Oct 10, 2013 08:30 AM WV State of Mind
Uncover West Virginia's best-kept secrets
In a Pickle
Having grown up surrounded by places with names like Booger Hole, Twist-n-Shoot, End of the World, and Jumpin’ Gut, I’m particularly fond of our state’s uniquely named communities. As population in these rural areas dwindles and post offices close, every time I’m on a road trip, I feel an urgency to visit these treasure-map towns. And I admit, I also worry, thanks to GPS and the gods at Google, I may be losing my ability to read a map.
On my recent trip to West Virginia’s most southern county, McDowell County, I decided to head south on Route 16 from Welch through Six, Caretta, and War. My destination was Cucumber, West Virginia—the only town in the United States to have the honor to be named after the cylindrical vegetable. According to the 2010 Census, 94 people live in Cucumber. I saw two. Cucumber isn’t far from Coalwood—of Rocket Boys fame—and the picturesque Berwind Lake.
With a name like Cucumber, I expected to find a little homespun shop that sold pickles, but alas I didn’t find any such place. I didn’t stumble across any roadside stand that sold “I heart Cucumber” bumper stickers either. Attention 94 Cucumberians! You are missing a great merchandising opportunity! I did meet an elderly man at a little convenience store/bait shop who said, “What a darn fool thing to drive all the way to Cucumber just to take a picture of a sign.” A darn fool thing, indeed—and I don’t even have a bumper sticker to prove it.
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