Beckley? Really?

Things I wouldn’t have expected when I left 22 years ago:

Beckley, WV Named to Smithsonian Magazine’s List of 20 Best Small Towns in U.S.

The county seat of Raleigh County, home to Tamarack and the Exhibition Coal Mine, Beckley ranks 19th, just above Oxford, MS, hometown of William Faulkner and the University of Mississippi …  Beckley was noted for both the Exhibition Coal Mine and Tamarack, a location lauded for hosting artisan demostrations, lectures, music and theater events … Theatre West Virginia and the Appalachian Festival were also mentioned by name in the article.

When you’re 18 and want to do and see everything, you can’t wait to leave a town like Beckley. When you’re almost 40 and nothing seems nicer than some pretty views, nice people and some peace and quiet, you kinda wish you could go back.

But for a couple of things in life, I’d strongly consider moving my fortified compound down there. In the meantime, good on ya, Beckley.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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