Appalachian Nation

stove pipe in tree

As I made the decision to develop a blog about my Appalachian Heritage- I started to think what does Appalachia really mean to me? It is a word I have heard all my life. It is home. But there is a disconnect about what the word Appalachia brings to mind and what it actually stands for. I read an article by Michael Montgomery that discussed the myths connected with Appalachian English. After leaving east Tennessee (deep in the heart of Appalachia) where he was raised, he realized he had bought into some of the myths that surround Appalachia. In his mind he had thought of Appalachia as being somewhere other than east Tennessee.


After reading Mr. Montgomery’s article I realized I had been influenced by some of the myths too. To test myself I decided to name the first 5 things that came to my mind when I thought about the word Appalachia. Surprise! My first thought was banjo. I come from a musical family but no one played a banjo so where did that come from? Most of my thoughts seemed reasonable. Although, some of the random ones I could not connect to having lived in Appalachia my entire life.


I would like to challenge you to list the first 5 things that come to mind when you think of the word Appalachia. It doesn’t matter if you are a native Appalachian, a new comer, or have never been here. Just take the challenge. Click on the word comments below and leave your list for everyone to see. (If you leave a comment you’re automatically entered in Spread the Love a monthly giveaway) I can’t wait to see what random thoughts you have about Appalachia. I’m not sure which will be more interesting the responses from the natives or from those who have never lived here.

My List

  1. Banjo
  2. Weathered Barn
  3. Quilts
  4. Corn Fields
  5. Granny lady in long dress and apron

If you are confused about the exact location of Appalachia- check out the Hillbilly Savants blog where there is a new series about Appalachia. The second installment is “Where is Appalachia”. It is available by pod cast for you lucky folks with high speed Internet and for folks like me there is a transcript.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Daisy Gardner
    August 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    When you wrote this, Appalachia was just a twinkle in my eye, and now I’ve lived in Appalachia almost 7 years. To me as a relative new comer Appalachia is to me
    mountains and hills
    sitting on a hillside on Independence Day with hundreds of folks who all know and sing the words to country roads
    creeks and paths that go to the river
    community gatherings with music
    wet hills, hidden springs and leaning trees and yes, within my first month here I was finding hidden dumps with treasures to uncover

    Those are mostly things I observed and have come to love, what I feel is a longing to know more and see more of Appalachia and bury my roots deep in the soil and never leave. I found your site long ago but was very busy exploring my little piece of heaven. I’ve slowed down a little this year and have been enjoying your blog, thank you for all that you have shared, your Appalachia, family and music, traditions, and stories are beautiful.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I am very very late to this question, but…
    Coal mines
    Windy two-lane roads

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    November 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    1. Lyndon Johnson
    2. Gravel or rock roads
    3. Self reliant people
    4. Clanish
    5. Raising Tobacco

  • Reply
    Bobbi in KY (appalachia!!!)
    March 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    1. Moonshine
    2. Hunting
    3. Beards
    4. Churches
    5. LOVE

  • Reply
    March 19, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Appalachia reminds me of:
    1. music
    2. rocking chairs
    3. jarred fruits in stream pantries
    4. hollers
    5. graves covered with stones
    I write from the cement city of Detroit, MI.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I just found your blog – and I love it – great music too!
    1. blue misty mountains
    2. fall trips on the parkway
    3. the Hemlock Inn
    4. Quilts by Ella Jo Shell
    5. getting lost in Linville gorge

  • Reply
    trisha too
    March 19, 2008 at 12:28 am

    1. mountains
    2. Shakespeare, thanks to a
    college English professor
    3. the Foxfire series, which
    honestly, is in my house but
    largely unread, and possibly
    not even about Appalachia!
    4. moonshine (thanks or not to
    the song Rocky Top)
    5. music

  • Reply
    March 18, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Love your blog! LOVE the music. Here are 5 for you:
    1. cloggin’
    2. quiltin’
    3. telling stories
    4. tubin’ down the river
    5. bluegrass music

  • Reply
    March 18, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I volunteered at a Midwifery Clinic in the Appalachians in the late 1970’s. It’s a very different way of life, not all caused by poverty. My 5 words are:
    1. Family
    2. Soft spoken
    3. Religious experience
    4. Natural
    5. Shy

  • Reply
    March 18, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    1. mountains
    2. coal mines
    3. heart of old timey music
    4. quilts
    5. poverty
    sorry about that last one, but it is what came to mind. my husband is a banjo…bobanjo…has been playing since he was 12 and he just turned the big 50. i really like your site. spent past 35 years on kauai and now i live in the upper pennisula of michigan which is isolated in its own way but at least you can get in your car and go…not like on kauai where you are captive

  • Reply
    March 17, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Okay, I’m finally catching up to what I’ve been missing 😉
    1. Barefoot children
    2. Fiddles and banjos (is that
    3. Thick, southern accents
    4. Crafters and artisans
    5. Old farmhouses

  • Reply
    Stephanie/Central Fl (Soon to be Central Ky)
    March 16, 2008 at 7:25 am

    1. The tears I cry each time I leave.
    2. My PawPaw’s canned green beans.
    3. Cornbread crumbled in buttermilk.
    4. Coon/hog dogs baying through the foothills.
    5. Snuff & old coffee cans.

  • Reply
    Stephanie/Central Florida (soon Kentucky)
    March 16, 2008 at 7:12 am

    1. Tears(the ones I cry every time I leave)
    2. Home canned green beans
    3. Cornbread crumbled in a glass of buttermilk
    4. My family
    5. Spitting snuff (my great granny & all of my aunts)

  • Reply
    March 15, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    My list of 5:
    rocking chair
    liver mush
    sourwood honey on biscuits
    small waterfalls coming out of mountain rocks
    And then there is:
    the smokehouse
    sweet smell of hay in the barn
    cornbread (Granny soaked hers in buttermilk)
    Sorry, that is more than five. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 15, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    the first things that come to mind when I think of Appalachia are
    1) the Foxfire books
    2)mist in the mornings
    3)walking trails
    4)old homesteads
    5)home made soap cooked in a kettle, quilts and rag rugs and home baked bread

  • Reply
    March 13, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Tipper, I like your comments and thinking about the Montgomery article, pretty insightful. My first two thoughts were identical to yours. I thought of barn before I scrolled down and so you had that association. My next association is the movie Deliverance. How depressing and inaccurate is that!? Number four would be home cooking, and number five coal mining. I guess that last one is Appalachia, just not our Appalachia.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2008 at 10:00 am

    1) laundry on the line
    2) mountain music
    3) old barns
    4) farms in the valley
    5) squeaky screen doors

  • Leave a Reply