Former Navy pilot Stephen Coonts is the author of 15 New York Times bestsellers, the first of which was the adventure novel, “Flight of the Intruder,” which also was made into a movie. The Buckhannon native now lives in Colorado but maintains a second home in Pocahontas County.
To me, coming home to West Virginia means … going to the farm. My wife and I own a farm in Pocahontas County in the heart of the mountains, three miles from National Radio Astronomy Observatory and a hop, skip and jump from Snowshoe Ski Resort. The farm is where I can write, do fun stuff like hunt, fly little airplanes, hike in the woods, drive tractors and look for arrowheads. It is a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Folks all over the Eastern Seaboard are slowly discovering the mountains of West Virginia, buying camps and second homes and vacationing there. Like it or not, this is probably the economic future of the area, one that will mix development with preservation of all that makes the area unique.
My favorite West Virginia reunion memory is … going home to visit my folks when they were still alive. They lived in the town where I was raised, Buckhannon, as long as their health allowed. I miss them and our lives there more than words can tell.
West Virginia’s best-kept secret is … its mountains. Green, lush, with a scenic grandeur that rivals anything east of Colorado, the mountains are still sparsely populated, land prices are reasonable, and your little piece of heaven is within your grasp.
Even when I’m away from West Virginia, I feel its influence in my work or life … West Virginia is where I was raised and educated. I left for the Navy after college, and I now return to the comfort and luxury of our farm in Pocahontas County. West Virginia is the foundation for who I am. Its down-to-earth values and the friends I have there give me a lifeline to reality no matter where I go or what I do.
“The Garden of Eden,” written under the pseudonym Eve Adams, was suggested by stories I head about Pocahontas County and the folks I knew there. Although Eden is a figment of my imagination, in my mind it was a little mountain community like those I know and love.