For the Gazette
By Sarah Francke
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We are finally, yet slowly, emerging from the winter months in Charleston. This means our energy levels are on the rise, the daffodils are a welcome burst of color, days are getting longer, and everything around us seems to be shedding its winter skin.
Still, no matter how pretty our day-to-day surroundings are becoming, stress and anxiety can sneak into our lives and taint the joys of spring.
So it's important to know where to go when you need to get going. Living in a state that is known for its mountainous beauty, we are lucky not to have to travel far for those spacious and stress-relieving spaces that quickly become our cure-all to our daily bothers.
In case you didn't grow up here, or haven't spent days upon days exploring Charleston for all it has to offer, you may not know what you're looking for or where to go.
Remember, when you hit the ground running, always keep your eyes open for anything that looks interesting. West Virginia is full of winding back roads, structures rich in history and trails that lead you to breathtaking views. Here's hoping you stay curious of what may be around the corner as the adventures are truly endless.
Here's a list of six day jaunts to get you started.
Spring Hill Cemetery, Farnsworth Drive
Acting for years as my favorite in-town getaway, Spring Hill Cemetery changed the way I viewed Charleston by deepening my historical knowledge of our city's founding fathers. It also provides views of Charleston you only can encounter from the tiptop point of a hill. If you catch the views early in the day, you'll sometimes get to see the morning fog lifting from the valley.
The cemetery is accessible by car, but once you've arrived, I recommend you ditch your vehicle and explore the grounds on foot. You'll be dwarfed by monuments and overwhelmed by many familiar names on the headstones -- Quarrier, MacCorkle, Summers and more. Suddenly you'll see a window into the personal lives behind those names that today are mostly known to us as navigational tools in downtown Charleston.
Ruffner Park, Kanawha Boulevard East
Some of my earliest memories of Charleston were formed at Ruffner Park when my mother would pick me up from preschool and we'd proceed down the Boulevard, landing at Ruffner Park for a picnic.