I’m Mark Lynn Ferguson. I grew up in an Appalachian valley where I could look in any direction and see a swell of mountains. They were tall; certain as pig iron; and blue, two shades darker than the nighttime sky.
Now they’re nowhere in sight. I live near Washington, D.C. Through my row house window, I have a view of tarpapered roofs and power lines, but no matter how hard I squint, I can’t see a single fir-covered peak. The closest one is fifty miles west.
As you can imagine, I drive that way a lot. At a certain point I top a hillside, and the horizon rises up in broad mountainous folds. After weeks in the city it’s an inspiring view. Sometimes, my eyes get so watery I should pull over and wait for them to clear.
And I hear I’m not alone. Lots of folks say they love the Appalachians. Some have mountain ancestors dating back for centuries. Others visit for a hike or good music and develop a fast affection for the place. Who can blame them?
We have Dolly Parton and FloydFest, zip line tours and white water rafting, nationally recognized vineyards, not to mention the best swimming holes around. It’s a potent mix—the new and the old, nature and culture—and it’s fueling a renewed interest in our corner of the world. Today you can find legal moonshine in liquor stores and bluegrass bands in Japan.
Add it all up, and I’d say we have a full-on Appalachian revival. That’s the spirit I hope to capture here, but I can’t do it alone. Every time you leave a comment on the blog, share posts on Facebook or Twitter, or re-pin photos on Pinterest you spread love for these mountains.
It really is that simple. Just keep talking about this remarkable region, and you’ll help deliver the word from the Appalachian South.
A Roanoke, Virginia native, Mark Lynn Ferguson has written about the Appalachians for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, and has discussed the region with news outlets ranging from ABC News to public radio stations. He now lives in Washington, D.C. but stays connected to his homeland by making fried taters, hightailing it to the mountains every chance he gets, and writing on The Revivalist. During his twenty-year marketing career, Mark Lynn has also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. He holds an ED.M. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte.