Most Americans know only two things about the state of West Virginia: it broke away from Virginia during the Civil War to remain loyal to the Union, and John Denver sang a hit song about it. A glance at a map of the United States will make it appear that West Virginia is in the northern half of the nation, but cartographers as well as the U.S. Census Bureau universally class it as a southern state, largely because its historic culture follows Southern rather than Northern customs. For example, prior to the 13th Amendment banning slavery, West Virginia was a slave state.
However, by other measures West Virginia is sometimes classified as part of the Upland South, or Mid-Atlantic region of the country. It has the distinction of being the only state that lies completely within the area commonly referred to as "Appalachia, characterized by mountainous territory.
Visitors staying in vacation rentals in West Virginia can expect winding country roads such as the ones immortalized in song. Tourist amenities in Appalachia frequently revolve around two of the key industries in the state: logging operations and coalmines, both of which have a long history here. Recreational activities popular in the state include fishing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, and whitewater rafting. The topography, composed in many places of carbonate rocks and dolomite, has contributed to the existence of many cool water trout ponds that provide excellent opportunities for some angling.