As Newsweek points out, West Virginia has changed its slogan from "wild and wonderful" to "open for business" in an effort to narrow the class gap it has with neighboring states. Kentucky, for example, might have just as many uneducated and impoverished citizens, but its reputation is buoyed by positive associations with Louisville, bluegrass, and basketball. West Virginia has fewer cultural landmarks to capitalize on, so it is instead selling itself as an outdoorsy state that has a sophisticated side as well.
With 50 state parks and plenty of mountains and lakes to play in, the outdoorsy part is easy enough to believe. But will people ever see Charleston (pop. 53,421) as a capital of culture and cuisine? Maybe. But I'd hope that rather than trying to replicate the martini lounges and velvet rope clubs of New York and Los Angeles, local entrepreneurs try to define the West Virginia identity for themselves. With an eclectic blend of urban and rural, north and south, they could probably come up with something unique and fun. What have your West Virginia experiences been like? Are the stereotypes based in any truth? Please leave any makeover tips in the comments.