Big Walker Mountain Wytheville

Virginia Way of Life

My recent post about how to speak “Appalachian” gave me inspiration to write this one. Aside from having a special way of expressing ourselves, we also have a certain way of doing things. As one of the chosen few to be born in Virginia 😉 I want to share a bit about the Virginia way of life. Some of these things are just generally Virginia-related, while others are specific to the area of the state where we live.


On Driving

The double yellow line on a two lane road is merely a suggestion that is loosely followed. As long as we don’t actually hit each other, we’re good.


When you pass someone going in the opposite direction, you always give a one or two finger “steering wheel” wave. If you actually know them, they get a full hand “steering wheel” wave. But when it snows, you grip the steering wheel for all you’re worth. Despite being nestled in the mountains, we completely freak out when it snows and most of us have no idea how to drive in it.


On Food

Hams are so salty that they have to be soaked in water before being baked to get the excess salt out. Sweet tea is consumed by the gallon, and gravy is a breakfast food.

All sodas are also referred to as a “Coke,” even if they’re actually Pepsi.

Food and drink are also central to all functions and events. When you go over to visit someone, you’re always offered something to eat and you are almost always invited to stay for the next meal.

On the Scenery

I’ve always loved how our state has a little bit of everything. We’ve got the beach over in the Tidewater area, a mix if cities and flatlands in the Piedmont region, and mountains and valleys in the Blue Ridge and Alleghany sections. Our Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain range that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Up close our mountains are green, but from far away they truly earn their name.

Big Walker Mountain Wytheville

Our mountains are also home to the most miles of the Appalachian Trail of any state.


On Our History

Virginia is steeped in history, since our history basically started when we got here with Jamestown in 1607. Thanks to this, we started learning our state’s history early on in school (around 4th grade) and spent two or three years on it. As a kid I was always jealous of kids who lived in California, because their state history basically didn’t start until the Gold Rush.

Thanks to this schooling, you better be careful when starting a discussion with us about the Civil War, Virginia presidents (ahem… four of the first five presidents were Virginians, and we’re home to more presidents than any other state), etc. It’s likely to be a long, and possibly one-sided, conversation.

 We’re proud of our state and of our fellow Virginians who have made a name for themselves and their home state – from George Washington to Booker T. Washington; Meriwether Lewis to Patsy Cline; and Shirley MacLaine to Gabby Douglas.

On Our Pride

And finally, our pride. I think this post pretty much sums it up, but I’ll expound upon the topic a bit. First of all, manners matter. Being polite to those you know and to strangers is important. Yes sir, no ma’am, please and thank you will get you a long way. So will talking about the weather.

We are also very passionate about our sports teams and we root for them with gusto. From our favorite driver, to our favorite college football team, to one of DC’s professional sports teams (which we claim as our own, because they are).

We love our state and we love where we come from. Virginia born and raised is said with pride. Although be warned! If you ask us where in Virginia we are from, it’s going to be a long winded answer, because there’s a lot of variety in this state. We’ll almost never tell you the name of our town, but instead we’ll say “DC” or “outside of DC” or “1 hour south of Richmond” or “between Richmond and Charlottesville” or “Western Virginia” near a college you may have heard of. You get the idea. Talk to us about our state or where we grew up, and we’ll be talking awhile!

What are the customs and/or social norms of the place you grew up? What about where you live now?

10 thoughts on “Virginia Way of Life”

  1. Virginia born and raised. Where you ask? Northern Virginia, Near DC. Arlington. Specifically North Arlington.

    And to add to the discussion on school curriculum, the proper name for the class is VIRGINIA, and US History.

  2. Yikes, never visiting when it’s snowing lol. I love biscuits and gravy at all points in the day, good thing I only have them once and a while. Otherwise I would need a lot more cardio lol.

  3. I had never heard of soda being referred to as Coke until I moved to Utah and I couldn’t believe they called Pepsi that, too. We grew up calling it pop. I still haven’t heard of it being called Coke either back home or up here. In Utah they also referred to ALL jeans as Levis. People would come into the department store where I worked and ask we had any of those Calvin Klein Levis. Being a smarta**, I’d innocently ask which they were looking for, Calvin Klein’s or Levis.

    I ALWAYS had sausage gravy for breakfast when I visited my grandmother.

    Every. Single. Conversation with my mom (and in the past with my dad), starts with “So how’s the weather there?” 🙂 We do love to talk about the weather!

    1. To be fair, I don’t drink Pepsi and I don’t drink clear soft drinks. So it’s always a Coke for me 🙂 I love what you did with the ‘Levis’ thing in Utah! 🙂

  4. I am still trying to adapt to the Virginia way! I still do not talk like I am from here! If you grew up in Colorado, as I did, you are a Bronco fan, through and through. When referring to what part of the state we are from it is usually in reference to which side of the mountains you live on, Western front or the front range. It was always pop for us. In California it is Coke for everything- even a Sprite which makes no sense to me! Never heard of sweet tea until I moved out here and the ham you refer to is something else! I think I can feel my feet swelling just by looking at it.

    1. Hah! I like that bit about which part of the state you live in. I learned my lesson about sweet tea when I was in Denver for work. They had tea and water out during a break at our conference and I got a big glass of tea and took a big swig, only to find it was unsweetened! Yeesh.

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