When I started telling people about my impending move three years ago, I struggled to find the right coordinates that would spark recognition, much less respect, for my intended destination.
Southwest Virginia was incorrectly interpreted as south West Virginia. To this day, there are still those who think I reside in the southern part of West Virginia (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, the border of which is a mere hour’s drive to the north); though, in truth, I live in the southwestern region of the Commonwealth of Virginia, thank you very much.
Rural Virginia seemed to evoke confusion and misunderstanding, definitely not the sense I wanted to convey about my new home.
It wasn’t until a friend mistakenly extrapolated The Shenandoah Valley from a conversation that I assumed a respectable, if not mistaken, identity for my future digs. When people asked me where I was moving, I falsely replied, “The Shenandoah Valley”. It was just easier that way.
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
Two-and-a-half years and what feels like a lifetime of discovery later, I not only no longer feel the need to hem and haw about my adopted provenance but have also taken on the exciting challenge of touting the undiscovered wonders of Southwest Virginia’s cultural heritage to the world.
Building upon the work of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation I am looking forward to the task of helping to encourage the economic development of the 19 county/4 city region, that traces the spine of I-81 east to west from Bristol to Wytheville and I-77 north to south from Bluefield to Cana, through the expansion of cultural and natural heritage ventures and initiatives related to tourism and other asset-based enterprises that promote entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, including Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Center, The Crooked Road, and ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Trail.
I hope you’ll follow the journey through these daily exclusives that we’ll post and make a point of visiting the region, people, and places you’ll find here and at www.myswva.org. Check out the great press the Foundation’s efforts have already attracted in the April issue of Virginia Living.
I’m honored and thrilled to now be part of their certain and future success.
Karen Quina-Doyle | Marketing Director | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation