When you talk to people about Appalachia, many different images and ideas come to mind. For some, it is a vague geographic area somewhere over in the Eastern United States. For others, it may bring to mind a region plagued by poverty and struggle.
For some of us, however, it is much more than that. Appalachia is a region of beauty, filled with rolling hills and dark mountains. It is an area dotted with thriving cities and quaint small towns. It is an area that is home to festivals that celebrate and preserve the past, as well as forward thinking enterprises with an eye towards tomorrow.
Appalachia is as much about the people as it is about the places. It is about people who have known hardship and pain, but refuse to surrender. It is about people who are hard-working and full of pride, as ready to lend a hand to a neighbor as they are to someone they’ve never met. It is about people whose hands can craft a towering building just as readily as they can craft a quilt. It is about people who are beautiful, strong, and endlessly creative.
Appalachia is a lot of things to a lot of people, but, to me, it is home.
It is the sound of croaking frogs and the swirl of fireflies over a newly plowed field on a warm Spring evening.
It is sitting by a slow-moving stream until the sun goes down in Summer…just waiting for that fishing pole to double-over but not really caring if they bite.
It is the smell of dry leaves and distant chimney smoke in the Fall, and it is the sight of a newly fallen snow weighing heavy on pine branches in Winter.
This is my Appalachia.
The Center for Virtual Appalachia (CVA) was created to serve as a collection of information and data about the Appalachian region and its people. Always growing, the main goal of the CVA is to help inform the people within and outside the region about the many wonderful places and faces that make us the unique area and people that we are today.
This is the Center for Virtual Appalachia, and I invite you to come share it with us.
Director, Center for Virtual Appalachia