I moved away from West Virginia about 10 years ago after spending the first 30 years of my life there. I’m 40 years old now and nothing makes me happier than to think of West Virginia.
When I drive back through the East River Mountain Tunnel that connects Virginia and West Virginia and see the West Virginia Welcome Sign that reads “Wild and Wonderful”, I still get chills. I always turn on “Country Roads” here and everything in my world is perfect. I’m back home and there’s no place I’d rather be.
The beauty of the mountains is unlike anywhere else in the world. The gorgeous gorges, the farms nestled on old hills, the sunshine spilling on the leaves highlighting their intense colors in the Fall. It’s truly “Almost Heaven” and there’s just nothing like it.
The natural beauty makes West Virginia special, but the people are what makes West Virginia West Virginia. The pride us West Virginians have in our state is extraordinary. You see it on our faces, in our words and in our interactions with each other. We’re proud to be Mountaineers and we’re proud to be from West Virginia.
If a West Virginian is outside of the state and sees another West Virginian, who is of course wearing West Virginia University gear, it’s like coming across an old friend. I saw a older gentleman once somewhere in North Carolina wearing a hat with the flying WV eating lunch by himself. I sat down and we talked like we’d known each other our whole lives.
There is no other state whose residents value and cherish their state like West Virginians do. Perhaps it’s something that only West Virginians can understand, but there’s a certain magic in our great state that, regardless of where we are or how far away we move, will make it home forever.
Photo Credit: Michael Besant Photography