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Living in Green Bank

by Karen ONeil last modified Apr 29, 2011
A personal view of living in Green Bank

Living in Green Bank is a study in compromise. There are no traffic jams, no commuter traffic reports, no drug dealers on the streets, no light pollution, no homeless people living on the streets and...no streets. There is an obvious trade-off here.

We live nose-to-nose with mother nature. The air is clear, for the most part, it really is possible to see by starlight alone on a clear night. When it is dark, it is really, really dark. The sky can be an almost painful shade of blue on a clear spring afternoon. The snow falls like a blanket in the wintertime. The summer days warm up nicely, but you can always depend on the evening air to cool you down. It can be truly beautiful here. And, sometimes a little inconvenient.

All the things that you really need, like milk, bread and basic necessities are available in the few local markets. You can buy vanilla ice cream, but not chocolate almond coconut fudge. It is, to some people, a bit of a surprise to have the choices that are immediately available in an urban setting taken away. Make no mistake, we do not do "without" here. We just have to learn that the shopping list takes on a more important role.

Although on a map the distance to metropolitan areas looks short, the reality of travel on our mountain roads is a very effective deterrent to frequent excursions. The small towns of Elkins and Lewisburg are only a little over an hour away but, usually, going shopping becomes an all day event. It takes at least two hours to get to Clarksburg, Harrisonburg, or Staunton, which are the closest places that actually have shopping malls. If you need to do "serious" shopping,the largest cities are where you have to go and your total travel time, to and from, is usually about 4 hours, if nothing goes wrong. As daunting as that sounds, I still say that the trade off is worth it. We have good FedEx and UPS service, so mail-order shopping is popular.

The schools here are very small in comparison to almost anywhere else. The school budget is low and the curriculum somewhat limited. As in any school system, we have some great teachers and a few bad teachers. We have many of the same problems that are evident in urban schools, but on a smaller scale.

When I first moved here over twenty years ago, I found the area to be so different from anyplace I had ever lived that it was quite a shock to me. There have been many changes over the last twenty years, but Green Bank is still a very remote, beautiful and quiet place and I do love the difference...now.

Carol Ziegler

Green Bank Administration