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Old 06-26-2008, 12:49 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 423,517 times
Reputation: 100
Default Small-Town America...in West Virginia??

Hi all,

I'm currently writing a novel, and I'm hoping to have it takes place in a small town where agriculture is the predominant industry in that area. I am looking for that classic "small town America" feel, but I need agriculture to be a big part of the area in order for my story to work. I've looked at several central States but I've yet to find a location that I feel strongly enough about. When (if) I find this location I hope to travel there to gain more information about it, but seeing as I live in Canada, I want to make sure it's the "right" place before I travel all the way over there since my budget is slightly limited.

Any sort of information of attractive small towns in WV (or any other state for that matter) would be great! As well, if I could get some information on the type of agriculture that dominates the area that would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your time,
Dan Goldberg
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:21 PM
 
4,715 posts, read 8,271,468 times
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All the contemporary stories that use Wv as a backdrop have certain lower qualities in common....pulp writing...cabin in the woods...girl with pigtails who wears short-shorts...the Elly-Mae type...cousin Jethro...saves her from some tragic situation...all of it crap...WE are not that people...Al Capp created that image in the 30's when he visited Webster County...that was his opinion and it was taken up by the world...made him a lot of money...

I would suggest you look for a source else where...an incident happens from time to time...they are sensational and make headlines everywhere...but by and large, the people you seek to describe do not live in this state...

I remember the film 'Witness...how crazily it demeaned and set a model for the Mennonites...and finally at the end, the star joins them....how unusal...No Mennonite woman would ever dwell in a house with a stranger...That opinion of the writer was starkly sexual and far removed from the values and social mores of that religions sect...the sanctity of respect for their beliefs were certainly thrown out the window that day..money is the driver...

Surely, a place exists somewhere in Canada or even where farmland exists...in the USA farmland reaches from Colorado to Cambridge, Ohio...surely, some little town in Kansas has the quality that you seek...Iola, Kansas comes to mind...Catholic...farmy...give it a check...good luck...Wv? I doubt it....
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Martinsburg, WV
57 posts, read 100,320 times
Reputation: 31
Try Hampshire County, Romney. It is a small town. Used to be like Mayberry. Not so much now, but still has the hunting fishing, country side, farms, orchards, one stoplight. Everyone knows everyone. Low night life if any, theater/arts in the old coke building.. Rt 50 west. It has aged and about caught up to the rest of the world in the past 10 years, but still some 'old flavor' left. I think it would be a compliment. Take time to talk to the old folks. The ones in nursing homes with sharp memories and tales to tell. My Mom is in one. She is 84.5 with her mind sharper than some. She and my Dad had a bluegrass/square dance band. We had a 360 acre farm and Daddy also worked on the railroad. Step dad was a coal miner. Very typical I think.
Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
3,105 posts, read 4,508,242 times
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"small town where agriculture is the predominant industry" -- I'd look to Ohio, probably the southern part.

"attractive small towns in WV" - Buckhannon is one & there are several others but while there are some farms, I wouldn't consider them agricultural areas.
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:46 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 423,517 times
Reputation: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kennedy View Post
All the contemporary stories that use Wv as a backdrop have certain lower qualities in common....pulp writing...cabin in the woods...girl with pigtails who wears short-shorts...the Elly-Mae type...cousin Jethro...saves her from some tragic situation...all of it crap...WE are not that people...Al Capp created that image in the 30's when he visited Webster County...that was his opinion and it was taken up by the world...made him a lot of money...

I would suggest you look for a source else where...an incident happens from time to time...they are sensational and make headlines everywhere...but by and large, the people you seek to describe do not live in this state...

I remember the film 'Witness...how crazily it demeaned and set a model for the Mennonites...and finally at the end, the star joins them....how unusal...No Mennonite woman would ever dwell in a house with a stranger...That opinion of the writer was starkly sexual and far removed from the values and social mores of that religions sect...the sanctity of respect for their beliefs were certainly thrown out the window that day..money is the driver...

