“It’s Wild and Wonderful,” said no West Virginian ever
What could be a better way to learn about the people of the East Coast than to examine the uniquely-shaped, oddly-named states of the mid-Atlantic? We’ll begin with West Virginia, exploring its frog-leg-like eastern panhandle and uncovering a history rich with just about nothing.
Its name claims it’s in the west, but the Census defines it as the south. One could only be talking about the not-so-great state of West Virginia, the unglorified armpit of the northeast and distant, unwanted cousin that’s always hanging around Virginia.
Known for coal and essentially nothing else, West Virginia’s few attributes include being the home state of racist Sen. Robert Byrd, who proudly spread the KKK through the state in the 1940s and who adamantly voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while in the Senate.
West Virginia first rose onto the scene in 1863, when residents of the state decided to break apart from Virginia because of disagreements in the side they wanted to take during the American Civil War (West Virginia joined the North). Unlike most states, which over time became less racist and more accepting, West Virginia took a rather unorthodox approach, instead allowing the KKK to reign freely and becoming a cauldron of poverty and racism blended into a witch’s brew of sadness.
Marylanders often have a negative perception of our country’s second-poorest state, a statistic that West Virginians can’t seem to shake off. “I don’t really know anyone from West Virginia, and that’s a good thing,” junior Mitchell Fanger said.
West Virginia’s geography proves quite interesting. Despite being ranked 38th in population of all our country’s states, its largest city (and capital), Charleston, had a population of 51,400 people at the time of the 2010 United States Census. This is less populous than Rockville by about 10,000 residents. Noticeably, the city’s population declined from 2010 to 2015, a portrait of just how quickly people are trying to get the heck out of there.
Politically, West Virginia is one of the most remarkable places in the country. Donald Trump considers it one of his safest states in 2016. Say the words “Hillary” or “Clinton” there, and you might get your head blown off.
Until it figures itself out, it’s no surprise that most West Virginians hate state rankings. They’ll probably stay pretty quiet until they figure out how to top a list other than our country’s most obese states. Of the Maryland border states, it’s by far the least impressive.
Virginia handles poor history by having poor present
Virginia is known as “the birthplace of a nation,” but aside from that, hasn’t contributed much good toward our great nation. Virginia is home to Richmond, which happened to be the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Already, Virginia is off to a bad start with their capital city.
Although people often believe that the Mason Dixon line is the border that divides the north and the south, anyone in Montgomery County would argue that the line resides in Virginia, dividing Northern and Southern Virginia (practically two different states in my opinion.)
Dubbed the “Mother of Presidents,” Virginia is the place of eight US President births, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson and the founder of our country, George Washington.
Let’s talk about Virginia’s flag for a second. We all know that Maryland has the best flag in the United States. We put in on everything we possibly can. Virginia’s flag, however, isn’t one that they proudly display. According to Wikipedia, “The flag of Virginia consists of the obverse of the seal against a blue background.” How boring does that sound? It consists of a human representation of Virginia stepping on a human representation of Great Britain, with the words “Sic Semper Tyrannis” on the bottom, which means “thus always to tyrants” in Latin. I’ll stick with our fantastic Maryland gold, black, and red, thank you.
Virginia is home to no major-league sports teams, unlike Maryland who hosts the Ravens and Orioles. Most people would argue that the Virginians don’t need teams because they have DC sports, yet Maryland competes with DC in both the NFL and MLB.
Virginia is also home to some horrible people. The state is home to Chris Brown, who was charged for beating the even more famous pop singer, Rihanna. It’s also home to Michael Vick, ex-quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, who ran a dog fighting ring in his own backyard, and was somehow let back into the NFL. Finally, it’s home to Pharrell Williams, who wrote the infamously catchy song “Happy” that if I hear one more time, might make my ears bleed. Clearly a state full of absolute convicts.
Pencil in Pennsylvania for a truly interesting experience
I have mixed feelings about this state since it is incredibly diverse. I might have a bit of bias here since it is where all of my family grew up, but I will try to be as unbiased as possible.
