THROUGH MY CAMERA LENS, I saw many unique places in West Virginia—and met many unique people—when I worked for New South Media. I’m forever grateful for the experiences I had and the amazing coworkers with which I shared them.

One of my favorite memories of my time at New South Media is a trip to Point Pleasant I took with Laura Rote, the managing editor at the time. We rode around town with the mayor—on his golf cart—and were even photographed by the local newspaper. From the Mothman museum to Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, we had a wonderful time in the kooky and totally charming small town.

Another one of my favorite memories is the cabin bachelorette photo shoot we did for WV Weddings. Laura, Mikenna Pierotti, Rachel Coon, and I made hobo sandwiches over the fire, sipped “lady of the woods” cocktails, and relaxed in the cabin’s hot tub with a sky full of stars overhead. All for the photo shoot, of course!

Liz Ford, former WV Living photographer and web manager, graphic designer for Charleston Area Medical Center Health System

I experienced a lot working for WV Living for five years—first as a freelancer, then as managing editor. I climbed on the back of a tractor to tour a small vineyard in Spencer, explored the inner workings of an artist’s studio in Berkeley Springs, and spent weekends in cities like Princeton, Point Pleasant, and Wardensville to discover what makes them special. One of my favorite memories, though, is my trip to Bloomery SweetShine in Charles Town for the summer 2014 issue. It’s not just because I got to sample limoncello, either.

My story began: “One of the happiest places on earth—or at least in West Virginia—has to be Bloomery Plantation Distillery.” It’s true. I’ll always remember the trek out to the Eastern Panhandle that ended not just in a sweet little drink, but also an inspiring success story right there in that yellow cabin full of laughs; it was a property that was dilapidated to say the least when the owners stepped in with their dream.

It’s stories like this one, on an enchanting farm full of people who sought to change the local image, that we always searched for. And it’s stories like these that I continue to look for today, even as I work for a family of magazines like Sixtysix and Green Building & Design in Chicago. WV Living taught me well.

Laura Rote, former WV Living managing editor, now managing editor of Sixtysix and Green Building & Design

My favorite days at WV Living were food photography days—specifically, the days when art director Carla Witt Ford would bring in the feasts she had concocted over the weekend for the quarterly “Taste” feature. The WV Living staff always interacted like a little family of creative and curious people, but we felt especially close while sitting around a table savoring the fruits of our (but mostly Carla’s) labor.

Katie Griffith, former WV Living staff writer and associate editor, now media and communications manager for the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission

I’ll never forget being asked to write a story about ramps and not being entirely sure what you meant! I’ll forever cherish the time I was able to spend with the delightful and talented Ellie Mannette. I fondly remember the hours spent in the kitchen coming up with recipes to taste and feature on the food blog. And seeing Nikki and Katie Hanlon grow and thrive on Facebook since we’ve last seen one another has been delightful.

Joy Bell

I worked as an intern for New South Media in 2010, contributing to WV Living and WV Weddings. It was my childhood dream to work for a magazine, and I was thrilled to get that kind of work experience without having to move to a big city. I learned so much about small businesses and magazine journalism and had the best time writing about my home state and the wonderful people who live there.

One of my biggest tasks was putting together a vendor guide for couples looking to marry in the Mountain State. I did research on photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, venues, planners, and more—it was a real wake-up call for someone who had no idea how many people it takes to pull off an event like a wedding. I got to know so many talented artists and businesses, and I ended up using many of those vendors for my own West Virginia wedding in 2017. You might think planning was a breeze because I already knew the best of the best, but quite the opposite. There are so many impressive people I wanted to work with, I had a hard time choosing who to hire!

To this day I keep copies of WV Living on my bookshelf as a reminder of home and some of the most fun work I ever did. Congratulations on 10 years. Here’s to many, many more!

Paige Lavender, former intern, senior editor of breaking news at HuffPost

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