In the Spotlight: 365 – West Virginia

Post 775

west-virginia-wonder-1west-virginia-wonder-2west-virginia-wonder-3It became the 35th US state on June 20th, 1863. Where Mother’s Day was first observed, founded in 1908 by West Virginian Anna Jarvis, born in Webster. The original name of the state was the brilliant Kanawha, named after an indigenous tribe but, sadly, changed to avoid confusion with the county of Kanawha and a river also of the same name. Other suggested names were also better than the one they ended up with. Augusta, Columbia, Lincoln, New Virginia and Vandalia. Except Allegheny. That one’s awful. Home of the New River Gorge Bridge, the world’s third longest single-span arch bridge, 567 yards long. The most common names are Noah, Liam and Mason, for men, and Emma, Ava and Olivia, for women. Birthplace of living legend Chuck Yeager, the first person to exceed the speed of sound, born in Myra. Home of a city named Mullens, named after A.J. Mullins who owned the land the city was built on. To honour him, they incorrectly named the city after him, spelling his surname ‘Mullins’ as ‘Mullens.’ They did have a vote to change it. The majority voted to maintain the status quo, however. Well, I’m sure A.J. would be delighted. And it’s the home of a place named Mountain, previously named Mole Hill, meaning the residents literally made a mountain out of a mole hill. Today, appropriately enough, we’re visiting the Mountain Sate, West Virginia.

West Virginia is a landlocked state in eastern America, bordered by Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is the 41st largest state in America at 24,230 square miles, with the 38th largest population with nearly 1.9 million people. The motto of the state is, ‘Montani semper liberi,’ with is Latin for, ‘Mountaineers Are Always Free.’ Except the ones in jail, of course…

This is a state dominated by the mountains and the rolling hills. A rugged land, rich in natural resources, with logging and coal mining the traditional industries. Trees are everywhere, with 75% of the state forested, the green nature of this place only the tip of a beautiful iceberg. Creeks and rivers are dotted around, as well as the occasional lake and canyon here and there. The gorgeous natural scenery and mountain vistas are breathtaking, with quaint mountain towns, traditional folk music, delicious home cooked country food, time-honoured handicrafts and plenty of culture and history, all on offer here. It truly is off the beaten track.

This place is a hotbed of recreational activities, with the outdoorsy locals enjoying a spot of backpacking, climbing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking, mountain biking, off-roading, skiing and white-water rafting. Most celebrated is, undeniably, the extensive cave network weaving its way under the land, with caving a popular pastime. But this isn’t all that defines the fearless, hospitable and warm West Virginians. Whilst many don’t have much in the way of material wealth, they are a joyful and proud people, down-to-earth and grateful for what they have. They have an abundance of that famous southern politeness, an extremely friendly folk who will warmly welcome and respect the visitors who come to this fine state. The locals cherish a slow and relaxed life, a pleasant people. Characteristics that permeate the very lives the locals live, an admirable and lovely people indeed.

This state is utterly stunning, with sights to see such as Blackwater Falls State Park, an attractive jumblement of colours and vistas, each one as significant as a final breath. The ethereal park exudes a sensational glee and radiates a supernaculum and fascinating joy. And then there’s the quite simply brilliant Greenbrier resort, a gleaming white masterpiece opening in 1913. Surrounded by majestic kempt gardens, this brilliant white beacon stands out. It sucks you in, and, rather effortlessly, captures your heart.

Then there’s Harpers Ferry, a beautiful historic town oozing an ethereal grace and toothful charisma. Resting spectacularly on a perch, surrounded by that famous hue of green, one cannot help but be impressed by its gainly joy. Nestled ever so perfectly.

But my favourite sight of West Virginia is the River Gorge Bridge, an awe-inspiring and magnificent jewel in an ocean of luscious greenery. This bonére marvel rises proudly from the land below and triumphantly sings a chalcenterous song of beginningless beauty and almost otherworldly charm. One feels dumbfounded by its comforting embrace, a striking ageless gem, a gorgeous and comely wonder, a truly amazing sight to behold.

West Virginia. The state of hospitality, trees and mothers.

Ciao :)(:

Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) River Gorge Bridge

2) Harpers Ferry

3) Greenbrier

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