Commuters Trade Time In Transit For A Taste Of Rural Life | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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

Rapper Jin Tries To Stretch His '15 Minutes' Of Fame

In 2004, Jin was one of the first Asian-Americans to drop a major label rap album. One controversial song, "Learn Chinese," raised eyebrows. A decade later, he's trying to rephrase the message.
NPR

Why Shark Finning Bans Aren't Keeping Sharks Off The Plate (Yet)

Fewer shark fins are being imported into Hong Kong, the epicenter of shark-fin soup, a culinary delicacy. But while the trade in shark fins may be down, the trade in shark meat is still going strong.
WAMU 88.5

Mixed Grades For Virginia's Ethics Overhual

The last-minute compromise was designed to pass in the General Assembly, but it wasn't built to please everybody.

WAMU 88.5

Transportation App Bridj Has Bus-Sized Ambitions For D.C.

It works similar to other ride-sharing apps, in that you establish a location and destination, and order a ride. But you'll be shown where to catch a Bridj bus, instead of getting a vehicle at your door.

Leave a Comment

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