"Central Appalachia" is a geographic and cultural region located in the Appalachian Mountain range of eastern North America. The boundaries of this region vary, but in most iterations the term refers to the eastern half of Kentucky, all of West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and east Tennessee. The federal Appalachian Regional Commission includes only the southwestern edge of West Virginia in "central" Appalachia, whereas the Appalachian College Association includes that entire state.
For the people who consider the mountains home, this region is described as including areas where people share a common set of culture traits. The mountains are not only a geographic feature but are a part of the culture itself; mountain people describe having an emotional connection to this landscape, as well as to the particular way of life that emerged here in the context of that terrain.
Most families that live in the mountains of southeast Kentucky are able to trace their history in this region back several generations. Log cabins of rough timbers, and flat creek stone grave markers, are the tangible evidence of the settlers who made a homeplace on the frontier of these mountains beginning in the 1850s. The ancestors themselves are still here, too, buried under a blanket of moss up on the hillside. There is a richness to life spent in a place where one belongs, deeply and permanently, to a community.
A few photos from July 2019.