WV State of Mind

Uncover West Virginia's best-kept secrets.
Going Postal...

05/07/12

Going Postal...

I don’t often complain. I’m an optimist. If I’m faced with a problem, I fix it. But I need to kvetch—this problem is beyond my “fixing.” My business relies on the United States postal system. I pay an exorbitant amount of money to mail more than 110,000 magazines nationally each year. If I told you how much our 532-page WV WEDDINGS 2012 issue cost to mail, you would turn green. My postal expenses keep going up and up, and the quality of the service keeps going down and down. With each issue of the magazine, we get calls from subscribers from around the country who do not receive their magazines. We know that the magazines were mailed, but once they land in the postal quagmire, all we can do is hope and pray that they are delivered timely and...

Posted at 10:00 AM Comments

The Art & Soul of West Virginia

04/23/12

The Art & Soul of West Virginia

“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts Two weeks ago, I attended a ceremony, sponsored by the Tamarack Foundation, honoring my friend, artist and blacksmith Jeff Fetty, for being named "One Of The World's Seven Premier Metal Designers." It is an honor that is well deserved—an accomplishment that has only been achieved by six Americans. Because of this designation, he is featured in the 2012 International Metal Design Annual—and I encourage everyone to get a copy of this book....

Posted at 11:30 AM Comments

In a Pickle

04/16/12

In a Pickle

Last week, I was driving back to Morgantown from Spencer via Weston when I stumbled across something that made me bring my car to a screeching halt—the unincorporated community of Pickle Street. Now, for those of you who often travel U.S. Route 33 in Lewis County, the name Pickle Street may not faze you. But I was tickled. The community wasn’t named Pickle, which would be amusing in its own right, but Pickle Street. The sign is not located at a street intersection, either. I did what any innocent traveler would do. I stopped, took a picture, and then I Googled it. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “Pickle Street is an unincorporated community in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States, on U.S. Route 33 along Leading Creek. It is mostly a residential area, but...

Posted at 08:58 AM Comments

Take a Trip with WV LIVING

04/09/12

Take a Trip with WV LIVING

If you’ve read the recent issue of WV LIVING magazine (and if you haven’t, then you need to visit your local bookstore or subscribe!), you know that we feature the town of Bluefield. When I first visited Bluefield, I was astounded—in the mouth hanging open, speechless kind of way. I knew a bit of the town’s history—that it was once a vibrant and wealthy city flush with railroads and coal—but I didn’t know what to expect now. I must have braced myself to be overwhelmed by lifeless, decaying buildings, but that wasn’t what I discovered. I was struck by how beautiful and clean the town was. Lush hanging baskets lined the main streets and grand neighborhoods were filled with incredible architecture and stunning gardens. A visit to the...

Posted at 08:30 AM Comments

A Love for Our People

04/02/12

A Love for Our People

I love to travel to far-flung places in our state and visit towns that time has forgotten. I always ask the locals, “What makes your town special?” Without exception, for the past four years, every person I’ve asked—from Wheeling to Lewisburg to Shepherdstown to Elkins—says: “The people.” When I was working on the story on Bluefield, featured in the Spring 2012 issue of WV LIVING, I spoke with Betsey Sorrell, who has lived there her entire life and is heavily involved in the Bluefield Beautification Commission. As we talked about the hours she dedicates to helping beautify the town, I asked Betsey, “Why do you do it?” Her reply resonated with me. She said, “I do it because I believe we have all been given a small corner...

Posted at 12:57 PM Comments

WV LIVING at the Cast Iron Cook-Off

03/08/12

WV LIVING at the Cast Iron Cook-Off

PHOTO GALLERY WV LIVING Cast Iron Cook-Off, 2012 At WV LIVING, we love to eat—and we love to celebrate all that makes West Virginia unique. So, we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor a team in the Cast Iron Cook-Off, the state’s leading culinary event. This incredible event, created by the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, is the brainchild of Dr. Allen D. Arnold, who saw it as a means of promoting culinary and cultural tourism and of developing world recognition for regional Appalachian cuisine. Thirteen teams, led by some of the finest chef’s in the state, sharpened their knives and were pitted against one another as they created four-course meals using local and traditional Appalachian ingredients prepared in the venerable cast iron...

Posted at 07:10 AM Comments

West Virginia Chose Me

03/01/12

West Virginia Chose Me

One of my favorite West Virginia writers is Colleen Anderson. She has written for the magazine for a couple of years now—and I always look forward to her stories. She is truly a Renaissance woman. She helped start Cabin Creek Quilts. She writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and she sings! She is a talented creative spirit unlike anyone I know. Recently, I discovered her song “West Virginia Chose Me” from her Fabulous Realities CD, and I listen to it every day. It is beautiful. The chorus gets me every time. Once you read her lyrics and listen to this song, I think you’ll agree. To purchase Colleen's music, visit motherwitdesign.com/music.html.   West Virginia Chose Me By Colleen Anderson Someone’s always leaving...

Posted at 07:15 AM Comments: 2

Road Trip to Chester

02/21/12

Road Trip to Chester

Have you ever been to Chester, WV? Chester is the tippy top town of the Northern Panhandle in Hancock County—the state’s smallest county. One mile west and you are in Ohio and three miles east you are in Pennsylvania—and one wrong turn and you’re in the middle of the Ohio River.     Two years ago, a reader wrote me a letter and invited me to Chester. Although, I can’t always reply to all the letters or emails I receive, I do read them all—and take all the suggestions and recommendations seriously. So, two years after the initial invitation, I wove my way through the back roads of Pennsylvania from Morgantown to our state’s most northern county (during the Civil War, Chester was the northernmost point of the slave...

Posted at 07:40 AM Comments

Let Your Imagination Take Flight

02/08/12

Let Your Imagination Take Flight

Our 2012 WV WEDDINGS magazine has landed in bookstores and in mailboxes around the country. It is the largest West Virginia magazine—ever. It’s bigger than the Yellow Pages. It’s larger than the old Sears Roebuck Catalog. It’s almost the size of the September issue of Vogue—and it really is like all three of those books combined. This issue puts at your fingertips the state’s finest venues and vendors. It is a catalog of great ideas, and it is the wedding fashion “bible” for West Virginia. We always wait on pins and needles for the magazine to be shipped out, and it has been an incredible week. The positive comments, gushing compliments, and frenetic buzz makes me so proud of all the hard work that our editorial, design, and...

Posted at 11:27 AM Comments: 1

My 2012 New Year's Resolutions

01/01/12

My 2012 New Year's Resolutions

Another New Year is upon us! Is it just me or do the years keep flying by faster and faster? It seems that it was just yesterday that I was making my New Year’s resolutions. Oh well, I’m going to wipe the slate clean and start again! Now, that I’m making my resolutions public, you’ll have to hold me accountable!   1. I’ve eaten my way across the state. Now, it is time to exercise my way across the state. My goal is to do one physical activity that burns calories in each county. No exceptions. (At that rate, I should be good for at least 3 years' worth of New Year's resolutions, right?) I’ll document my monthly journeys here in my blog. If you have suggestions on great places to exercise around the state, let me know (but...

Posted at 12:00 PM Comments