Located in the low rolling hills of the Ohio River Valley, Huntington's pleasant ambience seems more Midwestern than Appalachian. Driving through, we noticed a three-block stretch on Fifth Street where seven grand churches seemed to be trying to outdo each other.

Of particular interest is the Huntington Museum of Art, which displays sculpture, paintings, local glass and changing exhibits. The museum is also home to the Herman P. Dean Firearms Collection—a fascinating exhibit of guns from the 1200s through the 1800s. Another slice of history is the Heritage Farm Museum and Village, a showcase of the Appalachian way of life. A collection of a different sort is in the Museum of Radio and Technology, which houses antique radios, speakers, radio tubes, an entire radio repair shop from the 1920s, and other paraphernalia from the early days of the medium. (It won't take you long to see the museum, but it's well worth the stop.)

Huntington's Keith-Albee Theater, first opened in 1928, is composed of baroque and Renaissance elements and is one of the most ornate structures in West Virginia. It's undergoing a massive renovation, so check ahead to see whether it's open to visitors. The city has a small district of antiques stores on West 14th Street and an old railroad depot that has been converted into shops and restaurants. Marshall University, the state's second-largest college, provides the town with cultural activities. 45 mi/75 km west of Charleston.

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