August 2020

As everyone continues to adjust to “life with COVID-19”, Charlestonians are getting creative! Thinking “out of the box”, or better yet, OUTSIDE. Just last month, a $90,000 launch ramp was installed a few feet away from the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center’s boat dock. This launch is FREE to the public from 7am to 9pm daily. It can accommodate single and tandem kayaks, some canoes, and paddleboards.

Kanawha State Forest, just minutes away from downtown, offers 25 miles of hiking and biking trails spread over 9,300 acres. There are plenty of picnic shelters, playgrounds, and areas for camping. KSF is well known for its diverse wildflower, tree, and bird populations. It is also a popular place for geocaching. The swimming pool at Coonskin Park is open under strict rules with limited hours. Check out their website for a complete list of times they are open and the rules that must be followed.

Recently, the City of Charleston began closing Capitol and Hale Streets from Kanawha Blvd. to Lee St. to provide restaurants more outdoor dining space. From Friday evenings to 9pm Sunday, tables are spaced appropriately for safe social distancing. The area’s new restaurants have opened and are doing well. Coco’s, on Hale St., owned by the original owner of Lola’s, is getting rave reviews. So are The Pitch at the Shawnee Sports Complex and Nosh Catering and Carry Out on Summers St. The newly re-opened Lookout Bar and Grill, The WV Anchor, and Lola’s are getting loads of praise for creative menus and service as everyone adapts to new regulations and efforts to keep diners safe.

At the South Charleston Ice Arena, management has added a new, and literally cool option for indoor entertainment during the summer months. They have 10 new bumper cars for having fun skidding across the ice! The cost is $5 for 10 minutes and an additional $6 for skating afterward. The cars are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between uses.

As the Kanawha County Public Library continues its $24 million expansion project, the main branch will be closed for the duration of the remodeling. That branch has moved temporarily to the Charleston Town Center Mall. With the constantly changing COVID-19 guidelines, there are limits to the number of patrons allowed at a time. The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and the WV Culture Center are also being fluid with programs and attractions. It is best to call ahead and ask about specific events if you plan to attend these facilities.

A lovely way to spend a few hours is at the Capitol Market. The outdoor market has gorgeous flowers and plentiful fresh produce. In the comfortably air-conditioned indoor area, impressive specialty vendors make this the perfect place to enjoy time out of the house. It is even better if you have time to dine at Soho’s afterward!

Life is very different from anything any of us has ever experienced. But, Charleston still has a lot to offer with plenty of options for families to enjoy this time together, with high hopes that next summer will be back to normal!

Stay safe and take care of each other!