“When married to an academic, you get used to a vagabond life. Before my husband’s job at Marshall brought us to Huntington, we had lived in three states, most recently in New Jersey. I found New Jersey to be beautiful and unique, and in our near decade of living in Huntington, I have discovered that West Virginia is much the same–beautiful in its wildness, unique in the warmth of its wonderful people.

We’ve made our home here, and we understand now why West Virginians, and Huntingtonians in particular, are so fiercely loyal to this place. It’s a place that has heart, and that’s a rare thing in this world. The friends we’ve made here feel like family, and for a city of 50,000, there is that special feeling of community that usually only exists in small towns. When we walk our son to school in the Southside, we pass beautiful homes that are nearly 100 years old, lovingly restored. We see familiar faces everywhere we go. And because Huntington encourages and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, we can shop and dine at stores and restaurants our friends have created with vision and hard work. It feels good to support someone’s hopes and dreams brought to life in brick and mortar. It feels even better when those hopes and dreams take the shape of a craft beer bar or artisanal pizzas.

And we never suffer from a lack of things to do! Whether it’s First Tuesdays at the Huntington Museum of Art, live music on warm summer evenings at Pullman, winter sledding down Ritter Park’s hills, Picnic with the Pops on the banks of the Ohio, or the festivals that anchor our social calendars (Old Central City Days, Rails and Ales, Chilifest, Greek Fest, the Hot Dog Festival, International Fest, and more), there are so many fabulous events to choose from. Most recently, the Marsalis family, the First Family of Jazz, chose Huntington as the site of their International Jazz Piano Competition and accompanying jazz festival. It’s not every day that Jon Bastiste plays his melodica a few feet away from you as you sit in your camp chair in Pullman Plaza, but that’s the sort of magic thing that happens more often than not here. And it’s that kind of magic that makes it easy to call my Huntington home.”