The easternmost portion of Washington houses Spokane, a city of a quarter of a million residents that's only a few minutes from the Idaho border. Spokane is close enough to the Cascades to make it an attractive tourist destination, especially for ski trips. Plenty of green space and a recent downtown renaissance gives Spokane a fresh small-town appeal despite its size. Hints of the city's industrial roots remain, but the warehouses have become converted into galleries, theaters and elegant apartments.
Central Washington is rugged country. The Cascades form the backbone of the state, and the mountain chain's rain shadow falls to the eastern central portion of Washington to create a desert environment of harsh, but haunting beauty. The Grand Coulee Dam, built across the Columbia River, created Lake Roosevelt as a reservoir and recreation area in 1941. Small communities around the lake create a perfect opportunity for building a bed and breakfast or finding a summer home to enjoy Washington's temperate climate.
Along the Pacific coast and the complex shoreline of Puget Sound, small towns and large cities dot the major thoroughfares like pearls on a string. Aberdeen, Port Angeles, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and the state capital of Olympia surround Olympic National Park. Approximately 80 percent of Washington's population lives in the region between the Pacific shore and the Puget Sound basin. Wa...
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...e sweet country lilt of the southwestern cities, West Virginians welcome visitors and new residents alike. The people here weathered difficult economic times when the coal market collapsed, but as telecommuting and better travel options became available, West Virginia has begun to prosper again. Marshall in the south and Morgantown in the north are economic engines driving the state toward more career opportunities in medical research and engineering.
The state's fusion of southern hospitality and northern industriousness give it an appeal that is more than the sum of its history. It's the nexus where other states meet, but its own lush green heart remains untouched by the traffic snarls and enervating bustle of big cities. From West Virginia's rolling Appalachian hills to its busy college towns, opportunities for putting down deep roots in coal country abound.
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