WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Filed Under:

Commuters Trade Time In Transit For A Taste Of Rural Life

Play associated audio
The historic downtown of Martinsburg, W.V. hosts a range of small businesses, though some storefronts remain vacant.
Tara Boyle
The historic downtown of Martinsburg, W.V. hosts a range of small businesses, though some storefronts remain vacant.

South Queen Street in downtown Martinsburg, W.V. feels almost like a movie set of small-town America. There's a chocolate shop, a bistro, and an old-fashioned pharmacy with a soda fountain.

"The amenities are all here," says George Karos, mayor of Martinsburg and the owner of the aforementioned pharmacy, Patterson's Drug Store. "[We've got] a small-town location, the real estate taxes are extremely low... the services are excellent, they have an excellent city fire department, EMT services."

But this once rural corner of the West Virginia panhandle is slowly becoming more suburban, Karos says. Hundreds of people take the commuter train from this and other West Virginia towns into the District every day, and many others drive into the Washington area.

Jann Logan is one of them. She works at Montgomery College in Rockville, and she and her husband moved to Hedgesville, W.V. in 1995. She hasn't regretted the move, despite a commute that runs anywhere from two to four hours each way.

"We're back in a secluded little part of heaven," says Logan. "It's just a different kind of life up there, it's a lot slower, and so we made the move."

Officials in Berkeley County, which includes Martinsburg and Hedgesville, say more than 12 percent of residents work in the Washington suburbs. That statistic doesn't even include workers who trek all the way into the city.

And Mayor Karos says he expects those numbers to grow in the future.

"We still have that so-called home brewed mentality at times," he says, "But yeah, we have changed."


[Music: "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Lullabye Players from Lullabye Tribute to Tom Petty]

Photos: Martinsburg, W.V.

NPR

Credibility Concerns Overshadow Release Of Gay Talese's New Book

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about Gay Talese's new book, The Voyeur's Hotel. The credibility of the book, which follows a self-proclaimed sex researcher who bought a hotel to spy on his guests through ventilator windows, has been called into question after Farhi uncovered problems with Talese's story.
NPR

Amid Craft Brewery Boom, Some Worry About A Bubble — But Most Just Fear Foam

Fueled by customers' unquenchable thirst for the next great flavor note, the craft beer industry has exploded like a poorly fermented bottle of home brew.
NPR

White House Documents Number Of Civilians Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

The Obama administration issued a long awaited report Friday, documenting the number on civilians who have been accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes. Human rights activists welcome the administration's newfound transparency, though some question whether the report goes far enough.
NPR

Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash Raises Concerns About Self-Driving Cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla car using the "autopilot" feature. NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Alex Davies of Wired about the crash and what it means for self-driving car technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.