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.


Christopher Marlowe Credited As Shakespeare's Co-Author On Henry VI Plays

True authorship of Shakespeare has been debated for centuries. Now, the New Oxford Shakespeare edition will list Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe as co-author on the three Henry VI plays, part one, two and three. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Florida State University professor Gary Taylor, one of the general editors of the new volume.

2,500 Years Ago, This Brew Was Buried With The Dead; A Brewery Has Revived It

In an ancient burial plot in what is now Germany, scientists uncovered a cauldron with remnants of an alcoholic beverage. They teamed up with a Milwaukee brewery to re-create the recipe.
WAMU 88.5

Do Hyper-Local Term Limits Work?

Montgomery County residents are voting this fall on term limits for their local council representatives. Are they picking up on lessons learned from Prince George's County?

WAMU 88.5

AT&T’s Proposed Acquisition Of Time Warner

AT&T’s bid to acquire Time Warner: Join us to talk about what the proposed merger of the country’s second-largest wireless carrier and a major content company could mean for consumers and the future of U-S media and telecommunications.

Leave a Comment

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