Sitting in the shade of a canopy, Sue Thompson waves at cars as they pass by on Palo Alto Street, also W.Va. 152, while two women browse the tables of clothes and housewares Thompson and her family have set up on the parking lot across from the Wayne Community Center.

A large crowd is gathered on the dock surrounding the Beech Fork Lake Marina. Teenage boys are feeding the massive school of carp gathered at the dock. The water is so thick with fish, the ducks are able to walk on the fish and snatch the food the boys are throwing into the water.

If home cooking is what you want, then look no farther than White House Diner in downtown Wayne.

Laura and Eddie Napier, who for years ran the Wayne Diner just north of town on W.Va. 152, had retired. But to paraphrase a famous movie line: They thought they were out. But the restaurant pulled them back in.

Wayne County is unique in that it houses a park where, from one spot, you can see three states.

Virginia Point is the western most point of the state. The heat was keeping people at home this day as only two cars and boat trailers were sitting in the parking lot at the boat ramp.

Traveling east on Oak Street to the next stop, a black car fills the reporter's rear-view mirror. There's no light bar, but it's obvious this is a Kenova Police Officer.

Driving down Piedmont Road, it's hard to miss the giant metal rooster at the corner of Piedmont Road and Camden Road.

The rooster marks the spot of Camden Corner. Inside, one can find the typical convenience store fare like chips, snacks and sodas. But what sets Camden Corner apart is the fresh deli and the doughnuts.

ATTRACTIONS — CAMDEN PARK: Originally developed as a picnic area by the Camden Interstate Railway in 1903, Camden Park has survived into the 21st century as a thriving traditional amusement park. Today, it is the oldest amusement park in West Virginia with about 30 rides, including the classic wooden roller coaster, The Big Dipper. Located at U.S. 60 West, Huntington. Hours vary, but the park typically is open on weekends in May, Wednesday through Sunday in June, Tuesday through Sunday in July before hours trail off through August and September. And don't miss Spooktacular, weekends in October. Call 304-429-4321. Go online at www.camdenpark.com.

When the reporter arrives home, he checks with his wife about the vehicle registration sticker. She does, indeed, have it. A minute later, the reporter is no longer riding dirty in his wife's sea-foam green, mid-2000s Ford Taurus, so it is officially back in commission to go forth and discover more of the Tri-State. 

As the shadows grew longer, the reporter parts ways with the photographer in front of Kenova's municipal building. The reporter makes one last driving pass through the towns of Kenova and Ceredo looking for stories that could be told. But it seems the sweltering heat from the July day has managed to put the sleepy C-K community to bed a little early. 

Whether you're just across the line in Westmoreland, "out Wayne" or way out Wayne, the county that calls itself the "Western Gate to the Mountain State" is celebrated by its residents for its strong sense of family, community and tradition. Many natives call it the best of town and country merged into 512 square miles of rolling hills, spread across communities known by the names Ceredo, Kenova, Fort Gay, Lavalette, Wayne, East Lynn and Dunlow.

For Marci Osburn, timing is everything.

A fog of uncertainty lingered as she traveled home from her 14th year at Camp Gizmo, a camp for youth with developmental disabilities and special needs. Her son, Mason, was disabled, and he'd be finishing school soon. She needed a position where she could care for him and work full time.

For the last 24 years, Becky's Beauty Box has provided much more than standard salon services to Milton.

From routine hair and nail care services to formal event stylings, Becky's Beauty Box is a one-stop-shop for local residents and a popular spot to socialize with old friends and peers.

Becky and John Shaffer always envisioned opening their own business.

In 2017, they purchased the former Farley's Famous Hotdogs stand across from the old Milton Middle School and began renovations for their own 1950s-style drive-in restaurant.

At The Grand Patrician Resort in Milton, West Virginia, history is in the remaking.

The resort, first the site of Morris Memorial Hospital, began as a polio rehabilitative hospital for children under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936. With the eradication of polio, the hospital transitioned into a nursing home until it closed in 2009. In October 2017, the Hoops family purchased the vacant facility and its surrounding property.

Since 1986, Barbara "Barbie" Norris has made formal dress dreams come true for women in the Tri-State area.

In her new, customized purple shop, Barbie's Formals offers a one-of-a-kind variety of prom and homecoming dresses, pageant wear, formal shoes and shelves of glitzy costume jewelry.

In 1975, Vicky Clark started her business out of her living room.

Stocking her own 50-pound boxes of chocolate for candy making, locals began to inquire about her supplier, hoping to grab their own bulk supplies. The creative entrepreneur had a better idea.

With 25 years of business under their belts, Kim and LaDonna Jackson know a thing or two about managing greenhouses.

Located just seven miles off of Exit 28 on I-64, Kim's Greenhouse, owned and operated by the Milton-based couple, has flourished over the last few decades selling baskets of assorted annuals and perennials, seasonal crops and shrubbery.

When a series of unexpected events led Josh Taylor to start selling his childhood games and toys at the Milton Flea Market eight years ago, he wasn't sure what to expect. He'd battled medical issues that had interfered with his schooling, and he needed a little extra income.

For Jennifer and Tim Burns, opening Pooch's Palace was a dream come true.

Their doggy daycare, located on Mount Vernon Road in Hurricane, offers boarding and grooming for the canines of Putnam and surrounding counties. The pair are extremely active in every facet of the business, especially when it comes to caring for their guests.

