After Alisa Bailey returned to Charleston following a nine-year stint as the head of tourism in Virginia, the editors of Blue Ridge Country Magazine asked her why she moved back to West Virginia.
Bailey explained her move in a guest column that appears on the back page of the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
"No native West Virginian ever really leaves West Virginia - at least not in their hearts," Bailey wrote.
Bailey said she left in 2003 because the Virginia Tourism Corporation made an offer she couldn't refuse, which included a paycheck that was more than twice what she was earning at the time as head of tourism in West Virginia. With two girls to put through college, Bailey took the offer.
"Yet the call of West Virginia was always in the back of my mind," she said. "It wasn't just the grandeur of the West Virginia mountains, the world-class outdoor adventure opportunities, or the promise of walking in solitude on a trail in the third most-forested state in the Union. It was the people I really missed.
"I missed my family, I missed my friends, but most of all I missed my home state," she wrote. "So when the job to head up the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau opened up, I jumped on it."
"In Charleston, I can watch wildlife from my back desk - yes, in the city limits of Charleston - or be on world-class whitewater or on a zip-line through the tree canopy in an hour," Bailey wrote.
"You see, to West Virginians the mountains enclose our souls like a mother holding her newborn. The mood of contentment to be constantly surrounded by nature and some of the truest people in the world transcends any challenge of the day."
Blue Ridge Country Magazine's website is at http://blue