This was a mostly driving day from the flat Ohio farmland to the rolling hills of West Virginia. Some of the expressways were toll roads and we were glad to see that our transponder from the Illinois Tollway Authority worked in OH and WV and we barely had to stop to pay. Almost painless. Except for the Charleston, the capital of West Virginia, the state appears to be sparsely populated and campgrounds are few and far between. The ones we did find did not sound suitable - 12 miles down a dirt road to five sites - kind of places.
Ken subscribes to a free overnight camping website for just such occasions and we find ourselves in a delightful spot, much better than most campgrounds. When we first got off the tollway, it looked like we were in a typical oasis with gas pumps and fast food joints, but the Tamarack Convention Center is just beyond. This funky looking building houses an extensive collection of arts and crafts produced by artisans all over West Virginia. Hand woven baskets, pottery, hand blown glass, textiles, quilts, paintings, woven scarves, wood carvings - And they were for sale!! There are also workrooms with glass viewing platforms so you can watch the artists at work without bothering them. The center also has a theater where blue grass, jazz, and folk musicians perform and indie films are aired. A book area sold fiction and nonfiction based in this part of the country. Next to that a restaurant sold reasonably priced West Virginian cooking. We ate looking out at a nice landscaped courtyard. This impressive collection of West Virginia culture is sponsored by the government. It gives artists far from far away hollers a chance to have their work appreciated and purchased by folks like us.
Camping in the parking lot is free, but the Tamarack Center got more than enough cash from us to justify this hospitality.