Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Charleston, West Virginia - Part II

         West Virginia’s state capitol building is considered one of the most beautiful in the United States.  The Capitol complex faces the Kanawha River.  Mature cherry, hickory and oak trees surround the building; sunlight reflects off the glistening gold dome.  
West Virginia's State Capitol
The capitol is hosting a wedding today and pre-wedding festivities are underway.  Young women in coral bridesmaids dresses dash across the marble floor. Young men in tuxedos stand in groups, casting anxious looks over their shoulders.
         I snap a few photos of the wedding party, then arrive at the information desk for a personal tour of the capitol.  My guide, Caroline, points out the gleaming marble in the building—Italian marble in the House Chambers, red marble from Tennessee lining the walls of the west wing, white marble from Vermont on the floors.   A two-ton crystal chandelier hangs from the center dome.  I can see why someone would want to celebrate a wedding here.  
A capital spot for a wedding.

  The wedding ceremony is over as my tour finishes; wedding guests are in line for hors d’oeuvres.  The tuxedoed young men—no longer nervous—laugh and give each other pats on the back.  The young women —visibly relieved—smooth their dresses and fix their hair.  Caroline tells me that anyone who wishes to may celebrate their nuptials here; each year the state capitol hosts more weddings than the year before.  I wonder—are other state capitol buildings open for weddings?
  I return to the Brass Pineapple and relax in my room before changing clothes for dinner at Laury’s restaurant.  On the way to the restaurant I stop at Taylor Books on Capitol Street and arrive as the four women from my Bed and Breakfast are leaving.  “Hey”, I call, “It’s the Moms!”  They wave and thank me for telling them about the bookstore, say they loved it.  And I love it too.  I spend over an hour in Taylor Bookstore, drinking a s’mores latte, browsing through the books, the pottery displays and the art shop.  
  It’s time to cross the Kanawha river for dinner.  Laury’s Restaurant, housed in the former C&O rail depot, boasts impressive river views and an elegant interior.  Chandeliers hang from the ceiling; cream and burgundy-banded silk draperies adorn the giant windows.  I sip a glass of South African white wine while savoring the crab-stuffed salmon entree.  For dessert I enjoy creme caramel and coffee.  The coffee is accompanied by a tray bearing cinnamon sticks, mini chocolate chips, real whipped cream, cream and sugar.  I add a bit of each of these offerings to my mug. 
Laury’s serves the perfect ingredients for a delightful dinner—welcoming atmosphere, attentive but non-intrusive wait staff, and delicious food.
  Fully satisfied I return to the Brass Pineapple and take a seat on the porch.  The setting sun casts its light on the mighty oak—its leaves shudder in the soft evening breeze.   It’s been a good day in West Virginia’s capital city.
For information on West Virginia’s State Capitol go to:  http://www.wvculture.org/agency/capitol.html
When in Charleston, you’ll want to visit Taylor Books: http://www.taylorbooks.com/
and you'll certainly want to dine at Laury's Restaurant:  http://whycharlestonwv.com/restaurants-in-charleston/laurys-restaurant/


  1. I love our nation's capitol buildings and would love to see them all! It is a real treasure to find independent book stores too--I do hope they can survive the digital age.

  2. Capitol buildings are such neat places to visit! I wish we built more lovely buildings like that today. Sounds like a great WV trip!
    Laura Smith