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Charles Town now has a visitors center

June 03, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Nan Furioso sat behind a wooden desk in the Antique Center in downtown Charles Town recently, a rack of brochures to her left highlighting the sights to see in the town she loves to promote.

For some time, Furioso has offered tours of the Jefferson County Courthouse and walking tours past historic downtown homes.

Now, Furioso has started the Charles Town Convention and Visitors Bureau at 200 W. Washington St. in an antique shop.

While it's a small operation, Furioso has big plans for tourism in town.

"People are now beginning to see Charles Town as unique with its history," Furioso said. "People are telling me they're making Charles Town a separate destination."

The official opening for the visitors center will be Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when officials will cut a ribbon outside.

But Furioso already is at a desk with maps of the area to help visitors.

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A volunteer, Furioso has several fund-raisers planned to pay for the visitors center.

Her goal is to get people to make Charles Town a primary destination, the way other tourists visit nearby Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

The county's visitors center is outside of Harpers Ferry and has brochures for Charles Town.

But Furioso said a visitors center also is needed in town to help direct tourists to lodging and restaurants for dinner as well as the sights to be seen.

"I don't think there's anybody better to sell Charles Town than Charles Town residents," she said.

"I think it's great for the town,' said Mayor J. Randolph Hilton.

Hilton said the town needed a place for people to go with questions when they're visiting.

Hilton said the visitors center in town complements the county's tourism center. Shepherdstown, W.Va., also has its own visitors center, he said.

The visitors center fits in well with the overall plans for the town, he said.

Charles Town had a visitors center from 1989 to 1994, but the volunteer who ran it was unable to keep it going, Furioso said.

Furioso said in addition to fund-raising for the visitor's center, she'll be seeking volunteers to help staff it.

"People love to share their wealth of knowledge and people love to share their town's part in history," Furioso said.

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