Jason Miller always had a knack for making barbecue, but he'd never considered making it his full-time gig.

"I had a bunch of buddies in the yard, just hanging out, and they kept telling me, 'Your food is good,'" Miller said. "I started seeing food trucks on the West Coast, and I started following them around. Then I built my own and went from there."

For Lynn Bright, baking is a labor of love.

Bright, who has been home baking for 50 years, opened Old Mill Bakery in downtown Hurricane earlier this year. At 62, she's going strong.

For years, Dolores "Doedy" Dingess wished Putnam County had a specialty store for party supplies.

In planning birthday parties and her own wedding, she found that resources were often limited by timing or travel. Shopping online often led to additional shipping charges or potentially unsatisfactory investments.

Six months ago, the cityscape of downtown Ironton looked a bit different.

Today, it's hard to miss the bold lettering that reads "Iron Town Coffee Lab" on the corner of South 2nd Street. In early January, Ironton native Richard Fisher opened the Iron Town Coffee Lab with a vision to help revitalize the downtown area and create a cozy, caffeinated environment for residents and visitors alike.

Route 60 is bumper to bumper but moving steadily as the post- work commuters make their way home. At the corner of U.S. 60 and Davis Creek Road, people are stopping for flowers and fresh vegetables at Floyd's Fruits and Flowers.

The community garden isn't the only the only thing growing in Barboursville. A drive around the village and surrounding areas shows a community growing with retail stores and restaurant choices.

It's a laid-back day in the offices of Village Caregiving on Main Street.

"Well, if I would have known you were coming by, I would have dressed a little better," Matthew Walker said to a reporter and photographer as they showed up unannounced.

On Main Street, an open door greets customers at Michelle's WV Quilt.

Inside, a smiling and outgoing Michelle Hill greets everyone who comes through that open door.

The lunch crowd is just starting to trickle in to the Tortilla Factory.

The Tortilla Factory is located just off the Huntington Mall exit of I-64. The menu features traditional Mexican food and signature favorites like the Molcajetes. The Molcajetes is named for the volcanic stone pot in which the salsa verde is served. It comes with a variety of meats like chicken, steak or shrimp and features sides like black beans, rice and tortillas.

ORIGIN: Barboursville was established in 1813. Named after Virginia Gov. James Barbour (1812-1814), the village was the county seat of Cabell County from 1814 until 1887.

The Barboursville Buckle Series brought a kickin' good time to the Barboursville Community Park on June 8. H&H Rodeo offered bull riding by age category, Mutton' Bustin' for little sheep wranglers, bull wrestling, chasing the ribbon on the bull's tail, lasso skills, obstacle course horse racing and even ostrich riding.

It's hard not to spot the food truck sitting in front of the Pottery Place at Pullman Square.

The generator quietly hums inside the white, pink and blue truck as people line up to buy one of Abbey Kimball's unique macarons. This day's special is the Lucky Charms flavored macaron and there's not many of them left.

At St. Cloud Commons, the sound of children playing fills the air.

St. Cloud boasts Cabell County's first all-inclusive playground with playground equipment designed for every child no matter their physical abilities.

Sometimes the best-laid plans don't quite come together.

The Cabell County Emergency Response Center (CCERC) on Gallaher Street houses the telecommunicators for Cabell County 911. It's also a place where people can get a child safety seat installed by certified professionals.

At the Village Renew-All Antique Mall at Old Central City, a visitor is happily checking out with her finds.

"I found these books for my niece," Sienna Cordoba said while holding her treasures.

Visitors to Ritter Park can't help but notice the hundreds of American flags planted near the playground on the 12th Street side of the park. There are 453 flags, to be exact. They represent the 453 children in need of a foster family in Cabell County.

The Market on 3rd Avenue is a hive of activity during the lunch hour. A mix of people wearing business suits, casual business attire, and exercise clothing are all mingling and getting food at the open-concept marketplace across from the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

Recently the West Virginia legislature approved the West Virginia Invests grant. West Virginia Invests is a state-funded grant program that covers the full cost of basic tuition and fees for select certificate and associate degree programs at a West Virginia public two- or four-year institution.

Huntington is a city in Cabell and Wayne counties in West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Most of the city is in Cabell County, for which it is the county seat. A small portion of the city, mainly the neighborhood of Westmoreland, is in Wayne County. Its population was counted at 49,138 in 2010. Huntington is a part of the Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area, with nearly 290,000 residents. Huntington is the largest city within the MSA and the second largest city in West Virginia, behind Charleston.

HUNTINGTON — It's a muggy Monday morning at Harris Riverfront Park along the shores of the Ohio River in Huntington. It's quiet for the most part, with the exception of a honk from a goose and the chatter of the ducks congregated around one man standing and tossing alms of food for the feathered flock.

RECURRING EVENTS — The Huntington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has partnered with Heritage Farm, the Huntington Museum of Art, Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District, Camden Park, Beech Fork Lake and other attractions to promote Funington, which offers something for kids and families to do every weekday in June and July. Find out more about Funnington at https://visithuntingtonwv.org/funington/.

Are you interested in learning more about some of the locations we visited, or the agencies we wrote about, for this story? Here are some helpful websites and phone numbers:

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