West Virginia Mountain Dreams

Mountaintop Mining Legacy: Destroying Appalachia’s Streams by John McQuaid: Yale Environment 360

John McQuaid has a good article on Environment 360, an environmental site at Yale.

Laurel Branch Hollow was once a small West Virginia mountain valley, with steep, forested hillsides and a stream that, depending on the season and the rains, flowed or trickled down into the Mud River about 200 yards below. The stream teamed with microbes and insect life, and each spring it became a sumptuous buffet for the birds, fish, and amphibians in the valley.

But over the past decade, the Hobet 21 mountaintop removal coal mining operation has obliterated 25 square miles of surrounding highlands. From the air, the mine is a 10-mile-long, mottled gray blotch among the green, crisscrossed by trucks and earth movers, appended by black lakes of coal sludge.

The Caudill family has owned a house at the mouth of the hollow since the early 1900s. Many of their neighbors left, but the Caudills fought and blocked an attempt by Hobet to force them to sell their property. Unfazed, the mining operation simply steered around their land, and dumped a mountain’s worth of rocky debris into the Laurel Branch up to their property line.

This is not the type of article you want to read when you are looking for a place to relocate to. Honestly, it’s not the type of article you want to read if you are already living in the area.

I am voting with my pocketbook down here in Texas. I buy my electricity from a company that guarantees that all of the power I use comes from windpower. It costs me a few pennies per kwh more, but to try and do my part to cut the blasting of the mountain tops I decided I could not afford to pay less.

If you are still undecided about the realities of living in coal country, be sure and read up on mountaintop removal.

If this is the first you’ve heard about environment360, go spend some time at the site. You may want to do what I do and subscribe to their rss feed.

via Mountaintop Mining Legacy: Destroying Appalachia’s Streams by John McQuaid: Yale Environment 360.

West Virginia Mountain Dreams

Two-Lane for Life

While doing some research the other day I was lucky enough to stumble upon the on-line presence of this magazine. It was one of those moments in life that you wish would happen more often…BUt if they did you wouldn’t get very much done…If you know what I mean…

JULY 2009 – Two-Lane Livin’ Magazines are Like Eggs & Summer Squash

It seems as though just a few rainy days ago, we were planting the garden. Freshly plowed and tilled, plants just set out and small, any harvest, or weeding, seemed far away. How quickly time flies on a farm. The weeding (and potato bugs) have taken their lead, and unless picked soon, sweet leaf lettuce will turn bitter and sour.

My new hobby of the season is chickens. Knowing absolutely nothing about birds or laying hens, I purchased four hens from a neighbor. I think chickens are strange creatures. Just a few weeks ago, daily egg-gathering ventures were like trips to the Christmas tree. Now I’m pawning off eggs on everyone I know. It’s like summer squash – they get passed on to anyone who will take them.

In many ways, Two-Lane Livin’ magazine is similar. Fifteen thousand copies overwhelm the front room until we get them all delivered. It seems like they’re everywhere you turn. We pass them all over Central and West Central West Virginia to anyone who will have them until all the copies are gone. Then, in just a short month’s time, we have 15,000 copies again.

Follow the link and enjoy a little bit of Two-Lane Living…I know I’ll be wandering down the old blacktop again and again…

via Two-Lane for Life.

West Virginia Mountain Dreams

Take in nature’s bountiful harvest

Charleston, W.Va.Summer’s here; the living is easy and the food is fresh, tasty and abundant.  If you enjoy traditional Appalachian fare we’ve got it; if you like to spice up your life with chili and finger-licking barbecue, we’ve got that too. If fresh-from-the-garden produce makes your mouth water you’ll find farms throughout the state that let you pick your own.  And don’t forget the wine – there’s no better way to top off a meal than with a vintage made right here in West Virginia.  You’ll find so many good food choices in the Mountain State this summer, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is keeping your waistline from expanding. For those looking for the best places to dine throughout the state, an upcoming brochure of 101 best eateries will be available in July.

Food and wine events

Fiddles & Vittles – Dinner Train Package:  June 20, 27; July 4, 11, 18, 25; Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and Sept 5, 19; Cass Railroad State Park, Cass
Enjoy this unique experience, including train ride to Whittaker, Camp Whittaker tour, full dinner and live local music show.  Optional shop tour or Cass showcase presentation also available.  Tickets are $34 for adults and  children 5-12, and $14 for children under 5.  Trains depart at 5 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-225-9582 or 304-456-4300, or visit

Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off:  July 10-12, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Snowshoe
Snowshoe Mountain will be blazing as they turn up the heat for the 18th annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off.  Categories include salsa, red chili and chili verde. Live entertainment, nightly parties, West Virginia craft vendors and games round out this weekend of fun.  Admission is a $5 donation to the Challenged Athletes of West Virginia. For more information, visit

Ribfest:  July 18, Mylan Park, Morgantown
Nothing beats having fun while helping a good cause.  All proceeds of this rib cook-off benefit Scott’s Run Settlement House, a local nonprofit social service agency that provides emergency food assistance, childcare and senior programs.  There will be live music, children’s activities, craft vendors and a silent auction.  Admission is $5.  For more information, visit

