Appalachia Draws You Back

sense of place in Appalachia

“Even if you have lived most of your life “off”, there is something that draws you back here if you were born here. If it’s those generations of ancestors buried in its rocky soil or not, something has you hanging on like the tree roots wrapped around the boulder on the side of a mountain highway. Like the old joke about why there are the pearly gates in heaven….it’s to keep the mountain folks from going home on the weekend. A lot of my childhood was spent going home on the weekend.”

Vernon Kimsey – September 2016




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    That lovely photo surely is calling to me.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    So true. My career took me to South Florida for 35 years and for 35 years I missed the mountains. So glad to be back,mand I really don’t like traveling out but have to occasionally.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Cousin Bill sent me an email last night telling me about these people. They are kinfolks. Listen to them and if you don’t cry you are more of a man than I am.
    My only regret is I didn’t hear about them earlier.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    And Vernon,
    I liked the joke about mountain folks going home for the weekend. All the time I was away, I still yearned for home. And now, I’ve been back for many years, have had to bury all my family, but still glad to be in my homeland. As the saying goes, “Home is where the Heart Is.”

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    July 22, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I really liked this post. It seemed to speak to me a lot, especially about hanging onto the sides of a mountain highway.

  • Reply
    Mary L. Briggs
    July 22, 2017 at 10:50 am

    What a beautiful picture! And yes, I think that time does always call us home. Even though I wasn’t raised where I live now, my family lived on this property for generations–and it called me home to it! I would never go back to the city–my hear is here in these mountains with the ‘bones’ of all my ancestors!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    July 22, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Well Tipper:
    I have heard lots of expressions about living and dying! But your post today is a new one for me. However my sister and I sure followed that notion about ‘going home on the weekend’ when we were working at the telephone company in Atlanta! THANKS to all the fellows from the mountains BECAUSE they had the CARS and ‘seemed’ delighted when we requested a ride home!
    Sweet memories! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 22, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Vernon Kimsey said it all….
    Jobs were scarce in the late thirties and early forties around Buncombe and Madison counties NC…Then when my Dad got a job in the Secret City, (Oak Ridge, TN) …he came back and got us after finding a place for us to live. Which wasn’t much in those days of ’43 as the city was quickly being built only providing temporary trailers for workers while government housing was being thrown up all around the city.
    Practically ever weekend, Dad would apply for our weekend pass. One was required back then to get in and out of the city. If you were not a worker or citizen and only a relative of a worker, business visitor, etc., a more involved pass with restrictions was required. I always thought we were special getting that quick pass, cause Dad worked there helping with the war effort…Ha Anyhow, we would load the old Packard with our change of clothes, travel lunch n’ iced tea, pillows and quilts. Off we would go for the three hour trek to Madison county. Once in the mountains and when getting closer to Mom and Dads home places, you could hear and feel a change in their spirit. Mom would sometimes roll down the window, while we were going round and round the mountain curves. Letting in the good mountain air…as she said many a time! Until the day she died she wanted to ‘move back home’ she would say, even though living 60 some odd years in East Tennessee and raising us kids…Western NC mountains would always be her home!
    Thanks Tipper…

  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Kentucky’s politician and Governor Happy Chandler was known for his quotes. He said he never met a Kentuckian who wasn’t going home.

  • Reply
    David Vowell
    July 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    My Dad left Appalachia as a young sailor, but was on sea duty when Mom returned home to Harlan when I was due to be born. The only one of their 4 children to be born where my parents were, I think that certainly added to drawing me up to this part of the country after growing up all over creation and then 35 years as an adult in Florida. The mountains pull you.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    My Dad worked for 17 years in several different ‘spells’ at the Overhelman & Ritter foundry in Covington, Ky. Much of that time he left us home and came the 200 miles back on weekends. His time there was all about getting ahead enough to come back.
    I may have posted this before ….. but when Toyota built a plant at Georgetown, Ky in the 1980’s real estate developers expected a housing boom. So they built a lot of houses. Trouble was, many of the employees were from the Eastern Ky hills and they had rather drive or ride 75 miles or so than leave home.

  • Reply
    Steve in tn
    July 22, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I like that quote however untrue as to leaving heaven. I like “a little bit of heaven on earth”.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I feel a ‘draw’ back to everywhere I’ve lived. But, when I visit those places there’s so much change that I don’t recognize much of it or the people. Not so with the mountains. Sure, some towns have grown and there;s more people but, the new ones have adapted and the old ones are the same. The hills, trees and streams are still there. Almost forgotten feelings resurface.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    July 22, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Very beautiful, and so true….. Love the image… Vann

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

    It does draw uou back. My favorite spot. Visiting now and I miss it so much

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I know, part of my childhood was spent going home on weekends till finally we went home to stay!

  • Leave a Reply