Holiday shopping can be daunting, particularly when looking for those hard-to-buy-for relatives and friends. To help gift-givers in their search for a unique and memorable gift, the Division of Tourism has put together a list of West Virginia-made gift ideas.
These seldom-thought-of gifts are a great surprise for expatriates, residents, food lovers and Mountain State culture and vacations aficionados. For additional ideas or a list of great places to find West Virginia gifts, contact the state’s tourism hotline at 1-800-CALL WVA (1-800-225-5982).
- West Virginia State Park gift certificates. These easy-to-mail items may be used for lodging, gift shop purchases, cabin rentals, camping, dining and even golf greens fees. Available in amounts from $25 to $500, they are good for two years from date of purchase.
- West Virginia vacation getaways. In addition to state park vacation gift certificates, a variety of West Virginia resorts, bed and breakfasts and hotels offer tailored packages to meet your budget or lifestyle. From whitewater rafting and adventure packages to spa weekends, the only limit is your idea.
- Fine chocolates. Two fantastic West Virginia-based gourmet chocolate makers are Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier in Vienna and DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates in Martinsburg. Both offer fresh handmade truffles and other goodies, packaged nicely and ready-to-ship.
- West Virginia-made glass. The Mountain State’s artisans are renowned throughout the world for their fine, hand-blown glass. Choose from several famous West Virginia companies, including Blenko Glass, Fenton Art Glass and Appalachian Glass, or countless local artisans who produce one-of-a-kind pieces in their studios. Shops in every corner of the state offer West Virginia-made glass ranging from Christmas ornaments to vases. Call 1-800-CALL WVA for more information.
- Wonderful West Virginia magazine. This is a favorite for West Virginia natives who’ve moved but still want to stay close to their home state. Subscriptions are inexpensive and delivered throughout the year with award-winning photography and stories that will remind them how much they love the beautiful hills and charming streets of home.
- West Virginia-grown plants. Sunshine Farm and Gardens in Renick, W.Va., has one of the most extensive plant collections in North America. They specialize in hellebores, and rare and unusual, yet easy-to-maintain plants. Choose from 10,000 varieties!
- West Virginia agricultural products. From wine and apples to salsa and honey, West Virginia’s farmers and producers make outstanding foods and gift assortments that will be welcomed and remembered by anyone with an affinity for the Mountain State. The State Department of Agriculture publishes a brochure of West Virginia agricultural products and its Web site offers ideas and links for homemade products from across the state.
- Fine furniture. Mountain State artisans have remarkable woodworking and metalworking skills and have passed along this tradition for years. From charming smaller home décor, rocking chairs and tables to the finest crafted outdoor furniture and dining room sets for the high-end gift shopper, West Virginia-made furniture will provide years of service and memories.
Some options for shopping:
- Quilts and quilted items. For discriminating shoppers and those looking for gifts that can be handed down for generations, consider a handmade West Virginia quilt from local quilters across the state. Cabin Creek Quilts offers hundreds of quilts and smaller items, ranging from checkbook covers to Christmas ornaments to business card holders.
- Farmers market gift certificates. Vendors inside Capitol Market in downtown Charleston offer a variety of foodstuffs ranging from coffee and fruits to fresh meats and seafood. Outside, local farmers sell seasonal items, including Christmas trees, spring plants and just-harvested produce. Gift certificates good for all vendors, including Soho’s Italian Restaurant, are available in $5 denominations.
- West Virginia books and music. Mountain State authors and musicians tell the tale and sing the song of West Virginia’s gorgeous natural beauty and rugged lifestyle. From dazzling pictures to toe-tapping string band tunes, the variety will suit any reader’s or listener’s taste. Check out West Virginia Book Company and Taylor Books.
- World’s finest marbles. Introduce children and grandchildren to the family-friendly game of marbles. Kids and collectors alike will love the bags filled with multicolored glass marbles made at Marble King in Paden City. They also offer a limited edition collector’s set packaged in a wooden box. www.marbleking.com.
- The ultimate West Virginia reference book. The West Virginia Encyclopedia proclaims "all there is to know about West Virginia," in its 2,200 articles. These articles are the work of nearly 600 writers, experts in fields ranging from archeology, biography, history and literature, through folklore, culture, and the arts and sciences. Available in retail outlets or through the West Virginia Humanities Council.
- World-famous dinnerware. Fiestaware is available throughout the world, but many might not realize it’s made in Newell, W.Va., at the Homer Laughlin China Co., the largest pottery facility in the United States. Visitors to the factory can tour the plant and visit the on-site outlet to complete their collection, or start a new one. Fiestaware and other Homer Laughlin products are available from countless retailers or visit the company Web site.
- Fresh-baked bread, pastries and delectable desserts. Everybody except low-carb dieters enjoys homemade bread and tempting pastries. The Crazy Baker and Jeff’s Breads, both in Renick, ship great packages as gifts or for your holiday dinner table. The Crazy Baker’s crackers, brownies and other rich desserts can be packaged in reusable wooden containers for an impressive presentation.
- Quality West Virginia meats. Sandy Creek Farms in Ravenswood continues a 30-year tradition of producing the finest-quality meats with no hormones, chemical additives or antibiotics. They also make gift coolers for special occasions and holidays and offer gift certificates.
- Handcrafted pottery. In addition to a rich hand-blown glass industry, the Mountain State is fortunate to boast many talented potters. Coffee mugs are a favorite for bosses and co-workers, but the variety of other pieces, from soap dispensers to serving plates and fruit bowls, is endless. A good start is to visit Tamarack or Mountain Made.