Here's what the best small town in West Virginia looks like.
West Virginia actually has a nice place??
West Virginia. It gets a bad rap. You know – all the challenges with rural poverty and bad health and opioid abuse. The stereotypes about West Virginia are justifiably strong. It’s sad, and you can understand why loads of people are leaving this state right now.
But there’s something you may not know about it. There’s some really nice parts here. I’m going to drive through a small area of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia to show you guys the best part in this whole state. To be honest it doesn’t really look like the rest of the state at all.
I went to Harper’s Ferry, a neat little place. It looks like this. It’s a very historical location, but it’s more of a tourist town. Hardly anyone LIVES here. Cool area though.
But the area we’ll focus on is the tiny little community of Charles Town. Many people say this is the best place to live in West Virginia.
Now a lot of you have told me you don’t want to pay big city prices anymore, and you want more space and less drama. Well, folks this is it. It doesn’t get much more America than this. And, as we’ll see, you still have access to fun things to do, a good job market and plenty of outdoors.
We’re gonna drive around for a while and see what the place looks like. And we’ll even meet someone who’s lived here his entire life. It’ll be fun. Let’s get started on this episode of Tiny Town 2.0.
Charles Town West Virginia. Population 5,259. And growing. The population here grew by 80% in the last decade alone. This place was named after George Washington’s much less well known brother, Charles. We’re in the lower Shenandoah Valley. On one side are the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the other the Alleghenies.
Charles Town is in Jefferson County, which is the richest county in the state. While the average West Virginia family makes $48,000 a year and 16% of the state population lives in poverty, here, folks are a lot better off. The average household brings in $77,000 a year, and only 11% of the population is in poverty.
Crime is far below the national average here. That’s probably because everyone knows everyone and it’s West Virginia dammit – everyone’s got a damn gun. It’s chill and nice and CHEAP people. Well, it was super cheap, but then, you know, a lot of people fled DC and Baltimore and came here and drove up the home prices. The average cost of a house is just about at the US average – at around $350,000 as of this writing.
They’re building housing subdivisions all over the area, and they’re being annexed into Charles Town city limits. Some people here say they’re building TOO many new homes. But that’s rural West Virginians for ya. As long as they vote red, I guess folks in town won’t mind too much. But that probably isn’t the case.
Many of the real go-getters in town will make the hour-plus commute into the Washington DC or Baltimore metros for work. That’s actually not too bad – most people in Los Angeles spend at least an hour in their cars to and from work, but they’re sitting in traffic the whole time. At least you’d be driving through some pretty rural countryside, right?
City slickers like yourself might not think there’s a lot to do here. For fun, it’s gonna be getting dirty round these parts. In town proper, there’s a few restaurants and a coupla places to grab a drink. But you have to change your mindset. You’ll meet people at church, at farmers markets, high school sporting events, on walking trails. Fun would be exploring nature and getting involved. There’s no mall, a big ole bowling alley or a fancy movie theater. People never go to the movies anyways anymore.
It’s just quiet subdivisions, good schools, and where everyone looks out for one another.
There’s also a casino in town, and a horse race track, but you can’t do that every weekend. Or maybe you could.
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