By Rachel Ellen Simon
Well before humans began tearing down hills in West Virginia, they were building them — in miniature. Over 3,000 years ago, the area was home to the Adena, a society of Mound Builders that settled throughout the eastern United States. The Adena left behind massive burial mounds, only a number of which are still intact. The largest of these, the Grave Creek Mound, spans 295 feet in diameter, and reaches nearly 70 feet high. Visitors can explore the archaeological site around the mound, and learn more about the Adena at the adjacent Delf Norona Museum.
Open year-round. Free.
More info: Located in Moundsville, West Va. Visit: wvculture.org/museum/GraveCreekmod.html
World-renowned author Pearl S. Buck was born in the West Virginia mountains in 1892. Buck was the first American woman to win both the Pulitzer Prize — in 1932 for her novel The Good Earth — and the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1938. Though she spent most of her childhood in China, Buck maintained a deep attachment to West Virginia; in My Mother’s House, Buck calls her first home “a living heart in the country I knew was my own.” Now a museum and cultural center, the 19th-century house and estate display an array of Buck’s belongings and antique farming equipment, a log cabin and the Pearl S. Buck Memorial Garden.
Guided tours May 1 – Oct. 31. Adults $6, seniors $5, students (K-12) $3, under 5 free.
More info: Located in Hillsboro, West Va. Visit: pearlsbuckbirthplace.com