In the midst of the 150th anniversary of many Civil War events and the state's birthday, the Lewis County Convention and Visitors Bureau has seen a rise in the interest of history buffs seeking local information.
The county was host to many skirmishes between the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War, even one in which the Union soldiers confiscated gold from a local bank that eventually was used to fund the start-up government of the new state of West Virginia.
Lewis County is also home to WVU Jackson's Mill, the boyhood home of famed Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
"Jackson's Mill is big with tourists because they can experience what life was like in the 1800s," said CVB Executive Director Chris Richards.
Weston in its heyday was home to a thriving glass industry. The town still receives many visitors wanting to learn of the trade, whether it be as a collector searching for pieces from days gone by or those wanting a firsthand look at the lost art of glassblowing.
"Weston was the glass capital of the United States, if not the world at one time," Richards said. "That's something people never get tired of. It's not just our history. It's the history of the United States."
Lewis County has seen a marked increase in travelers wanting to visit one of the popular local haunts, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, which several ghost hunters believe to be populated by the spirits of many long-departed patients.
"We work in conjunction with them and play off of each other," Richards said, adding that the asylum welcomes about 100,000 visitors annually.
"They get about 50,000 just in October alone, and that's probably a low estimate," she said.
Richards said the CVB pushes for group tours, bus tours and other niche travelers, such as historical and glass enthusiasts.
Wineries in the area also attract visitors, such as Lambert's Vintage Wines at 190 Vineyard Drive in Weston.
"We go after everybody," she said. "We push everything because what we highlight in May is completely different from what we do in June - because things are always changing."
The CVB office, located at 499 U.S. 33 East in Weston, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Its staff can be reached by calling 304-269-7328 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information also is available at www.stonewallcountry.com.