REAL: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

I’m sure there are many things you know about West Virginia.

We’re the northernmost southern state and the southernmost northern state.

We’re the heart of the states, east of the Mississippi.

We were born out of the Civil War and have seen our share of struggles and tragedies—but we always come back stronger and with more resolve.

We lay claim to the NBA logo.

We are the birthplace of the first American woman to win the All Around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics in the Olympic games.

We were the first to fly faster than the speed of sound.

We have an astronaut.

And the original Rocket Boy.

Gilligan lived here and Barney Fife was born here.

John Denver wrote a song about us and country superstar Brad Paisley learned to play guitar here.

We have more trees than we do people and we are called the Mountain State for a reason.

We are down-to-earth and prefer things that are real.

We are culinary chefs.

We grew up eating farm to table, so trendy “new” ideas of eating what’s in your garden sounds funny to us.

We are artists.

We make things with our hands—taught by our mothers who lovingly made our Halloween costumes and hand stitched quilts.

We are true romantics.

We choose to get married in family churches, barns and homes—where our families do the decorating and make the wedding cakes.

We are connected.

Our children know the names of the people who deliver our mail, bag our groceries and take our order at the local restaurant.

We are loyal.

We kept in confidence for 30 years, the story now told of the two-story bunker underneath The Greenbrier, designed to house the entire United States Congress and support staff for 40 days in the event of a nuclear attack.

We are adventurers.

We cheer as hundreds B.A.S.E jump 876 feet off the New River Gorge Bridge—the second highest steel arch bridge in the United States—just for fun.

We are proud.

Appalachia is our home and we know how to pronounce it.

We choose these magnificent hills and plunging valleys because within these mountains is something you can’t duplicate or imitate.

West Virginia is real.

Real food. Real art. Real love. Real adventure. Real family. Real passion.

On June 20, the West Virginia Division of Tourism, Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, will launch a new advertising campaign.

The campaign will focus on real West Virginia experiences.

We have developed meaningful content that will not only inspire—but move folks to action. We’ve compiled hundreds of new images and traveled to communities throughout the state to film and interview real West Virginians—chefs, outdoor enthusiasts, artists, lovers, bikers, fishermen and farmers who can tell their story better than we can because their story is real.

Real stories that make you want to go there and do that!

Good stories don’t have to end abruptly. Some of the best stories are the ones you continue to create and build upon.

As we celebrate West Virginia’s birthday, we encourage you to share your real story.

We want your children to draw us pictures of their favorite places to go. We want your parents to send us old photos of you on your first trip. And we want to hear your grandparents tell the stories of how far we have come—and where they see us going.

Share your stories with us at Or share your photos, videos and memories on Instagram and Twitter with #GoToWV and #RealWV.

Share your REAL West Virginia!

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