inside of the market there were booths with cheese, wine, local honey, baked goods, containers of dried goods and spices for you to purchase in bulk, meat and fish vendors, among so many other delicious local goods, and there were also a few restaurants inside the market. Outside of the building was a traditional farmers market with tons of fresh, local produce and flowers. It was essentially my dream market. I could have easily spent tons of money there and not been mad about it, but alas, I’m trying to be frugal and stuff…boring.

West Virginia State House – Charleston, WV

Once I managed to stop fawning over all of the incredible looking food and products at the market, I made my way to the state house, because you can’t visit the capitol of West Virginia and not actually see the state house. When I arrived I felt a tad under dressed. Everyone I saw entering or leaving the building was dressed in business attire, and here I was in jeans and a sweater. It was fine, though, because everyone could tell I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going, so I think that gave me a pass. When I went in, they had a visitor’s desk where they had maps and self-guided walking tours. I spent the next hour wandering around the building and reading about the history and architecture, but don’t ask me any questions about it because I don’t remember. I did thoroughly enjoy it, though. Unfortunately the famous golden dome was undergoing some repairs while I was there, so I didn’t get to see that in person, but that was fine. The grounds outside of the building were perfectly manicured and filled with memorial sculptures, so I made the block around the building and checked out all of the incredible bronze statues that filled the grounds. The Governor’s Mansion and the state’s Cultural Center are also located right by the State House. The Governor’s Mansion was not open to just anyone, but I did get to see it from the outside. The Cultural Center, on the other hand, is free and open to the public, but when I got there it was filled with every area school’s 3rd grade class, so I opted to pass.

West Virginia State Senate – Charleston, WV

My next stop of the day was the Elk City District which was a really neat area of town filled with eclectic shops, record stores, and cafés. I stopped in Kin Ship Goods which had the coolest t-shirts, hand crafted candles, blankets, and loads of other items that made me want to buy gifts for everyone I know. Right around the corner was Elk City Records. As I walked through the door I was greeted with the sound of some old unfamiliar bluegrass artist playing on the turntable and row after row of vinyl records. They had anything you could think of from pre-WWII Jazz (yes, that was a specific section) to modern alternative. You could easily spend all day combing through the large selection of music that they have to offer, but I only had 18 minutes because that’s all the change I had left to feed the meter outside. It was still enough for me to get a feel of the place, and I liked what I saw. Once I started back to my car, I saw a wrestling ring being set up in one of the lots between two buildings. That’s definitely not something you see every day, so I had to see what was going on. Apparently they were going to be having a local wrestling match there later, so my plans for the evening were set.

Elk District – Charleston, WV
Elk City Records – Charleston, WV

After driving around the city and exploring a bit more, I decided to head back to Taylor Books and actually spend a bit more time there. I spent a little while browsing through their used books section before finding a seat in their café to write for a bit. I ordered my drink of choice, a cappuccino, and sat down to get to work. After getting a bit of writing done, I decided to head back to the Elk City District to check out the street wrestling match. I’ll admit, I’m not really a fan of theatrical wrestling, but I just felt like this was one of those opportunities you don’t come across very often. I didn’t stay a super long time, but it was pretty enjoyable while I was there. It was one of those things that was kind of silly, and it’s just fun to be there and watch everyone interact and get into what was going on.

Taylor Books – Charleston, WV
Street wrestling match in the Elk City District – Charleston, WV

My destination for the next day was a couple of hours from Charleston, so I decided to go ahead and start in that direction and stay somewhere in between for the night. I ended up settling on a Walmart that was about halfway there. Right next door was a Starbucks, and if you know me, then you know I’m not a fan of Starbucks. They’re open late and have Wi-Fi, so I’ve had to come to terms with my dislike when there is no other option around. So I ended up sitting at Starbucks for a solid two and a half hours trying to catch up on writing. The reason I’m always stopping to write is because I didn’t start documenting this journey until a few days into it, so I’ve constantly been a few days behind on my writing. I’m determined to get caught up, though. I probably could do that a bit quicker if I didn’t ramble on so much…

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