WV Hot Dog Festival:  July 25, Pullman Square, Huntington
You definitely don’t want to miss the 5th annual WV Hot Dog Festival.  Enjoy a full day of hot dogs, live entertainment, rides, family and family dog events and contests.  The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free.  For more information, visit

West Virginia Blackberry Festival:  July 30 – Aug. 1, Clarksburg City Park, Clarksburg
The West Virginia Blackberry Festival celebrates its 13th year with a three-day extravaganza of free musical entertainment, novelties, carnival, car parade, pet parade and, of course, blackberries.  The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with fireworks to be featured on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m.  For more information, call 304-622-3206 or e-mail

Ribfest:  July 30 – Aug. 2, Kanawha Boulevard, Charleston
Enjoy world-class, award-winning barbecued ribs and chicken at the largest barbecue rib festival in West Virginia. Live entertainment, carnival rides and good times for the whole family.  Admission is $4 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, and $2 for youth 6-12.  Parking is free.  For more information, visit

Food, Wine & Jazz Festival:  Aug. 7-9, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Snowshoe
This event will encompass a weekend of food, wine and jazz.  The fun starts on Friday evening with a champagne and dessert reception. On Saturday, enjoy the grand tasting, which includes more than 140 offerings of wine for sampling, as well as great swing/jazz bands, West Virginia art crafters and scrumptious food from Snowshoe’s chefs. Sunday wraps up with a palate-pleasing brunch.  For information about admission charges, call 304-572-5922 or visit

6th annual BBQ Cook-Off:  Aug. 8, Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Davis
Bring your grill and compete to win “Best BBQ in the Valley.”  The competition is open to gas and charcoal grillers, and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. Enjoy live entertainment and authentic West Virginia crafters and vendors. For more information, contact David Cooper 304-866-4121, ext. 2677, or visit

14th annual Huntington Rib & Music Fest:  Aug. 13-16, Harris Riverfront Park, Huntington
Don’t miss this annual event that features great music and rib cook-off competitions.  For more information, call 304-696-5970.

Grape Stomping Wine Festival:  Sept. 19-20, Kirkwood Winery, Summersville
This annual celebration features the music, crafts, dance, food and wine of the local area.  A family oriented festival with face painting and crafts for the children, this event also includes the fun-for-all grape stomping contests.  Tickets for adults are $6; children get in free.  Watch for coupons in the local newspaper.  For more information, visit

Pick-your-own farms
Fresh produce is not only tasty, but also part of a healthy lifestyle.  Buying locally-grown fruits and vegetables helps boost West Virginia’s economy, cuts down on transportation costs and allows you to have the freshest produce with that “just-picked” flavor.  Farms throughout the state feature “pick-your-own” programs. The following is a complete list of pick-your-own farms. For more information, visit

Breezy Heights Farm Blackberries, tomatoes, green beans, peppers and sweet corn (seasonal),Union, W.Va., 304-772-5175

The Briar Patch Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and honey (seasonal), Mt. Hope, W.Va., 304-877-2448

Central West Virginia Nursery Strawberries (seasonal), Buckhannon, W.Va., 304-472-6964

Church View Farm Numerous varieties ofred and golden raspberries, blackberries, green beans, tomatoes, onions, sweet and hot peppers, sunflowers and other decorative flowers, Romney, W.Va., 304-822-3878, Web site:

Fruity FarmStrawberries, Murraysville, W.Va., 304-273-5001, Web site:

McConnell Berry FarmBlueberries, summer apples (seasonal), Morgantown, W.Va.,
304-291-0015,  Web site:

Morgan OrchardApples (seasonal), Sinks Grove W.Va., 304-772-3638, Web site:

Mountain Top Farm Strawberries, black raspberries, blackberries and blueberries (seasonal), Renick, W.Va., 304-497-2081

Nahwya Farms Blackberries (seasonal), Hinton, W.Va., 304-466-6873

Owl Creek Farm Strawberries (seasonal), Morgantown, W.Va., 304-291-0409, Web site:

Orr’s Farm Market – Strawberries, raspberries, apples and peaches, Martinsburg, W.Va., 304-263-1168, Web site:

Ridgefield Farm & Orchard Pick-your-own Christmas trees,apple orchard and pumpkin patch,also farm store and farm activities(hayrides, pumpkin festivals,corn mazes and field trips), Harpers Ferry, W.Va., 304-876-3647, Web site:

S.A.N.T.E.E. Farms & Gardens 23 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers, Wheeling, W.Va., 304-243-5990, Web site:

Spangler’s Greenhouses & Organic Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and pick-your-own operation, Ballard, W.Va., 304-753-5722

West Virginia Fruit & Berry Blueberries and blackberries (seasonal), Bridgeport, W.Va., 1-888-982-3779, Web site:

White Oak Farm Blueberries and red raspberries (seasonal), Renick, W.Va., 304-497-3577, Web site: www.whiteoakberryfarm