Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Take Me Home, Country Roads, the signature hit of John Denver, was adopted by my home state, in part because of the first line of the song, Almost Heaven, West Virginia, but also because the spirit of the song is about coming home to the country roads we all love so much. West Virginians are scattered all over the world, but the mountains seem to have an irresistible pull that tells us we should have been home yesterday.
But let’s talk about the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River. In truth, both of those geographic features, even though they cross the border into West Virginia, are better known as Virginia landmarks. But let’s call it the songwriter’s artistic license.
It’s easy to understand how the Blue Ridge Mountains could inspire Denver and his co-songwriters. It’s a relatively short drive from my home to the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most beautifully scenic highways in America.
Overlooks are everywhere. It’s an incredible sight to see the mountains fade into the horizon miles and miles away. Picturesque trees are works of art waiting to be painted. Rustic barns, quaint cottages, and chairs on the hillside make you want to slow down and take it all in. And at the end of every day is the perfect sunset.
Here’s another truth.
Though the Blue Ridge Mountains are part of Virginia, there are places just as spectacular all over West Virginia. So much so, that we tend to take them for granted. The sunset picture above could have been taken in my back yard. A mountain top view is minutes away. Babbling brooks and rivers winding through the forest are within an easy bike ride. It’s the stuff that inspires artists and poets.
Almost heaven, West Virginia.