By Crystal Myers, Marshall University
College Tourist Ambassador
I’ve always been proud of my home. Surrounded by beautiful rolling mountains, packed with the kindest people and always open for an adventure, I couldn’t dream of a better place to grown up. Yes, always proud and I’ve never even thought about having to defend it, until now.
For 20 years, I’ve lived in West Virginia. While I realize many don’t know a thing about my state, I’ve always been okay with that. Until recently, it has been what seems like my own secret paradise. However, since becoming MTV’s newest hit reality show, “Buckwild” has brought some attention to my home state and I need to set the record straight.
If you haven’t seen the show, which was recently renewed for a second season, I’ll give you a quick rundown. It is about a group of 20-something friends who, like myself, grew up in The Mountain State. They refer to themselves as rednecks and are taped do some pretty outrageous stunts while falling in love, hooking up and partying quite a bit, the standard formula for most reality TV. Nothing too abnormal, however, I do have one problem with the show: the characters like to say their location, and lack of things to do, is the cause for their outrageous behavior. That couldn’t be less true.
The population might be smaller than average but West Virginia is a playground for many. Not only do the Appalachian Mountains make for some breath-taking views, they allow for fantastic skiing and snowboarding. If you’re ever around for the colder months, make sure to stop by one of the many resorts, rent a cabin and pretend you’re part of the Winter Olympics for a day or two, you won’t be let down.
When it warms up, West Virginia’s outdoor scene has even more to offer; from zip lining to white water rafting there is something for every thrill (or sight) seeker.
The state’s recreational activities are only the beginning of all that it has to offer. Great universities, the most unique local festivals and fairs, delicious restaurants and plenty little boutiques are all hidden amongst the hills. All of which I’m sure I’ll mention in future posts. For now, I just wanted to give you Tourists and “Buckwild” fans a glimpse into the real West Virginia. It’s a part of me and I’m proud of it.
If you find yourself nearby, do everyone in your car a favor and take a pit stop, or even a vacation – find out for yourself why the state’s nickname is “Almost Heaven.”