on West Virginia

"You come from a place like West Virginia and you’re always being told what you can’t do. It’s too rural, too poor, too, well, too just West Virginian. If you’re going to succeed you have to leave, go off to somewhere bigger and fancier. It’s how it’s worked for generations. The possibilities are limited at home, limitless away. So off they go – many of the best and brightest seeking success elsewhere even as they carry their home state pride with them forever.

It’s not coal that is West Virginia’s greatest export. It’s people."

that’s Dan Wetzel in his column today.

It sums up what we are all about. Go Mountaineers!

I had a Rough Guide one time and it said that West Virginia, for many years was the Ireland of America, “poor and backwards”. That smarted it did.

I’m part of the brain drain, but I left WV for Ohio. Ohio, fer god’s sake! Not that there’s anything wrong with Ohio, but Ohioans seem to be particularly contemptuous of West Virginians.

An Gadaí, I am hugely proud of my Irish heritage. My great-great-grandparents were Patrick Flaherty and Hannah Kelly, from County Cork, so I understand your smarting.

You see those commercials where they show maps of where there’s cell phone coverage in the US? They always have a big hole over most of West Virginia.

In all fairness though, West Virginia’s mountainous terrain has traditionally meant that it’s not prime agricultural land and difficult to build highways and railroads. In general mountainous regions tend to be undeveloped.

As a WVU alumnus, I have to say that I love West Virginia! I would live there in a second if I could get a job there.

The mountains also are problematic for cell phone signals - it is difficult to broadcast a cell signal into a hollow.

After vacationing in Hilton Head, I was driving my family back to Pennsylvania. In West Virginia I thought I saw a wolf on the side of the road. I assumed I was hallucinating (gallons of coffee/sleep deprived) so I pulled off the road at a rest stop. I was pretty freaked out over the vivid hallucination.

The other couple we vacationed with saw me pull over and followed. He got out of his car and came up to me, shouting about the cool wolf he (we) had just seen.

I like WV, I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past, mostly 10 to 15 years ago. It always seemed like I was going back in time a bit, but not in a bad way.

We went rafting in West Virginia on our honeymoon (20 years ago this summer). Love that place.

It was probably a coyote.

I, too, graduated from WVU and I loved it. People are just so darn friendly. And Wings-n-Things had the best damn burritos in the world.

I had to travel to West Virginia on business last year, and I wasn’t looking forward to it, because of, you know, its popular image…not to mention that due to my ethnicity, I’d stick out like a sore thumb. And I mean, I can’t speak for the whole state, but as it turns out, all the West Virginians I met were just the nicest, most down-to-earth, welcoming people I’d ever encountered. I should have worried more about coming HOME than going away; I’ve experienced more racism here in DC than anywhere else I’ve visited or lived–and I’ve lived in some pretty backwater places.

I lived in WV for a few years in the early 1990s. Loved the friendly people, disliked the weak economy and hated the humid weather. By the time I left in 1995 it seemed like the state, and especially the Morgantown-Fairmont-Clarksburg corridor was picking up economically.

I just looked it up and was surprised to see that WV has a slightly lower unemployment rate (9.5%) than the national average (9.7%). Not good, but not as bad as it could be. The population is growing now but much slower than the nation. At this rate it will take 90 or 100 years for the population to get back to 1980 levels.

John Denver tried to tell us all about this back in '71.

Actually, Bill Danoff of The Starland Vocal Band wrote that song; Denver wrote quite a bit of music, but his most famous lyric were for Leaving on a Jet Plane which he recorded, but was a bigger hit for the Peter, Paul and Mary. And I have heard (but haven’t confirmed) that Danoff was in western MD when he wrote the WV song, but didn’t realize they hadn’t crossed the line into WV.

On living in WV (which I do):
*I don’t give a damn about the Mountaineers (not a sports fan, me)
*The people here do tend to be really friendly/nice/neighborly
*The people here do tend to be stupider than average
*It is a geographically beautiful place to live
*We like the mountains
*Investment property is cheap here
*If you live in small-town WV (like I do) and make 90K a year, you are considered wealthy!

BTW, if things work out with my sister’s chemo (she’s living with me right now and I’m taking care of her), I’m contemplating hosting a DopeFest at my home this spring; who is up for it???

OMG! Wings-n-Things! That was my introduction to buffalo wings. (Yes, I led a sheltered life prior to my arrival in Morgantown.)

Surly Chick, when were you at WVU?

Did the Rough Guide series list “Ireland of…” for other countries? Obviously Canada’s Ireland is Newfoundland, but is Chihuahua “Mexico’s Ireland”? Or does it keep turning over, so that the Alai Mountains are listed as “Kyrgyzstan’s West Virginia”.
[ The above not meant as an insult towards any of the named provinces, territories or countries, many of which are, in fact, some of my favorite places. ]

Of course. How silly of me to have overlooked Bill Danoff and The Starland Vocal Band and attribute the song’s popularity to someone as insignificant as John Denver. :rolleyes:

I was there from 1980 to 1984. I lived in Summit Hall for three years and then over the beer distributor (can’t remember the name of it) just north on Beechurst. I used to hang out in the College Inn (quarter beers on Tuesday!), The Bull Pen (beer in mason jars!) and, of course, the Blue Tick Tavern ($1.00 pitchers in the afternnoon!). None of which are probably there any longer.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I managed to graduate and become a productive member of society! :stuck_out_tongue:

I was there from 1993-1998. Lived in Towers my freshman year then various places in Sunnyside.

freckafree, when were you at WVU?