Surely, a place exists somewhere in Canada or even where farmland exists...in the USA farmland reaches from Colorado to Cambridge, Ohio...surely, some little town in Kansas has the quality that you seek...Iola, Kansas comes to mind...Catholic...farmy...give it a check...good luck...Wv? I doubt it....
That's very interesting about the sterotyping of WV. I've always wondered about that. I mean I know it isn't exactly as I hear about it, but WV was one of the first states that came to mind, probably because of the stereotypes/images that I have of WV. Very interesting, thanks

I was also thinking Kansas as well. I guess i have a lot of research to do
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:47 PM
 
Location: London, ON, Canada
156 posts, read 423,517 times
Reputation: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by vec101 View Post
"small town where agriculture is the predominant industry" -- I'd look to Ohio, probably the southern part.

"attractive small towns in WV" - Buckhannon is one & there are several others but while there are some farms, I wouldn't consider them agricultural areas.
thank you! WV was just one of the places I was considering, and perhaps it won't work as well as I thought it might. However I am totally open to any other information at all

THanks again!
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:17 PM
 
323 posts, read 491,699 times
Reputation: 72
Romney is more quieter because it has the school for the deaf.
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:20 PM
 
323 posts, read 491,699 times
Reputation: 72
>>>'Witness...how crazily it demeaned and set a model for the Mennonites<<<

Wrong! Amish people. Mennonites are allowed to drive vehicles.
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Old 06-26-2008, 04:27 PM
 
11,962 posts, read 7,030,331 times
Reputation: 2772
Quote:
Originally Posted by stotan88 View Post
Hi all,

I'm currently writing a novel, and I'm hoping to have it takes place in a small town where agriculture is the predominant industry in that area. I am looking for that classic "small town America" feel, but I need agriculture to be a big part of the area in order for my story to work. I've looked at several central States but I've yet to find a location that I feel strongly enough about. When (if) I find this location I hope to travel there to gain more information about it, but seeing as I live in Canada, I want to make sure it's the "right" place before I travel all the way over there since my budget is slightly limited.

Any sort of information of attractive small towns in WV (or any other state for that matter) would be great! As well, if I could get some information on the type of agriculture that dominates the area that would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your time,
Dan Goldberg
Hi Dan,
I don't know if you're up to this, but the season is in your favor even if gas prices aren't. Get in your car, get a tent and sleeping bag, and wander around in the areas suggested. The larger expense of lodging being replaced with a campsite should allow you enough interaction with the local flavors of a region to give you lots of anecdotal material to work with in your writing. Your car had better have a decent transmission if you mean to be everywhere.
I haven't seen agriculture concentrated in WV in specific areas because the landscape isn't conducive to that lifestyle. WV has some farm houses nearby smaller towns, indispursed between long stretches of terrain/raw land. I think another poster described it as hundreds of smaller holler type communities stretched out across the state but separated by each mtn. I've only seen subsistence type farming dotted in places along the way, the commerical type farms being absent along the interstate beaten paths.

America in general- small family farms have been on the endangered species list for decades. Agrabiz, cheaper imports, and real estate developer pressures combine to make a harsh existance for farmers who fail to be market savy to find high yield niche markets for themselves. I think I'd steer you to nebraska, wisconsin, rural pennsylvania or rural valley parts of virginia if you wanted to see 4-5 generations of family farms as predominant community, but I'm not sure they've held on since the last time I was in the areas.

http://www.nps.gov/
google state park system for specific states you plan on traveling to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_farm
I think this organization could help you with your research more than any other specific state could....
http://www.nffc.net/

Good luck with your writing.
Kelley
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Old 06-26-2008, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Martinsburg, WV
57 posts, read 100,320 times
Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by amerideaf View Post
Romney is more quieter because it has the school for the deaf.
yuk yuk LOL

That is true, but the blind make enough noise to make up for it.
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