Fast Spirits

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“We’re creating a revolution in how you can make mature whiskey,” says Joel Patrino of Blue Ridge Distilling Company, one of the newest distilleries in the nation and perhaps the…

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Sweet Decay At a Mountain Resort

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William Jones hates highway driving—he told me this during one of our text marathons—so I felt bad when he aimed for an I-64 entrance ramp, me following his minivan, certain…

The Real John-Boy Walton: 1923-2016

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Before Earnest Hemingway, John Updike, or Breece Pancake, I read books written by Earl Hamner, Jr. His most notable titles, Spencer’s Mountain and The Homecoming, centered around one Appalachian family. Named the Spencers in print,…

Buy, Borrow, or Steal?

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I rarely need a forty foot ladder, but this weekend, my sewer drain sprung a leak. This giant pipe runs clear to the roof where it syphons rainwater, though the plumber could have said it led to a magical rooftop…

Pedigree Dogs: A Poem

J. Photo by Bruce on Flickr.

Our friend Casey LaFrance is back with a poem about an abuser and the scars she left. A native of the North Georgia mountains. Casey teaches political science and public administration in Illinois, where he has…

Canary in the Code Mine

J. Paul Gorman, one of Appalachia’s newest coders. Photo by Philip Scott Andrews.

Coal is dead. There, I said it. It’s a tough pill for Appalachia to swallow—where coal has underpinned local economies for more than a century, where it’s given folks who hold nothing but high…

The Mine Wars, Rewriting History

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I’m such a slacker. On Wednesday night, The Mine Wars premiered on the PBS series American Experience, and I have to admit I missed it. (If it’s any comfort, PBS, I was binge…

One Song: Ain’t Nobody

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—pound for pound, Galax, Virginia is home to more musical talent than just about any place on Earth. This video goes to…

Humans of Biltmore

Photo used with permission from Deborah Scannell.

On the shuttle ride from Biltmore’s parking lot, I knew I should have been paying more attention. The estate’s legendary grounds, designed by the father of landscape architecture Frederick Law…

The Hills are Alive

Writer Anna Lea Jancewicz and her grandmother in the mining town of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, 1979.

There is another Appalachia, just as gritty as ours but across of the Mason-Dixon line. Anna Lea Jancewicz was born and half-raised there. With this stirring essay, she describes a landscape that might…

16 Tons of Prizes

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By the time Tennessee Ernie Ford released the tune “16 Tons” in 1955, he was already successful. He’d recorded a few hits, hosted an NBC quiz series, appeared in a reoccurring role on I…

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