But not all the figures Manchin leaves behind are pretty -- unemployment is 8.6 percent, and there are still billions of dollars in future liabilities.
Manchin also said officials will face "dicey" budget years in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The state education system also lags and Manchin's attempt to reform it was drowned out earlier this summer in the scramble to fill Byrd's unexpired Senate term.
Manchin has pushed for an audit of the state education system. The contract has not yet been awarded and what happens with it may be an early test of the Tomblin administration.
Manchin said in the education system, "Nothing makes sense to me."
For instance, he asked, Why are teachers always fired -- or, in government parlance, subject to "reduction in force" -- but not administrators?
"You ever hear them RIF-ing the front office?" Manchin said.
He added, exasperated, "But, by God, we're going to RIF teachers."
Manchin also reflected on the rhetoric from the campaign trail, including the famous advertisement where he shot the cap and trade bill.
Before it aired, Manchin said someone from his campaign team called a White House political staffer out of courtesy and respect.
He said the ad, which some credit with helping Manchin climb back from behind in the polls, included "everything in it," like an endorsement from the NRA and a dramatic illustration of his independence from Obama.
At the time, Republican industrialist John Raese was attacking Manchin for backing a version of cap and trade. Manchin said that was a lie about a law that encourages the use of alternative and renewable energy, including "clean coal" and natural gas.
"We had to be that bold to show that's not who we are," Manchin said of the ad, titled "Dead Aim."
He maintains that the cap and trade bill should be dead and his ad showed him "putting it out of its misery."
Manchin and first lady Gayle kept working last week following the election, but they used their nights to begin packing and moving. Manchin said they plan to keep their homes in West Virginia, which include one near the airport in Charleston, another back in his native Fairmont that his son and family live in, and a place at Canaan Valley.
Manchin said he'd heard the rumors that his daughter Heather had already bought a house in D.C. for him -- rumors that began long before Election Day -- but said they weren't true.
Instead, he plans to move into a hotel in Washington for the Senate session that begins Monday. The Senate will then go back on recess for Thanksgiving. He hopes to find a place in the meantime.
"Gayle's been looking at that," Manchin said. "Where she tells me to go, I'll go."
If things don't work out so quickly, he said he'd been offered a guest room in the home of Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Warner used to be his state's governor, too.
Manchin, who takes credit for putting West Virginia's "fiscal house in order," also put his own house in order by renovating the Governor's Mansion.
"They were going to raze the house, they were just going to tear it down," he said. "You would have thought everything would have been done to code to the nth degree, right? It was done completely opposite. Nothing was to code."
So, despite some raised eyebrows, Manchin put the mansion through a costly renovation using private dollars. It was, he said, necessary to help him showcase the state.
In the end, it provides a literal example of his administration's ability to put out fires.
"The fan downstairs in the basement, someone left it on. It clogged, 'Boom!'" Manchin said. "There was a helluva fire and, I mean, at about one o'clock in the morning we're running around trying to the locate the fire -- they got it out."
Contact writer Ry Rivard at ry.riv...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.