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The broad Ohio River is the setting of history and culture in the fertile Mid Ohio Valley. Human groups dating to more than 11,000 years ago have inhabited this area.

Parkersburg is the valley's commercial and social center. Eight distinctive cultural organizations call the eight-block Downtown Cultural District home, making it feasible for visitors to enjoy history, visual arts, drama, music and literature in a single day. A trip from Parkersburg's Point Park to Blennerhassett Island Historical Park is made memorable by boarding one of Ruble's Stearnwheelers. Visit unusual venues in Boaz and step back two centuries at the Early Americana Museum and Mountain State Muzzleloading Supplies. Washington's Western Lands Museum and the 1875 Sayre Log House in Ravenswood invite history buffs to spend vivid hours in the past.

Celebrating life's simple joys comes naturally in the Mountain Lakes area, heart of the state. Joys include camping, hiking, fishing, prowling antiques shops and wine-tasting. Weston is where shoppers will find the year-round Central West Virginia Farmers Market, featuring wines and local produce, specialty foods and crafts. Over Labor Day weekend, Jackson's Mill comes alive with old-time music, arts and re-enactments at the Stonewall Jackson Heritage Arts and Crafts Jubilee. Pontoon boat rentals are available for a day on Summersville Lake's crystal waters. A scheduled release from the Summersville Dam allows the more adventuresome a raft ride down the Gauley River. The towns of Richwood and Clay offer a taste treat: wild leeks. Wildlife lovers will want to hike a treed, 1.25 mile trail through the cutting-edge West Virginia State Wildlife Center at French Creek.

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