GHO I don't know if the locals are just being polite yet saying something otherwise when I turn my back, but they've been very tolerant (liberal) and accepting with me considering my cultural differences are so night and day from their own. Maybe it's different for you because you're gay but people who are anti gay are everywhere on the planet. They just can't comprehend someone could be different from themselves from what I can glean. They also have a nasty habit of thinking everyone ought to live out what they believe by force of law. The benchmark for 'normal' is a very precarious thing. Einstein wasn't 'normal' by any standard.
Going back east- I think it depends on how much land you want. If you're satisfied with a city lot size because you don't want to maintain too much, charleston could work for you. If you'd rather have 5 acres plus you'd be hard pressed to find that in city limits. Check out further along I64 between charleston and huntington for those sized properties. I think vec was very accurate in her advice- it's consistent with what I saw when scouting around. If you prefer new construction and amenities, teays valley and south charleston are delivering for a price. City limits of charleston have predominantly older architecture. Good luck.