I love West Virginia. I love the spectacular views; the rolling rivers, the fog-draped mountains in the morning and the unique and stunning architecture everywhere I turn. However, the scenery is not what makes West Virginia the state that I am proud to call home. It’s the history and the people that have made this area what it is today that brings out my pride.
Webster defines “community”: 1. “A group of people living under the same government” and 2. “A group of people having the same interests.”
We fall under both of those categories, but West Virginians are so much more. We are people that are proud of our heritage and of our homes. We are people that reach out to each other and support one another in our endeavors. No one who visits West Virginia ever leaves as a stranger. Those are the qualities that I value in our state.
In 2009, Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith offered me the chance of a lifetime. She asked if I would be willing to lead a haunted history tour in our town. Conducting that tour has blessed me with so many new friends from all over our country. It has also allowed me and the participants to contribute financially to four different local nonprofit groups in the last year alone.
Being a part of sharing Charles Town’s history with so many people led me to wonder how I could share our unique past with even more visitors and locals.
We are quickly approaching West Virginia’s 150th birthday. What a fabulous time to celebrate our past, present and future as the Mountain State! With a huge amount of help from the CVB, the City staff of Charles Town, the Jefferson County Commission, Discover Downtown Charles Town, Harpers Ferry Merchant’s Association President Gary Debrueler and all of the wonderful volunteer tour guides, “Come for the History; Stay for the Hauntings” came into existence. The towns of Harpers Ferry and Charles Town will be uniting to honor and celebrate our associated history.
We have a four-day festivity planned with events and tours that will excite every member of the family. The fabulous local merchants will also be honoring the “blue and gold” with their own unique and special surprises to delight visitors.
I’m so proud to be a citizen of this beautiful state and I’m proud of all of the people who have in the past made it what it is today, and of all the special people who currently call West Virginia home. There is no other place that I would rather live.
Happy Birthday West Virginia!
— For more on Ann Khiel Fern’s “Come for the History; Stay for the Hauntings,” find her on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org