Instawalking Blennerhassett Island

There’s an island in the middle of the Ohio River called Blennerhassett Island. The Blennerhassett family used to live in a mansion there, and now visitors can tour the old buildings and walk around the island. Today’s weather was predicted to be beautiful, so my friend Zach and I hopped on the boat that takes you to the island!

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Huntington Museum of Art

I’m a big believer in being a tourist in your own city. When I visit my family, I always try to do this in my hometown area. During this visit, I was determined to finally make it to the Huntington Museum of Art. My mom and sister volunteered to go with me.

The Huntington Museum of Art just celebrated its 60th anniversary in November. Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the HMOA is the largest museum in WV. It’s open every day of the week but Monday. Admission is only $5, and on Tuesdays it’s free. Luckily, we accidentally went on a Tuesday!

Huntington Museum of Art Huntington, West VirginiaSome of the exhibits we saw were antique firearms, glassware, Near Eastern art and rugs, and American and European paintings, sketches, and sculptures. My favorite was the Near Eastern collection full of beautiful items from the Arabic world.Art Gallery Painting

art gallery

art gallery The conservatory also had a piece by Dale Chihuly. I’ve always seen photos of his work but had never had the chance to see it with my own eyes.

Dale Chihuly Not only does the HMOA display artwork, but it also has a conservatory filled with so many rare plants and even a few animals.

 pomegranate treeA pomegranate tree from Iran. macro frog

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I’m glad I went, and I definitely recommend going if you’re around the Huntington area. Be a tourist in your city!

I’m Going Buckwild

Stereotypes. Blondes are dumb. Americans are rich. West Virginians are rednecks. Oh boy, do I hear that last one a lot! I’m from Ohio, but I now live in West Virginia. West Virginia is known for it’s rolling hills and breathtaking natural beauty. But sadly, it’s also know for hillbillies. A few years back, I went to a professional teaching conference in Virginia. Other professionals, people with master’s degrees and PhDs, would ask me where I was teaching. When I told them West Virginia, I actually had people respond with, “But you’re wearing shoes!” or “But you have all your teeth.” Wow! Really? Others from further away said, “Oh, what city in western Virginia?” There literally exists United States citizens who don’t know that West Virginia is a separate state. Hello! Civil War. 1863.

And now MTV is further perpetuating the stereotype with their new show Buckwild. Buckwild follows some young adults in Sissionville, WV, which is actually about an hour away from where I live.

The commercials advertising this show make me cringe. They make Joe Manchin, the WV senator, upset as well. He said, “This show plays to the ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.” It seems like it’s MTV’s specialty to target a group of people and milk the stereotypes about them- i.e. Jersey Shore. Hopefully America will recognize that not all West Virginians are like the ones in this show, just like any intelligent person understands that all Italian Americans aren’t like Snookie or Pauly D. And hopefully people will stop asking me which part of western Virginia I live in!

The first episode airs January 3rd at 10 p.m.

MTV reality show Buckwild

Photo from the Charleston Gazette