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.
For decades, I lived in big east coast cities where those mountains were replaced with views of tarpaper roofs and power lines. I found myself driving west a lot, excited for that moment when I’d top a certain hillside and the horizon would rise up in broad mountainous folds. It was a remarkable sight, one that inspired me to start this website in 2010 and, seven years later, to move back home.
Today, I split my time between the D.C. metro and the mountain city of Roanoke, my hometown, where I climb every peak I can legally traverse, drink all kinds of craft beverages, and fall for this remarkable region a little more every day.
And I’m learning 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 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 and share posts on Facebook or Twitter, you spread love for these mountains.
It really is that simple. Just keep talking about this beautiful place, and you’ll help deliver the word from the Appalachian South.
Mark Lynn Ferguson has written about the Appalachians for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post Magazine. He has also discussed the region with news outlets of just about every kind. In addition to obsessing over mountains, Mark Lynn has been in marketing/communications for more than twenty years and, during that time, has been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s biggest brands. He holds an ED.M. from Harvard University plus an M.F.A. in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte.