Home Grown Arts & Crafts in West Virginia

My roots are in West Virginia, and while I often think that is something to rise above, there are times that it feels like home to be there, and things to be genuinely proud of. As Glen Huey and I headed to MESDA a couple weeks ago, we drove through the mountains and as luck would have it, we found ourselves at Tamarack-the Best of West Virginia at lunchtime. Tamarack is a welcome stop, and a showcase for regional arts and traditional crafts and food. When it opened in 1996, Tamarack was the first state-sponsored showcase for artisans and craftspeople in the United States, and today it is self-supporting and offers a showcase and exposure to thousands of travelers for hundreds of local artisans. There are plenty of talented woodworkers represented among the juried craftspeople.

Located just off the West Virginia Turnpike, Tamarack is a large circular building; 59,000 square feet of display and studio space. Some of the space is devoted to gallery shows that remain on display for a few weeks, and other areas are for display of handcrafted items.

The quality of all the work is excellent, and the art center offers business advice and other services to the artisans. Around the outer perimeter are several working studios where you can watch artists at work.

Like everything at Tamarack, the food is first class. We enjoyed our lunch and took a second lap around the building before returning to the road. If you travel through West Virginia on Interstate 77, it’s well worth a stop. You may find yourself arriving at your destination an hour or two late, but the break in driving is liable to be one of the highlights of your trip.

If you’re not in the area, check out the website, or you can shop for the Best of West Virginia online.

–Robert W. Lang