West Virginia Department of Commerce Linda Rago

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Linda Rago

Linda Rago

Linda Rago has written several acclaimed books on herbal gardens and herbal remedies. Her first work of fiction, “Dropped by the Crow: A Delilah Tea Mystery,” is drawn upon her experiences living in a sleepy West Virginia town. She resides in Harpers Ferry.

To me, coming home to West Virginia means … a connection with people and the land. I feel both of those things really strongly.

My favorite West Virginia reunion memory is … a family reunion on the third Sunday of July and it’s been going on as long as anybody can remember. I’ve written about it in my book, “Blackberry Cove Herbal: Healing with Common Herbs in the Appalachian Wise Woman Tradition.”

West Virginia’s best-kept secret is … the natural beauty. I don’t think people outside the state realize how beautiful West Virginia is. Also, how friendly the people are. My husband is from New York and it always amazes him when people wave at you even though they don’t know who you are.

Even when I’m away from West Virginia, I feel its influence in my work or life … I think of myself as a West Virginian first and foremost, and I’m always comparing everything else to West Virginia. I love to go out west, and I just love the mountains out there, but I’m always thinking, “Oh, they’re just not those round, green mountains that I love,” or “Oh, the desert is beautiful, but it’s just not green like West Virginia.” I’m always making that comparison.

Of my books, “A Dooryard Herb Cookbook” is an ideal homesickness remedy because it is full of West Virginia recipes. I think that food, for a lot of people, means home. If you eat a dinner consisting of food that your grandmother cooked, that really is a connection. All of my books are very West Virginia-centered, though.