Life Appalachia

These are our stories. This is our life Appalachia.

Growin' Gold | The Golden Delicious Apple

For months I've been patiently watching yellowish, mottle-skinned fruits swell. Young golden delicious apples bobbing tenuously in the breeze,  testing the strength of my sapling's little bowing branches. The tree, a couple years old now, has survived a transplant from a home I briefly owned and a near girdling winter attack of a winter starved, bark chew[...]

This is a journey through Southern West Virginia. A visit with the faces, places, history and communities. These are our stories, our life experiences in the hollers and hills of the New River Gorge. This is our Life Appalachia.

Friends And Family

The folks chasing dreams in the New River Gorge.

Farm To Table

Grow it. Hunt it. Can It. Cook It.

Y'all Come See Us!

Galleries, adventures and resources to visit. We're saving you a chair.

Homesteading Before It Was Cool | Visit Trump-Lilly Farmstead

Tania and I craned our necks over the dashboard of my pickup that I'd pulled over on the shoulder of a 2 way, 1 car width gravel road, and tried to figure out if we were on a driveway, a county road... or a dry creek bed. It was the start of a fairly typical Sunday adventure in the New River Gorge region of Southern West Virginia. We were on the trail of the[...]

Life Outside

It's more than adventure sports, it's a way of life.

Fishing With Bobby

"If you trust me enough to take you fishing... I trust you enough to show up." With that honest statement my friend, Bobby Bower, put another guided fishing trip on the books. (His future guest asked Bobby if he owed him a deposit for the booked trip.) It was a cool Sunday morning in early June and we were sitting out on his side porch sippin' on coffee a[...]

Your First Taste Of Freedom

Much like the old coal company or hardware stores of our region's past, the shops in the New River Gorge often serve a purpose beyond retail. The clear cut business side, well.... it's selling people stuff... but they are also cultural hubs that inspire discourse, build community and strengthen relationships. You can find this in many small towns but it seem[...]

Surf West Virginia

Every nook and cranny at the pull off  has a pickup, Subaru or other flavor of roof racked vehicle wedged into it. Just like any beach, anywhere, you can tell the surf is in. Except we're in West Virginia... yep, that's the landlocked state to the west of Virginia. Ok. Let's review that last sentence briefly.... West Virginia is a sovereign state. It is N[...]

What’s this all about?

Life Appalachia is the story of a choice. Many choices. The stories of the folks who chose everyday, against all odds, to live in the New River Gorge Region of Southern West Virginia and build sustainable communities. Some of us where born here. Some of us moved here. We work in the mines and on the rivers. We build guitars and wait tables. We sell bikes and design websites. We teach school and grow food. Some go to church, some to nature and some both.

And each of us has made the decision to live a Life Appalachia.


  1. by Sheila Burns on April 10, 2014  12:17 pm Reply

    Love this website, well written from the heart, beautiful layout, great articles!

    • by Haynes Mansfield on April 16, 2014  11:17 pm Reply

      Thanks for the kind words Sheila, I'm glad the site resonates with you. Please come back!

  2. by Becci on April 10, 2014  8:35 pm Reply

    Makes me miss Fayetteville so much!

    • by Haynes Mansfield on April 16, 2014  11:18 pm Reply

      Come on back for a visit, Fayetteville misses you!

  3. by Marcia west on April 11, 2014  4:05 pm Reply

    Love it! Have been hooked on the Gorge since first visit at 17 too many years ago and look forward to living there one day. Thank you for doing this and sharing!

    • by Haynes Mansfield on April 16, 2014  11:21 am Reply

      Hi Marcia, glad you're enjoying the website. My first visit to the New River Gorge was on a rafting with a church youth group. I loved the area, but had no idea I'd move here 6 years later. It's been over a decade and I love every moment in the Gorge. Come join us!

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