Powers and Duties: Chancellor
Powers and Duties: Commission
Living in West Virginia
Here’s what’s great about living and working in Charleston, West Virginia
West Virginia, Wild and Wonderful. Country Roads, Take Me Home. Almost Heaven. These words evoke images of the Mountain State that still hold true decades after they first were written.West Virginia and its capital city, Charleston, is a fantastic place to work and to live. The greater Charleston area hits the sweet spot between the abundant cultural, recreational and entertainment options of a bustling capital city while preserving a warm, small-town atmosphere and amazing scenery that inspired John Denver’s world-famous anthem.
West Virginians enjoy a low cost of living and high quality of life. In Charleston, housing options range from modern condos overlooking the city skyline and the Kanawha and Elk rivers, or large, historic East End homes just a few steps from the golden-domed state capitol. Affordable suburban neighborhoods range from those along rocky outcroppings perched above the city to sprawling, farm-like properties just minutes from downtown.
A variety of high-quality, award-winning public and private schools are situated within the greater Charleston and Kanawha Valley area. Most schools are small- to mid-sized, keeping class sizes and commute times to a minimum.
The Higher Education Policy Commission’s offices are located in a historic tower along the Kanawha River with amazing 180-degree views of the surrounding landscape, including the state capitol and downtown. Parking is directly behind the building and both the capitol and HEPC’s regional technology park are only a few minutes away. Downtown shopping, dining and entertainment are all within a few blocks of the office.
Charleston’s location is central to the East Coast and within short drives or easy flights to major cities, including Pittsburgh, Columbus, Charlotte and Washington. Three interstate highways intersect in Charleston and Yeager Airport is just a few minutes from the heart of downtown, offering direct flights on major airlines to Charlotte, Washington, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
True to its slogan, Wild and Wonderful, West Virginia is home to some of the country’s most outstanding outdoor recreation, from world-class whitewater rafting and rock climbing to skiing, bird watching and thousands of acres of state parks, forests and national recreation areas. West Virginia also has some of the nation’s largest and most-storied ATV trails.
Life is a little less hurried in the mountains, and four distinct seasons mean that, throughout the year, there’s always something different to see and enjoy. Coonskin, a beautiful county park, and expansive Kanawha State Forest, offer challenging hiking trails, mountain biking, camping, golf and swimming just a few minutes from town.
West Virginia is rich in history and culture and festivals! Residents enjoy the state’s rich Appalachian artisanship, history and culture through museums like the Blenko Glass Company Studios & Gallery, Civil War Living History Museum, Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum, and West Virginia State Museum. And West Virginians love to celebrate their diverse cultural background, especially during the summer and fall, with festivals featuring music, food and dancing, ranging from strawberries and buckwheat to symphonies and craft beer.
West Virginia has active arts and music communities. The state is home to three symphony orchestras, Mountain Stage, a live audience music production broadcast on public radio, the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in West Virginia, and many performing arts centers and stages that host performances from ballets and theatre productions throughout the state.
Sports fans can take advantage of regional college and major university athletic programs as well as minor league baseball. Youth and adult sports programs are offered throughout the state, and the Charleston area is home to a brand-new regional soccer and sports complex.
West Virginia’s cities and communities are booming with an array of shopping options, ranging from local boutique shops and antique stores to major shopping centers. The state is known for its Appalachian handcrafts, especially pottery and glass and other old-school goods, from quilts to furniture and musical instruments.
But, above all, new residents to Charleston and to West Virginia will be most charmed by the warm people of the state. Once you are here, you become family. It’s a place where relationships matter and folks know you and your family by name.