If you’ve ever seen The Office, you’ve heard of the town of Scranton: The Electric City, as told in a music video by Michael and Dwight. Well, I’m here to tell you, it is as boring as it is portrayed. My father’s entire side of the family resides in Scranton, so I have the inconvenience of going there a couple times a year. If you feel like you’re not a true Office fan until you visit, take my word for it and cross it off your bucket list.
Aside from Scranton, Philadelphia is another city that’s in Pennsylvania. Yes, cheesesteaks are delicious, but besides that, this might be one of my least favorite cities in the United States of America. The city is dirty, everyone is aggressive and you can’t get the potent odor of Philadelphia out of your nostrils no matter how hard you try. If you want to experience Philly, just stream It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Netflix (highly recommend.) You’ll have a much better time from the comfort of your own bed.
Pennsylvania is home of the Liberty Bell, which would be cool if not for the fact that it is broken. It has a huge crack down the middle of it. How are you going to glorify a monument if you can’t even keep it in good condition?
Plenty of celebrities got their start in the state too. Famous people born there include Taylor Swift, Will Smith, Tina Fey, Kobe Bryant, Bob Saget and Kevin Hart.
Pennsylvania also holds a town called Lancaster, commonly referred to as, “Amish Country.” The Amish people don’t use any electronics, so you’ll often see people getting around in a horse and buggy. The Amish are also generally nice people, so you may want to consider visiting them.
As much as I hate talking about it, I have to reference Pittsburgh. This is a city that I want to hate, but I just can’t. The “Steel City,” as it is commonly know, is on the opposite side of Pennsylvania as Philadelphia. My problem with Pittsburgh is, being a DC fan, they always beat us no matter what sport. They’re a city of winners: the Steelers have six Super Bowl victories, the Penguins have four Stanley Cup championships (including the one this past spring), the Pirates have five world series titles, and the 76ers have three NBA championships. They definitely know their sports in Pittsburgh, which frustrates me to no end.
Pennsylvania has the third most colleges of any state with around 260 as of 2010. The roster includes schools like Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Villanova University and Temple University. These are all great schools, and Pennsylvania is definitely up there in the country in terms of number of good options to choose from.
Del-a-where could this small Md. bordering state be?
Ever dreamed of living in a state so small and so un-populous that also just so happens to be sandwiched in between an ocean and a bay? If so, Delaware is the state for you. One of only six states with a population below one million, you’ll feel at home in the second-smallest state in the country by area that uniquely appears to be in the shape of a poorly-made hook.
The following is a list of noteworthy people from the state of Delaware: Joe Biden. Yep, that’s about it.
To give it some credit, Delaware does have the distinction of being “the First State,” as it was officially formed in 1787, before any of the other 12 colonies. Sadly, however, this really is the only talking point people from Delaware have. But I’m going to try and help them out by noting some special facts that makes this Maryland border state unique.
Students, not just here but all around the state of Maryland, do admire Delaware for its beaches, including Rehobeth, which was awarded a rare five-stars in water quality by the National Resources Defense Council. Of all the states in the U.S. with a coastline (totaling 30), Delaware ranked first in water quality.
Delaware is also one of few states with no sales tax. Some people have even been known to drive all the way over the border just for the cheaper prices. As a result, it was named by Market Watch as one of the best states in which to retire.
The state also has the fewest number of counties of any state, with three. It’s not hard to remember the names of them – Kent, New Castle and Sussex. can you imagine living in Texas, with its 254 counties? That’s a lot to try to remember. Also, the counties of Delaware aren’t named after racists. And how could one mention Delaware without discussing America’s favorite incumbent and second-most powerful person, Joe Biden? Biden served a whopping 36 years in the Senate representing Delaware before he was chosen to be Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008.
Amtrak admired Biden so much that Wilmington station, which he used every day to get to and from work, was named Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station in 2011 in his honor.
So the next time someone from Maryland says they want to invade Delaware because it’s so pointless, remind them of all the great things Delaware has to offer – one odd shape, three unique counties, five-star water quality ratings and the 73-year-old vice president of the United States.
You rock, Delaware, even if polls show that you are the most forgotten state in the United States.