You can get an up-close look at these Almost Heaven factories

West Virginia is home to incredible businesses – many of which open their doors to share their crafts with the public. From glassblowing to artisanal salt to beloved dishware, these Almost Heaven products are favorites around the country and happily welcome visitors to get an inside look at the process. Learn more about these handcrafted goods:

The Homer Laughlin China Company Factory – Fiesta

The rainbow-hued dinnerware collection Fiesta is a favorite across the country. Produced in Newell, West Virginia, the dinnerware line started with five original colors: red, yellow, cobalt blue, green and ivory. It has since grown to more than 45 colors that span the color palette.

Fiesta is a trendsetter of color in the housewares industry, and it introduces one new color each year. It has become the most collected dinnerware in the history of the tabletop industry with well over one half billion pieces produced.

Visitors can take a one-hour tour of the facility and learn about the types of dishes produced, the variations in colors, custom pieces made, and more. The factory tour includes a visit to The Homer Laughlin China Company Museum, housing china displays from the past 144 years of Homer Laughlin China history.

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J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works

Did you know there’s a 400-million-year-old ocean beneath West Virginia? It’s called the Iapetus Ocean, and it lies underneath the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. The Iapetus Ocean, which predates the Atlantic Ocean, was named after a Greek Titan. It was ultimately shifted by geological forces and driven underground beneath the Appalachian Mountains.

During the 1700 and 1800s, the state had a thriving salt industry, and at one time, the Kanawha Valley was the largest salt producing region in the country. The area produced award-winning salt thanks to the Iapetus Ocean and the salt furnaces found all around the Kanawha Valley.

Today, this ancient ocean continues to present a unique opportunity to a business in the Kanawha Valley area of the state. Brother and sister Nancy Burns and Lewis Payne, who are 7th– generation salt-makers, own J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. They harvest their all-natural salt by hand on their family’s 200-year-old farm in Malden. J. Q. Dickinson’s brine is naturally sourced from the Iapetus Ocean and hand harvested, which makes for an organic, naturally derived artisanal salt.

You can visit J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works’ stunning family farm, learn about their natural salt making process and their history in the salt making industry as well as taste their amazing natural salt.

Tours are offered on the J.Q. Dickinson family farm from mid-April-November, Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 am – 4 pm. Tastings are included with every tour.


Blenko Glass

Since 1893, Blenko Glass Company has been a family owned and operated company. The company’s exquisite color, skilled craftsman and imaginative designs have made Blenko famous in the time-honored craft of hand-blown glass.

Visiting Blenko for yourself is an incredibly unique experience. At Blenko, located in Milton, West Virginia, you can tour their glass manufacturing facility and watch up close as their artisans create handcrafted masterpieces. Stop by their Historic Glass Museum, which takes you on a trip through the history of glass and includes breathtaking displays of Blenko’s past pieces, stained glass as well as tools of the trade.

Tours are offered at Blenko Glass Company Monday through Friday. Glassblowing demonstrations, a free self guided and self paced tour, can all be viewed from Blenko’s observation deck during any hours of production.

Learn more about WV businesses

This post was last updated on August 3, 2020